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English is a world language and it is the first foreign language Germans learn in school. Thus, most Germans can speak and understand English to a certain degree. Some Germans even make fun of the English language by spoofing it. The spoof is that they translate German compound words or phrases word by word. This spoof might derive from reality because Germans who are not that competent in English simply tend to verbalize the extra-linguistic world with their linguistic knowledge of German, that is, they make use of (unconscious) language rules that perfectly function in the German language but which should better be not applied to English. – By the way, scientifically it is a matter of fact that a native language does always influence the learning of a foreign language.
I have no idea if other speech communities do also make fun of English like we Germans. Maybe making fun of English in this way is rooted in the fact that German and English are genetically closely related. Although I am quite competent in English, I am faced from time to time with some difficulties and have to ask native speakers “Can you say that in English in the same we do in German?”
No matter whether you are a native speaker of English, I think that the following examples will give you some insight into the German language.
1. English for runaways – Englisch für Fortgeschrittene – English for advanced learners
The German word “fortgeschritten” (means “advanced” or “progressed” in English) is a very figurative term – just like the English word “runaway”, which is “der Ausreißer / die Ausreißerin” in German – and could depict a person who stepped further from where he or she has/had been.
2. to be heavy on the woodway – schwer auf dem Holzweg sein – to be totally barking up the wrong tree
3. All start is heavy! – Aller Anfang ist schwer! – Every beginning is hard!
4. the far looking tower – Der Fern–seh–turm – the TV tower
5. Pig strong! – Saustark! – Smashing! (Exclamation)
6. the umbrella power – Die Schirmherrschaft – patronage
7. Thanks for the after–question. – Danke für die Nachfrage – Thanks for asking/your concern.
8. the character–train – Der Charakterzug – character trait
The German word “Zug” is either train or trait in English.
9. the through–holding–fortune – Das Durchhaltevermögen – endurance
The German word “Vermögen” can either mean fortune / asset or capability.
10. the high–time–duo – Das Hochzeitspaar – bridal couple
11. the head–stone–plaster – Das Kopfsteinpflaster – cobblestone
12. the after–beat–factory – Das Nachschlagewerk – reference book
13. the cry–test – Die Weinprobe – wine tasting
14. flower power – Blumendünger – flower fertilizer
15. I break together! – Ich brech zusammen! – I crack up (with laughter)!
16. That’s me sausage. – Das ist mir Wurst.
17. on–again–see – auf Wiedersehen
18. Softegg! – Weichei! – Wimp!
19. the sleep–at–train – der Schlafanzug – pajama
20. Take yourself in eight! – Nimm dich in Acht! – You’d better watch out!