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https://www.duolingo.com/landsend

My German... no, French favourite word of the day

landsend
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Mein Lieblingswort des Tages: Was ist das. What is that?

Yes, that is the answer so no question mark. Just frenchify it: Vasistas.

This strange transfer from German to French (yes, that is the etymology) probably means something very special. Something exotic. Something strange with a lot of people asking about it.

The German equivalent would be Oberlicht (or Kämpferfenster if you are into architecture). In English it would be fanlight or transom window.

Something like this above the door:

Hm... normally I am quite happy that Duolingo doesn't allow crossposts to different forums. But then there is the exception...

3 years ago

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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Thanks! A welcome addition to my vocabulary. If my understanding's not mistaken, it seems that the German and French wikipedias disagree on the etymology: in the German account, it's what the confused Germans asked the French upon first encountering this innovation in France. In the French account, it's originally a sort of inspection/communication hatch in or above a door. You knock on the door and the inhabitant asks "Was ist das?" through their vasitas, to find out whether you're someone they want to open the door to.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/landsend
landsend
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Honestly, both etymologies seem quite implausible to me, similar to the wrong folk etymology of Fisimatenten. But of course I can't offer something better.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yototas

Interesting word. :)

I think Vasistas is more flexible in French in usage, but more specific in description, than it is in English.

  • US English: "transom/overlight/hopper" [door] or "skylight" [roof]
  • UK English: "transom window" [door] or "roof window" [roof] or (sometimes) "skylight" [roof].

So, it is a hinged window that can appear in a roof or above a door.

Note that "fanlight", or more rarely just "transom", is generally used by the British to mean specifically a fixed (non-hinged) window above a door, normally in the shape of a fan, common to an older or grander architectural style.

"Transom" on its own can have another meaning in architecture.

"Skylight" seems to have other meanings too in both US and UK, e.g. large, fixed windows in roofs.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chaered
chaered
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It has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, but I don't know what.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nadya222
Nadya222
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My thinking precisely.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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Un vasistas is a window through the roof HERE

On your picture, this is "une imposte" (on top of the door)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/landsend
landsend
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Please have a look at the French Wikipedia article. They show this picture:

with this caption:

Porte dotée d'un vasistas ouvrant, au sens premier, et d'une imposte fixe, au-dessus.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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Yes, on this picture there really is a vasistas, inserted in the door. Personally, I would call it "un fenêtron" (= a small window) in this case, but I am not an architect!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rezarrrr

سلام دوست گرامی وقت بخیر

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rezarrrr

راستی یه سوال؟شما تا چه اندازه زبان آلمانی بلد هستید؟

3 years ago