karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
Henning Wehn on English words used in German:

Another classic would be "fixer" which is a heroin user.
These days, English is everywhere, especially in advertising. When you walk down a high street, finding a shop that has a German name (descriptive, rather than proper) is actually difficult.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
The last episode of the series looks at what the English might be/sound like in 200 years' time.


15 Oct 2009 12:37 pm
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
"The ultimate thrill in German is waiting for the verb." - Mark Twain


31 Jan 2009 12:53 am
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
A panelist on the latest News Quiz on Dragons' Den:
"The thing that annoys me most about Dragons' Den is that dragons don't have dens, they have lairs. Lions have dens."
Why didn't I think of that? It's so obvious...
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
Most of you who are either fans of Stephen Fry or interested in language will have read this superb blog entry so I won't be going on about how wonderful it is. Damn, that man can write.

I've been thinking a bit further:
- Could I translate this piece into German? No.

- Could a literary, bilingual genius translate it? Yes, but not in a way that could be understood by someone who doesn't know (much about) the English language. It's a superb example for a text that is inherently untranslatable because it contains too many cultural references. A translation would only be interesting to people with a high interest in the English language and those would be able to read the original.

- Could a similar piece be written in German about German? Probably. Bastian Sick (Spiegel's Zwiebelfisch) has a regular language column and most of his articles are amusing. He tends to take a prescriptive standpoint, though, so his piece would have a different message.

Thoughts by the Germans and German speakers on my f-list?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
[livejournal.com profile] skorpionuk did the German version so I'll put the regional variant when applicable. [livejournal.com profile] whiskeylover and [livejournal.com profile] madmoses, feel free to chip in and [livejournal.com profile] faerierhona could provide the Austrian version. ;o) I think the rest of the Germans on my f-list don't have a dialect.

Spraouch )
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
You might have watched "Have I Got News for You" or listened to "The News Quiz" on Radio 4 last week which both mentioned a new dictionary of foreign words that can only be expressed as a complicated phrase in English.

There's a German entry called "Tantenverführer" (literally "a seducer of aunts" and allegedly meaning "a young man whose excessively good intentions suggest suspicious motives". Interestingly, as a German, I (and the other Germans in the office) have never come across "Tantenverführer" and a Google search limited to results in German reveals no hits whatsover.

As the Welsh users on the Times Online website suggest that the Welsh word isn't real, either, could this all be made up for the sake of comedy quizzes?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
I looked up butterscotch on wikipedia and had to giggle about this sentence:
"In many ways the ingredients for butterscotch are similar to toffee; the major difference is that the sugar is boiled to the soft crack stage for butterscotch and the hard crack stage for toffee."

It's also interesting, because I don't think there's a difference between toffee and butterscotch in German, I would call both "Karamell". Confectionery terminology isn't my strong point, though.
karohemd: (Chef)
In your understanding (not the dictionary one), does "seafood" include fish (from the sea) or not?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
I wanted to mention this on my holiday blog but forgot and just got reminded of it when I saw this comic.

Quite a few of the Americans on the ship would use "Excuse me!" to apologise instead of "I'm sorry", which I found very strange. I use "excuse me" to either get someone's attention or if I want to get past etc. not for apologising. Despite having been to America and with Americans, thas was the first time I encountered this.
To be honest, if someone stepped on my foot and said "Excuse me", I would say "No, I won't. You better watch it." If they said "I'm sorry", I'd say "Don't worry about it."

Is this usage of "excuse me" common or maybe a regional habit?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)

My head hurts now. ;o)
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Balthasar)
What's the etymology of lurgy (as in flu or other infectious diseases)?
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (balthasar)
While watching Carnivále, the term geek came up at various times, describing one of the acts (Henry Scudder was one)

I looked it up and M-W online had the following definition:
"a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake"
and of course the one we all know.
(The etymology is given as "probably from English dialect geek, geck fool, from Low German geck" but the German definition of Geck I know is a fop, a man in fancy clothes, overdrawn manners and often not very bright.)

I wonder how the first definition evolved into the second. Any ideas?

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