Friday, February 07, 2020


The German term for "Little Red Riding Hood," which I heard for the first time yesterday, is Rotkäppchen. I was talking with my new coworker, who is fluent in German, when he mentioned the term in the context of teaching students German (he had been teaching German in the States before coming back to Korea). I'd never heard the term before, but thanks to context clues, my sketchy knowledge of German, and my knowledge of French, I was able to guess what the term meant. Rot is German for "red," and the noun Käppchen contains the particle -chen, which means "little," as well as the root Kappe, which has the semantic field of "cap," "cape," or "hood." In any case, I caught the word's meaning because Käppchen sounds an awful lot like the French capuchon, one of several words for "hood." (Other words might be cagoule—cowl—and chaperon) In reality, though, the French call Little Red Riding Hood Le petit chaperon rouge. Always interesting to see how words are connected.

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