Chris F. Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Sat May 13 10:07:56 UTC 2006

On Fri, 2006-05-12 at 22:46 -0400, sagehen wrote:

> I find among the seeds I bought for this year's kitchen garden a lettuce
> called Forellenschluss.  I know Forelle because of the Trout Quintet, but
> Schluss?  End?  Tail, perhaps?  Caught?
> My German, I need hardly say, is just about adequate to rent a room & order
> a meal.

It's supposed to be "Forellenschuss" (new spelling; in old spelling, the
words ends with an eszet[1]). While _Schluss_ indeed means end or tail,
_Schuss_ translates to _shot_. The English and the German overlap
relatively well in this case. For example, the German equivalent of "a
shot of whisky" or "young Sam shot up over the summer" would use forms
of _Schuss_ or the verb _schiessen_[2]. The sense we need here is the
one in "her silk shirt was shot with green and blue": as Arnold Zwicky
already said, this is a lettuce that's speckled like a trout's back.

"Schuss" used for speckled patterns is not particular clear for a German
native speaker. I'm currently separated from my reference books (and for
a while yet), the Grimms' dictionary doesn't have anything that I can
easily find[3], but I have a vague recollection of tailors' /
cloth-related jargon and get vibes of this being a usage my Grandmother
(Bavarian / Bohemian / Austrian dialect influences) might have had.

Indeed, while nearly all hits for "Forellenschuss" (with or without
eszet) are on English pages, some claim the term (or the lettuce) to be
originally from Austria. (In which case the trout would be Salmo trutta
forma fario, the indigenous variety, which has more interesting spots
<http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:Bachforelle_Zeichnung.jpg> than the
now-dominant Oncorhynchus mykiss.)

I've found the claim that freckles are called "Forellenschuss" in the
Austrian dialect (or some Austrian dialects?), but can't confirm this
(Wikipedia has _Gugerschecken_ or _Guckerschecken_ for Austrian;
standard German is _Sommersprossen_; all plural). One site that claims
this swiftly descends into etymological blundering, so I'm keeping a bit
question mark next to this one:

The Lettuce Romaine Freckles, 'Lactuca sativa', is an Heirloom Romaine
with maroon splotches that handles heat well. Make a non-traditional
Caesar salad with this gorgeous romaine. This Heirloom is both heat
tolerant and very tasty. The Austrians call Freckles "forellenschuss"
which translates as "trout, self enclosing", indicating it's a speckled

(The nonsense is the "self-enclosing" bit, of course.)

Chris Waigl
in London

[1] which I'll abstain from typing in given the list software's
inclination to do away with encoding information
[2] which should be spelled with an eszet

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

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