Kaisers-lautern or Kaiser-slau[gh]tern?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 19 03:26:26 UTC 2006

>On Sun, 2006-06-18 at 15:11 -0400, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>  Is it Kaisers-lautern ["au" as in allow, as I was taught in junior
>>  high], or Kaiser-slautern [as in slaughter] as the ABC announcer at
>>  the World Cup has been vocalizing?  And what does "lautern" mean?
>As Leonard Cohen already said,

I think that was Jerry Cohen who said it on the list earlier today,
unless you're remembering a Leonard Cohen song I'm not familiar with
(he did have a couple of albums I missed in the late 90s) addressing
the matter...


>  the name can be taken apart as
>Kaisers-lautern. The S is a linking element ("Fugenelement" in German),
>something that is extremely frequent between the two parts of a
>compound. Many German speakers erroneously analyze the S as the mark of
>a genitive or possessive (because it does often make sense to read a
>noun of the form AsB as A's B). As for -lautern, Wikipedia is helpful:
>Kaiserslautern received its name from the favorite hunting retreat of
>Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa who ruled the Holy Roman Empire
>from 1155 until 1190. The Lauter was then an important river that made
>the old section of Kaiserslautern an island in medieval times.
>The German version adds only little to the information in the resource
>Leonard Cohen provided, if only that the first name of the settlement
>appears to have been "Lutra", after the river, and that the first
>documented use of the full name is in 1322, with the spelling
>'Kayserslštern'. [As I read this, it's just a juxtaposition of the name
>of the significant river with the word "Kaiser" (emperor), in an
>allusion of a long-gone association between him and the place. This,
>too, is very common.]
>It has nothing whatsoever to do with slaughtering, of course.
>Chris Waigl
>Indeed, since I moved to London two months ago, Wikipedia has been a
>spectacular resource to get the basics on any place, Tube station,
>neighbourhood, bureaucratic rule etc. pp. Even their overview on the
>local public transport card is much much better than that on the
>official site.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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