Readers Offer Clues
Once a new book comes out, the feedback follows. On pages 24-25 of Coop, I speculate about the term “schniblings” — a word we learned from a neighbor and used when we were children to describe the slabwood chunks Dad used for firewood. I said I wasn’t even sure how schniblings was spelled or if it was a bad word. So it was fun to hear from reader Rachel, who wrote:
…when I read about schniblings I ran to the Dictionary of American Regional English (I own only one volume, but it just happens to be P-Sk!). Schniblings itself isn’t in there, but “schnibble” is…meaning a scrap or small piece, and with the note “chiefly in German settlement areas.” I suppose a schnibling must be an extra small schnibble?
And reader Wayne adds:
My great-grandparents were all German, save one Frenchman, and my grandparents and mother, for that matter, called small paper debris – “schnippels”.
Finally, reader Karen says:
You mention “schnibble” in your book. My heritage is totally German. It sounded so Yiddish to me — nothing. Then I thought how much Yiddish is from the German so looked that up — voila!
schnibbeln — to whittle
…which explains why your neighbor would have called this little piece of wood schnibling!
Fun to learn things somewhere other than the Google.
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