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A Word For Scholars And Writers

May 7, 2007

I’ve been on Merriam-Webster’s “Word of the Day” e-mail list for several years, hoping in vain for an improved vocabulary. With my dreams, it seems, in mind, Sunday they sent the following entry:

——————
sprachgefuhl
\SHPRAHKH-guh-fuel\
(noun)
: an intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate

Example sentence: One review of the book praised the author’s sprachgefuhl and her graceful, literary style.

“Sprachgefuhl? was borrowed into English from German at the end of the 19th
century and combines two German nouns, “Sprache,” meaning “language, speech,”
and “Gefuhl,” meaning “feeling.” We’re quite certain that the quality of
sprachgefuhl is common among our readers, but the word itself is rare, making
only occasional appearances in our language.
——————

Tim’s example sentence: “It’s Monday, and I have no sprachgefuhl.”

. . . And you’re thinking: No kidding! – TL

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