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Untranslatable German Words: Multikulti Posted by on Aug 5, 2021

In Germany, you might hear the term Multikulti sometimes. It is often used positively, but sometimes there is a rather disgruntled undertone as well. It is widely used! But what does it mean? And is there a proper English translation for it? What does Multikulti mean? Multikulti is a shorthand of Multikulturalismus (m, multiculturalism). It’s the idea that a Gesellschaft (f, society)…

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Untranslatable German Words: Mahlzeit Posted by on Feb 25, 2021

Welcome to another dip in the toe of the deep pond of untranslatable German words. We’ve discussed plenty already, and you probably won’t hear many of them on a daily basis, unfortunately. The word that we look at today, however, is different. Here’s the story of how an innocent word became a word that many…

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Untranslatable German Words: Der Augenschmaus Posted by on Aug 12, 2019

Guten Tag! Today I’m bringing you another quirky German word that has no single-word equivalent in the English language. We call these words ‘untranslatable’ (unübersetzbar), even if there are English phrases that convey the same meaning. These ‘untranslatable’ words are fantastic at displaying the efficiency of German compound nouns. Today’s word is der Augenschmaus. What…

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Untranslatable German Words: 08/15 Posted by on Jul 11, 2019

Untranslatable words can also be a simple array of 4 numbers – 08/15 is a term that has entrenched itself in everyday German. Pun intended. What does 08/15 mean? According to the Duden, 08/15 means “bar jeglicher Originalität, persönlichen Note; auf ein alltäglich gewordenes Muster festgelegt und deshalb Langeweile oder Überdruss erzeugend” (bare of any originality, personal character…

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Christmas & New Year In Untranslatable German Words Posted by on Dec 19, 2018

Guten Tag and, since it’s almost time, Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas)! Weihnachten (Christmas) and Neujahr (New Year) is the time of the year when people experience a whole range of emotions, from excitement over receiving presents to annoyance about being in the company of certain family members, from feeling nostalgic and reflective about the year…

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Untranslatable German Words: Der Saftladen Posted by on Jul 24, 2018

In our series on untranslatable words, we look at words in German that have no direct English equivalent. Today, we look at the curious, but enjoyable Saftladen. What does Saftladen mean? According to the Duden, a Saftladen is a: “schlecht geführter Betrieb; schlecht geführter, schlecht sortierter Laden” (badly managed establishment; badly managed, badly assorted establishment) So basically, a Saftladen Nichtskönner is a place…

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Untranslatable German Words: Der Nichtskönner Posted by on Jun 26, 2018

What does Nichtskönner mean? The Duden gives us a straightforward definition: “jemand, der sein Fach nicht beherrscht; Stümper” (Someone that has not mastered their discipline; bungler) So that would give us a definition straight away! Done! Well, not quite. Nichtskönner is a word you could hear here and there, whereas bungler is not really used a lot. It…

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