> On Mar 11, 2017, at 10:18 AM, Martin Mueller <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This question is out of scope but it arose while tagging a TEI document and since the list has many philologists/linguists somebody may have an answer.  Is there an etymological connection between English ‘quoth’ and German ‘Quatsch’?  Or is that a form of “Etymogelei”? The DWDS website  says that the word goes back at least to the 16th century but suspects an onomatopoetic origin (like ‘klatschen’ or ‘patschen’).  On the other hand, language is always a primary component of ‘quatschen’.
> From the OED you learn that Old English coeða has an Old High German equivalent ‘quedan’.
> Plausible or ‘alles Quatsch’

Nice idea.  Plausible enough that I spent some time looking for
evidence.  But the words are not, I think, connected.

You are I think right to suggest that English quoth (past tense; OE
cwethan) is cognate with OHG quedan (and ON kviða or kviþa).  But I
don't think Quatsch is related.  

OHG quedan does have reflexes in MHG (under queden in Lexer [1], quide
in Benecke / Müller / Zarncke [2]) and NHG.  The Grimms (or, to be
exact, probably Rudolf Hildebrand as the creator of volume 11) give
the NHG form as keden [3].  As in other cases, the Germanic hw 
visible in the Norse and English cognates is abandoned in German
(cf. keck, en quick, but hw- retained in Quecksilber).

You say

    On the other hand, language is always a primary component of

Well, in the sense of 'quatschen' you have in mind, yes.  But I 
think you’re focusing on the one meaning you want.  The DWB
offers four senses for 'Quatsch' as a noun (plus one as an
interjection and one as an adjective):

    a) quatschender laut: wenn man nasse wäsche hinwirft, thut es
    einen quatsch u. dgl. Vilmar 308.

    b) breiartige quatschende, quappelige masse, straszenkoth
    u. dgl. (vgl. DWB koth I, 9), nd. und md. Schambach 164a. Danneil
    133a. Schmidt westerw. id. 153. Kehrein volksspr. in Nassau 1,
    316. Albrecht Leipziger mundart 188a. Weinhold schles. wb. 74b;
    auch schwäb. quatsch, quätsch Schmid 418.
    c) unverständliches gerede, geschwätz Albrecht und Weinhold
    a. a. o. (vgl. DWB quatschen 3): die erste zeit, o welche pein!
    fand in den quatsch (sprache der Franzosen) mich nicht hinein.
    Ditfurth volksl. VI. 109, 3.

    d) persönlich ein breitmauliger schwätzer Kehrein a. a. o., die
    quatsch, ein wolbeleibtes frauenzimmer Hennig preusz. wb. 213;
    bair. die quoutsch, person die im gehen wie eine ente wackelt
    Schm.2 1, 1398, s. DWB quatschen 1 und quetschen 1, 2.

I wonder if sense d is from some unrelated etymon.

The links to dialect dictionaries make clear that the link of Quatsch
with mud is a strong as its link with nonsense (I mean, all the cross
references I've followed end up in articles that have both an analog
of sense b and an analog of sense c, no occurrences of c without 
b, nor vice versa), and suggest a relation to questchen.

Thank you for a pleasant diversion for this spring afternoon.




C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
Black Mesa Technologies LLC
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