?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Schwippschwager, Schwappschwager, Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager

« previous entry | next entry »
Feb. 16th, 2016 | 12:44 pm

More on unusual Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen... the German word for "brother-in-law" is "Schwager", and there's also a word for the sibling or spouse of one of those, namely "Schwippschwager".

Now when I was little, the grown-ups would occasionally speak of not just the "Schwippschwager" but also the "Schwappschwager", supposedly "removed" by one extra degree. Indeed, there was even talk of the "Schwippschwappschwager" (or "Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager"), though I'm not sure this wasn't in jest. I've been wondering what precisely these mean ever since, so I decided to take a look.

As far as German media go, the Schwappschwager is attested to in Die ZEIT, at least, which writes, in the context of Graeco-Roman mythology:

Manchmal hat man ja schon Mühe, sich die eigenen Verwandten zu merken, die Tanten, Onkels, Schwipp- und Schwappschwager und wie erst die bizarre, von keinem Standesamt je verzeichnete, geschweige denn gebilligte Götterwelt.

Interesting, but not yet helpful. And DWDS has no information on the Schwappschwager beyond the aforementioned ZEIT article.

What about the next one, the Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager? That one briefly shows up in a self-published book titled "Ritter Anus - das Leben ist ein Donnerbalken"; Google Books has it indexed, and shares the following passage:

Es handelt sich in erschreckender Weise um den Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager des Barden aus der Burg Hochgemuth, auch er ist ein Barde [...]

It makes a further cameo appearance in e.g. this post in a Spiegel discussion forum; but like Morgenstern's "Stiefmilchbruder", it appears to refer to a comically absurd family relationship rather than an actual one:

Barack Obama ist eigentlich ein Eskimo und dafür hab ich Beweise, weil sich der Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager eines angeheirateten Vetters dritten Grades, der dazu auch noch mit meiner Großtante liiert ist, ganz, ganz sicher ist.

Checking DWDS again, there is, sadly, no information on the Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager at all.

But there is a silver lining on the horizon. Light is shed on both these elusive beasts in a 1998 discussion in the newsgroup de.soc.familie.misc where one poster offered the following definitions:

Ein Bruder meiner Frau = Schwager
Die Frau des Bruders meiner Frau = Schwipp-Schwager
Ein Bruder der Frau des Bruders meiner Frau = Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwager

Und anders beleuchtet: Mein Schwipp-Schwager (wie wir jetzt wissen, ist das z.B. der Mann meiner Schwaegerin) und eine meiner Schwaegerinnen (konkret die Frau eines meiner Brueder) sind untereinander -- na? was? -- Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwupp-Schwager/Schwaegerin.

"Schwipp-Schwapp-Schwupp-Schwager". The more you know, eh?

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {9}

Alice Dryden

(no subject)

from: huskyteer
date: Feb. 16th, 2016 01:39 pm (UTC)
Link

You've reminded me of Schweppenstette, a character in Deutschland 83. I was wondering if the name meant anything - can you shed any light?

Reply | Thread

Schneelocke

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Feb. 16th, 2016 06:09 pm (UTC)
Link

Hmm, good question! It doesn't mean anything to me in German right away, but that's not saying much.

Some web-searching doesn't reveal much – it's a pretty rare name –, but there's this forum thread, where various explanations are considered.

According to one user, the name might stem from carpentry and indicate a specific job that someone was doing; another one think that this is unlikely based on its rarity, and instead hypothesizes that it could refer to a certain location where the first bearers of the name lived (and "-stette" could be equivalent to "Stätte", "location"). Possibly it refers to Schülp, or a supposed (?) former district of the town of Herzebrock-Clarholz.

The executive summary — it's not clear where exactly the name comes from or what it means, but it doesn't have any obvious, outright meaning, no.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Alice Dryden

(no subject)

from: huskyteer
date: Feb. 17th, 2016 07:46 am (UTC)
Link

Wow, thank you for checking that out! And interesting in itself that they picked such an obscure name for the character. It was certainly memorable.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Schneelocke

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Feb. 17th, 2016 10:17 am (UTC)
Link

You're welcome! *tips hat* :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

allaboutweather

(no subject)

from: allaboutweather
date: Feb. 19th, 2016 12:21 am (UTC)
Link

*sighs* Learning german's gonna be a lot harder than i thought. :(


It's funny because spanish came naturally to me almost. XD

Reply | Thread

Schneelocke

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Feb. 19th, 2016 12:30 am (UTC)
Link

Learning german's gonna be a lot harder than i thought

Oh, what makes you say that?

(I'm not necessarily saying it's gonna be easy, but if you didn't have trouble with Spanish, I don't think German should insurmountable.)

Reply | Parent | Thread

allaboutweather

(no subject)

from: allaboutweather
date: Feb. 19th, 2016 01:34 am (UTC)
Link

I thought if spanish came rather naturally to me (i even have a really good spanish accent to where i've talked to a few people entirely in spanish), so would italian. I took a semester of italian but you would think it'd be easy given how similar they are but i just couldn't pick up on italian like i did spanish. :(

Reply | Parent | Thread

Schneelocke

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Feb. 19th, 2016 10:19 am (UTC)
Link

Interesting. Perhaps that was down to the fact you already knew a fairly closely-related language?

Reply | Parent | Thread

allaboutweather

(no subject)

from: allaboutweather
date: Feb. 19th, 2016 01:58 pm (UTC)
Link

Yeah, and i was more used to spanish than italian.

Reply | Parent | Thread