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    katzenjammer.jpgQuote:  “Farëzerfallen.”  Ad for the German airline Lufthansa.

    Figure of Speech:  soraismus (sor-AYS-mus), the foreignism.  From the Greek, meaning “pile on.”

    In its latest ad campaign, Deutschland’s national airline employs a deliberate soraismus, a figure that mixes languages pretentiously.  Promoting “Eazenträvel,” Lufthansa shows its grasp of a fundamental linguistic principle:  German is funny (when it isn’t scary).

    The company’s ad agency borrowed the device from the Katzenjammer Kids, the oldest surviving syndicated comic strip.  “No! You can’t vatch me fix der chimbley!” the Captain tells the two boys in a typical panel. It’s a laff-riot!

    Most rhetoricians deem the soraismus a vice, and therefore outré, if you comprenday nous. But, as Shakespeare and Bill Clinton proved, vices can be hilarious. Figaro therefore attaches the soraismus label to the practice of foreignizing English terms, regardless of what the rhetorati say.

    What about the current überfad of swapping “super” with the oh-so-Euro prefix? Figaro declares that soraismus strictly verboten.

    Snappy Answer:  “That’s using the ol’ fährfignoggin!”

    Share obnoxious foreignisms here.

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    Reader Comments (10)

    A super (not uber) way to dismiss centuries of German culture, Fig! I never before understood the hilarity of yuckmeisters like Hegel and Goethe. (That's prounounced "Gerta," Girly Man.)
    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterUndfranz
    Ow! You caught me sans pants, Hans.

    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    Your use of "rhetorati" scratched my pet peeve, Fig: attaching -ati to form a collective noun.
    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSala
    Use the search function on the right to look up "snowclone," Sala. Rhetorati qualifies.

    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    How about WASPs misusing Yiddish? That really takes hootspa. Enough already!
    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJerry
    Figaro is frequently guilty of goyische Yiddishisms himself, Jer. He's a German-American who clearly doesn't know from Yiddish.

    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    Moi is offended by your jocular Germanisms, Fig. Everyone knows that French is trez more funny, non?
    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRose
    Mais ja, Rose. Figaro once accidentally ordered the "swimming pool of the day" in a Basque restaurant. He was muy mortified.
    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    Your use of "muy" reminds me of the Spanish physicist who created a perfect vacuum. Realizing he had experimented himself out of a job, he cried, "No mas!"
    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
    Ooh, a nerdy science joke! A wildlife biologist once asked Figaro if he knew the difference between a crow and a raven. No, what is it? "It's a matter of a pinion." When he stopped laughing he wiped the tears from his eyes and explained that a crow has four pinions and the raven five--or something like that. Figaro was more or less out of earshot at that point.

    October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro

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