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…


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!

Another Eggscuse for Chocolate



*WARNING: this post will contain numerous Easter puns (see the above blog title), all in very poor taste. It is your job, as dedicated readers, to A.) Find all of these puns and B.) Add your own ones in the ‘comments’ section below. Eggstreme dedication and patience required*

Easter is just around the corner and we all know that means one thing: Easter eggs! Eggsciting stuff, right? That’s right, Tesco (American version = Fresh & Easy, I think) are offering their ever-tempting deal of 2 eggs for €3 (I’m not working out the dollar/ any other currency rate) and I plan on scrambling to the store and taking advantage of this offer when I am home (I’m flying home tomorrow night for a few days over Easter… but more about that in tomorrow’s blog!).

Anyhoo, as I was saying… Easter! Basically, if you’ve been living under a rock for the last few hundred centuries, then Easter is celebrated at the end of Lent in memory of Jesus’ death and resurrection. More recently though, the tradition has become a lot more commercialized (hasn’t everything?) and the notion of Easter eggs has gradually seeped into multiple cultures. In Ireland, for example, the Easter eggs that we have come in an eggscellent range of sizes; small, medium, large (you get the gist!). In Germany, I’ve noticed that the eggs seem to be much smaller (but I could be wrong, that’s just what I’ve observed from my time spent shopping in Aldi).

Personally, I love Easter eggs, because for some uneggsposed reason the chocolate they use for the eggs tastes absolutely AMAZING and WAY better than it does for the rest of the year (even though I’m presuming it’s the same chocolate that they use… odd!). And yes, before you ask: I am a self-confessed chocoholic (Dairymilk and Galaxy are my favourites!)

But I’m not actually writing this blog post to inform you about my eggstra strong love for chocolate. I’m actually here to tell you a little bit about how Easter is celebrated in some other countries, because what is life without diversity! So here we go:

*Sidenote- This is, of course, just a very tiny sample of some Easter customs, as I am not an eggspert in this area. Please feel free to add traditions from your own country/ any other countries whose traditions you know of. I like to learn about new places! Thank you *

Germany- is regarded as the birthplace of modern day Easter icons like the Easter bunny and the Easter tree. Children in Germany have to find eggs and chocolates hidden by the Easter bunny (Osterhase) on Easter Sunday. Other traditions include baking lamb-shaped cakes and hanging painted eggs from the Easter tree with colourful ribbon.

France- incorporates the Easter Fish and Flying Bells into its Easter festivities. On April 1st, as an April Fool’s Day trick, the children try and stick a paper fish onto the backs of as many adults as possible. The Flying Bells (Cloche volant) symbolize the mourning of Christ and are rung on Easter Sunday morning to bring chocolate and eggs to the children.

Russia- participates in the tradition of decorating the Easter eggs. Eggs are usually painted red, to symbolize Christ’s blood. The family dinner is also a very important part of Easter in Russia. Cakes known as kulich (кулич) are baked and families play games with the eggs, such as smashing two boiled eggs off each other and seeing which one breaks.

Hungary- does things a little differently! A bucket of water is poured onto a woman of the Palóc minority on Sunday and Monday. The woman wears her traditional clothing while she has the water thrown at her.

Norway- also cherishes an interesting tradition. Not only do they carry around pieces of bread in their pockets on Holy Saturday, but there is the belief that all murders will be solved at Easter and so detective films are usually shown on the television and magazines publish crime stories.

And that’s Easter in a nut shell… or should I say in an egg shell! (Oh c’mon, someone had to say it!) I look forward to hearing any other egg-related puns you may have to offer, but please remember- try to be original with them, we’re trying to crack people up here!

As always, hugs xo

I’m not dead, I swear!

…Although I could be, judging by my lack of posts lately! Sorry to have gotten so lazy, but it was the weekend (and I don’t work on weekends) and then I just decided to elongate my weekend that little bit further! 😛 Oops! Anyway, I know this is totally unforgievable and I’m a bad person etc. etc. but I’m just hoping these pics tie me over for today, and then I’ll go back to being a diligent little blogger tomorrow, I promise! 🙂 Two are for the German-speakers out there, and the other two are just a little language humour!

Enjoy & viel Spaß!

Einstein  mistake2



A word a day keeps nonsense at bay

An example of mondegreen

An example of mondegreen

After a fellow blogger told me about A.Word.A.Day and their free daily newsletter, I signed up. In return for my meager email address, I was provided with a “word of the day”, its pronunciation, meaning, etymology and usage. It’s actually a really interesting way to learn a word a day. Obviously some of the words I would have known previously, but it’s still cool to learn where the word originated from. In some cases, you even find out that the definition you thought you knew for a particular word actually differs from what that word really means. Basically, I’m a bit of a nerd and I think it’s kind of fun to learn some new lingo!

So here’s one of the new words that I learned recently: mondegreen.

Turns out that I knew what mondegreen was before I learned that there was a term for it! So here’s the low-down on mondegreen:

Meaning noun: A word or phrase resulting from mishearing a word or phrase, especially in song lyrics. For example: “The girl with colitis goes by” for “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes” in the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”.

I’m not going to go into etymology and usage and all that jazz now, you can check it out here if you’re really interested.

The reason I’m harping on about mondegreen is because there have been countless occasions in my life where I have been listening to a song, misheard the lyrics, and sung instead what I thought I heard, but inherently I was just making up my own lyrics! Some examples follow:

Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” – I would sing “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, crying Shirley Lime”, instead of “crying all the time” (apparently I thought Shirley Lime was a person Elvis was calling!)
Rihanna’s “Unfaithful ” – I would sing “I don’t wanna be your mother”, instead of “a murderer” (Wow RiRi, low blow!)
The Jackson 5’s “Blame it on the Boogie” – I would sing “Blame a lemon boogie”, instead of “Blame it on the boogie” (I don’t even know where that one came from!!)

So if there’s anyone out there with a mondegreen of their own that they’d like to share with the group, then by all means- share away! I’d love to hear ‘em, probably in the hope that they’d make mine seem less stupid! So thanks in advance you guys!

As always, love xx

Appsolutely great!


Today’s agenda: do apps really help when it comes to learning a language? And if so, which apps are good to use?

Luckily, I’ve got your best interests at heart and am here to guide you in the right direction! I’m actually so considerate that I’ve compiled a list for you. Here are Claire’s top 5 best apps for learning a language (Oh, and I forgot to mention- they’re all free! ‘Cause who wants to pay for apps!). Enjoy!

  1. Duolingo: not only is the mascot for this app a cute li’l green owl, but it’s also a really good place to improve your languages skills. Duolingo is a great app (and also a website, if you’re interested) and its advantages are twofold; a.) You get to learn a language and b.) Part of the learning process has you translating snippets/documents from the internet, so you’re actually helping the World Wide Web and other internet users too. It’s a win-win situation!
  2. Google Translate: this is probably the most loved and used language app available. Although GT is often seen as synonymous with dodgy translations (and let’s face it, there have been some seriously dodgy ones!), there’s just something appealing about copying and pasting large chunks of a document in order to get the gist of what’s going on (although more often than not, I spend more time on trying to translate Google Translate’s translation, than if I had just done it myself!)
  3. Babbel: offers courses for both beginners and advanced learners, so no matter what stage of a language you’re at, there’s something for everyone with Babbel (I should be being paid for the endorsements I’m giving these companies!). Anyway, here different aspects of your chosen language are covered through the learning of new vocabulary, songs and even tongue twisters- who would have thought that being taught like so would help you know how to use the language you so choose!
  4. Busuu: deals with lots of topics through the use of day-to-day occurrences, thus helping you learn in a ‘natural’ environment (as natural as learning from an already smarter than you Smart Phone can be). You can even use this app without an internet connection, which is über handy for learning on the go. What more could ya want!
  5. Byki: first and foremost, I like this app’s name; mostly because I pronounce it like ‘bikkie’ (in Ireland, and probably other places too- the slang word for a biscuit). But, I’m not just giving it points for having a fun title, it’s actually also an app worth looking into. It uses flashcards to help increase your vocabulary and it even remembers what topics you’ve already learned- so, not only do you not forget anything, but you also have a neat way of tracking your progress. Wahey!

Finally, I know it’s not an app (per se), but it’s definitely worth your while stopping over to the BBC Languages website. There you can find the news in other languages, along with games and videos to help you- and all with the help of more than 40 world languages. Check it out!

Tracking Progress

Keep on trying, despite Tutor Kitty!

Keep on trying, despite Tutor Kitty! 😛

Ok, 5 weeks into my learning journey and it’s time to take a quick moment to reflect on how my language skills are actually coming along. I’m obviously learning German, but it is important to keep track of any progress you make when learning a language.
Here’s a quick table outlining what I could say when I got here vs. what I can say now (and whether there’s actually any difference between the two!)

Where What I Could Say Then What I Can Say Now
In the bakery: *point frantically at what bread I wanted* “I’d like a lye roll please”
In cafés/restaurants: *point at what I wanted from the menu* “I’d like the hamburger please”
In my apartment block (when the washing machine won’t work and I have to ambush other inhabitants while they attempt to wash their   dirty socks): *point at washing machine and wag finger in a “this   no working” kind of way, then shrug and puppy eyes “help me?”* Something along the lines of “This no working… how I make it go washy-washy?” (may need to work on this)


In the office where I work: General greetings and very small chit-chat Greetings and slightly more chit-chat. (Sometimes I start saying something and then realize I do not know a lot of the vocabulary for what I want to say, so my thoughts are strung together with such helpful words/sounds/facial expressions as “and then”, “hmm” and awkward smiling)
In the Post Office: *hand over my slip to collect parcel, “thanks” and leave* *hand over my slip to collect parcel and leave*

NOTE! The reason I no longer say thanks to the woman who gives me my care parcels from home is because she is an utter b*tch, and   not because my language skills are actually deteriorating. I will explain her in more detail another time.

In my head: I could actually think everything I wanted to say, but I could never make my thoughts come out in the forms of words that made sense “What’s the word for -INSERT VERY BASIC WORD HERE- again?”

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