Talk:Gott in Himmel

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RFV discussion[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

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Same as #gewiss above. This a fairly standard phrase for writers to put in the mouths of German characters to make it more clear they're German, but I don't think it's a standard English phrase. The citation given is said by a character called Karl Kreuzer who also says Herr Jesus and potz tausend with incredible regularity, and the other hits I've found on Google book search are similar. Is this English, or should the heading change to German? Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:34, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Edit Poking around in the page history, it seems this was once marked as German, but it was changed to English because "Gott in Himmel" is not grammatical German (it should be "Gott im Himmel"). This puts us in a weird situation - this is basically an English misspelling of a German phrase and so it's not strictly a word/phrase in any language. I might have to move this to RFD. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:40, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I'd think that if it's found in English print works unitalicized (unless clearly foreign words are also unitalicized in the same work), then it qualifies as English. (All the more so in light of the in instead of im.) The question IMO is only what if it's only attested sufficiently italicized: do we say that those cites count for German? Methinks not, but me's open to being convinced otherwise.​—msh210 (talk) 15:50, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, here's one example where "Gott in Himmel" is not italicised, but in petto on the previous page is (though "Mein Gott" and "tyfel" (i.e. Teufel) are also unitalicised). Smurrayinchester (talk) 16:05, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
This text also uses the odd colloquialism mynheer, probably for mein Herr. These appear to be used to indicate the idiosyncrasies of the character's speech.
What's the WT take on such oddities? Do we treat them as nonces, protologisms, something else? -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 16:12, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
It's from Dutch, apparently - mynheer. From the looks of it, the character is meant to be Dutch, but the author freely swaps between German and Dutch. Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:46, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Any chance then that Gott in Himmel might be grammatical in some Low German variety? -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 22:22, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Dunno. I was just thinking it might be grammatical in Yiddish, or rather that גאָט אין הימל (got in himl) might be. You'd expect Low German to spell it "God" (because of the absence of the High German consonant shift changing d to t), but final devoicing would mean it would wind up being pronounced with /t/ anyway. —Angr 22:31, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I've added some citations. Two did not have italics, one did not have an exclamation mark, and one was a noun (not an interjection). --BB12 (talk) 05:40, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

I came across those while I was writing up this RFV. The trouble is that I'm not sure how many, if any, are of it being used in English. Some are obvious - in Fauquier County in the Revolution, the character who says "Gott in Himmel" says, in the previous paragraph, "Was ist los?", to which the reply is "Amerikaner!" The book is clear that he's speaking in German to show that he's too shocked by the battle to speak English. The character in Murder at Hale's Ferry is a Prussian who speaks a kind of weird European eye-dialect, full of "Gott-damned"s and "yah"s. The Long Growing Season looks legit, though - although the characters all have German names, their conversation is in fluent English apart from the frequent "Gott in himmel!"s (the fact they don't capitalise "himmel" is a sign it's drifted even further from the original German). This really comes down the the issue Eirikr was asking about above - what do we do with foreignisms like these, which are used in English only to make dialogue look more foreign? Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, my grandmother who didn't really speak German (one high school class) used the expression, and I consider it part of my vocabulary, though I don't know if I've ever used it. Ultimately, it seems common enough to warrant inclusion as an English entry, unlike, say, some of the Louisiana French used in the book "w:Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." --BB12 (talk) 17:45, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
It's attested, so it should exist in some L2 section. And it isn't grammatical in German, so it isn't ==German==. By process of elimination, it must be a malformed ==English== {{context|Germanism}}. - -sche (discuss) 19:04, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
That sounds like a fair solution, though it should have a note somewhere emphasising that it's not correct German. Smurrayinchester (talk) 20:40, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand that logic, -sche. You say it can't be German because it doesn't fit German's grammar, so it must be English. Don't you really mean that it doesn't fit German's vocabulary? (It uses English in instead of German im.) But then why can't you as easily say it can't be English because it doesn't fit English's vocabulary, so it must be German? Or, perhaps easiest of all, say it's German, and uses indefinite Himmel?​—msh210 (talk) 20:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
There is a refutable presumption that terms which appear in (e.g.) English-language texts are English. You can refute this presumption by showing that the term is a term in another language and not in English. Wiktionary's structure is such that doing only the second half of that, i.e. showing that the term is not a term in English, is not possible: pages must have language statements. Compare [[Talk:ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn]]. As EP suggested there, perhaps "we should explain with Usage notes that the phrase appears in English fiction, and so is technically English, but is intended to represent" German. It is, however, not German: if you would like to show that it is, you must cite it in German-language texts. - -sche (discuss) 22:17, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Alternatively, what if the page's content was moved to Gott im Himmel, and Gott in Himmel becomes "Misspelling of Gott im Himmel" (or perhaps "Low German"/"Dialectal")? It does seem to be valid in some forms of Low German; here's what seems to be a character speaking Low German (judging from his "Ick heff") - he says what is clearly "Gott in Himmel". At any rate, this is citeable in German, so perhaps this is the best solution (unlike Cthulhu fhtagn, which is just nonsense syllables, Gott in Himmel is at least supposedly German). Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:27, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Hm, so have an entry for Gott im Himmel#German, and make Gott in Himmel #German, defining it as {{context|by speakers of dialects|and|by non-native speakers}} {{misspelling of|Gott im Himmel}}, possible with {{uncommon}} thrown in because "im" is 23 times more common on GBC? That's doable, although Gott in Himmel#German would need citations — as I dispute that the current, English citations can be used to support it. - -sche (discuss) 05:11, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
{{misspelling of}} seems a good approach; users will look up common misspellings, even if uncommon among native speakers. ~ Robin (talk) 17:16, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

I made this same point in gewiss above:

Let's back up and look at the criteria for inclusion:

A term should be included if it's likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means.

Further, if needed, … Usage in permanently recorded media, conveying meaning, in at least three independent instances spanning at least a year …

Truly, does noting in insted of im make this any more "English"? It should stand or fall on the whole phrase rather than a misspelling. I'v seen this often enuff in English writings to say that it should stay given the rules I quoted above.

Now, as I understand it, it's being naysaid for that it is being noted to add a German "taste" or "flavor" to the writing and, therefore, it doesn't belong under an English heading even tho it is found in sundry English writings.

What I'm trying to point out is that this reason for exclusion doesn't exist; there isn't such a sub-clause against inclusion … at least not that I'v seen. If there is, then it needs to be applied across the board.

If we're going to start tightening the entry requirements so that these words and phrases don't go under the broader English heading (words found and noted in English writings), then it should apply across the board. Avant garde, apres, au revoir, asf should be under French; nyet under Russian, purdah under Persian, mirabile dictu under Latin, asf. We'll be very busy cleansing English of these foreign words and phrases if we go that way.

So I guess the broader frain is whether the English heading is only for "English" words or is it a broader heading for words found in English writings or can be noted in English writings, with a reasonable expectation of understanding. I go with the latter, but if it is the former, then a rule needs to be written but be aware that you're opening up a can of subjectiv worms. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 19:13, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

This talk seems to come up see talk:avant la lettre every so often and it boils down to the same two stances. If avant la lettre made it thru, then so should Gott in Himmel. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 13:33, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I have converted the entry into a German misspelling per my comment of 05:11, 25 May 2012, per this discussion and because of the citations found of this spelling in dialect-influenced German texts. - -sche (discuss) 07:50, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Resolved / RFV-failed. - -sche (discuss) 21:22, 1 October 2012 (UTC)