Re: Evening/Night (was Re: The "Mother" Problem)

From: g
Message: 36456
Date: 2005-02-23

> There are a number of Americanisms which appear to go back to German,
> but in
> fact the source may have been Yiddish.
> Peter

Doubtful, since <nachts> & <nächtens> are rather rendered as <bei
Nacht>, <auf der Nacht/af da Nocht>> & <baj nacht> in South German,
incl. Yiddish.

(The latter is the German-Yiddish spelling;
the American Yiddish spellings: <bay nacht>, <bay nakht>;
Hebrew transliteration: בײַ נאכט).

<auf der Nacht> = Yidd. <ojf der nacht>, <oyf der nakht>

cf. Yidd. <frejtik ojf der nacht> = Ger. <Freitag auf der Nacht> = Ger.
"Freitag nachts" (actually it means Ger. <Freitag abend(s)> "Friday
evening", i.e. the start of the Sabbath)

However, there is this one too:

Yidd. <tsu nakhts>

(= Ger. <zu nachts> is impossible, AFAIK):

<fraytik tsu nakhts, ven di bentshlikht brenen in reyn oysgeputste
(bents(c)h < Lat. benedicare; oys- = aus-; laykhter = Leuchter)

<s(c)habes/s(c)habos-tsu-nakhts> "Saturday evening/night"

All examples archived by Google.
(<ich arbeite> = <ich arbet>, <ikh arbet>) (or abbrev. <'ch>, <'kh>)

* * *

Excerpt from >>Mendele: Yiddish literature and language. Vol. 4.017<<

Date: Tue Jun 7 16:06:28 1994
From: mdevlin@...
Subject: German "nachts"

Mikhl Herzog asks (Mendele Vol. 4.105) :

> Question: Is there any apparent basis for the "nakhtS" form in German?
> Any reason to think that this construction may have required a

In German, "Nacht", a feminine noun, would not form the genitive with
Many temporal adverbs are derived from the genitive, e.g. "morgens",
"abends", "montags". The genitive derivation can be seen pretty clearly
in certain adverbial phrases that have not achieved independent
"wordhood", e.g. "eines Tages", gen. of "ein Tag", meaning "one day" or
"some day" in the sense of "One day I'll fix that leaky faucet". I can
only guess that the Germans one day started turning the genitives of
certain masculine temporal nouns into adverbs and kept doing it so long
that they ceased to see the connection to gender, at which point they
could start saying "nachts" without feeling funny about it.

Mark Devlin

Date: Tue Jun 7 17:23:07 1994
From: zbarlev@...
Subject: German "nachts"

i'm not sure what m. herzog's question is -- but it is my understanding
that not only does gm. nachts derive from a genitive form: so does
english "(he works) nights"!

zev bar-lev