Monday, July 25, 2016

Word of the Week - Kulturkampf



Yes, that's right, today's word of the week is German. ;-)

In my edits for A Name Unknown, my editor had asked me to check the history of the phrase "culture war," as it felt modern. I'd used this phrase to describe events in Germany at the end of the 19th century, because, well, that's what my history book had called it, LOL. But history books do tend to use language from the time they're writing in rather than the time they're writing about, ahem. So I took the advice and looked it up.

What I found was that the German word for culture war, kulturkampf, was actually coined at the time specifically to describe these events. The German chancellor Von Bismark (described by other politicians of his day as "a demon") launched this war in Germany against the Catholic church specifically, but most other Christian churches took it as a sign to beware as well. For perhaps the first time in centuries, since the Church had fractured, Protestants and Catholics joined together to fight political forces that would wipe them out.

Of course, learning that this word would have been in legitimate use at the time doesn't make it sound less out of place in my manuscript. ;-) So my challenge was trying to figure out how to use it well. And my answer was to start with the German word.



Hope everyone has a great week! I had a fabulous time at Montrose Christian Writers Conference and am now looking forwarding to getting back into my writing groove after being in teacher/editor mode all week. =)

6 comments:

  1. Wow! I don't think of culture wars during WW II!

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    1. And it was way before that even! This was the 1860s-70s.

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  2. Wow, that's a new word for me! :-) Glad you enjoyed the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. :-)

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  3. Fun new word... I have no clue how it would be pronounced, though... ;)
    ~Aidyl from Noveltea

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  4. Roseanna, I'd like to learn more about your answer being to start w/the German word. Since I write WWII fiction, this is intriguing to me.

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    1. Just realized I hadn't replied to this, Gail! This is what I currently have:

      It had taken a decade before Opa’s predictions happened, before von Bismark curtailed religious freedom and launched the so-called Kulturkampf—the “culture war” against faith.

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