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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