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Guten Tag, everyone!
Recently I wrote a post about the postcards you can buy in Germany which feature German idioms translated literally into English. These are somewhat of an in-joke to speakers of both languages, so I wanted to share the love and explain what they all meant! You can read that post by clicking here.
But not all German expressions are as bizarre as the ones worthy of being on a postcard. A lot of German expressions are, you’ll be pleased to hear, rather similar to their English counterparts – which makes them easier to remember. As I did last time, I’m going to post the English expressions on the left with the German expressions on the right – but they are all mixed up. Using the vocabulary list, see if you can match up the correct sayings! The answers are below the table. Good luck!
TRETEN – to tread
GEHEN – to go
DER GEIST – ghost/spirit
DIE KÖCHE – cooks
DAS HERZ – heart
LOCKER – loose
TOO MANY COOKS SPOIL THE BROTH
TO FALL FLAT ON ONE’S FACE
TO AIR ONE’S DIRTY LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC
TO GIVE UP THE GHOST
TO HAVE A SCREW LOOSE
TO FOLLOW IN SOMEONE’S FOOTSTEPS
TO POUR ONE’S HEART OUT
TO BE GREEN-FINGERED
TO BE ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH
TO GO BELOW THE BELT
DEN GEIST AUFGEBEN
DIE SCHMUTZIGE WÄSCHE WASCHEN
ZU VIELE KÖCHE VERDERBEN DEN BREI
AUF DERSELBEN WELLENLÄNGE SEIN
EINEN GRÜNEN DAUMEN HABEN
AUF DIE NASE FALLEN
IN JEMANDES FUßSTAPFEN TRETEN
DAS HERZ AUSSCHÜTTEN
EINE SCHRAUBE LOCKER HABEN
UNTER DIE GURTELLINIE GEHEN
How did you do? Here are the answers:
TOO MANY COOKS SPOIL THE BROTH ——- ZU VIELE KÖCHE VERDERBEN DEN BREI
(‘Brei’ is more like ‘mash’ than ‘broth’, though. Porridge/oatmeal is ‘Haferflockenbrei’ and mashed potato is ‘Kartoffelbrei’, for example).
TO FALL FLAT ON ONE’S FACE —— AUF DIE NASE FALLEN
(‘To fall on one’s nose’)
TO AIR ONE’S DIRTY LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC ——– DIE SCHMUTZIGE WÄSCHE WASCHEN
(‘To wash dirty clothes’ – which I don’t fully understand, because why would you wash clean clothes? The longer version of this saying, ‘Die schmutzige Wäsche in der Öffentlichkeit waschen’ (‘To wash dirty laundry in public’), makes more sense)
TO GIVE UP THE GHOST ——– DEN GEIST AUFGEBEN
TO HAVE A SCREW LOOSE ——- EINE SCHRAUBE LOCKER HABEN
TO FOLLOW IN SOMEONE’S FOOTSTEPS ——- IN JEMANDES FUßSTAPFEN TRETEN
TO POUR ONE’S HEART OUT ———- DAS HERZ AUSSCHÜTTEN
TO BE GREEN-FINGERED ———– EINEN GRÜNEN DAUMEN HABEN
(‘To have a green thumb’ – which I believe we say in English, too, but I had to pick one or the other)
TO BE ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH —————- AUF DERSELBEN WELLENLÄNGE SEIN
TO GO BELOW THE BELT ——– UNTER DIE GURTELLINIE GEHEN
(‘To go under the belt line’)
Did you find this easier or harder than the previous post?
Stay tuned for part 3, in which I’ll bring you more quirky German sayings – this time it’ll be ones that we don’t have in English (though I’ll attempt to find some that are equally as amusing).