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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Limited Creativity, Pt. 2

german words are funny

To be fair, I'm sure most Germans would find it equally funny translating certain English words literally. Heh . . . "Lichtkloß." Continued from part one.

36 comments:

  1. Also don't forget, any animal hard to categorise will be done sort of bear or horse "Nilpferd" "Waschbär"

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    1. Haha! That's great. I love German.

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    2. Hey! Those are river-horse and huan-bear in Chinese! (also, light bubble, leg car and stink ferret)

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    3. Oh my lord - "leg car" is bicycle in Chinese? That's THE BEST

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    4. Well, not quite (different anon here). 自行车 is "car that moves itself" (itself-move-car). In Taiwan they call it 腳踏車, which is more like "foot pedal car". Which actually kind of makes sense.

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    5. One of my favourite Dutch words is 'luipaard', literally 'lazy horse', which means leopard.

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    6. Do you think that might be a coincidence, and it just comes from the word "leopard"? I mean, you'd have to be a pretty drunk dutchman to see a leopard and think, "man, that's one lazy-ass horse!"

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    7. Worth bearing in mind that "hippopotamus" also means "river-horse" in English, via Greek...!

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    8. Original "leg car" anon here. Apologies, I was too excited to consider regional differences. Indeed I have heard 自行车, 脚踏车 and even 单车 (mono-car?), but here in Singapore and Malaysia 脚踏车 is often shortened to 脚车, hence leg car... :P So sorry, turns out "Chinese" is pretty diverse!

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    9. Interesting. Do people in Singapore/Malaysia speak 鐵馬(Iron horse) in dialect as well?

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  2. Some of the words in part one has the same translations as the Swedish words. Not in this part though.

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  3. Bat = Fluttering mouse (German)

    Also funny: English words the Germans "translated" into German which does not exist in English or have a different meaning. Like "Handy" (mobile phone), "Beamer" (video projector), "Old-timer" (vintage car), "Smoking" (dinner suit) or worse "body bag" (a messenger bag).

    My favourite word in Vietnamese:
    Ankle = "Fish eye on the leg"

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    1. "Fish eye on the leg" is the name of my new band.

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    2. I can't stop laughing to the word by word translation of "mắt cá chân" - "fish eye on the leg". Hahaha.

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  4. You know "antibaby pill" is as German as "software", for example. Not just used in German and not born a German word. It was even used in English speaking countries, but I guess you are too sensitive for it.

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    1. I'm coming too late to this and I'm sure Viktor won't see this, but he is completely wrong. Antibabypille is indeed only really used in German and was definitely born as a German word. It is part of a class of words that I love, known as pseudo-anglicisms (Pseudoanglizismen). The most famous one is Handy, but there are so many others: Beamer, Basecap, Cybermobbing (and Mobbing in the sense of "bullying"), Bodybag, Oldtimer, Walkact, Talkmaster, Public-Viewing und viele mehr. Some are real English words used in a way no English speaker has ever used them (Bodybag, Mobbing), some are modifications of English words (Basecap, Happy-End), but the best are the pure genious inventions, which are often mergers of German and English components. Antibabypille is one of those. Genfood is another brilliant one. But the Germans never give themselves enough credit for their lexical creativity and always think these words were once real English.

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  5. There stand you yes the hairs to the mountain!

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  6. This is just hilarious! And the comments are great too...well most of them. :)

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  7. Just wanted to let you know that the image for "hit thing" is wrong. I'm assuming you mean "Schlagzeug", but what you drew is a "Pauke". Schlagzeug refers to a drum set (You can easily check out the difference with a quick google image search or something). Nuances in languages can be really tricky...

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    1. Ahhh okay. I'll change it. Thanks!

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    2. Also, "Zeug" is only used colloquially/pejoratively in the sense of "things" (note the plural), the original meaning is something like "equipment".

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  8. In Chinese: skunk= yellow mouse wolf
    panda= bear cat
    lobster= dragon shrimp

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  9. One of the best is "slime skin" = mucous membrane. Kinda hard to draw that one though. Actually any German compound with "Schleim" in it is usually pretty awesome.

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  10. More for Chinese:
    owl = cat headed eagle (貓頭鷹)
    computer = electronic brain (電腦)
    :D
    When I was an exchange student in Berlin years ago, I was taught a new Pseudoanglizismus: "Smirting" (a combo of smoking and flirting), first time I'd ever heard of it.

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    1. Hah! Brilliant. I should really do a Chinese one. Also, "smirting" sounds really gross.

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    2. I must object. The word to smirt is an invention of the English. If you find it gross-sounding you must complain to them! Here's an article about the word from the BBC's language-learning section:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1720_uptodate4/page3.shtml
      It's also in the urban dictionary.

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  11. I think "Fahrrad" would be better pseudo-translated as "drive wheel" :)

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  12. In Swedish, raccoon is "Laundry bear"

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  13. "hand-shoe" anyone? Also, you take the "out-drive" on the "car-rail". On the other hand, taking the "Ausgang" (which is "out-walk", where "walk" is not a verb but a noun as in "ministry of silly walks") of the "Hochweg" is nearly as funny to me.
    Oh, don't forget to put milk in the "cool-closet".

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  14. Oh no, I can't stop thinking about german composite words.
    Especially when you have a cold, it is always good to have a "pocket-cloth". And if your handkerchief is made of paper, of course it's a "paper-pocket-cloth". The literal translation of "curtain" is "in-front-of-hanging".
    The German word for "sweater" is "Pullover" and nobody knows why a "sweater vest" is a "Pullunder". The literal translation of "A-Shirt/tank top/wife-beater" is "under-shirt".

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  15. A zipper is a "rip-fastener", whereas velcro is a "burdock-fastener" following (according to Wikipedia) the inspiration of its inventor.

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  16. Or Haferschleim? (Oat slime) for Porridge?

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