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One of the best things about learning any language are the idioms. The phrases which make seemingly no sense when you hear them for the first time. German has an abundance of these phrases and there are some which in my opinion cannot be circumvented. They are a necessity for any Germany and anyone wanting to learn the language.
I hope you like them as much as I do.
I am a self confessed Brit who ended up living in Germany of all places. After completing University in the UK I moved to China where I taught English for two years. I’ve learned a thing or two about cultural integration, language learning and everything else that goes with upping sticks and moving to a foreign country. I make videos about Germany, cultural differences and tend to pose a lot of questions. Join me on my exploration of life abroad.
00:00 - Intro
00:48 - Hold the phone
01:51 - How do you do this in your country?
03:02 - Get out of your comfort zone
03:24 - Thank you to Lingoda
05:08 - Sorry I'm not following...
05:53 - About last night
06:19 - The bees what
06:51 - What a mess
07:32 - The odd one out
08:40 - To mop the floor
09:06 - Das ist eine Apotheke
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Morning all😊. Where any of these Idioms new for you? Which is your favourite? If you’re thinking about brushing up on you language skills check out Lingoda here: try.lingoda.com/BritinGermany_LanguageWins Use discount code BRITINGERMANY to get 20€ off your deposit😊a happy Sunday Edit: Thank you everyone for pointing out some errors which I made. 1. "über Deinen Schatten springen" is correct. I left off the "en" in deineEN which is not correct 2. einen Kater haben - has nothing to do with cats. It originates from the word Katarrh or in English catarrh. This is a condition which affects the nose and throat and leads to a build up of mucus. 3. "Die Kirche im Dorf lassen" is best translated as - to not get carried away with. 4. "Das Gelbe vom Eier sein" is used almost exclusively in the negative form. Thanks a lot
Yes, I've never heard "Das ist eine Apotheke". As German I knew all the other idioms. But this one is new. Maybe it is more a regional thing?
Oh dear, I'm sorry I keep correcting your English, but the first word in this post should be "were", not "where".
😚😚es muss heissen 'das Gelbe vom Ei' - war sicher ein Tippfehler....
@Don't Panick - German here (Baden) - 'das ist eine Apotheke' didn't know this is possible a regional expression..... used particularly when one is in a shop where it is extremely expensive....
@Don't Panick what we say where I live is "das sind Apothekenpreise"'. 😉 I am in NRW.
"Die Beine in den Bauch stehen" is a really good example of the German "Wechselpräpositionen", where "in" goes with Dativ in case of a place and with Akkusativ in case of a direction. So "in den (Akkusativ) Bauch stehen" really means standing with the result that the legs move into the belly = become shorter. In English it would be "standing your legs into the belly". Sorry, couldn't hold my horses, I'm a German teacher..... 😉
Haha no thanks a lot Katharina. Always welcome feedback 👍🏻
Yep... Wechselpräpositionen are a small catastrophy, because as far as I am aware, there are very few cases in other languages (european) which have such grammar, if at all. I teach German as a foreign language and Wechselpräpositionen are one of those you have to teach very early on to get the concept of Akkusativ and Dativ through before you even explain concepts of different objects... 90% of students have a really hard time, because in a lot of languages there is aparantely no real difference between a place and the moevement there combined with changing of nounforms (and the articles of course).
Russian has some "Wechselpräpositionen": For example: в + Präpositiv / Akkusativ на + Präpositiv / Akkusativ за + Nominativ / Akkusativ / Instrumental (!!)
yes, actually the infinitive form of the idiom is " *sich* die Beine in den Bauch stehen", it is a reflexive expression, literally to stand oneself the (own) legs into the belly. So you can not say "ich habe die Beine in den Bauch gestanden", you always say "ich habe *mir* die Beine in den Bauch gestanden". Of course stehen (to stand) usually isn't a reflexive verb, it is only "reflexicised" (if one might create this verb) in this very idiom.
What I'm just becoming aware of...: If my legs wander into my stomach when I'm standing, i.e. become shorter, am I then automatically a liar? Because 'Lies have short legs!'! 😂 (And yes, I know the converse, that you don't get far with lies... 😉) Still, it was worth it to me! Was mir gerade bewußt wird ...: Wenn mein Beine durch Stehen in den Bauch wandern, also kürzer werden, bin ich dann automatisch ein Lügner? Weil "Lügen haben kurze Beine!"! 😂 (Und ja, ich kenne die Umkehrung, daß man mit Lügen nicht weit kommt ... 😉) Dennoch, das war es mir wert!
An alternative to "Auf dem Schlauch stehen" would be "Eine lange Leitung haben". It means that you need a huge bit longer to get it. And when I'm just there, there is the idiom "Der Groschen ist gefallen." That is from the times, were Germany had D-Mark and Pfennige. A Groschen is a coin worth 10 Pfennig. That idiom means "Now I get it." And the reason, why the former idiom reminded me of that is, there is another idiom: "Der Groschen fiel pfennigweise." That also means, that you needed longer times to get it. The Groschen fell one Pfennig at a time.
Thank you. There a lot of history in those idioms. The D mark was already gone by the time got here but remember the discussions
@Brit in Germany The idioms stuck around still after this.
I think Groschen may have been slang for 10 Pf, but the actual coin that was called a Groschen for real is (much?) older.
@Christian Conrad The term Groschen is really old. Yeah. But that "slang" is the thing, I learned. If it is slang or not, I don't know.
Before decimalisation, Groschen was 12 Pfennigs, comparable with the British shilling. After decimalisation, the 10 Pfennig coin would called Groschen and the 5 Pfennig "Sechser".
I also like 'uber den eigenen Schatten springen' (to jump over ones own shadow) and I think the meaning of getting out of your comfort zone is not wrong. But it can also mean to face up to a reality that one finds hard to accept. Like the shadow that follows you can be a shadow of the past you sometimes need to jump over in order to move on, accept a fresh perspective. Which admittedly is like getting out of your comfort zone but on a very personal level.
yeah true that#s a good one
@Brit in Germany I always thought it was something along the lines of 'get over yourself' - that's how I'Ve understood it down in Bavaria at any rate. Good video!
@Rich Ja, im Sinne von "sich selbst überwinden". Es gibt Dinge, in denen man nicht fähig ist, sich selbst zu überwinden, also kann man nicht "über seinen Schatten springen".
"Ich habe einen Kater" comes from the medical word and illness "catarrh". By sound shifting and unknowing the real spelling it became "Kater".
correct. Cats have nothing to do with it. "Katarrh" transmogrified into "Kater"
Thank you 😀
That's right, the "Kater" is closely related to the "Muskelkater" (muscle strain) wich occurs when you overdid your training or didn't warm up properly. So the "Kater" comes from comparison with the "Muskelcatarrh" wich is quite a similar feeling except it's in your head.
@Dr. Nick I think that's not entirely true. Kattarh is a term for a cold or influenza if I'm not mistaken, which has pretty similar symptoms to a hangover. Hence the transition of the term from there. The muscle strain, I think, came later and also has less of a connection to what a hangover feels like.
@Arno Nym I use to be a heavy drinker periodically. It is very rare, that my hangovers has something seeming to a influenza or a cold.
"Kraut und Rüben" are not two different plants but only the turnip and the leaves of the turnip, which is called Kraut in german. When you harvest the turnips manually you leave the leaves on the turnip and throw them on the trailer, where they lie higgledy-pickledy mixed together.
Oh really? Oops..higgledy piggledy is also a great one 🤣 where did you learn that? Or are you from the U.K.?
@Brit in Germany Google translate told me. I am german.
@Jakob Fischer ahh yes Google is cleverer than us all
@Brit in Germany The saying may not come from turnip leaves, but as well use the meaning "cabbage". I think the latter is true.
Wobei man Kraut für alle Blätter der Rübengewächse sagt. Kraut wird aber auch benutzt für gehobelten Weisskohl wie in Sauerkraut oder Krautsalat. Gemeint ist es aber wohl so wie du beschreibst…
I hadn't heard "Das ist eine Apotheke" I had heard and use myself the term "Apothekenpreis" for items in stores.
that's a funny variation, Interesting that I haven't heard that on myself🤷♂️. German can be pretty regional 😉
Good morning Benikon, “Das ist eine Apotheke!” habe ich noch nie gehört. “Apothekenpreis” schon, es steht für “sehr teuer”. Viele Grüße, Ulf
Same in Austria.
@Ulf Eisenhuth moin moin. Always fascinating to hear your view👍🏻 thanks Ulf
@Brit in Germany My partner has a Cologne / Bonn accent and my sister-in-law can do a Frankfurt accent and it far better when they speak Hochdeutsch as it is closer to the Bielefeld accent.
Personal favourite of mine: "Jemandem ein Ohr abkauen", or literally "to chew someones ear off". It's used to describe circumstances where one person talks to another and keeps going on an on about something without taking a hint that the other person really isn't actually interested in the topic or even listening.
Thank you. yes that is one which I hear now and then
I once used that and the other person didn't know it and for some reason thought I meant that literally. We were both confused. :D
In some parts of germany you also say: "eine Frikadelle an's Ohr reden" ~ "To talk a meatball onto someones ear" often used as a defense if someone doesn't stop talking as in: "Kannst du aufhören mir ne Frikadelle an's Ohr zu reden?"
@Brit in Germany Look up Hessie James by Badesalz for an example.
A theory for the origin of"Die Kirche im Dorf lassen" is that during processions there where different altars build in the village. If the village was small the people would build altars outside of the village and making the village bigger than it is.
thank you 🙏
@Brit in Germany I learned that 'the church' f.e. romkath. was able to keep Pubs and 'un holy fun' out of the blessed area of a parish/village and that not all 'travellers' where allowed to get to the market so they traded on crossroads / campsites outside . When someone there started to demand moral things hey refered to: let the church in the village - we party ! (hobby historian - germany)
Eine weitere Theorie besagt, da in manchen gemeinden im Mittelalter Personengruppen wie z.b. Protestanten (in manchen Katholischen Gegenden) ihre Kirche nicht im Ort/Dorf bauen durften und somit ausgegrenzt wurden. Dieses ging soweit das Teilweise Herscher in ihren Teritorien sogar das verwenden von Metalnägel verboten haben z.B die Stabkirchen die nur durch Holzdübel halten sind ein Beispiel hierfür.
Yes it also means that you make something simple into something very complicated that is not really better, just more complicated. If you build the church not inside the community but somewhere outside of it and make it a nuisance to go there instead pf having it where the people live to make it as easy as possible.
I have yet another theory. From what I understand, "Kirche" doesn´t refer to church here, or at least not in a direct sense. It doesn´t refer to the building but to a procession, a long "train" of people that attended a church event like a wedding. A big, lavish wedding with a great number of guests all processing to church for that one event could end up being so long it would extend over the boundaries of the village. It was perceived as exaggerated to have such a vast gathering, so the saying came about with the meaning to "see to it the group of people attending your event isn´t disproportionately large for the size of the village", so rephrased it would be "don´t go overboard with what you´re doing/saying/claiming and dial it back to an appropriate scale." or simply "don´t exaggerate".
"Über seinen Schatten springen“ is not simply "leaving your comfort zone". It is used for challenging someone to do something that is actually hard for them though they know that it is the right thing to do. To choose a current example: If Harry would be asked to forgive William (or vice versa), he probably would say: "I know I should forgive him - but it is really hard for me "über meinen Schatten zu springen". 😬
I love the backside of Lucky Luke Bocks: The cowboy who shoots faster then his shadow.😃
I'd use: 'a leopard can't change his spots'
Oh yes that's a great one. haven't heard it in years 🐆
Thanks Sabine. We have something which is kind of the opposite which is to "be afraid of your own shadow"
For just leaving your comfort zone (or calling somebody lazy) i'd use "den (eigenen) Schweinehund überwinden". For that matter, when applied to others, in my opinion "spring mal über deinen Schatten" also implies a certain amount of "get it over with".
*Talk One's Head Off* was a booklet of idioms comparing English versions with their nearest German counterparts I got almost 40yrs ago. it helped enormously back then. maybe there are more comprehensive collections out there today 6:50 'kraut und rueben' could be translated as _it's all haywire_ 8:37 'jemanden ueber den tisch ziehen' - think _to sell someone a pup_
Cool thanks for the tip 👍🏻
Interesting video, as always. Personally I have never heard the Apotheke-idiom in Northern Germany.
That is interesting. As I suspected it seems to be rather regional
@Brit in Germany The other idioms are quite common here, too, though.
Me neither but I have heard , Dafür geht man nicht in die Apotheke einkaufen.
hab schon Pferde vor der Apotheke kotzen sehen ✌️
@Patrick I only ever heard that one without the Apotheke-part either. Just: Ich hab schon Pferde kotzen sehen.
I noticed that people from the UK are exceptionally good in pronouncing German fluently. It seems like second nature and this guy's accent is really good. props!
Thanks a lot 😀I have been living here a while and try my hardest but still can't drop the English accent. I have done a few videos in German. Have a lovely Sunday
@Brit in Germany The secret to dropping the English accent is to live in the right place! My office's very own Englishman has an accent, but it could fit in with the Friesians in northern Germany! Clearly this is a solution to the conundrum.
The Brits are descendants of the Anglo-Saxon tribe. The languages have still some underlying connections after basically 2000 years
I like the British accent (also the Dutch one) and am always happy to hear it. For me it's always sad when someone loses it entirely... 🤷♀️
You might have fun reading "Wie Berenike auf die Vernissage kam" by a certain Klaus Bartels. He explains quite pleasantly the history behind German words and phrases.
Thanks you. I'll look into that 😀
"Die Kirche im Dorf lassen" does, according to my experience after 55 years as german native speaker, mean not to migrate a discussion and transfer arguments or facts to topics or questions they simply don't fit. So I would translate "Jetzt lass mal die Kirche im Dorf" as "don't exaggerate, stick to the topic, don't get carried away, don't overinterpret the arguments or the facts, back to the common thread and the proven facts of our discussion"
Thank you for sharing you experience and point of view. I appreciate it 😀
Exactly. "Hold your horses" is more pointed at the speaker and "Kirche im Dorf lassen" is pointed at the topic.
I would reflect this, as stick to current complexity, not adding another dimension of problems. Literally, don't start to consider the option to move the church to another place.
Many people say in order to master the German language you should learn the German card game "Skat" (e.g. die Hosen runter lassen, noch etwas in der Hinterhand haben, Farbe bekennen) as well as read the book "Faust" by Goethe (das ist also des Pudels Kern, ein Buch mit 7 Siegeln). As you can see there are plenty of very important idioms and words rooting back to those.
oh wow skat means something very different in English 😱🤣. Do you think Goethe is still relevant in everyday German or more for literary academic pleasure?
@Brit in Germany Faust and Luther's Bible left a shitload of idioms in the German language, often quite unbeknownst to the person using them. So: yeah, you should read at least Faust I.
@Brit in Germany Faust as the book probably not. I think I read it at school a long time ago but don't remember much. But the general idea is known widely as are some of the phrases/idioms(?) it gave us (as written before). Maybe not with the young people anymore. And most (including me) don't know (for sure) the original usage of those idioms in the book. It's not only Skat. I live in Austria where Skat is not a thing. There are other similar games played here. But these idioms are known here as well.
@Baccatube79 sovieles im Deutschen stammt noch aus dem Mittelalter, auch das jiddisch nicht zu vergessen
In Dutch we also have the same expression 'einen Kater haben' 'een kater hebben' I just always though 'kater' was a homonym that meant either a bob cat or a hangover and that the words didn't necessarily have anything to do with one another. Like the object 'ball' and the social event 'ball'. ['Bal' in Dutch also has those two meanings.] Or like a 'bank' that keeps your money or 'bank' at the side of a river [In Dutch 'bank' could mean the place that keeps your money, or a bench]
Bank and bench (both "Bank" in German) do have a connection. In the Middle Ages money deals (e.g. credits) were done on a wood bench (or table). In case the business went wrong the bench was broken as visual sign - hence "bank rupt".
Hello Laura nice to hear the Dutch perspective. Many people are commenting that Kate comes from Kataarh which is a condition where the sinuses are blocked so it would kind of make sense that oner the years the spelling and meaning got adapted..
@Henning Bartels Something new I learned today. Thank you!
@Brit in Germany Thanks, I had never heard of Kataarh before. I does sound/look similar enough to easily imagine it turned into Kater over time.
From the NHS website: "Catarrh is a build-up of mucus in your nose and sinuses and phlegm in your throat. It usually clears up by itself but see a GP if it lasts longer than a few weeks. [...] Catarrh is your body's natural reaction to things like infection. The lining in your nose, sinuses and throat becomes swollen and creates more mucus than normal." The symptoms after drinking a lot of alcohol can be similar (including the side effect of headaches), hence the German/Dutch words (Katarrh, morphed over time into the simpler and more well-known homophonous spelling "Kater") became synonymous with feeling the after-effects of being drunk the night (or mere hours) before.
Dear sir I've just started learning German!! This was fantastic! Thank you so much! You've made my day!
Awww thanks that is great to hear 🙏. I wish you the best of luck with it😀
An idiom that I often hear here in northern Germany is "Was der Bauer nicht kennt, das frisst er nicht" (What the farmer doesn't know, he doesn't eat). This means that someone is suspicious of something strange, prefers to keep his distance and remain true to his habits. This can refer to food as well as to foreign customs and cultures. It is also partly applied to simple-minded people who are not very open to foreign cultures and are sceptical of everything new.
ah yes that is a great one! hehe I might have to start using that one more often 😉
That one also exists in Bavaria, so I'm gonna lean myself out of the window (Ich lehne mich aus dem Fenster -- I'm gonna go out on a limb) a bit and guess it's used in all of Germany. There are Bauern all over Germany after all.
@Asdfg1234 I know that idiom from Low German: "Wat de Buer nich kennt, dat frett he nich." But yes, there are "Bauern" everywhere.
I'd be quite surprised if that phrase wouldn't be known all over Germany. Also: "Der dümmste Bauer erntet immer die größten Kartoffeln." (literally: the dumbest farmer harvests the biggest potatoes always)
@Michael Burggraf Heard both Bauernidiomen in rural Westphalia. The "dickste Kartoffeln" idiom also has its science-babble version: "Negative correlation between the intelligence quotient in residents of rural rural communities with the average volume of solanum root plant fruits produced by said residents".
Very interesting! I don't use "...das Gelbe vom Ei" in a positive way - only "...das ist NICHT das Gelbe vom Ei". I don't remember anybody using this for positive things. Maybe it is a regional thing? I live in NRW. Thanks for comparing - I love to learn some English idioms that you don't learn at school 😉
Hi Tina thanks a lot. Have a great Monday 😀
I agree. Here in Upper Swabia I can't remember having heard or read this idiom in anything else but the negative wording. "Das ist aber nicht gerade das Gelbe vom Ei ..." (that's not exactly the yoke of the egg ...) indicating that something isn't exactly the best solution, the best example or the best way to do something. That doesn't mean that using it in the positive form wouldn't be understood. But it's quite unusual in my opinion.
never used in a positive way either
Actually, there is (or at least was) a Radio show around Easter in Lower Saxony (station is "FFN" I believe) which is called "Das Gelbe vom Ei". It's played for several days (hundreds of songs) and the songs are all wishes from the audience. So at least there the idiom is actually used in a positive way! 🤣
@Tania Ramirez I live in lower saxony and besides that Radio show I can't remember hearing it in a positiv way
0:54 An alternative which is commonly used is "Bleib mal auf dem Teppich" (literally "Stay/Come back on the carpet") . It implies that someone refers theorethical or idealistic opinions/situations (maybe even cloud chasing) and needs a reality check. 6:08 Kater describes a kind of ongoing pain, with a kind of dull feeling (like exhaustion). I don't know the origin but it is also used in other idioms like "Muskelkater" (muscle soreness). An alternative idiom for hangover is "Ich habe einen über den Durst getrunken" or "Ich habe zuviel getrunken", which both could be roughly translated as I drank too much. 8:17 The idiom most of my friends used is "waiting for ages" to descripe this feeling. 9:08 In general if something is expensive it refers to gold . Like "16,5 € für ein Glas von Coca Cola? Was!! Sind die Gläser aus Gold!" (literally 16.5 € for a glas from Coca Cola? What!? Are they made of gold?"). Otherwise if you want to express (unnecessary) luxury you use the idiom "goldene Wasserhähne" (literally "golden tap").
Mastering idioms is one of the final steps to mastering a language beautifully. Listening to others and me talking, language gains expressiveness with idioms, i.e. instilling a colourful idea in somebody else's mind. Sadly, however, my English students know fewer and fewer idioms, and they dreaded the last exam where part of the tasks involved looking up idioms and paraphrasing them. None of my 29 students knew "ins Gras beißen", i.e. "to bite the dust". 08:27 - imho, "to bite the bullet" is more akin to "über seinen Schatten springen"; however, the nicest rendering would be "in den sauren Apfel beißen".
Yes I think you have to start using them a yourself on a daily basis otherwise it’s difficult to remember the meaning and usage if you just learn them from a text book
To this day, I have never heard the idiom "Das ist eine Apotheke" other than someone actually pointing at a pharmacy. Must be a highly regional idiom. Btw, (as an opposite) if you want to point out that something is very cheap you can use the idiom "für einen Apfel und ein Ei" ("for an apple and an egg"). The meaning probably derived from apples and eggs being one of the most common (and cheapest) items out there - at least in the past. For example: I got that bike for "an apple and an egg" -> I paid almost nothing for that bike. ("Ich habe dieses Fahrrad für 'nen Apfel und 'nen Ei bekommen.")
Thanks a lot. Hadn't heard that one before
I would say: "Die haben Apothekenpreise" (They have prices like at a pharmacy) or "Hast du das in der Apotheke gekauft" (Did you buy that in a farmacy), both to express the same: It's been way to expensive. Für'n Appel und 'n Ei... Well, I'm going to complete 60 years soon, so I still know that, but my Kids wouldn't use it anymore I guess...
@Ralf F. aus OB. Or as a friend of mine once said; The Pharmacy-Bakery meaning a bakery with prices like a pharmacy. We play around with it a little bit.
I want to express my appreciation from the US. Your range of subjects from popular culture to alternative culture shows an open mind like rarely encountered. I do have a slight problem with a CS-tv addiction, but I feel like your site offers me a genuine value in knowledge gained and a stronger spirit. I look forward to a long association with your site.
Thanks so much Jeff! That means a lot 😀👍🏻but keep that addiction in check 😉
"Schuster, bleib bei deinen Leisten" ("cobbler stick to your last") meaning "stick in your social order", as well as "stick to what you do best" in a more modern use. I like the change from a supressing idiom to a slightly empowering one, "Stick to yourself" .
The more correct form is "Schuster, bleib bei deinem Leisten". "Der Leisten" (singular) is a simplified wooden model of a foot, used by the cobbler to form shoes around. "Die Leisten" is plural of "die Leiste", which is a strip of wood, but not used by cobblers.
These idioms and others do indeed play a key role in daily German life. Like you, I love the shadow- jumping one. The thumb-pressing one has never felt right to me,so to this day I continue to say and do "Cross my fingers" 😀 I am sure you know that in Germany we talk of "having the green thumb" rather than having green fingers (?). 😉
yes that's true funny how they place more importance on the thumb.🤣 although we both use Thumbs up 😉
@Fee opposable thumbs...that#s what sets us apart 😉
@Brit in Germany We both stick various fingers up, too, But that's usually rude in both countries 😉
@Anglo German 🤣🤣
I love how you explore and learn! You are the best example for somebody who hasn't been born in Germany to understand, how to integrate. I have migrated from Germany to Australia and have been faced with all the issues. you talk about. I have been here for 34 years, and I suppose I am part of it, but I can't get rid of my accent, which could be a good topic for a future show of yours. You are welcome anywhere on earth, because you show respect for culture and curiosity, that is all that matters.
Thanks y lot Ralph. I appreciate the support. and regarding the accent I think after a while you grow to accept it.
Ich wuerde aber gerne dazugehoren ohne Fragen, aber Das wird Wohl nie passieren, denn jeder hat Einen aczent. Wenn Ich wirklich versuchen wuerde und erfolgreich waehre, Australisch zu sprechen , wuerde man Mich Fragen Aus welchem Bundesland Ich komme.Also eigentlich scheissegal. Jeder spricht wie ihm der Mund gewachsen ist.
There are many idioms in German which do have a military background. Like 0815 (pronounced Null Acht Fünfzehn) meaning ordinary, nothing special. The phrase was coined in WW1 where 0815 was the model number of the standard german machine gun. Also the phrase "ich verstehe nur Bahnhof" was originally used by WW1 soldiers at the front who only wanted to get home (by train). I believe more in East Germany the term "geht ab wie ne V2" (runs like a V2) was used referring to something being very fast (usually in the context of bikes and cars). It refers to the V2 ballistic missile developed in Nazi Germany (which was BTW the first artificial object to travel into space).
That's really interesting so they are actually pretty new sayings in comparison to some of the other ancient ones. Thanks for sharing 😀
Interesting, I remember our professor telling us how people used to speak all kinds of different languages at the train station as it used to be *the* hub for international travel, so you wouldn't understand much of what was being spoken there. I looked it up just now, apparently nobody really knows, and a few myths and stories are going around concerning the idiom's origin. Your story appears to be the likeliest one, but it's fascinating how 90% of all media reports it as indisputable, established fact.
As for idioms with a military background I‘d like to ad „rinn in die Kartoffeln, raus aus die Kartoffeln“ (the use of the incorrect article places this idiom in the Berlin area) which refers to contradictory messaging from leadership or that higher ups don’t know what they are doing. It originates from military exercises in the late 19th century, when some officers would order their soldiers to use potato fields to manoeuvre, only have that order recalled by another officer to avoid crop damage. I can’t think of an English equivalent.
Southwest German and I never heard "geht ab wie eine V2" in my life. Isn't that rather strange + a little offensive to hear as a Brit? "Befremdlich" wäre das deutsche Wort, das mir für mögliche Gefühlsreaktionen einfiele.
@split4ss From time to time I still hear phrases that fall into the „Befremdlich“-category, even on TV. To be honest there might be years in between, but still. For example the phrase „Es war mir ein innerer Vorbeimarsch“ (it felt like beeing on the receiving end of a military parade) or it’s more offensive variant „Es war mir ein innerer Reichsparteitag“ (it felt like taking the Nuremberg rally). It means „I felt publicly vindicated in the most satisfying way possible“.
You have picked the pretty hardest one to start with :) "Kirche im Dorf lassen" goes way beyond exaggeration or holding back the horses, as in any context used it comes back to the historical aspect of German society: it is wrapped around the church (well, it used to be shall we say?). In the core it goes back then to "whatever we argue on there is unquestionable foundation" ... with all awkwardness belonging to it. Great job, thank You.
Thanks a lot😀
Kater is malapropism of Katarrh, so equivalent for feeling ill. Thanks for the video. I love those idioms too and love to learn idioms in other languages. They can tell a lot about the country they are used in.
There is one that mainly comes up when talking about translating German idioms into English. It's not rare, but it seems to be more prominently used as an example than in the original meaning, and that is "Da bist Du auf dem Holzweg", famously badly translated as "there are you on the wood-way" (actually, it's mostly "you are mistaken").
The Holzweg being one of the forest lanes used to transport freshly felled trees from the woods to market. As such these lanes led into the forest where they dead ended close to where trees were felled, so they did not lead anywhere. Hence the idiom, Auf dem Holzweg sein, does not lead through to anywhere, following a thought or a plan to a dead end.
The "Kater" was originally "Katzenjammer" - the cat's wailing. Imho a very figurative expression for describing the feeling of a hangover... It presumably became a "Kater" in the 19th century in Leipzig students' circles, and there is also a story about a beer from the town of Stade called "Kater", which "grates the man who drunk too much of it in the head at the morning" (a very rough translation from a saying in 1575).
Thank you. That males a lot of sense👍🏻
And "Kater" was originaly "Katharrh" (sounds a little bit the same) - a cold and when you have a cold you have the same symphroms.
"Die Kirche im Dorf lassen" also has an undertone of a moral instance, it means to leave your personal moral on the high shelf you created for it and accept the fact that moral differs in every person. It's a reminder not to lift a moral standard to an unreachable level for others because you think you are a more moral person. "Über den eigenen Schatten springen" also includes a request to the person you direct it to. It means: You should overcome your own ego, your own self. Your shadow is a picture of your self, beat it and overpass it. "Das ist doch eine Apotheke" reffers to the small product you get for a high price. You pay your social security by nearly 50% of your salary for health insurance dictated and enforced by the government and nearly the same amount has your boss to pay for you, also enforced by the government. Although there is being paid that much money you only receive these little pills by the pharmacy which are being paid for by the health insurance.
I really like "Stehen auf dem Schlauch" (Standing on the hose). I use it so often because it's so literal. I teach volunteer emergency medical technicians for disaster relief and event security. They have a relatively short training time but bear great responsibility. Obviously, one core element of the training is CPR. And while CPR is really easy for people providing first aid (just recognize someone is unconscious and not breathing normally, start pushing down on their center of chest twice a second, hard and fast, and obviously call an ambulance to receive further instructions; if an AED is present, use it, these defibrillators talk to you and give you very easy instructions), CPR is very hard for our volunteer medics, because they just have so many things to juggle. Other than giving chest compressions and using a defibrillator, they also have to call in appropriate reinforcements and manage their arrival, be ready to use their suctioning pump to clear vomit out of the airway whenever necessary, use a (rather hard to seal) ventilation bag connected to an oxygen bottle to give ventilations, and later secure the airway and reduce the risk of vomit aspiration by inserting a laryngeal airway tube, which requires juggling a variety of tools and has balloons that have to be inflated JUST RIGHT to provide good seal without damaging the patient. They're also expected to be able to prepare (although not administer) emergency medications like adrenaline and amiodarone, as well as an IV (preparation only, they're not allowed to insert it). All the while, they must remain calm and collected. They have one or two days of training for their CPR skills before their CPR. You can't imagine the amount of hoses you can literally stand on. Why is oxygen not reaching the patient? Are you standing on the oxygen line? Why couldn't you reach the suction pump faster? Were you kneeling on the suction catheter? Why isn't the iv running properly? Well, are you standing on the hose? So many opportunities to stand on hoses in real life. It's a great picture to draw to clear up stress in these situations: If you feel like things simply aren't working properly and you don't know why, if you have a feeling of being mentally disconnected from the procedures or too stressed to think straight, if you feel stupid for not understanding why things aren't going according to plan during your CPR exam... Well, maybe you're simply standing on the hose. Take a literal step back and reassess the situation and suddenly you won't feel stupid anymore. ... No idea why I wanted to say this, but I really like that idiom.
A lot of typical German idioms have their origin in boxing, for instance "in den Ring steigen" (enter the boxing ring -- face a fight/conflict), "das Handtuch werfen" (throw in the towel -- give up / give in / back down), "hart im Nehmen sein" (being tough in taking hits -- being resilient), "angezählt sein" (being counted -- being weak after taking some heavy blow from an opponent (also metaphorically)) "unter die Gürtellinie gehen / unter der Gürtellinie sein" (go / be below the belt line -- behaving unfair and despicable) "über alle 12 Runden gehen" (go for all 12 rounds -- fight to the very bitter end), "K.O. gehen" (be knocked out -- literally and figuratively) "mit harten Bandagen kämpfen" (fight with hard bandages -- attack recklessly and ruthlessly)
Interesting! I never really associated Germany with boxing much
Ist mir auch grad wie Schuppen von den Augen gefallen, und ich in Muttersprachler :D
I've got s few more suggestions, such as "den Löffel abgeben" = handing in the spoon for dying, "nicht alle Tassen Schrank haben" ( not having all the cups in the cupboard ) for being off your head, "das Blaue vom Himmel versprechen" ( promising the blue of the sky ) which means making great and unfulfillable promises, "weder Fleisch noch Fisch sein" ( works the same in Spanish ) - being neither meat nor fish for being so much in between two options that you aren't definable or trustworthy, " einen vom Pferd erzählen" telling somebody of his horse meaning basically making up ( unbelievable ) fake stories. These are just a few.
Thanks Hanno. There are so many 😀
Hanno, I really liked "Den Loeffel abgeben." In English you might hear, Buy the farm, Cashed in his chips, Kick the bucket, Take a dirt nap, etc, etc.
@Douglas Leavy well you just have to listen to Monty Python's dead parrot sketch and you get a load of idioms for "den Löffel abgeben"
@Theo Waigel a classic! That had not occurred to me! I must go rewatch that!
"Auf dem Schlauch stehen" - your alternative "I'm not following" is usable only when you have that mental blockage while someone else is trying to explain something to you. But I can use "Irgendwie stehe ich auf dem Schlauch" also as part to indicate a mental blockage when you're trying to ask someone for help -- in which case it's more along the lines of "somehow I'm stuck" (as it's not the thought process of the other person you can't follow).
ok thanks Benedikt
For me "Auf dem Schlauch stehen" has also most often the connotaton of "I really should know that and normally I do but I am currently I do not"
You have to get yourself "English for Runaways" (Englisch für Fortgeschrittene). It would be the propper reading on this topic. In it there are idioms translated one to one with some cartoon. I love it. Love your vids!
Cool thanks for the tip 😀 I'll check it out
Runaway and fortgeschritten. Now thats some weird translation. Is it the actual title of the book?
@borstenpinsel Yes it is. The fun thing is (I think) the one to one translation, wich doesn´t make mauch sense in english of course (fort = away, geschritten (von schreiten, gehen) = run)The book is from the 80ies
@borstenpinsel Yeah, it is a comedic book all about translating stuff in an incorrect way.
I got it then and I loved it! I can still remember its translation of „Christi Himmelfahrt“ by „Jesus makes a trip to heaven“…. 😅
One of my favourites is "Ulen un Kraihen", probably a Northen thing only, basically translating to "owls and crows" literally, but I've heard it for unreadable handwriting as well as a very curvy/not straightforward path that turns left and right and up and down until you finally get to the end of it and I can't think of anything else encompassing it so well :D
wow I have not heard of that one before thanks 😀
@Brit in Germany Schlechte Handschrift...Oppen und Uhlen , man kann nichts herauslesen.
oh, I know that terrible handwriting as a "Sauklaue" (a sow's claw) - I often use it with my students 😹
@Dorothea Moesch Oh yeah I know that as well - it often was used for my writing, but you can't really use that for the other meaning
Lately explained "Um den Pudding fahren/laufen" ("Drive/walk around the pudding") to an English friend, which means to walk a long way and not really getting far, for example when looking for a parking place for 30 minutes driving around the same block. Or as in our case to find the entrance to the Tube station. Never heard the Apotheke one. 🤔
"Schublade" translates as drawer (not draw) or literally: "Push-loader". But as an idiom it is used a a categorizing metaphor: "Jemanden in eine Schublade stecken" = 'To put someone in a drawer (category)'
yeah I guess that doesn't translate I was thinking in English. Thanks 🙏
What's your take on the accelerated adoption of anglicisms and the seemingly inability of the German language to grow in terms of lexicon without resorting primarily to English? Native English speaker here but I work in Germany and the use of English seems almost obsessive and borderline pretentious (sorry, nice, challenge, budget, customer journey, feedback, startup, business model, cool, etc.). I understand English has had and will continue to have an unavoidable influence in all languages, but I'm also fluent in two other languages and they seem to have a better grip on their ability to create new words or combine/adapt existing words, following their respective phonology, semantics, etymology and syntax to express the same new concepts that English is communicating. Whenever I come across an anglicism I ask my girlfriend for the German analog and she says it doesn't exist, I then do a bit of research, find the word, ask again and then she says "I've never heard that word" or "yeah, but we don't use it" as if the ability to expand the meaning of native words was just impossible in German. I get the feeling that English is just being used to appear cool rather than to really communicate.
It’s definitely an interesting development and is of course primarily used by the younger generations. I think if I were German I would find it very annoying. Especially when you order something at a cafe in German and are met with blank stares (until you switch to English). I think it does have something to do with being cool and “hip”. On the whole I find it hilarious when someone says something like “der meeting war so boring ich bin fast eingeschlafen” I can’t help but laugh 🤣🤣
@Brit in Germany and Joe San, I've shaken my head over the meshing of English into German since I was a student studying in Germany over 40 years ago! It has only become worse and even more widespread. (I can understand having one language for new and developing technologies to make it easier to work across international borders.) My best friend in Germany told me about a conversation he overheard between two coworkers. One coworker was upset about something and was told by the other worker, "Keep cool." The other responded, "Ich kann nicht cool keepen!"
@Douglas Leavy 🤣haha "Coll keepen." I'm dying here. that is hilarious!!
I think it comes down to our modern history, as a lot of things do here in germany. It looks like turning to unhinged megalomania, trying to subject or erase all of your neighbours and subsequeltly getting all that fash beat out of you, leaves a significant rift in your cultural identity. That leaves a lot of room for different cultures to occupy, and after the war, the allies just were right there (and mostly english speaking). So when in doubt, english would be seen as modern I guess. In my experience at least, people who try to come up with these kinds of terms like you're referring to just come off as weirdly backwards. On the other hand, I think this kind of blunt, unaware mixing of english and german terms is somewhat of a cliché and is widely being recognized as silly, so it's not really the norm I'd say.
During the corona lockdown I practised my English with Duolingo. The bad news for those who wanted to learn German were: six hundred new german words since pandemic begin. I had a lot of discussions with my mates about: are we "gelockdowned" or "gedownlocked" now...
Ich hatte eine Freundin , die unserem amerikanischen Gast ein deutsches Sprichwort in Englisch erklären wollte. "Liebe geht durch den Magen" Sie sagte natürlich "Love goes through the stomach" Sie können sich wohl lebhaft vorstellen , dass das NICHT funktioniert hat. Danke für Ihre exakten Erklärungen!
🤣🤣Vielen Dank Sabine
It is suspected that the word Kater for hangover is kind of a cacography of the term Katarrh (catarrh in English). Nowadays the term Katarrh does refer to a mucositis specifically but back in the day it referred to a cold or discomfort in general.
Thanks a lot...funny how foreigners (including me) always think of the Tom Cat
@Brit in Germany Honestly, a lot of Germans do think that as well. :)
I suppose that is probably the origin of Muskelkater as well.
I would translate "sich die Beine in den Bauch stehen" with the idiom "standing there like a penny waiting for change", since the German expression means "standing there waiting for an excessively long time"
There is also the idiom "Mit der Kirche ums Dorf fahren" which means taking a huge detour. Germany + Thumbs Up Über dein*en* Schatten springen! Don't forget the -en ending! Schlauch is written this way. "Kraut und Rüben" also has the local version of "Wie bei Hempels unterm Sofa" (Like under Hempels Couch) "Die Beine in den Bauch stehen" also has another version known as "Wurzeln schlagen" (growing roots)
@Brit in Germany Also: "ich will hier keine Wurzeln schlagen" > I don't want to grow roots here > let's hurry up, I don't want to stay here too long.
In South Africa, we use both "holding thumbs" and "fingers crossed". It never occurred to me that they mean the same thing.
Oh that’s interesting…maybe because of the German/Dutch influence?? Thanks for sharing
I believe there is a minor difference: with "Daumen drücken" you expect the person to be perfectly capable of doing the job. On the other hand "fingers crossed", "Viel Glück" and "Klopf-auf-Holz" (knock-on-wood) implies to me that there might be a real need for at least some amount of "luck".
In the north-east we call a hangover "Kater haben" as well, but more often than not we also just call it "einen Schädel haben" (literally: "to have a skull"). Easy to understand, after a night of drinking your head hurts. But believe me when I say people in this area drink *heavily* and *way too much* , so they're kind of toughened up in that regard. If you have a Schädel, that isn't just a mean headache, it's a solid, seemingly down to the bone-hurting horror hangover. lol
Haha oh god! I have not had one do those for years…and I don’t intend to start again
besser: einen Brummschädel haben
A little insight into the German mindset: the English 'great minds think alike' is done a little differently in Germany, where we have 'zwei Idioten, ein Gedanke'... meaning 'two idiots, one thought' :)
Die Kirche im Dorf lassen also means "don´t brag too much". "Das ist eine Apotheke" is used to say that in this particular shop you´ll pay significantly inflated prices for the same products/brands compared to other shops.
Thank you 😀
Also the German equivalent to "Hold your horses" would be, "Immer langsam mit den jungen Pferden" (Keep it slow with young horses)
Where in Germany is the Apotheken one used? I've never heard it here in Bavaria.
Another Idiom that refers to bragging too much is „viel Aufhebens machen“. It has it it’s origins in medieval tournaments. Knights would prepare themselves in tents while their weapons were on display outside to be admired by spectators. When the knights (the professional athletes of the time) stepped out of their tents they would do the „picking up“ (Aufhebens) of their weapons in front of a cheering crowd. This often involved a lot of flourishing and posing. This was then criticised as „zu viel Aufhebes“.
Maybe the "Apotheke" actually means a pharmacist's franchise, i.e. the government-issued privilege to run such a lucrative business? So that it would translate into "Sinekure/sinecure", or bonanza, licence to print money, or just free lunch? Anyway, it reminds me of another idiom: "Ich habe schon Pferde kotzen sehen!", sometimes augmented by: "...und das gleich vor der Apotheke!", meaning "I've seen it all, nothing can shock me."
You're right, we Germans can't live without idioms, it's part of the richness of language, German language uses many pictures in order to transport a special emotion or functionality. Besides idioms German language uses this pictures in building new words. (which also might be the explanation of the word "Handy" for a mobile telephone - it's just a thing, which is held by a Hand, so - need to be somewhat english-sounding as it was a fancy new technical thing - it became "Handy", ignoring the fact that "handy" in English was already existent...)
Thanks Henrik...it's one of the most fun things about learning German
I thought this was because German uses syllables rather than initial letters to form acronyms. 'Mobiltelefon' would thus be a 'Motel' - but this word was already known as a roadside hotel.
8:23 Who ever wants to understand the meaning of "Die Beine in den Bauch stehen" get a trainticket for a long ride with many stops and "short" waiting times at the trainstation till your followup train arrives. Do this once and you will exactly know what we mean with this little phrase.
"Das ist eine Apotheke" can also be used differently, like "Das kannst Du auch gleich in der Apotheke kaufen" (You could buy this straight from the pharmacy) if somerhing is overpriced. It reffers to a time, when earliest motorists like Bertha Benz had to buy their fuel (a benzine named Ligroin) at the pharmacy because it was used for cleaning and for wound treatment. It was sold in small bottles mostly less then one liter and it was wildly expensive. That is where the idiom originated.
Wow thanks a lot I had no idea👍🏻
A catarrh : also catarrhal inflammation or catarrhus; from ancient Greek καταρρεῖν katarrhein) The terms for "hangover" / " Kater " in german arose from a corruption of the word (after excessive alcohol consumption) and sore muscles (after intensive muscle exertion) .
I'd say "Die Beine in den Bauch stehen" should be translated as "standing the legs *into* the belly", rather than *in* the belly, that's one of the circumstances where german grammatical cases become important because they are used to differenciate between a location and a direction.
Thank you 😀
I should have read the comments first.... You explained it much clearer than I did.😁
A bit of an explanation to the hangover idiom. "Einen Kater haben" is actually the quite recent version of the idiom. If you read literature from the first half of the 20th century or older, you will rather find the expression "unter Katzenjammer leiden", so "to suffer from cat's wailing", which I think illustrates the point how you feel like, when you have a hangover quite neatly. You feel exactly, like a wailing cat sounds. Absolutely miserable. And just as cats often don't have a specific reason to sound so miserable, the misery from a hangover is entirely self-imposed, and thus unreasonable.
Oh that is really interesting! Thank you 😀🙏
Den Katzenjammer gibt's ja auch noch: er folgt als großes Jammern auf eine undurchdachte oder vorhersehbar schlechte Entscheidung. Man kann den Protagonisten warnen: "Tu's nicht, nachher folgt der Katzenjammer! " oder dann später "ja, jetzt ist der Katzenjammer groß, hättest du vorher..."
The funny thing with colloquial drinking in Germany is its zoological features: in order to get einen Kater you‘ve got to have einen Affen before…😂😅 „Einen Affen haben“ is an idiomatic term to express „being drunk“ Maybe interesting especially for Brits would be the expression to describe a drunken person with „Der hat einen im Tee.“ , literally translated with „He‘s gotten one in his tea.“ (meaning of course one shot of liquor…)
Haha haven’t heard thatcher before. Thanks a lot
I want to add "wenn der Bauer nicht schwimmen kann, liegt's an der Badehose" (If the farmer can't swim it's because of the swimming shorts) for someone who constantly blames others or the circumstances if something goes wrong, but never admits it to be his fault.
Oh that's a great one. Thanks 👍🏻
Very entertaining video - appreciation!!! Native Swedish speaker here - I remember that I was astonished by the German way to "press Thumbs" within their palms. We in Sweden have continued the habit of the Vestal Virgins in Rome who made their verdict clear by turning their thumbs upwards or downwards. So we wish people luck by turning a thumb up in appreciation of their effort and in the belief and hope someone will succeed, and we say "hold Thumbs" - jag håller tummarna (and you need not add the preposition up (upp).
Thank you 😀. I am currently watching a Netflix documentary about Spotify...it's originally filmed in Swedish...counldn't understand a word but it's nice to see something from that part of the world I don't know much about it..other than the music of course Sweden is the master of music 😉
Häh? Vad pratar du om?!? “Att hålla tummarna” means to hold your thumb within your other fingers (against your palm), just like in German; it has nothing to do with “(att göra) tummen upp”.
@Christian Conrad Ojsan - har jag aldrig märkt! Tack för klargörandet!
@Brit in Germany Isn't Spotify invented by a Swedish guy? And what about subtitles?
Thumbs up or down is well known in Germany too (parts of the south have been roman provinces hence the Limes - Germany's version of Hadrian's wall). It means approval or disapproval. When you press your thumb for someone doing something you wish for him to be successful with his effort. A different way of saying good luck/success.
'einen Kater haben' originates from academic students of the 19th century in Germany. At that age they were somewhat on their own and could exploit their new freedoms as they were allowed to drink alcohol for the first time. Kind of similar as in the US of today. The original expression was 'einen Katarrh haben' which was said to the professor as an excuse when a student had a hangover during the lecture. 😉😂 Kater is a simplified and mutilated version of Katarrh..... and in Englisch catarrh is a medical expression as well. 😉 I have never heard "Das ist eine Apotheke!" but a variation of it: "Die haben Apothekerpreise" meaning a shop is overpriced or very expensive.
Außer der Sache mit der Apotheke wird alles auch in Österreich benutzt, auch Kraut und Rüben ist noch sehr gebräuchlich. Zu dem ersten Beispiel mit dem Belassen der Kirche im Dorf ist mir noch etwas Zweites eingefallen, nämlich "mit der Kirche ums Kreuz gehen", dh etwas viel umständlicher tun als eigentlich notwendig. Einfacher wäre es zweifelsohne mit dem Kreuz um die Kirche zu gehen.
vielen dank 😀
By the way: German lives, and there is a pretty new idiom: "Geschichte aus dem Paulanergarten" (or simply the word "Paulanergarten") for a story where we heavily object it's truth 😉
from the advert right? 😉
Careful: Kirche (without s) = church ... but Kirsche (with s) = cherry. ;) Also crossing your fingers (behind your back) is quiet common in Germany too. Children do this when they are lying / promising something they already plan not to do.
I use "'Tschuldigung, ich steh grad aufm Schlauch" (lit." Sorry I momentarily stand on the hose" surprisingly difficult to get the exact meaning of 'grad') whenever I know what I want to express, but I can't seem to recall the words which would describe that. Usually when I speak with someone whose english "isn't the yellow from the egg" ;) and my brain decides to give me the english word and block any attempts to find the german equivalent. Almost as if my brain was like "Why bother searching? You already got a word from me to express this". Oh or when someone names a movie or song and I am almost sure that I have heard of it, but no related memories come to mind. I always pictured this idiom as if there were a hose between the database part of your brain and the actively thinking mind, thus standing on it restricts the flow of that connection. I do wonder though, since German was my first language, do you sometimes get provided the German word in an English speaking context and you have to maneuver around your mind a bit to 'find' the English term?
yes I find that as I hang around a lot of people that can speak both English and German we use the word which comes to mind first...so it can be a predominantly England conversation with German words thrown in...like "I totally forgot that I was already verabredet at 12.00..🤣
A small input from Poland: Die Leute there also "hold their thumbs", never "cross fingers". And there is the word "kac" in Polish, a shortened and localized version of Katzenjammer. Maybe Katzenjammer was before Kater? Cheers :)
Cool. Very interesting thanks for sharing 😀
No, Katzenjammer refers to this unspecified sound, not really knowing what the lamentation is all about. While Kater is more likely from Khatarr, greek for something like cough or flue. Also known for muscles. In English there isn't really a special term for sore muscles.
@Holger P. Sure, Khatarr sounds like a very likely word source. I am no etymologist and I do not have any first-rate knowhedge here, it is that what you said made me remember someone trying to explain the origin of "kac" derived from "Katzenjammer" and they compared the general feeling of discomfort the day after to what you might get from prolonged listening to the noises which cats sometimes make. On the same note (😉) in Polish there is an expression that translates to "cats music". And also, I understood you perfectly I think as in Polish we have a name for Khatarr and it is... katar! Many thanks Holger P for the most valuable inputs - a big help to me in my efforts to learn your language!
very nice. when i heard "Kraut und Rüben" i had one similar idiom in my mind. "hier sieht´s aus wie bei Hempels hinter´m Sofa" ;) that may be kinda local here in Berlin but every german should know that. i don´t know why the family name is Hempel but that´s how i learned it in my childhood.
Thanks Peter. I have to admit that I have not heard of that one before
Here in the Ruhrgebiet we know Hempels Sofa as well. P.S.: In der Grundschule hatte ich einen Freund, der Hempel hiess ;-)
About "crossing fingers" Well I grew up in Austria with the term "Hexenkreuz" literally translated "Witch Cross" for the "crossed fingers" used in order to jinx "a vow" you took in order to make it unvalid. So here in "Catholic Austria" the crossed fingers are seen as a pagan thing with no christian background. And in my understanding in english speaking countries you basically "jinx" bad luck away by crossing the fingers. So for me in context with my upbringing crossing fingers like we do here and how it´s done there was always basically "the exact same jinx" just used for different purposes, The term "Kater" used in the phrase "einen Kater haben" is just a done simplification in common speech of the medical term "Katarrh"/"catarrh" in order to refer to "a physical bad condition/for feeling bad" ....and has actually nothing to do with the German term "Kater" for "Tom cat/male cat" at all. Out of topic but about the term "hose" or in German "Hose" respectively.. It is always fascinating me how terms with basically the same origin are then used differently in related languages..in German "Hose" means "trousers/pants" = the thing where you put the legs into 2 "hoses" of cloth. May I introduce you into an Viennese Idiom..."Der hat sich ins Pendel geschmissen"...just picture it. Unfortunately I don´t see a way to translate that literally into English other than to paraphrase it into "Someone took the effort to become a pendelum" but it isn´t exact what the phrase actually says. It is the morbid funny Viennese way to express that someone hung himself....I simply love that very dry and sarcastic image that phrase is literally picturing.
Yes you're right with the Hose. We do have pantyhose in English which is kind of related to trousers...maybe the garden hose pipe does have it's origins in the German Hose...I'm not sure about that. hehe I'm guessing the Austrians have a whole host of their own idioms. Thanks for sharing.
@Brit in Germany : Note that Ger. HoseN is a plural; there's one hose for each leg. Also present in archaic Swedish, “hosor”. BTW, in medieval times breeches (note the plural again) were two separate garments that were pulled onto each leg independently and tied onto a belt; they began to be sewn together only later. Betcha all those hoses are descended from some Proto-Germanic ancestor meaning just “flexible tube”; in the other languages it's become narrowed to clothing but English had its sartorial needs fulfilled by the influence of Normandic French, so has kept the original wider meaning.
@Brit in Germany Yes, Austrians do, and some of them are used in whole Austria, others don´t.And in general those aren´t understood by Germans at all. The Viennese dialect has a whole bunch of its own, as like the one I told you. I´ll give you another one which is common in whole Austria. The idiom term is "Lercherlschas" (=the fart of a baby lark) and every Austrian knows it and uses it on a daily basis...it is used for "things which aren´t worth to mention, but someone still made a huge fuss about it" and also used for things which are then "a walk in the park"/things which are easy to achieve/to manage...= and "that is then a Lercherlschas" or used in the other direction by saying "that is no "Lercherlschas" = refering to "the thing which is highly worth to mention, but belittled by someone" or "for things which aren´t easy to manage or to achieve." As like "Die deutsche Sprache zu lernen ist für Leute aus anderen Ländern kein Lercherlschas"
@Christian Conrad Not true about the plural. In High German (=standard German) it's die Hose (singular) for the whole thing (both legs :D), in some dialects e.g. Bavarian it is "Hosen/Hosn", though, but grammatically "oane Hosn" (one trousers? I think you say one pair of trousers in English, not sure) is still treated as singular, e.g. "Mei Hosn is ma fui z'eng" (my trousers "is" way too tight). But to give credence to your other point about some ancestor word, the German word for tornado is "Windhose" and there is also "Wasserhose" for tornadoes over big lakes (like lake Constance big) or the sea. A tornado is basically a big tube, so it makes sense. Apparently it comes from the Proto-Germanic word *husǭ (the * means it is reconstructed, so don't take it as gospel) meaning either an outer covering; hull; shell; husk; case or a covering for the legs; leggings, trousers.
@Asdfg1234 Ein Bayer würde wohl "Oa Hosn" für "eine Hose" sagen aber ganz sicher nicht "Oane Hosn". Fragst Du aber "Wieviele Hosen willst Du?" kann die Antwort dann schon "Oane" lauten wenn er nur "Eine" will - und das Wort "Eine" da dann die Soloantwort ist, In meinen Wiener Dialekt sagen wir nämlich "a Hosn" = "eine Hose" und auf die Frage "Wieviele Hosen willst Du" antworten wir dann mit "Ane" für "Eine".... Der Bayrische Dialekt und der Wienerische Dialekt unterscheiden sich bloß an der unterschiedlichen Lautverschiebung einzelner "Vokale", doch die Dialekt Grammatik ist die selbe weil die ist in beiden Fällen "Bairisch". Und unsere Wiener "a" Lautverschiebung ist im Bayrischen (aber auch in West Österreich zu finden) fast immer eine "oa" Lautverschiebung. So wie zB Wienerisch "haß" = Bayrisch/W.Österreich "hoaß" = Standard deutsch "heiß" Oder 1 = wienerisch "Ans" = bayrisch/W. Österreich "Oans" und 2 = wienerisch "Zwa" =bayrisch/W.Österreich "Zwoa" Somit ist unser wienerisch "a Hosn" dann auf bayrisch wohl "oa Hosn" obwohl ich es nicht ausschließen möchte, dass man unter Umständen auch in Bayern "a Hosn" sagt bzw beides vorkommt.
I'm from NRW in West Germany and have never heard "Das ist eine Apotheke" as an idiom in any of the 36 years of my life. It has to be a regional thing.
Well there you go. Something new 😉
Selten so gelacht über die deutsche Sprache 😃 tolles Video!
Just a small thing: "über deinen Schatten springen" (accusative case). In colloquial German, people tend to drop the unstressed e, so you likely hear something like "dein'n" which sounds like "dein" with a long n.
Thanks Michael...yes the mistakes rear their ugly head when you start writing things out. In speech you can brush over those things
@Brit in Germany To be honest, this was the only mistake I made in a written exam in 3rd grade at elementary school ("Ich sah ein Garten"). I still remember my embarrassment. ;-)
@Michael Zapf 🤣 fortunately the intensity of those emotions soften with time
My favourite English one is "whatever floats your boat". Favourite Bavarian/German: "In da Not frisst da Deife Floang."/ "In der Not frisst der Teufel Fliegen." (In times of need, the devil eats flies) And Family it is "Frieren tuen nur die Armen und die Dummen." (Feeling cold/freezing is just for the poor or the stupid.)
🤣🤣I have to remember that one. I tend to always be warm when others think it#s freezing
@Brit in Germany LOL, I'm the same. I always wonder what people wear in Winter, when I see them bundled up in thick coats at 15 °C. "Aren't you cold in your kilt?" "No, warm air flows up."
@Seórsa MacLately haha🤣👍🏻
"Du hast deine Hausaufgaben in 2 Minuten fertiggemacht ? Du willst mich wohl auf den Arm nehmen!" You've finished your homework within 2 minutes ? You're trying to put me on the arm. You're taking me for a fool.
My favourite is very close to "Das ist eine Apotheke" and it refers to a pricy item. If you get offered such one you may ask "Gibt's da nicht auch was von Ratiopharm?" - "Is there an alternative from Ratiopharm?" (a German producer of generica). I use this old slogan of the brand on anything too expensive.
oh that is interesting. You definitely have to be an "insider" ti understand that one
Hi, I Iike your video. Idioms are a great thing but difficult to explain because they are highly context dependent, how and when to use them. "Die Beine in den Bauch stehen" is more like "My feet are killing me" or "It takes ages". "Kraut und Rüben" is less the description of a chaotic thing/situation it can by more translated as "This is a very crude solution" or that something is very unclean done. It has always a connection to a work that has to be done, or somebody who tells about such a situation. "Die Kirche im Dorf lassen" is always related to somebody who overaccomplish rules or is very strict about a rule. You would translate it to "Don't be so harsh" or "This is a little to much". "Don't exaggerate" or "Calm down" does not really hit it. It is more an expression if you feel that following the rules strictly is inappropriate in a particular situation. You could also say: "Komm jetzt lass mal gut sein - jetzt lass mal die Kirche im Dorf.", or "Der soll sich nicht so aufregen - Der soll mal die Kirche im Dorf lassen" There is also an other idiom which means almost the same "Jetzt sei mal nicht päpstlicher als der Papst" - rougly translated: Don't be more popish than the pope. It has the same meaning as "Die Kirche im Dorf lassen" but on people who over moralize things. The other idioms are good translated and explained.
Thank you 😀
I use "Die Kirche im Dorf lassen" quite often, so one could say, that this would be my favorite one. Unfortunately - due to the massively rising prices - I tend to use "Preise wie in einer Apotheke" more and more. 😞
Yes prices re skyrocketing 😞
To make it clear „jemanden über den Tisch ziehen“ (pull sb over the table) has nothing to do with fighting. It means betraying sb by tricking him into a bad deal or a bad trading decision.
right but I was under the impression that it comes from this game/sport
Love your explanations. 🙂
Thank you. Glad you like them!
@Brit in Germany I do. Although I could always add some details or variations. The thing is that the understandings of all those idioms differ from region to region and from person to person. A friend smiled at me the other day when I used the expression: "Aber lassen wir mal die Kirche im Dorf." He said, I'm old-fashioned. Am I?
@remuc haha maybe…I’m not around the Z-er’s much. I’m sure they have a whole array of alternative sayings
Kater haben the everyday slang version of katarrh - not feeling very well, but ill. Came in use through fraternities / Burschenschaften using it with an 😉. Über den Tisch ziehen same like jemanden über das Ohr hauen.
Also similar: "Jemandem einen Bären aufbinden" , "Jemanden verschaukeln" or "Jemanden veräppeln". All meaning to lie to and/or trick someone.
I, as a German have never heard of the idiom with the Apotheke. I guess it must be a regional thing. But all the others are correct. Trank you, it was fun.
I think that came up not so long a go on Internet forums. I have seen it a lot in the last two decades and it stuck in some places.
Thanks Ronny😀 maybe it is regional. I've heard it from a lot of different people here
I never heard that idiom. Living in Southern Germany, I guess it's not a thing here
Auch in Österreich ist das völlig unbekannt.
@Herb66 Yep. As North German in Austrian exile I was surprised that my Austran colleagues, who are in most cases pharmacists, did not know it. 🙂
die kirche im dorf lassen = den ball flach halten (to keep the flight of the ball flat, is what I grew up with. and I actually grew up around Frankfurt am Main. and in the local dialect of Frankfurt it's "halle ma n ball flach") = not get carried away, not make a fuss, not exagerate, not act rashly and impulsively, not make a big scene.
1:54 „die Daumen drücken“ is not exactly the same as „crossing fingers“ it doesn’t have the negative use of „negating a promise“ it just means to wish yourself or someone luck.
always nice to watch your vids its a strange mix between fun and relaxation greetings from bavaria
Thanks a lot and Greeting to the south😀
"Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof" oder "Das ist ein böhmisches Dorf für mich" is similar to "Auf dem Schlauch stehen" - but also a little different
One of my fav. Austrian idioms is "Hau di über'd Heisa" (Hau dich über die Häuser) = throw yourself over the houses, meaning "get the f*** outta here" :D
Oh my! I would have mistaken that for killing yourself. I wonder where that came from🤔
In so much of a hurry you don't even take the time to go around any buildings that happen to be in the way, so you just go over the top of them instead? :-)
Well, the idiom "über den Tisch ziehen"; "to pull over the table" means in the normal linguistic usage that one was cheated with a purchase or a purchase negotiation.
The tom cat in "Ich habe einen Kater" apparently originates in the word "cattarh" used in a humorous sense by students in the 19thC. (Wikipedia)
I am german + he explain very well. This is funny to here for me and to learn english Idioms instead of our.🤠
Glad to hear it 😀
@Brit in Germany Nice work, Brit. U have a brilliant perspective on german minds. It fells good to here it (like in ur other vid´s). THX Buddy. Keep on rocking, dude🖖 P.S. my last english idioms i learned was: "Give it a shot" + "You nailed it"
And my favorite idiom is an extension of "Über den Tisch ziehen", making it an evil advice for human resource management: "Die Kunst der Personalführung liegt darin, den Angestellten zu überzeugen, dass er die Reibungshitze beim übern Tisch ziehen als Nestwärme wahrnimmt" "The art of managing personelle is to convince your employees that the friction heat he feels being drawn across the a table is acutally the warmth of a nest"
Nice👍🏻poetic and makes a lot of sense
"Jemanden auf seine Seite ziehen" means to pull someone on your side, to convince someone to support you. "Jemanden über den Tisch ziehen" means to convince someone to accept unfavorable conditions in an agreement, treaty or a similar situation. The accepting person could be aware or the flawed conditions or not. The convincing person might be exploiting a difficult situation in which the accepting person might be trapped. Hence the expression can have a negative twist.
Wir sagen in der Regel nicht "Das ist eine Apotheke", sondern "das sind Apothekenpreise"! Danke für die schönen großen Untertitel!
haha war das ironisch gemeint? I weiss dass, einige davon genervt waren
The "Kater" in "einen Kater haben" oder auch in "Muskelkater" comes from the word "Katarrh", which is a state of malady. And "Die Beine in den Bauch stehen": When I was at the bus stop the other day, I overheard a school kid (~7yo) tell his friend "Wir stehen uns hier schon so lange die Beine in den Bauch, sie kommen mir fast schon zu den Schultern wieder raus!"
Thanks. ahh yes now that you mention Muskelkater that makes even more sense
For me as a northern german, "Das ist eine Apotheke" is totally unknown. What I hear and use however is "Apothekerpreise" (=pharmacists prices).
Maybe it's a local thing
Bin aus Berlin, und natürlich benutzt man diesen Spruch hier.
@Stephan Weber Finally 🙏thank you. I'm not the only one😀
I like an oldfashioned one : da wird ja der Hund in der Pfanne verrückt ! The dog in the pan is getting mad about that ... It means that you experience something very absurd and amazing and you express disliking it in a humorous manner. I would like to know how to express this one in English. As far as I know the original was used by soldiers first. One can imagine situations they took the picture from.
Haha that is a pretty crazy one!
It seems that "einen Kater haben" comes from the word Katarrh and might be used as a joke by medical students to describe their headache after excessive drinking, but also indicating by the wrong pronunciation that this is not the ordinary medical description, just a bit different. Also Muskelkater.
Thanks Adam. Yes many people in the comments mentioned this as well. It makes sense👍🏻
"Kater haben" is the abreviated expression of "Katzenjammer haben", tough having a hangover is as uncomfotable as having one or even some more complaining cats around you while your headache
Thank you Charles 😀
"Über seinen Schatten springen" wird aber auch benutzt um zu sagen, dass man zu viel von jemandem verlangt. Dann meint man, dass derjenige das ja nicht können kann, da er ja nicht über seinen Schatten springen könne.
" Hast du schon Pferde vor einer Apotheke kotzen sehen ?" = Das ist unmöglich . " Verstehe nur Bahnhof ." = Hab überhaupt nichts verstanden . " Den Nagel auf den Kopf getroffen ." = Exakt
great examples 😀
Ich habe schon Pferde vor einer Apotheke kotzen sehen, People are to stupid to help themselves despite having the tools available.
@von Hindenburg : Horses can't throw up at all. They have a muscle in their gastrointestinal tract that is responsible for ensuring that food, once ingested, can only move in the direction of the intestines. This is not always practical, as vomiting often alleviates the suffering caused by improper or excessive food intake.Then you now understand this German sentence or statement/question!
@NORDWEST BEI WEST I am a native German speaker and know horses cannot barf, the point is in the idiom they barf despite being in instant access to remedies.
I don’t think I have ever heard „das Gelbe vom Ei“ used in the positive. 🤔 („Mein neues Auto ist das Gelbe vom Ei“) I‘ve only ever heard and used it in the negative: „NICHT das Gelbe vom Ei“. I‘d be curious to hear if that’s just me and I‘ve been missing out on that other option. (I’m a native speaker of German.) And, just remembered, there’s a postcard (from a range of postcards with German phrases and idioms literally translated into English) saying: „My English is not the yellow of the egg.“
Some other people already commented with the same opinion as yourself. I think literally in text book form it is used in the positive but it seems in actual daily use only in the negative
Speaking of shops, if you don't like a place you can call it a „Saftladen“, meaning a „Juice Store“. I guess a store that only sells juice is kind of useless most of the time.
Yes that's a great one🤣
Nicht das gelbe vom Ei - in my experience, this idiom is used almost exclusively in the negated form. in 38 years i can not remember in hearing it the other way (native speaker in south germany/Franconia)
I often say ‚Ich mach drei Kreuze wenn ich … überstanden/ geschafft habe.‘ For example: Ich mach drei Kreuze wenn ich die Prüfungen (in der Schule) bestanden habe. It’s kind of to show how hard or bothersome a task is and how happy I’m gonna be when it’s over. Translation: I will do three Krosses when … is over.
Very nice. Thank you