Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Thu Jul 20 13:59:36 EDT 2000

>> Our current cat is called Blitzen (which means Lightning) because we
>> found him when he was a tiny kitten outside our house during a major
>> storm. He is now much larger and, in contrast to McCavity, we can't
>> get rid of him. :)
> If that's supposed to be German, I'll rant a little: (If not, forget
> the next paragraph ;)
> <rant>
> Why can't the English get German right? It's not Schwannsee, it's
> Schwanensee, and rather than see another Ubergamer or Ubergeek, I'd
> rather people use "super"! (or "Uber or even Über, if their keyboard
> can manage). The singular in German is _not_ formed with an "en" at the
> end, and the plural not very often! If you want to call something a
> name from another language, kindly look it up or ask someone! And,
> Paul, that should be Blitz, unless you mean the verb, and who'd call
> something after a verb?
> </rant>
> Forgive me, but it's terrible when people mangle German words...
> and I have a pet peeve with correcting people's spelling or commas!

I do sympathise.  But the name Blitzen (as has been pointed out) is an American
one, admittedly from the German phrase "Donner und Blitzen", which was used,
probably by Robert May, to give names to two of Santa's reindeer [*].

But more to the point, why shouldn't a person or animal have a plural name?
I've met plenty of (literary) horses called "Socks", for example.  And
stereotyped crooks called Fingers.  Not to mention Blyton's "Big Ears"...

I agree about the umlaut, though.  If like me you don't trust it to get through
e-mail gateways, though, surely you'd expand it to "Ue"?


PS I won't try and write any German to you - I'd be sure to leave out at least
one comma...

PPS [*] Santa Claus has always struck me as a mixed-language name.  Does anyone
know if there is any language in which both halves of the name are natural forms
of the words ("Saint" and "Nicholas" in case you hadn't twigged)?

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