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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Das Wrongword

Words Germans think are English but are not handy beamer box smoking oldtimer mobbing pullunder bodybag




23 comments:

  1. OMG that's lovely and super useful! I just missed "bekommen" vs "become". I'm an English teacher in Switzerland and this is top of the list on common mistakes and false friends.

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  2. Hm, smoking is actually an "official" word for tuxedo in Russian, too. Odd. Wikipedia article states that this comes from "smoking jacket - a jacked in which one smokes".

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    1. Same in French !

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    2. That explains my confusion - I only smoke in the nude.

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  3. You forgot "Ice" which Germans think of it and use it for ice cream!

    I remember ordering an orange juice mit ice, and being served a glass of orange juice with a ball of vanilla ice cream in it. Totally disgusting...

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    1. Orange juice with ice cream is called "Sanfter Engel".
      If you want frozen water in your drink ask for "Eiswürfel"

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  4. der Rock/stone/skirt
    kontrollieren/to control/to check
    der Hut/little house/hat
    der Chef/cook/boss
    groß/disgusting/big
    die Art/drawing/type
    übersehen/to oversee/to overlook

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    1. Yeah those are false friends, usually words with similar origins. In the comic, however, are words that Germans actually think they've stolen from English.

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    2. I heard that the English word chef for cook and the Spanish word jefe for boss are true cognates.

      Apparently the original Latin was for a cook who's the boss of the kitchen staff, and English took the cook part while Spanish took the boss part.

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    3. Also, the German word groß and the English word gross may be true cognates, because one of the meanings of gross is a dozen dozen (for example, a gross of boxes is 144 boxes).

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  5. The tuxedo was orignially intended as a smoking jacket, to be worn when relaxing either at home or at one's club. Absolutely NEVER to be worn in the presence of ladies!! It's called a "smoking" in Swedish as well.

    And I think "mobbing" does equal "bullying" in the UK....

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    1. Really? Never in the presence of ladies? What would you do if you ran into a lady while in your tuxedo? Strip it off? Throw a towel over it? Jump off a bridge?

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    2. I think the idea was that if you ran into a lady while in your tuxedo, the people who made up that rule would say *she* did something wrong, not *you* (going somewhere women weren't allowed, etc.).

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  6. Public viewing = (DE) big screen for outdoor viewing of a sports event or similar; (EN) an open coffin where relatives can pay their last respects to the departed

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  7. That happens in many languages, doesn't it? We say "smoking" for tuxedo in Italy as well, and what the Germans apparently call a "pullunder", we call a "pullover"... not that it makes much more sense! :-)

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    1. Actually a sweater is called "Pullover" in German as well. The only difference is that it is capitalized. Absolutely nobody would think that "Pullunder" is English in Germany. The other examples might have some truth to it. Not everybody can be fluent in English. Maybe the person who created the meme knwew this and just added pullunder because it sounds funny. In Germany we consider the word pullunder just a hilarious word for Pullover. There is probably not even any particular etymological root for this word. Someone came up with it because they thought it was funny and it stuck. There are rhymes about it. Thanks to you I learnt a new Italian word: "pullover".

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    2. A Pullunder is not a normal sweater, but a sweater vest

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    3. "Pullover" is a slightly old-fashioned English term for jumper/sweater/jersey - mainly because you pull it over your head to put it on. It seems that someone has confused (perhaps deliberately) their "over" and "under" to create pullunder :-)

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  8. "Boxe" is also how you refer to speakers in Romanian.

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  9. You should make a reverse comic where you show misunderstandings English speakers have for German, or for maybe another language (I foresee some good jokes with Spanish "embarazado")

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I've been thinking for a while about how to do a comic on false friends...taken literally ^_^

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    2. Someone once wrote a Ranma 1/2 fanfic in Spanish about the question "what would happen if Ranma got pregnant?" (the doctor says "embarazada" before correcting himself and saying "embarazado"). I tried to find it again and now there's more than one.

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