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runcible

English translation: (runde) Kuchengabel

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12:53 Jul 25, 2001
German to English translations [PRO]
German term or phrase: runcible
This is merely a private enquiry and not related to any translation project.
As a fan of Edward Lear's nonsense verse ("runcible" occurs numerous times, the most famous instance being the "runcible spoon in The Owl And The Pussy Cat) and with a very attentive and appreciative listener (my four-year old, half-German son, for whom I have not yet come up with a satisfactory translation for this term), I would be interested to know how the German specialists among you and other Lear aficionados would try to render this word in German. Of course, it's impossible, but I would be most interested to discuss this with anybody familiar with Lear's verse.

Steve Martin (steve.martin@local-eyes.de)
Steve Martin
Germany
Local time: 20:56
English translation:(runde) Kuchengabel
Explanation:
don't laugh - or please do!

Kim's explanation is perfect, according to the books.

I've solved this question many years ago in my own child-like mind (I love Lear), but I'm not so sure about my understanding of the menu ..

Mince has got to do with peppermint.
Quince is a firm fruit, even when cooked. Being an owl or a pussy-cat, in the middle of the bong-trees, and just out of a pea-green boat, you would need a little Kuchengabel.

I happen to have some antique cutlery, and after having a third look at the Kuchengabeln: the outer edges of the outer prongs are not sharpened, but they are rounded and the edge, on the side, normally used by a right-handed person is defenitely narrower. - Not just by use, but up to the 'neck'.

Here we go: nachdem sie der Truthahn verheiratet/getraut hatte, haben Eulerich und Mietzekatze tüchtig gefeiert, indem sie (nach meiner Meinung) Pfefferminzkuchen und 'Quittenscheiben' mit kleinen Kuchengabeln verzehrten.

Jetzt habe ich auch noch in meiner Bestecklade Baby/Kindergabeln entdeckt, auf die die Beschreibung genau passt, weil sie breiter sind.

HTH
:-)

How about some Lewis Carroll for me? Please!


Regards





Selected response from:

Uschi (Ursula) Walke
Local time: 05:56
Grading comment
That was fun! Shame I posted in the wrong language direction. Thanks also for all the links you sent by e-mail!
Steve
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
na +1(runde) KuchengabelUschi (Ursula) Walke
naregarding minceUschi (Ursula) Walke
naAre you familiar with these sites?Randi Stenstrop
naRundgabel
Kim Metzger


  

Answers


9 mins
Rundgabel


Explanation:
The dictionary below gives this definition: a fork curved like a spoon, with three broad prongs, one of which has a sharpened out edge for cutting.
So Rundgabel would be a round fork.


    Concise Oxford
Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 13:56
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 21844
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr
Are you familiar with these sites?


Explanation:
I am not familiar with Edward Lear's verse, but this made me curious, so I tried good old Google.

Edward Lear fans seem determined to make the runcible spoon was their hero's invention:

However, I found this:
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a961108a.html

What's a runcible spoon? --Theogr, via AOL

Dear Theo:

I can't believe you have to ask this. A runcible spoon is a utensil suitable for runciation. This of course is in contrast to an irruncible spoon, which one runciates at one's peril.

The first practical application of runcification was in 1871 when Edward Lear noted that a runcible spoon could be used by owls and pussycats. ("They dined on mince, and slices of quince, / Which they ate with a runcible spoon," from The Owl & The Pussy-Cat.)

In subsequent years Lear applied the principles of runcibility in other fields:

"He has gone to fish, for Aunt Jobiska's Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!" (1877). "His body is perfectly spherical, / He weareth a runcible hat" (1888). "What a runcible goose you are!" (1895). "We shall presently all be dead, / On this ancient runcible wall" (1895).

Satisfaction with the early results of runcilation led Lear and his admirers to overlook the fact that there were many unanswered questions about the runciatory process, e.g., what it was. Lear's contemporaries recognized that runcility was one of those conditions partaking of the ineffable, meaning it had the same connection to reality as scroobius pips and Gromboolian plains and about a thousand other Learisms--namely none.

But that wasn't good enough for the literal-minded folk of the 20th century. In the 1920s one self-appointed runciologist announced that "a runcible spoon is a kind of fork with three broad prongs or tines, one having a sharp edge, curved like a spoon, used with pickles, etc. Its origin is in jocose allusion to the slaughter at the Battle of Ronceveaux, because it has a cutting edge."

At first blush this made perfect sense. One can think of numerous eating instruments named in lighthearted reference to scenes of mass death.

But skeptics pointed out that Lear's drawings of runcible spoons gave no indication of tines or cutting edges. Also the use of a runcible spoon for the pedestrian purpose of eating pickles seemed at odds with the refined original menu of mince and quince. And why should one require a spoon with a cutting edge for quince that, Lear tells us, has already been sliced?

Modern students of runciosity believe that while it may have been inspired by the word "rouncival" (apparently meaning gigantic), runcibilization as we know it today was the invention of Edward Lear.

But the runcible-spoon-as-pickle-fork idea has taken firm root. One sighs, but what can you do? I expect the discovery of the Bong-tree any day.

--CECIL ADAMS

BUT:

http://www.runciblespoon.com/html/book.html.

What is a Runcible Spoon? That is the question asked most often by people coming into our kitchen and tableware store. Our name is borrowed from one of our favorite childhood poems, The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear (reprinted below.) But a Runcible Spoon dates back further in English history to Samuel Johnson. It was noted by his traveling companion, Boswell, that the two shared meals using a utensil fashioned from the horn of an animal. This ancient utensil served as a knife, fork, and spoon and was known as a Runcible Spoon.

Because of the keen interest in our name, we asked Mariposa designer Michael Updike to create a Runcible Spoon serving piece and a child's Runcible Spoon and bowl. In addition we were introduced to Courtney Peterson who created our stunning bracelet based on our signature pin by master silversmith, James Breakell. Initially appearing in our first catalog, we are now happy to present these custom crafted items in our web site. After viewing these pieces, click on the "ORDER FORM" button to print a form which may be sent by mail or fax. You can also contact us by e-mail. Either way, stop in to say hello when you are in Newport.

AND:

http://www.bartleby.com/81/14638.html:

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.

Runcible Spoon (A).

A horn spoon with a bowl at each end, one the size of a table-spoon and the other the size of a tea-spoon. There is a joint midway between the two bowls by which the bowls can be folded over.


So a runcible spoon is a foldable double spoon made of horn. I'm sure someone can construct a long German word to describe this. But runcible spoons may of course also have existed in Germany - in which case there should be an established term for it, although I'm sure that if so, it won't have the same "feel".

I can see why Lear used the word also to describe a cat's suppleness - and then I suppose he got carried away by the sound of it.

This concludes my contribution. Good luck! (I should love to hear the final result).

Best regards
Randi








Randi Stenstrop
Local time: 20:56
Native speaker of: Danish
PRO pts in pair: 265
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

8 hrs peer agreement (net): +1
(runde) Kuchengabel


Explanation:
don't laugh - or please do!

Kim's explanation is perfect, according to the books.

I've solved this question many years ago in my own child-like mind (I love Lear), but I'm not so sure about my understanding of the menu ..

Mince has got to do with peppermint.
Quince is a firm fruit, even when cooked. Being an owl or a pussy-cat, in the middle of the bong-trees, and just out of a pea-green boat, you would need a little Kuchengabel.

I happen to have some antique cutlery, and after having a third look at the Kuchengabeln: the outer edges of the outer prongs are not sharpened, but they are rounded and the edge, on the side, normally used by a right-handed person is defenitely narrower. - Not just by use, but up to the 'neck'.

Here we go: nachdem sie der Truthahn verheiratet/getraut hatte, haben Eulerich und Mietzekatze tüchtig gefeiert, indem sie (nach meiner Meinung) Pfefferminzkuchen und 'Quittenscheiben' mit kleinen Kuchengabeln verzehrten.

Jetzt habe ich auch noch in meiner Bestecklade Baby/Kindergabeln entdeckt, auf die die Beschreibung genau passt, weil sie breiter sind.

HTH
:-)

How about some Lewis Carroll for me? Please!


Regards







Uschi (Ursula) Walke
Local time: 05:56
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 492
Grading comment
That was fun! Shame I posted in the wrong language direction. Thanks also for all the links you sent by e-mail!
Steve

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mary Worby: Just one thing. 'Mince' is not mint, but a shortened form of mincemeat, as in what we put in mince pies!!
2 hrs
  -> Yes, Mary, the menu is intriguing, please see below
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1 day 4 hrs
regarding mince


Explanation:
of course mince is Hackfleisch, or at it's best Tartar, but I can't see the two little heroes, who

'took some honey and plenty of money,
wrapped up in a five pound note, ...'

celebrating their wedding with Hackfleisch.

I've never tried mince pie

Oxford Dictionary

= a small round pie or tart containing sweet mincemeat, typically eaten at Chrismas.

mincemeat (NOT minced meat) = a mixture of currants, raisins, sugar, apples, candied peel, spices and suet.

Suet is the only meaty ingredient, replacing butter.

There is no equivalent in Germany, I could only think of Pfefferkuchen (Lebkuchen), which contain no pepper. but possibly a touch of peppermint.

Anyway, a child's idea of celebrating a wedding in the 19th century must have included lots of cakes, modernizing this poem, the happy couple would have lots of chocolate bars and (wrapped up)ice cream and Coke, cake eaten with plastic forks from paper plates.

We can't translate, we can only try to explain.

The 'slices of quince' were Quittenschnittchen, some kind of fruit-cake. Obsttörtchen?

Edward Lear was the youngest of 20 children, his imagination must have been fed by all the older siblings. His first job, at the age of 15, was to make drawings of the parrots in London Zoo. He lived to a ripe 76, which was not too bad in his days. RIP.

HTH





Uschi (Ursula) Walke
Local time: 05:56
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 492
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




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