German Sayings Translated Literally (pt3)

Posted on 25. May, 2016 by in Language

Guten Tag, everybody!

This is the third and final post in my mini-series on German idioms! In the first post, I helped you translate those German postcards that feature German sayings translated literally into English (something only German speakers can truly appreciate – hence I wanted to help you enjoy them). The second post focused more on phrases that are relatively the same in English (because German doesn’t always like to confuse and bemuse!). In this third and final post I am bringing you a selection of other, quirky German sayings that are totally different in English. They might exist on postcards, they might not. I’ll translate them literally, too, just in case!

 

No table to unscramble this time (which means no work for you – yay). Let’s take it easy, have some fun and enjoy these amusing German idioms! Can you think of any more to add?

 

ETWAS DURCH DIE BLUME SAGEN
TO SAY SOMETHING THROUGH A FLOWER
Means:
TO SAY SOMETHING IN A ROUNDABOUT WAY, SO AS NOT TO INSULT

Eating a flower in Chinese Garden 2005

Etwas durch die Blume sagen. Photo: calistan on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)

 

ÜBER SEINEN SCHATTEN SPRINGEN
TO JUMP OVER  YOUR SHADOW
Means: TO SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE

 

DIE ARSCHKARTE ZIEHEN
TO PULL THE ARSE CARD
Means: TO DRAW THE SHORT STRAW (German version wins hands-down here, let’s be honest)

 

DUMM AUS DER WÄSCHE GUCKEN
TO LOOK STUPIDLY THROUGH THE WASHING
Means: TO LOOK BLANKLY, ‘LIKE A DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS’ (This one is a personal favourite in German)

 

Towel Head

Dumm aus der Waesche gucken. Photo: jimwhimpey on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)

 

BIS IN DIE PUPPEN
UNTIL IN THE DOLLS
Means: INTO THE EARLY HOURS/DEEP INTO THE NIGHT (A very strange expression, if you ask me. Apparently, at one stage the phrase ‘bis in die Puppen’ was used to describe a very long walk. There was a place in Berlin called the ‘Puppenplatz’ (‘doll place’) which took a very long time to get to from the city centre. So to go ‘Bis in die Puppen’ suggested you were going to be gone for a rather long time.)

 

DIE BIRNE EINSCHALTEN
TO SWITCH ON THE PEAR
Means:
TO USE ONE’S BRAIN/’USE YOUR LOAF’ (Sometimes, Germans call a brain/mind a Birne – a pear. The English sometimes call it a ‘loaf’, so it’s not that weird when you think about it!)

 

DER TEUFEL IST EIN EICHHÖRNCHEN
THE DEVIL IS A SQUIRREL
Means: EVIL COMES DISGUISED AS SOMETHING INNOCENT

Primal Roar!

Der Teufel ist ein Eichhoernchen. Photo: kurt-b on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

What do you think of these sayings? Do you have any more to add? Please feel free to leave your favourites in the comments, be they well-known, regional, or even ones you’ve made up! Any questions are welcome, too.

***ALSO!*** If there are any specific topics you’d like me to cover on the blog, please let me know in a comment! I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, so please tell me if there is anything you need help with & I’ll see what I can do! 🙂

Bis bald!

Constanze

German Parallel Texts: Eurovision

Posted on 23. May, 2016 by in Culture, Current Events, Language, Television

Guten Tag!

Today I want to post a topical reading comprehension for you. As you probably are aware, on May 14th the annual Eurovision Song Contest was held in Sweden. Germany came last this year, with a meagre 11 points! Now people are saying that Germany’s poor performance in the competition is all down to politics; Germany and Kanzlerin Angela Merkel have received much criticism from the rest of Europe in light of the immigration/refugee crisis there over the past year or so.

Here’s one news article that touches on this subject, so I thought I’d use it in a reading comprehension for you all. The extract from the German article is on the left (full article can be read by clicking the link at the bottom), my English translation is on the right, and selected vocab is both highlighted in the text and written at the bottom of this post.

See how you get on, and see what you think of this topic!

ESC2016 Grand Final Opening Act 07

Jamie-Lee, the singer who represented Germany at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Photo by Albin Olsson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Level: Intermediate

Für AfD tragen Merkel & Co die Schuld am ESC-Desaster

Schon wieder schneidet Deutschland beim Eurovision Song Contest schlecht ab. Und die Deutschen rätseln warum. Eine recht abenteuerliche Erklärung hält die AfD auf Twitter bereit.

Nun wissen wir, wer schuld ist am schlechten Abschneiden von Jamie-Lee beim Eurovision Song Contest (ESC): Kanzlerin Angela Merkel und die etablierten Parteien.

“Letzter Platz für Deutschland beim eurovision song contest Dank Chaos-Politik gibt es nun nicht mal mehr Sympathiepunkte für uns”, twitterte der bayerische AfD-Landesverband am Sonntag mit geradezu libertärer Interpunktion – und erntete im Netz einen Shitstorm, eine Flut an Widerspruch und Kritik.

 

In AfD’s eyes, Merkel & co. carry the blame for the ESC disaster.

A bad result once again for Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest. And the Germans are puzzling over why. AfD gave an adventurous explanation on Twitter.

Now we know who is to blame for Jamie-Lee’s bad result on the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC): Chancellor Angela Merkel and the established (political) parties.

The Bavarian AfD national association tweeted on Sunday, with a distinct lack of respect for punctuation, “Last place for Germany in the Eurovision song contest Thanks to the chaos-politics we don’t even get sympathy points anymore” – and created a ‘shitstorm’ on the internet; a flood of opposition and criticism.

 

Full German article ‘Fuer AfD tragen Merkel & Co die Schuld am ESC Desaster’ on Welt.de . English translation by Constanze Arnold.

 

die AfD – Alternativ für Deutschland or Alternative for Germany, a right-wing, Eurosceptic political party

rätseln – To puzzle over/guess

abenteuerlich – Adventurous

die Erklärung – Explanation

schuld – Guilt, fault or blame. Here it is a verb (‚wer ist schuld daran‘ – who is to blame), but it is also a noun when capitalised (die Schuld) – you can see it used this way in the title of the article.

twitterte – Tweeted. A classic example of Denglisch – English words that are ‘Germanised’. That’s why it looks and sounds so weird!

der Landesverband – National association.

die Interpunktion – Punctuation

die Sympathiepunkte – Sympathy points

der Shitstorm – An official ‘German word of the year’ from a couple of years ago – though it is, of course, English.

die Flut – Flood

der Widerspruch – Opposition

die Kritik – Criticism

German Nationalparks – Part 10: Hainich

Posted on 20. May, 2016 by in Culture, Geography, Holidays, Language, Language Listening Lesson, Nationalparks, Practice, Travel, vocabulary

In previous months, we have already explored a large part of the geschützte Schönheit (protected beauty) of German nature. We went to the windige Küsten (windy shores) of the Wattenmeer, the eindrucksvolle Felsen (impressive rocks) of the Sächsische Schweiz, the Jahrhunderte alten Wälder  (centuries old forests) of the Bayerischer Wald, the Erzminen (ore mines) in the Harz, the Tiger (tigers) roaming around in the Eifelthe Tausend Seen (thousand lakes) of Müritz, the hohe Gebirge (high mountain ranges) of Berchtesgaden, and the atemberaubende Natur (stunning nature) of the Schwarzwald. Lastly, we discovered the bedrohten Kreidefelsen (threatened chalk cliffs) of Jasmund.

It is time for another central park, just south from the Harz: the small Nationalpark Hainich.

The National Parks in Germany (Image by Lencer at Commons.wikimedia.org under license CC BY SA 3.0)

Der Nationalpark Hainich

Established on December 31, 1997, Nationalpark Hainich is the thirteenth park in Germany, and the only one in Bundesland Thüringen (Federal State Thuringa). The primary reason the park was established is its Buchenurwald (primeval beech forest). In its short existence, it has helped to raise awareness of the region Hainich, and it attracts a lot more tourists now. It is a huge piece of nature in the middle of Germany, and is one of the two German National Parks that has a Baumkronenpfad (canopy walkway). A lot of people like that!

TRANSCRIPT

Wer im Leben schon immer mal hoch hinaus wollte, ist hier genau richtig: auf dem Baumkronenpfad im Nationalpark Hainich, mitten im Urwald. Der Nationalpark mit dem größten zusammenhängenden Laubwaldgebiet Deutschlands ist ein Beispiel dafür, wie sich Flora und Fauna entwickeln können, wenn der Mensch nicht forstwirtschaftlich eingreift. “Natur Natur sein lassen” lautet die Devise.

Den Naturfreunden sind in luftiger Höhe einmalige Ein- und Ausblicke garantiert.

Vierundvierzig (44) Meter über die Baumwipfel ragt der Baumturm mit Baumhaus. Vom Wanderparkplatz Thiemsburg sind es nur zehn (10) Minuten zu Fuß für alle, die den Wald, den vielfältigsten Lebensraum der Erde, und die Baumkronen von oben betrachten möchten. 

TRANSLATION

Whoever always wanted to get higher up in life, should look no further (lit.: is exactly right here): on the canopy walkway in National Park Hainich, in the middle of the primeval forest. The National Park with the largest connected deciduous forest area of Germany is an example for how Flora and Fauna can develop if humans (lit.: the human) does not interfere silviculturally. “Let nature be nature” is the motto.

In airy heights, unique insights and views are guaranteed for nature lovers.

Forty-four (44) meter (ca. 120 ft) above the treetops looms the tree tower with a tree house. From the Hiking parking site Thiemsburg it is only ten (10) minutes by foot for all who want to observe the forest, the most diverse biosphere of the Earth, and the treetops from above.

What is special about the Nationalpark Hainich?

Das Laubwaldgebiet

The National Park is located in the south of the Hainich, the largest connected deciduous forest area of Germany. Such primeval forests are not common anymore at all, because humans started cultivating land and building cities, and so the forests had to go out of the way.

Der Buchenwald

Buchenwald in the Nationalpark Hainich (Image by Huhu19 at Commons.wikimedia.org under license CC BY SA 3.0)

Nationalpark Hainich serves primarily to protect its Buchenwald (beech forest). Its forest is also under a UNESCO Weltnaturerbe (World Heritage – Natural Site), in fact, the same one as the Buchenwald in Nationalpark Jasmund, which we discussed last time. These old beech forests are extremely rare nowadays, and the Nationalparks allow them to develop again in the way they did thousands of years ago.

Der Baumwipfelpfad

The Baumturm of the Baumkronenpfad. (Image by Michael Panse at Flickr.com under license CC BY ND 2.0)

Much like the Baumwipfelpfad (canopy walkway) with the amazing egg-shaped Baumturm (tree tower) in the Bayerischer Wald, which we have explored some weeks ago, Nationalpark Hainich also has a similar walkway. However, this one is not as long: it is only 500 m (1500 ft). Also, it is called the Baumkronenpfad, which is the same thing, but shows some geographical linguistic preferences they have in Thüringen compared to Bayern (Bavaria).

Nationalpark Hainich is a small park: klein aber fein (small but great), and offers a great way to just escape nature for some time. Would you like to visit? Any comments, questions, remarks? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me a message on Facebook by clicking on the button below!

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If you are not convinced yet, I want to leave you with the following video: