avium concentus in agris (leopold_paula_b) wrote in linguaphiles,

Marbelstein Lost

In David Prudhomme's "Einmal durch den Louvre" ("La Traversée du Louvre"; German translation: Ulrich Pröfrock) the narrator, overwhelmed by all the statues, quickly leaves the museum, "bevor ich's an der Murmel kriege..."

1.) I suspect it's supposed to mean something like "before I lose my marbles"?
2.) But surely it's not a common German expression? At least I've never heard it (Austrian, 39 y.o.). It turns out it is! (At least in some parts.)
3.) What can the original French have been?
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  • 5 comments

green_knight

August 24 2014, 12:33:01 UTC 4 months ago

'Einen an der Murmel/Marmel' haben' is a colloquial expression for 'nicht ganz dicht im Kopf sein', in other words, to be/go mad. So the sense is exactly as you describe, but 'Murmel' stands in for 'head'; and I'm fairly certain I've heard that in other contexts, too.

anicca_anicca2

August 25 2014, 08:10:36 UTC 4 months ago

+1

I've heard the expression in the sense you described. Also, I've heard "Murmel" used for "Kopf" here in Berlin. Either just like that or because it was an especially round specimen.

leopold_paula_b

August 25 2014, 10:08:01 UTC 4 months ago

...und ich hab gedacht, da war einer sehr kreativ und ein bisschen dreist, um das englische Wortspiel "losing one's marbles" (Verrücktwerden vor lauter Marmor-Skulpturen) anklingen zu lassen.

Unsere "Murmeln" sind übrigens ursprünglich "Marmeln", auch von "Marmor". Und "Marbelstein" für Marmor steht z.B. im "Mann im Mond" von Wilhelm Hauff: "da muß er ja einem Mädel gefallen und wenn sie einen Marbelstein in der Brust hätte, statt eines Herzens."

ivysoul

August 24 2014, 21:08:02 UTC 4 months ago

Never heard that German expression...

imps85

August 25 2014, 06:49:08 UTC 4 months ago

I have heard it , (north germany.) It is more known as a insult "du hast ja wohl was an der murmel "