Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

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Wurzelausix

I just realised the pun behind the name Wurzelausix (the name of the pretend nanny in the German translation of Asterix and Son).

I had previously always pronounced it with a voiced /z/, which prevented me from parsing it other than as Wurzel (carrot) + unanalysable /aoz/ + -ix, common ending for Gaulish names in the books.

However, this morning it came to me that the name is very likely Wurzel aus ix, pronounced with two glottal stops! Wurzel means not only "carrot", but has the basic meaning "root" (e.g. of a plant), and here means "mathematical nth root, especially a square root", giving the entire name/phrase the meaning "(square) root of x", or "√x".

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