Proverbial Nonsense / Sprichwörtlicher Unsinn

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Proverbs are short and popular sayings, which are in widespread use and express a basic truth.

Usually proverbs are of unknown origin and are often metaphorical.

Proverbs exist in all languages, although when translated they often make little or no sense.

Here are some examples of German sayings translated into English:

  • Jemandem auf den Keks gehen (to get on somebody’s nerves) = to walk somebody on the cookie
  • Aus allen Wolken fallen (to be taken by surprise) = to fall from all the clouds
  • Schwamm drüber (no hard feelings) = sponge over
  • Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof (it’s all Greek to me) = I only understand train-station
  • Mit ihm ist nicht gut Kirschen essen (He’s not an easy man to deal with) = it’s not good eating cherries with him
  • Man kann nicht über seinen eigenen Schatten springen (a leopard can’t change his spots) = you can’t jump over your own shadow
  • Trautes Heim, Glück allein (home, sweet home) = cozy home, luck alone

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sprichwörter sind kurze und beliebte Sprüche, die in allgemeine Benutzung sind und eine Grundwahrheit ausdrücken.

Normalerweise sind die Ursprünge von Sprichwörtern unbekannt und oft sind sie metaphorisch.

Sprichwörter existieren in alle Sprachen, obwohl wenn übersetzt, ergeben sie oft wenig oder gar keinen Sinn.

Hier sind einige  Beispiele von deutschen Sprüchen, die ins Englisch übersetzt wurden:

  • Jemandem auf den Keks gehen (jemand zu nerven) = to walk somebody on the cookie
  • Aus allen Wolken fallen (sich völlig überraschen) = to fall from all the clouds
  • Schwamm drüber (Vergiss es!/Lass es doch!) = sponge over
  • Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof (ich verstehe gar nichts) = I only understand train-station
  • Mit ihm ist nicht gut Kirschen essen (es ist nicht einfach ihm zu behandeln) = it’s not good eating cherries with him
  • Man kann nicht über seinen eigenen Schatten springen (man kann nicht die Persönlichkeit ändern) = you can’t jump over your own shadow
  • Trautes Heim, Glück allein (das Heim ist den besten Ort) = cozy home, luck alone

Sounds like…

how-do-you-express-anger-in-german-if-everything-sounds-angry

The German language is not exactly renowned for sounding romantic. It is actually renowned for sounding the exact opposite: unromantic.

My work colleagues and I went out last night, and this topic came up in conversation.
Colleague #1: “So, how do you find the German language to speak?”
Me: “It’s not easy… there are a lot of difficult sounds to try and master”
Colleague #2: “Like what?”
Me: “Well, you’ve got the shhh, zzzz, cchhh, tssss and *general guttural sound*”
Colleagues #1 and #2: *look at each other and then start laughing*
Colleague #1: “Oh my goodness, you’re right! And those sounds come up all the time in German. In some words you even have a few of those sounds put together- that must be really hard!”
Me: *nodding emphatically* “YES!! It is hard! Like trying to pronounce… eh…”

And that was it. I couldn’t think of any words! How pathetic is that? I struggle most days with German words that I cannot pronounce, and yet when it comes to giving an example of one measly tongue-twister, I am utterly stumped!

However, since then I have thought of several and I am also looking for more suggestions from you guys out there. Here are just some I’ve come across:

Streichholzschächtelchen (little box of matches*)
Ausschließlich (exclusively)
Schlittschuhlaufen (skating)
Eichhörnchen (squirrel)
Geschwächt (weak)
And even the very basic
Szene (scene)

*By the way, before anyone gets all “Ooh, but how often do you need to say ‘little box of matches’ in German, really?”, I know it’s not something you’re going to need to say every day, I was just including it for the purpose of demonstration.

Also here are just two links pertaining to Germany and the German language itself, which I find very funny ~No disrespect intended, it’s just a bit of fun~
Sarah Chalke (Elliot from Scrubs) speaking German
Dylan Moran on Germany

Bis später!