Posts

Showing posts from September, 2018

Brust, breast, borst: an encounter with r-metathesis

Image
Two months ago I gave birth to our second daughter. In order to prepare for this joyous event, I prepared by trying to get some of the local (German) vocabulary on labour & babies in my head. One of the words I had some trouble with was Brust 'breast'. Basically, my German reading is pretty decent, but speaking and writing are another matter, I just don't have enough vocabulary at the ready, hence my quest. Until now I could get away with blaming my high school education, where I suffered from a then new policy to split up second language education in a compulsory reading module and an optional speaking & writing module that I did not take. Having lived in Germany for over two years now, it's getting rather embarrassing though.

Anyway, back to Brust. The reason I found it confusing is that compared to my native Dutch, the r is in the wrong place: in Dutch it's borst 'breast'. Hmm. English breast has the r in the same place as German though. Then wh…