I have read somewhere that it is typical of poems such as Nibelungenlied to use a figure of speech which in fact merges two phrases into one by the mean of a common word. An example could be the following:

And then I ate the apple was red as blood

A proper example of this can be found in Nibelungenlied (Adventure 20, 1184, 1-2), where we have

man sach

Ortwin von Mezze | ce Rvedgeren sprach

which means

one saw

Ortwin von Metz | to Rüdiger said

So, is there a name for this figure of speech? Is it a typical figure of other archaic poems such as Beowulf or am I confusing?

  • Just edited to add an example from Nibelungenlied
    – Alex Doe
    Commented Sep 30, 2017 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


In German, this type of phrase is known as a "Wendesatz". (Unfortunately, I couldn't find an online dictionary that explains the term, let alone a translation.) Below are a few examples. Some of them don't work well in translation.

  • "Ich liebe meine Frau liebt mich nicht mehr": I love my wife no longer loves me.
  • "Ich hasse egoisten kümmern sich nur um sich selbst, nie um mich.": I hate egoists care only about themselves, never about me.
  • "Erst lehren sie ihre Kinder zu sprechen bei Tisch wird ihnen verboten.": First they teach their children to speak during meals is forbidden (i.e. they forbid their children to speak during meals).
  • "Ich werde niemals reich mir doch mal den Kaviar": I'll never be rich/pass on the caviar. (reich: 1. [adjective] rich; 2. imperative of the verb "reichen")

There is a long list of German examples in the blog post Gedankensprünge durch Wendesätze (3 November 2016).

Update: The "Wendesatz" looks a lot like a special subclass of the apo koinou construction, which Wikipedia defines as "a blend of two clauses through a lexical word which has two syntactical functions, one in each of the blended clauses." Here is an example: "There was a door led into the kitchen" (Hemingway). This sentence looks like a normal sentence from which "that" ("a door that ...") has been deleted. Wendesätze, however, don't even try to be grammatical.

  • 1
    That is possibly the word I was looking for! The fact that we are not able to find anything about it, anyway, could mean that it is not a broadly known figure of speech, though I would say that it should be included among those.
    – Alex Doe
    Commented Sep 29, 2017 at 18:02

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