Excuse me, do you have any hand shoes?

Someone once told me about the time their German grandpa came to Canada in the winter and needed to buy some gloves. One of my favourite things about German is how literal it can be sometimes. So, unsure of the translation, grandpa politely asked if the store had any “hand shoes.”

Sometimes I wonder where the word “gloves” came from. Germans are much more straightforward.

Handschuhe = gloves, or literally translated, hand shoes.

p.s. now you can “rate” my blog posts! Hate it or love it, let me know

Rammstein, explained

Today I’m going to break with tradition and my usual MS Paint doodles, to give a grammatical/lyrical explanation of the popular Rammstein song “Du Hast.” This is mostly because I’ve noticed a lot of awful translations floating around the internet, but there is also a play on words in the song that fits the theme of this blog. That is, to poke fun at the nuances of the German language which seem to have a lot of people pulling their hair out.

Here it is, “Du Hast” by Rammstein:

The past tense form most commonly used in spoken German is the “Perfect Past” tense, which can very generally be formulated as subject + haben/sein conjugation + ge+verb stem+(e)t

This might make no sense right now, but just take my word for it that:

du hast mich gefragt = you asked me. Or literally, you have me asked. This is where everyone gets confused about the song. Nobody’s really sure if they’re saying “du hast mich…” then finishing the sentence, or they’re saying “du hasst mich” (you hate me). The thing is, it doesn’t matter, because that’s the play on words. Below is the full translation, and you’ll see why someone might be hatin’:

du                                                                                 you

du hast (hasst?)                                                          you… (hate?)

du hast (hasst?) mich X5                                            you… (hate me?)

du hast (hasst?) mich                                                 you… (hate me?)

du hast mich gefragt x3                                               you asked me

und ich hab’ nichts gesagt                                           and I said nothing

Willst du bis der Tod euch scheidet,                           Do you want until death do you part

treu ihr sein für alle Tage?                                           to be true to her for all days?

Nein, Nein x2                                                                No, No

repeat first 3 lines 3 times

du hast mich                                                               you… (hate me?)

repeat 5th line 3 times

und ich hab’ nichts gesagt                                           and I said nothing

repeat lines 7, 8, 9

Willst du bis zum Tod, der scheidet,                      do you want until death, which separates

sie lieben auch in schlechten Tagen                          to love her even in bad days

Willst du bis der Tod euch scheidet,                         do you want until death do you part

treu ihr sein                                                                to be true to her

Nein, Nein                                                                   no, no

Terribly fantastic!

Hello again! Sorry I haven’t made a post in a while… here’s one to ring in the new year!

The German word toll is an adjective that means great or fantastic. Like, my bunny is great! Or, that was a great movie! You get the idea.

Ahem. But, for some reason it also means rabid, crazy, wild, and terrible.

So, uh, hence the bunny frothing at the mouth.

First Post!

Yeah! This is my first post. There’s lots more to come. Inspired by Mark Twain’s The Awful German Language and the general misadventures of learning German, I hope other masochists enthusiasts will enjoy this blog and maybe even find it useful. I plan on making it a webcomic of sorts, so you have some stick figures to look forward to. I will usually include an explanation at the bottom, and you can contact me if something isn’t clear. As for today’s post:

“wenn” is the consequential word for both “if” and “when.”

“jemand” means both “somebody” and “anybody” depending on context.

“Morning” is “Morgen” (also Vormittag) while “tomorrow” is “morgen”

er, sie, and es are all variations of the word “it” (given that an inanimate object could be a “she”)

and the following are the variations on “the”:

der, die, das, die (nominative plural), den, die (accusative fem.), das (accusative neuter), die (accusative plural), dem, der (dative fem.), dem (dative neuter), den (dative plural), des, der (genitive fem.), des (genitive neuter), der (genitive plural) PHEW.

oh, and Streichholzschächtelchen means “little match box” ….. cuuuuuuuute!