K äppi -- end piece of bread?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Apr 26 22:06:47 UTC 2009

Michael Sheehan wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Michael Sheehan <Wordmall at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      =?ISO-8859-1?Q?K=E4ppi=20--=20end=20piece=20of=20bread=3F?=
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A caller to my language program mentioned that her mother-in-law's family=
> used to call the end pieces of bread "the copy." Working on sound alone,=
>  I
> came across the Germanic K=E4ppi, a head covering or cap. I could understa=
> nd an
> analogy being constructed between an end piece of bread and a cap, but is=
> there a real or a fancied connection here?

I myself would not assume any connection with the exact word "Käppi",
since the sound does not seem very similar (more-or-less /k&pi/ or
/kEpi/ vs. /kapi/ or /kOpi/, I think). German "Kappe" (more-or-less
/kap@/) is a better match. In Grimm's dictionary one citation reads:
<<_der obere abschnitt, die kappe des brotes heiszt in Preuszen_
sohnche: das sohnche kriegt die frau.>>. This is the only example of
"Kappe des Brotes" which I can find and it's not clear to me whether it
has any relevance. My naive translation: "The upper section, the cap of
the bread, in Prussia is called _sohnche_: _The sohnche gets the
woman._" ("Sohnche" apparently = "Söhnchen" = "little son" or so.)
Somebody more competent in German can perhaps say for sure what this
means: maybe it refers to the "upper crust" of society rather than to a
literal piece of bread?

There are a number of words for the heel, of which "hilt", "nobby", and
"pope's nose" come to mind (as well as "crust", "end-piece", etc.).

Paul Dickson mentions (in _Family Words_, at G. Books) several words
used within particular families: "bunce", "truna", "tumpee", "canust".
The last of these would seem to be German "Knust". The others are opaque
to me.

A number of synonyms in German are given at the German Wiki page on
"bread" ...


... under "Regionale Bezeichnungen des Anschnitts".

-- Doug Wilson

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

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