August 07, 2003
Another Odd German Name
In one of a series of fascinating posts (scroll down to 'More on Baader-Meinhof'), Oliver Kamm mentions that one of the terrorists who hijacked a planeload of hostages in Entebbe in 1976 turned out to be a "well-known and much-admired" German leftist named Wilfried Boese. That's the perfect name for a terrorist, since 'Boese' means 'evil' or 'wicked' in German -- more than just 'bad' --, as in Nietzsche's Jenseits von Gut und Böse or Beyond Good and Evil. At least, I think we can assume that's what it means: 'oe' and 'ö' are pretty much interchangeable in German names, as are 'ae' and 'ä' and 'ue' and 'ü': the umlaut (double dot) was originally a tiny e written above the other vowel. Müller and Mueller are certainly different forms of the same name, as are Fraenkel and Fränkel, and the same is likely to be true of 'Boese' and 'Böse'. If I'm right, Herr Boese's name makes him sound like a less educated German equivalent of Dr. Evil. Can any native speaker confirm whether his name would sound significant to a German?
Posted by Dr. Weevil at August 07, 2003 01:27 AM
This site http://www.serve.com/shea/arnold.htm might give an alternative meaning to Ahhnahld's moniker--not Schwartze Negger, but Schwartzen Egger, i.e. black plowman.
DOH! Obviously, this was meant for the post below--my apologies!
Just a daughter of two native speakers...but böse never had an exclusively "evil" connotation in our home. It usually meant angry. But since I can't recall my parents having many conversations about evil, who knows (reference initial comment about being just a daughter). Of course, German language has many "dialects" (I find them dissimilar beyond being dialects, but that's me). It could have a pejorative meaning in a different region than that of my parents.
I speak decently fluent (if non-native) German, and I can assure you that you are correct Herr Doktor Weevil: "böse" and "boese" are indeed the same word. It's just that in German there are different ways of spelling it. In bureaucratic or 'officialese' German, umlauts (those little dots over a vowel) are almost always spelled out. Hence, "ö" becomes "oe", "ü" becomes "ue" and so on.
My handy copy of Langenscheidt's German-English Dictionary (New York: Pocket Books, 1970) defines "bose" thusly:
Böse 1. adj. bad, evil, wicked; malevolent, spiteful [...]
While we're on the subject of silly names, if I remember correctly one of the Baader-Meinhof gang's sympathizers was a lawyer called Klaus Croissant (sic). The opposite legal team had him for breakfast.
I would like to know the value of Umlauts in term of legal documents, If some German person like 'Günther', who has this name in his ausweis and passport, If he is getting a legal documents from UK, and in these legal documents his name is 'Gunther'.
My Question is , are those documents are acceptable by German Government and Offices. ??
Can someone help me with this??
I will be grateful
any info or website link