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Words not as new to me as I thought: шаккендс

September 1, 2014

From Ol’ga N.’s/Sof’ia Engel’gardt’s “The Old Man” (Старик, 1857):

He kissed her hand with that feeling of respect and love for a woman which, unfortunately, people of our era know only from legend. He did a shakkends with me, saying a few words of welcome, and clapped Rostislav on the shoulder. (29)

It took me longer to figure this one out than I should probably admit. It seems to be a foreign word and a kind of greeting an old-fashioned man could use with a younger woman in the mid-nineteenth century. Could it mean a ritual kiss on each cheek? I wanted шакк to be French chaque, but ендс looked like English “ends,” or possibly the suffix “-ence,” or maybe the double к was a sign that the whole word was from a different Germanic language. But I had trouble finding шаккендс anywhere online, with or without a hard sign or double к, or with з instead of с.

Then it dawned on me: he did a “shake hands.”

Also, I suspect chivalry has been dead almost as long as young people haven’t known how to speak properly.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2014 11:57 am

    This is very funny!

  2. September 4, 2014 3:59 am

    Via French, I would guess: http://www.cnrtl.fr/lexicographie/shake-hand

    • September 4, 2014 11:14 pm

      You’re probably right, though I wonder if the final с is meant to reflect the English pronunciation.

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