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German and Austrian Culture and Words ( to run away but also having fun with it before )

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Silent_Water

Governor
As you may have remarked, Germans and Austrians are having a bit too much leisure time right now, so I thought, I could try to explain some special funny words, hobbies, customs and traditions from Germany and Austria by using interesting videos and findings from the internet.

First of all, interviews with the great Austrian actor Christoph Waltz who is explaining some long German words in the first video (some of you may already know it) and the terrible, sado-masochistic Austrian Christmas tradition of "Krampus" which we do not have in Germany (except perhaps a similar one in Bavaria, which is similar Catholic like Austria).



Later, I will try to explain the everlasting hobby of Germans to invent longer words, which did not exist before they were needed, by combining words in a way no normal person would ever have thought of combining. I have remarked that this hobby is so crazy that many of you here seemed to have liked it. (If you have any questions, ask me, please.)
 

Silent_Water

Governor
Sometimes, in Germany there are words invented just to show an intention which does not really exist. For example, German & Austrian politicians are looking since the Middle Ages for a word combination, which sounds like "Yes", means "No" and pretends to show hectic activity whilst explaining why it is better to do nothing.

Similar expressions are like this one:
One of the most loved adjectives of the German chancellor, which did not exist 20 years ago, is "alternativlos", what looks at first like having an alternative, but meaning that there is none at all.
Very lovely is the word "Negativ-Wachstum / Minus-Wachstum" from the 1980's about the economy. "Wachstum" means "growth", but "Negativ" means the opposite, so the word sounds wonderful positive, but it is negative. In order to understand how this word is intended, try to form the opposite: "Plus-Schrumpfung" which is a "positive or plus-shrinking".
The sound sometimes makes a word wonderful, no matter what the meaning is.
 
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Silent_Water

Governor
During the 1980's, a time during which men (and women by a movement for emancipation and same wages) in Germany became more conscious of their self-image, a concept of a “soft” man was born as a result: a man who was very pliable, gentle and had a more alternative social viewpoint.

The term “Weichei” (= "soft egg") could be easily used to describe this concept of a man, similar to a “Warmduscher” (meaning a guy who always takes warm showers, something which was considered unmasculine).

The many satrirical combinations of names are innumerable and countless, which were used since then to make every side of this thinking ridiculous. But the funny thing is that every German knows what they mean although many of these words do not exist in the colloquial language of daily life, for example:

"der Frauenversteher" = a man who is always understanding women and how they behave

"der Liebesfilmflenner" = a man who is crying in love-movies


Certainly, there are also satirical word combinations - but not soo many - for the opposite tough macho-men:


"der Geisterfahrerüberholer" = a tough man who is driving so fast that he just was overtaking a ghost-driver without remarking it

"der Kampfhundstreichler" = a tough man who likes to caress fighting dogs

Interested in more?
 

Silent_Water

Governor
Some words you should know as a tourist in Germany when you think you just have been insulted:

Dünnbrettbohrer

If you know about the do-it-yourself-mentality of Germans, who pride themselves as skilled handymen who'd never even think about hiring a professional to do something they could do themselves for free, this is a severe insult. The guy who translates to “thin plank driller” is not the most popular guy around. Something like a deadbeat, a Dünnbrettbohrer is a rather unintelligent and unambitious fellow, someone who might get the job done but would never bother to go the extra mile.
Incredible, but the opposite made it somehow into daily language and several politicians were heard saying, "we must drill thick planks" (= wir müssen dicke Bretter bohren!)

Evolutionsbremse

You don’t think too highly of someone’s intelligence, or lack there of, if you refer to them as this word, literally meaning someone who puts the breaks on evolution due to their very existence, which embodies so much stupidity that it slows the advancement of the species down.

Honk

Little is known about the definite origins of “Honk”, but the term refers to a total idiot. While this word has no underlying meaning and no German etymology, rumour has it that Honk stepped on the scene when the famous German comedian Otto Waalkes introduced a baby cartoon character who had a teddy bear named Honk. Other etymologists suggest that Honk really is an acronym for either “Hirn ohne nennenswerte Kapazität” (brain without noteworthy capacities) or “Hirnloser ohne nennenswerte Kenntnisse” (brainless without noteworthy knowledge).

Spargeltarzan

If the old adage “You are what you eat” applied in Germany, a great bulk of Germans would be “asparagus Tarzans” from April through to June during the beloved Spargelzeit. Yet this word does not refer to a veggie-eating behemoth, but rather an especially skinny and gangly person.

Kackbratze

This word sounds as annoying as what it implies: a complete brat, or “Bratze.” It’s a particular favourite of the Berlin comedian Kurt Krömer, who frequently uses the phrase "Na, du alte Kackbratze!" in order to say hi to someone. Such a person can also be called a Rotzlöffel, or a snot spoon.

Vollhorst/Otto

This one is reserved for someone you find to be a complete idiot. Or a person could say “Ich habe mich zum Vollhorst gemacht” if they feel they have made a fool out of themselves.
In German, the very common male first name “Horst” somehow became synonymous with “fool”. The prefix “voll” means “total” so that a “Vollhorst” is the ultimate idiot. As of late, the equally common male first name “Otto” is following a similar career that “Horst” pioneered. Both these names work as surnames as well, so if you happen to be named “Horst Otto” or “Otto Horst” you will be a Spaßbremse (killjoy, or literally 'fun brake') in no time!

Erbsenzähler

Literally a “pea counter”, this is reserved for someone who focuses on insignificant details rather than the big picture. This pedant is also known (and hated) as Paragraphenreiter, someone who sticks to the script no matter what. It’s about the principle!

Heißluftgebläse

Literally a hot air gun, this refers to a chatterbox (also dubbed a Labertasche, or babble bag) who talks all the time but just about hot air, or nothing.

Süßholzraspler

This species talks only in a flattering way since he wants something from you. A sweet-talker, he literally is someone who is grating licorice in order to persuade you. More often than not, a Süßholzraspler also happens to be a Schürzenjäger, a womanizer (or more precisely translated, an apron hunter).

Schluckspecht

Literally a “guzzling woodpecker” this is the German equivalent of a Boozer. If you switch a few letters, “Schluckspecht” becomes “Speckschlucht”, or a “canyon of bacon”. Okay, the later isn’t an actual German insult, but it sounds like it should be one.
 

Silent_Water

Governor
But let us also guess, why in these videos examples from the Polish or the Russian languages are always missing ... ?!?
:facepalm:

So, let us have a look at this version of speaking German, too:


Or how would we speak these words in an aggressive way? :

Portuguese : frequentemente
Spanish : frecuentemente
Italian : frequentemente
English (England) : often
German : oft
 

Frank Petrexa

Governor
As you may have remarked, Germans and Austrians are having a bit too much leisure time right now, so I thought, I could try to explain some special funny words, hobbies, customs and traditions from Germany and Austria by using interesting videos and findings from the internet.

First of all, interviews with the great Austrian actor Christoph Waltz who is explaining some long German words in the first video (some of you may already know it) and the terrible, sado-masochistic Austrian Christmas tradition of "Krampus" which we do not have in Germany (except perhaps a similar one in Bavaria, which is similar Catholic like Austria).



Later, I will try to explain the everlasting hobby of Germans to invent longer words, which did not exist before they were needed, by combining words in a way no normal person would ever have thought of combining. I have remarked that this hobby is so crazy that many of you here seemed to have liked it. (If you have any questions, ask me, please.)
I lived in a university town in the United States which staged Krampus Nacht for a few years. It was a "different" kind of parade, to say the least. Good costumes.
 

Frank Petrexa

Governor
This has been posted before, but for anyone who hasn't seen it. . .
Mark Twain did once give a lecture (in Vienna, if I recall) asking what kind of language have a neuter noun for a nubile young woman and a feminine noun for a turnip. I also read (on a German website) that some stanzas of "Stille Nacht" are unsingable. Of course, that's true of the American national anthem as well, but not because of the words but because of the tune. It is fun to watch people struggle with it, trying to hit all the high and low notes, at home plate before a baseball game (organ accompaniment, of course). "Bezirkschornsteinmeister" is a great word (I got all of his questions right, by the way).
 
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poem21045

Governor
Mark Twain did once give a lecture (in Vienna, if I recall) asking what kind of language have a neuter noun for a nubile young woman and a feminine noun for a turnip. I also read (on a German website) that some stanzas of "Stille Nacht" are unsingable. Of course, that's true of the American national anthem as well, but not because of the words but because of the tune. It is fun to watch people struggle with it, trying to hit all the high and low notes, at home plate before a baseball game (organ accompaniment, of course). "Bezirkschornsteinmeister" is a great word (I got all of his questions right, by the way).
I've played and sung Stille Nacht at Christmas services many times (as a soloist). It IS very difficult. The German language stresses consonant sounds (kind of the opposite of Spanish, which stresses vowels). It's a lot easier to hold a vowel sound when singing than to hold a consonant. As a result, when I sing Stille Nacht I clip the notes rather than sustaining them. It's the easy (maybe the only!) way I get through.


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Apostate

Administrator
Staff member
Evolutionsbremse

You don’t think too highly of someone’s intelligence, or lack there of, if you refer to them as this word, literally meaning someone who puts the breaks on evolution due to their very existence, which embodies so much stupidity that it slows the advancement of the species down.
This one reminds me the Darwin Awards.


The criterion for the awards states, "In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species' chances of long-term survival."[2]
 

Apostate

Administrator
Staff member

Silent_Water

Governor
Mark Twain did once give a lecture (in Vienna, if I recall) asking what kind of language have a neuter noun for a nubile young woman and a feminine noun for a turnip. I also read (on a German website) that some stanzas of "Stille Nacht" are unsingable. Of course, that's true of the American national anthem as well, but not because of the words but because of the tune. It is fun to watch people struggle with it, trying to hit all the high and low notes, at home plate before a baseball game (organ accompaniment, of course). "Bezirkschornsteinmeister" is a great word (I got all of his questions right, by the way).

I can explain the first question by the "honouring of chastity in a tradtional society". It sounds a bit strange today but it is similar in most European languages, in which you were addressing a letter or talking to a young lady with "Dear Miss", "Chère Mademoiselle" or "Sehr geehrtes / Liebes Fräulein". On the one hand, in Germany, now it is really an insult (or almost an insult) to address a woman with "Fräulein" because it means to a young woman (from her point of view) that she is not fully taken serious like a grown-up woman.

But on the other hand, there are still more traditional countries in Europe like Romania where it is on the opposite an insult - even today, I think - NOT to address a young woman in a letter as "Domnisoara" (= Miss) instead of "Doamna" (Madam), because talking of a "Madam" in these more traditional countries also implies that she had already a sexual experience which is not expected talking to a young girl. So, this is also the reason why Germans say "das Mädchen" and regarding a young girl as "neutral" because everything else could have been an insult to her family some centuries (or some decades?) ago.
Addressing a young girl in Romania as "Doamna" could still have been regarded as an insult to her family about 15 years ago because this would have meant that she is an "easy girl", "easy to have" by young men. I do not know if this tradition has changed in the meantime like in Germany about 50 years ago.

By the way, you have forgotten "feger" in "Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister", what is extremely terrible for German pedants like me because only "Feger" makes sense of this word. "Fegen" means cleaning a chimney or also the street by sweeping it by using a broom or something similar. And in some parts of Germany, you can also say about a sexually very attractive woman that she is "ein heisser Feger" (= "a hot sweeper") which probably cleans the street from men because of running behind her ...
 
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Silent_Water

Governor
I seem to have had some "Likes" more than expexted with the synonyms of "Weichei" and "Warmduscher", so I continue this part with some I liked:


"der Aluhutträger" = an "aluminium-hat-wearer" who is afraid of dangerous waves and believes in almost every conspiracy theory

"der auf-jede-Email-Antworter" = a "Weichei" who is answering every e-mail in his mailbox

"der auf-Vorfahrt-Verzichter" = someone who is such a weakling that he gives up his right of way

"der Autobahnsicherheitsabstandseinhalter" = a "Weichei" who is always keeping the security distance on the German Autobahn to the car in front of him fully respecting every German traffic regulation

"der Autokennzeichennachschwärzer" = a man who cares so much for the perfect state of his car that he is even painting accurately black again the old letters on his license plate

"der Beckenrandschwimmer" = someone who is alway swimming near the rim / border of the municipal swimming pool because the water is so deep

" der bei-Bambi-Heuler" = a "Weichei" who is crying tears watching Disney's "Bambi"
 

Apostate

Administrator
Staff member
"der Aluhutträger" = an "aluminium-hat-wearer" who is afraid of dangerous waves and believes in almost every conspiracy theory
"Tinfoil hat guy" in American English.

We also commonly refer to aluminum foil as "tinfoil," for reasons lost in the mists of time. :rolleyes:
 

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