Monday, January 28, 2013

Luxenbourg* (for Luxembourg*)

While studying up on RDA and FRBR, I noticed a language note for Luxembourgish. Along with French and German, Luxembourgish is one of three official languages spoken in Luxembourg. It's a sort of High German dialect employed by approximately 400,000 people worldwide, and the one native speakers refer to as the "language of the heart." I really don't know very much about the place, but it sounds rather nice, if this shining beacon of a war memorial is any indication. It was created by the artist Claus Citro, a leader in the avant-garde Luxembourg Secession movement of artists in the early twentieth century. My new favorite word in Luxembourgish is "Firwat," which is translated as "Why?" To an Anglo-American ear and eye, it looks like it might be pronounced "For what?" (it's actually more like "feer vat"), which is what I suspect many catalogers are secretly asking themselves about FRBR/RDA. LOL. (For a crew that eschews abbreviations, this one has certainly contributed its own memorable ingredients to the alphabet soup which are library acronyms. Although I kinda like WEMI. Firwat it's worth.) In any event, we found four cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 281 in WorldCat. And since there were no names in the OCLC authority file (personal, corporate, or geographic) starting with Luxenbourg*, it's a pretty good bet that virtually all of them are typos for Luxembourg*, and not merely Luxembourg-ish.

(GĂ«lle Fra, the Golden Lady, World War I Memorial in Luxembourg City, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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