Monthly Archives: May 2012

Denglish 60: Why I Cringe When a German Wins a Fight

The Wife and I got into some kind of argument back in February of 2011. I can’t even remember what it was about, but I know it was relatively minor, with only the slightest bit of temper flaring involved. (In all likelihood, we were quarreling over the answer to Bertrand Russell’s Barber paradox using first-order logic… or maybe it was because my wife doesn’t think it’s funny when I hang my dirty undies from the ceiling fan.)

Anyway, when it was over, after we’d both made our points and reached a civil, respectful compromise, I declared our argument a success, explaining, “We were both half right — about 50/50. I made some good points and so did you.”

THE WIFE: “Our fight was 70/30 in my favor plus two fingers up your butt without Vaseline.”

Click here to learn more about the term “Denglish.”

If you liked this post, please follow our blog by entering your email address in the upper right corner of this page. You’ll receive future posts directly in your inbox! No spam, ever! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About these ads

German Prepositions: Far Too Many Ways to be Right

Dear German people of the world,
I would like to speak with you about your prepositions.

Prepositions — those words which describe the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of an object — can be tricky in any language. In the German language, however, prepositions are both predictably and unnecessarily complex. What follows is a story I hope will illustrate my point:

Back in the summer of 2011, during a trip to Germany, The Wife and I drove in a tiny car from Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) to Berlin. I made my wife drive the entire time, and I did this for two reasons:

  1. The car had a manual transmission, and I hadn’t touched a stick shift since 1997. (That sounded naughty, didn’t it.)
  2. I am afraid of driving on the Autobahn because you Germans in your fancy BMWs like to haul ass at like 120 mph. (Or 193.12 km/h, if you want to be an Arschloch about it.)

We had a TomTom navigation system with us, and since my wife was driving, we set its verbal instructions to German. I knew a whole lot less of the language back then, but I did realize we seemed to be taking a lot of right turns after the TomTom said “rechts,” and a lot of left turns after it said “links.” Naturally, I concluded these two words meant “right” and “left,” respectively, and went about the rest of our trip feeling proud as hell of myself for being such a quick study of the German language.

Since returning to the States, I’ve operated under the assumption that I knew how to say “right” and “left” in my wife’s native language. However, thanks to Mango Languages, I just discovered “rechts” and “links” mean, very specifically, “on the right” and “on the left.”

Furthermore, I am now required to learn another kind of “right,” which is “gleich” — a more immediate “right” — as in “right next to it.” And if I want to say “right” in order to describe something that is correct? Oh, for that one I get to learn, “richtig” or “genau.” And what if I just want to affirm something, like, “Learning German sucks, right?” Well, that sort of “right” demands I memorize the words, “nicht wahr,” “korrekt” or “gell.” On top of all this, some of these words are slang, and others are only used in certain regions of the country.

German people of the world — would you like to know exactly how many words we have in English for the word “right?” …ONE. Just one. We have many uses for it and several decent alternatives, but only one we ask you to memorize.

Aww hell, we love you anyway, you Teutonic sons of bitches. Sprechen sie Deutsch, baby.

Click here to read about some other things those wacky Germans are into.

If you liked this post, please follow our blog by entering your email address in the upper right corner of this page. You’ll receive future posts directly in your inbox! No spam, ever! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.