A Spanish teacher I used to work with used to say that a lot of German words sounded like swear words. His example was “Schneeflocken.” (snowflakes) I maintain that German is a beautiful language but, yes, if you say Schneeflocken with a bad American accent, it’s clunky.
A word I’ve been thinking about lately is “Mehrwegflaschen” (more-way-bottles, or multiple use bottles). One of the many things I like about making my own yogurt is the absence of endless plastic cups to recycle. Plastic is very difficult to reuse, and just because you throw it in the recycling bin doesn’t mean you’ve done something to keep that container out of landfill. I think the numbers have improved, but a lot of plastic still isn’t reused.
Perhaps you noticed from my two examples that German has a limitless capacity to make compound words. Someday I’ll dig through the basement and find the actual newspaper that I have that has this word in the headline:
I used to write that up on the board when I was teaching. Kids were amazed I could spell it so easily. The truth is that it’s just a series of very easily spelled words.
Cat – ear – zip code – reorganization – problem
The article explained how the reunification of Germany in 1991 caused problems with the reassignment of zip codes for people who had tattooed their old zip code onto their cats’ ears. Much like the chips they implant in pets now.
And that’s why I like German.
2 weeks ago