Tue, 12 Sep 1995 11:31:02 +0000
> In reply to my plea, Mark Koechig promptly said:
> ] Guy-
> ] The word you are looking for can be found in Chapter 23 of _|A|| |Connecticu
> ] Yankee in King Arthur's Court._ It is:
> ] Mekkamuselmannenmassenmenchenmoerdermohrenmuttermarmormonumentenmacher
> Mekka muselmannen massen menchen moerder mohren mutter marmor monumenten mache
> Mecca muslims mass humans murder Moor mother marble monuments maker
> It's hard to say what's modifying (or trying to modify) what.
> It COULD be a gang of marble-monument makers from Mecca who
> 1. are muslims and
> 2. are mass murderers of Moorish mothers.
> Or, it COULD be a gang of Moorish mothers who
> 1. are marble-monument makers and
> 2. are muslims who are also
> 3. mass murderers
> Or.... I'll ask a native speaker and see if HE can postulate a
> hierarchy of modifiers...
> --Thanks again,
> Guy Haas
It's a little late to reply now, but being a native German speaker, I
should say that the word is complete nonsense. There might be a
hierarchy detectable up to -moerder- (the 's' is missing in
'menchen', by the way), and so far it might mean a mass murderer of
muslims from Mecca, but then the words becomes completely nonsensical.
'mohren' could also be a vernacular form for 'moehren' or
'mohrrueben' or karotten', all meaning 'carrots', but the
'mutter'-bit doesn't make sense. If it belongs to
'marmormonumentmacher', and not 'monumenten' (!), it should read
mamormuettermonumentenmacher', but this doesn't help, does it?
Well, I think Twain just put together a few German words for the
onomatopoetic effect of it and relied on the fact that probably
nobody would care to try to make sense of them anyway.
And that's all I can contribute to the problem.