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calling linguists (German) - help solve this riddle, please

(20 Posts)
Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 07-Mar-17 19:58:57

The printed English version of the bolded words below is "marble confectionary", the translator is sadly no longer alive.
We have not been able to find the word "Confitüre" used in the way it is used below, meaning "garden furniture".
Has anybody any idea how this word came to be used in this way?

"Der Garten war nicht viel breiter als das Haus, aber er lief tief nach rückwärts. Dort gab es irgendwelche marmorne Confitüren, sie schlossen diese Tiefe des Gartens ab vor einer massigen Mauer: bogenförmige Sitzbänke, von mächtigen steinernen Vasen überhöht."

Thank you smile

Bromeliad Tue 07-Mar-17 20:31:33

My German DP suspects that this may have been translated from French into German and that the bold words are some attempt at a direct translation from French? The German grammar is off throughout the paragraph so it's hard to say, but that would be his best guess.

DIVivienneDeering Tue 07-Mar-17 20:38:35

Would a better translation be 'confections' in the sense of some sort of whimsical creation?

notMarlene Tue 07-Mar-17 20:41:16

I'm sure I've heard it used colloquially that way in Dutch. Not sure now if it was in the south of the Netherlands or Belgium though. <helpful>

notMarlene Tue 07-Mar-17 20:43:13

That does make perfect sense DIViv

Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 07-Mar-17 20:53:29

DIV - that's a thought we had, too, but we cannot be sure...
We even asked a landscape gardener if this is a specialist usage - no it isn't.

Bromeliad - the grammar seems to be off, but in fact isn't, the author very much knew what he wanted to say but was nearing the end of his life. This book contains a few things that should have been edited out.
Translation - that is an idea, we'll check up on that, thank you.

DH won't give up and I'll never hear the end of it...

notMarlene Tue 07-Mar-17 21:02:40

Could it not be a regional usage (or old fashioned phrasing) though?

Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 07-Mar-17 21:30:37

Old usage is an idea, but we haven't been able to find a second instance of usage, or historical evidence. At least not online. Perhaps an old encyclopaedia .... now that's an idea - thank you will try that.

The novel has been translated into several other languages apart from English (confectionary)- I very much hope the didn't all settle for marmalade.

PacificDogwod Tue 07-Mar-17 21:35:13

Konfitüre is posh jam, conserve grin

I agree the grammar is off, for whatever reason.
Something having been lost in translation seems a possibility - what language was the original written in?

I suppose it could be a very strange way of trying to say 'stuff', you know, 'marble things', statues/vases/and such, some kind of collective noun?
I am a native German speaker, and I have never known it to be use in such a way though.

Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 07-Mar-17 21:48:33

The original is German (The style is very much his own, though.)

We hoped to reach the meaning via the translated versions and the collective minds of cunning linguists, and I think DIV and Pacific are right:

How about this:

As this kind of marble garden furniture is not to everyones taste, kind of pseudo antique and fake sentimental.
Could it perhaps not be a description but an aesthetic judgement?
In the sense of cluttering their garden up with this kind of stuff?

What do you think?

PacificDogwod Tue 07-Mar-17 21:50:45

Yes, definitely a slightly negative, almost ?sneering, connotation.
It implies fussy, tacky, 'too much' to me.

I might be overreaching grin

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Tue 07-Mar-17 21:55:07

My first thought was creation or frippery, as though describing a folly.

Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 07-Mar-17 21:59:19

Pacific - so it doesn't sound too far fetched to you?

Anybody else agree with us?

(I want DH to finish this commentary smile)

PacificDogwod Tue 07-Mar-17 22:03:10

I dunno, it is a bit far fetched <not helpful>

I agree with frippery/folly imagery.

I've just read the whole paragraph again - it does not read right. If it was written in German in the original, was the writer a native German speaker??
I understand what is being described but I would probably rewrite the whole thing tbh.

Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 07-Mar-17 22:16:52

Yes, Austrian. But his style really is very much his own.

It's a quote from "Die Wasserfälle von Slunj" 1964 by Heimito von Doderer
translated into English by Eithene Wilkins "The Waterfalls of Slunj"

PacificDogwod Tue 07-Mar-17 22:45:55

Interesting, thanks, I had never heard of him and had to look him up.

You may need a native Austrian speaker - a bit like American and British English, we are separated by a common language... wink

GirlcalledJames Tue 18-Apr-17 19:44:22

I don't suppose it could be a slip of the tongue for Garnitur, as in Sitzgarnitur?

NeuroTick Fri 21-Apr-17 09:20:29

Sounds like a quaint old-fashioned, literal take on the Latin origin of the word (conficere ~ to finish/complete) and maybe even one that was never in common usage (at least not when referring to structures) but one the author made up himself?

German native here. Any Austrians around?

Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 25-Apr-17 21:54:17

Hello Neuro,
that is an idea, he did know Latin.

So we have
1. garden furniture (Sitzgarnitur)
2. some frippery kind of stuff
3. an aesthetic judgement on said furniture
4. quaint Austrian word of Latin origin for a complete set of something

Well,
it is definitely garden furniture of the pompous marble type
and being the person the author was, a judgement seemed likely

In the end we settled for 1 and 3 - which includes 4

Now I've been set to find out what 'Raddegiggl' is.

NeuroTick Tue 25-Apr-17 23:33:57

A quick Google search suggests "Raddegiggl" is a dialect word for cheap, inferior wine (used in the Palatinate region). A dry white wine is marketed under the name "Raddegiggl, forzdrogge (~ dry as a fart".

It seems the literal meaning is "rat excrement". 😳

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