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1927, poor grammar and spelling  
von dfoote (US), 2012-09-02, 00:32  like dislike  Spam?  
I mainly only need help with the last phrase (in bold). I hope the formatting will make it through the posting... // means end of line.

Ich fühle mich schon lange genötigt an euch //
zu schreiben aber dan ist nicht zeit sind dan //
ist es noch imer das die Augen merenteils //
nicht erlauben,/. ich bin noch nicht beim Artzt gewesen //
es ist ia so das meine verheltnise es nicht erlauben //
aber ich hofe doch im Maii Monat zu fahren //
sonst ich kom um das Augenlicht wen nur noch //
hielfe sein möchte.

"Otherwise, I get eyesight only when they heal" ???

Danke sehr, alle
Indeed incomprehensible  #671809
von romy (CZ/GB), 2012-09-02, 00:47  like dislike  Spam?  
"sonst ich kom um das Augenlicht" is clear, it means, "Otherwise, I will lose my eyesight", but "wen nur noch hielfe sein möchte" is awful, incomprehensible German. I assume it was supposed to mean, "wenn es dagegen doch nur irgendeine Hilfe gäbe" - I wish there was help available to prevent it.
danke  #671811
von dfoote (US), 2012-09-02, 00:58  like dislike  Spam?  
Ah, I had looked at a possible "umkommen" but it only seemed to apply to one's life (according to this here ;) ) and I couldn't tell where the clause ended. There's a lot of phonetic swapping in the letter (see previous verh*e*ltnise, 'e' for 'ä'): could "möchte" be for "müßte"?
von romy (CZ/GB), 2012-09-02, 02:13  like dislike  Spam?  
No, I believe "müsste" wouldn't make any sense here at all. This "möchte" is a form of "möge". See möge
Suggestions and discussion  #671816
von Uncle_Bob, 2012-09-02, 04:20  like dislike  Spam?  93.82.2....
This is the whole sentence:
Wenn nur noch Hilfe sein möchte! (An exclamation, a wish, kind of a short prayer (but not actually a prayer))

"möchte" is derived from "mögen". The construction "Wenn ... sein möge/möchte" above is understood by me, but the word is not correct due to a misconception. Very likely this comes from regional dialect.
"Er möchte..." (He wants...) -> Er mechat...
"Er möge..." (See example below) -> Er mechat...
Both times the same word in dialect. In order to write it down, this is re-translated, but the wrong way. This occurs frequently, e. g. "seien Sie..." erroneously re-translated into "sind Sie" - from accent "san S'".

An example with "möge":
"Es möge doch bitte jemand das Fenster schließen!" Kind of: "Would somebody please close the window." In spoken language someone might say: "Es möchte doch bitte jemand das Fenster schließen!" although this is wrong.

The examples above refer to Austria. And there are several hints that this is Austrian German (e. g. komm', and the overall style.) Anyway, it is clear to me that for whatever reason he uses "möchte" instead of "möge".

I see, meanwhile romy has got the same idea.

Wenn nur ... sein möchte! Kind of, "I hope dearly,...

What does he hope? That there will be help. "...noch..." still. "that there will still be help" All together: I hope it is not too late already. I hope that it will be possible (or feasible) to cure me.

The second, but less likely, option is a typo. "Wenn nur doch Hilfe sein möchte!" As I said, this is less likely due to wrong word order. Supposed to be: "Wenn doch nur Hilfe sein möchte!" [This is basically what romy suggested, using the word doch.]

I'll transcribe the text to "normal" German and normal punctuation, so you will be able to tell the beginning and end of each sentence. The line brakes do not reflect this.

Ich fühle mich schon lange genötigt, an Euch
zu schreiben, aber dann ist nicht Zeit. ???? Dann
ist es noch immer [so], dass die Augen mehrenteils
[es] nicht erlauben. Ich bin noch nicht beim Arzt gewesen.
Es ist ja so, dass meine Verhältnisse es nicht erlauben.
Aber ich hoffe, doch im Monat Mai zu fahren,
sonst komm' ich um das Augenlicht. Wenn nur noch
Hilfe sein möchte!

Please note: I have reordered (swapped) Mai-Monat and ich-komm' (because it's obvious).

mehrenteils = größtenteils (or größerenteils (rare)), but he may mean "die meiste Zeit" - most of the time he doesn't see that well.

komm' is short for komme

I do not understand the "...nicht zeit sind dan //
ist es noch..."

romy is right:  "sonst komm' ich um das Augenlicht" means, "Otherwise, I will lose my eyesight"

"um etwas kommen" has nothing to do with "umkommen". It means, "to lose (or to miss) something".

If I shall not redeem the voucher in time, I will lose my money.
Wenn ich den Gutschein nicht rechtzeitig einlöse, werde ich um mein Geld kommen.

zu etwas kommen - to gain prosperty (for instance)
jemanden um etwas bringen - pls. search for "jdn. um etw. bringen"

Sorry for my poor English. This isn't a subject I can deal with in English that well.
And please keep in mind, I am not in any way a language expert. But the misconception möge/möchte is very familiar to me here in Vienna, Austria - even if my explanation may not stand close examination.
Origin  #671818
von Catesse (AU), 2012-09-02, 04:29  like dislike  Spam?  
From what century does this piece date? To me, it reads like ca 16th century or earlier.
Did you come across this in print or in handwriting?
von Lisa4dict loggedout, 2012-09-02, 06:11  like dislike  Spam?  99.11.160....
Ich fühle mich schon lange genötigt an euch //  I have felt the urge to write to you for a long time
zu schreiben aber dan ist nicht zeit und dan // <probably a reading error. OCR?>
I have felt the urge to write to you for a long time, but then there's no time and then
ist es noch imer das die Augen merenteils //
nicht erlauben,/. ich bin noch nicht beim Artzt gewesen //  +it's always that the/my eyes for the most part won't permit it. I haven't been to the doctor, yet.
es ist ia so das meine verheltnise es nicht erlauben //
it is indeed so that my financial position won't permit it.
aber ich hofe doch im Maii Monat zu fahren //
but I still hope to go in the month of Mai
sonst ich kom um das Augenlicht wen nur noch //
hielfe sein möchte.
otherwise I'll lose my eyesight. If only that could be helped (prevented).

Agree with Catesse that the usage looks a bit older than 1927.
Google: Augen merenteils
We wouldn't understand 16th century German easily, Catesse!:))  #671830
von ddr (AT), 2012-09-02, 08:51  like dislike  Spam?  
Grimmelshausen, the first German writer who is actually still read (mostly in adaptions, though) lived in the 17th.
This is modern German with one or two archaic words. What's surprising for 1927 is the spelling and punctuation. Either this was written by someone who went to school well before 1900, before German spelling was regulated, or (more likely) he or she hadn't received much education at all.
Century  #671847
von Catesse (AU), 2012-09-02, 09:47  like dislike  Spam?  
4; ddr: Right. I went too far back. In English terms, it seems more the age of Shakespeare's rather than that of Chaucer.
here's the actual letter  #679528
von dfoote (US), 2012-10-31, 22:04  like dislike  Spam?  
and thanks!  #679529
von dfoote (US), 2012-10-31, 22:13  like dislike  Spam?  
It has been quite difficult working with letters written by this guy.  He was my great-grandfather's half-brother, and lived in Korist, Rowne, Polish Volhynia, now the Ukraine. In another letter, he accidently used some Russian Cyrillic letters.

You can check my attempts on other letters:

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