do not mention the war

Funny Language

In Germany, History, Identity on January 27, 2012 at 12:22

The blog post in this link describes some of the idiocies of the English language, which is short but insightful. This post however, will have a look at some phrases in German that are funny and not always easy to understand nor easily translatable.

Das kommt mir doch Spanisch vor

The first phrase describes something dubious or flimsy. This is the case most recently for fans of German football club 1. FC Magdeburg where a spanish investment group plans to spend some money – the talk is of €30m in the next four or five years – to boost the club’s fortune and to propel it into the higher echelons of German football. So far nothing is certain and fans of the club rightfully claim “das kommt mir doch Spanisch vor”. Similarly “das ist nicht ganz kosher” (literally: this is not kosher) is often used to describe the same content.

Das geht doch nicht mit rechten Dingen zu

The second phrase, das geht doch nicht mit rechten Dingen zu, is used in cases where people want to express their disbelief about something and don’t want to use words that openly accuse somebody of cheating or applying dirty tricks to their advantage. It is almost impossible to translate this phrase literally but it would sound something along the lines of This isn’t right or even sometimes as magic.

Ich fresse einen Besen

When Germans want to express their disbelief at something they tend to say “Ich fresse einen Besen” which literally means I’m eating a broom. Equally to express their disbelief that something will happen, Germans tend to say ich glaube, mich knutscht ein Elch, which translates as i think i was snogged by an elk. There are no elks in Germany but in Scandinavia and that they snog a German or any other person is practically impossible as they are very shy animals. That this rarely ever will happen is clear and underlines the person’s disbelief in something ever going to happen, such as England winning the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine this summer or the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

There are more and the list could be endless but for now this should be enough to give an insight in some troublesome phrases in German.

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