Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

Romance and Greek words in German; Sonja

Today we talked briefly about a physics experiment where you attach a force measuring thing (spring-loaded, with a scale in newtons) to a block. You pull on the device and the block remains immobile until the force reaches, say, 6 N. Then it begins to move and the spring moves back until it reads, say, 2 N. The teacher asked why this is.

I had learned physics in English and didn't know the German terms, so what I said was, "Weil der Koeffizient der statischen Friktion höher ist als der Koeffizient der dynamischen Friktion."

When a chap came in (late) who is studying physics, the teacher explained the same thing to him and he answered that it's due to the "Haftreibungsbeiwert" and the "Gleitreibungsbeiwert". Ah, so that's what they're called in "German" German :D

For some reason, words derived from Latin and Greek sound more high-falutin' than words derived from German roots. "Koeffizient der Haftreibung" is probably a sort of middle ground; to me, "Haftreibungsbeiwert" sounds too German, and a bit contrived (a bit like "Kellerspeicher" for "Stack" in computing). But I'm sure there are people for whom that is normal terminology, just as some people work with "Eigenschaftswörter", "Zeitwörter", and "Hauptwörter" rather than "Adjektive", "Verben", and "Substantive".


Oh, and Sonja was in church again today for the first time in months. Glad she was feeling well enough to come—apparently, she had pretty bad morning sickness for months on end.
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