Questions tagged [german]

For questions related to the German language.

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2
votes
2answers
89 views

Why does English hypenate compounds, while German just mashes them together?

Since starting to learn German, I find myself wanting to use a non-hyphenated word in English, but I always end up adding the hyphen because otherwise it just seems wrong in English. Why is this? Is ...
0
votes
3answers
62 views

Why do questions convert subjects to the accusative, e.g. “Me?” “Him?”

(Obvious disclaimer about the definition of "accusative case" being a touchy subject in English) I'm an ESL speaker and have noticed that e.g. in German the following exchange "You're ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

How would a native speaker react to the proverbial phrase: “Life is lethal”?

Would it sound completely wrong? Would it be understood humoristically? Would "deadly" be better? It's an attempt to translate the humoristic German sentence: Das Leben ist tödlich. I often ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

How can “lebensphasenorientierte Personalpolitik” be translated to English?

In German, "lebensphasenorientierte Personalpolitik" describes a human resource policy that adapts to the life stages of employees, and enables a work-life balance. Is there an equivalent English ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

How did zugzwang become an English word?

The word zugzwang means a move in chess which forces your opponent to make a detrimental move; a move causing all of your opponent's options to be moves which will worsen their situation. Although it ...
18
votes
12answers
4k views

English term corresponding to German “Ausgangssperre”

I’m a native German speaker looking for the correct term for a condition when people are restricted from leaving their homes (German: Ausgangssperre). For example, in the case of a virus outbreak. I’d ...
0
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0answers
392 views

How to translate the meaning of the german phrase “Leider geil”

"Leider geil" is a song by german hiphop band "Deichkind" and mentions things that are sadly cool, like buying new cars very frequently even though thats bad for the environment or finally getting a ...
2
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2answers
176 views

Translation for German word “Kür” as in “Pflicht und Kür”

I am trying to find a crisp translation of the German phrase "Pflicht und Kür. deepl.com yields "Duty and freestyle" as translation for "Pflicht und Kür" which irritated me. In my (business) context "...
1
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2answers
195 views

Pronunciation of Third Reich and Heinrich Himmler

I just saw a British made documentary about Heinrich Himmler with mostly native English speakers being interviewed. What struck me was that everyone (?) pronounced Third Reich with a "hard" C (=k) ...
1
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5answers
763 views

Having decision making power over someone's assets

I am trying to translate the German word "verfügen" or "Verfügung" in its legal sense into English. In dictionaries, I only find the translation of "to dispose" or "disposition", as in the "power of ...
1
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1answer
67 views

Is there a rule for the (non-)capitalisation of Schadenfreude and sauerkraut? [duplicate]

The Cambridge Dictionary capitalises Schadenfreude but does not capitalise sauerkraut. What is the BrE rule for this (other than looking it up in a dictionary or style guide), if any? NB: According ...
3
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2answers
135 views

English translation of german bureaucratic term: “Weglegesache”

The German bureaucratic term Weglegesache is used in German public administration to refer to documents that they are forced to keep for a certain amount of time, but which are very unlikely ever to ...
9
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1answer
267 views

The “prickmouse” and the “butcher's broom”

I sometime go for walks in the wood near where I live, and in the undergrowth, beneath the oaks and pines, you'll find an evergreen prickly shrub which is called pungitopo in Italian. The word is ...
1
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3answers
432 views

is “Lighting the spark for XYZ” a meaningful phrase in english? [closed]

I am trying to translate or rather come up with an English expression for the German "den Funken überspringen lassen" for a title of an academic paper. My best solution so far is "Lighting the spark ...
0
votes
1answer
160 views

Phrase for “changing street side”? [closed]

Imagine you're walking on a pedestrian path, you see a shady person coming towards you and you cross the street to continue walking on the other side. In German, there's a short and easily ...
96
votes
9answers
26k views

Why Third 'Reich'? Why is 'reich' not translated when 'third' is? What is the English synonym of reich?

Why is Nazi-Germany commonly referred to as "The Third Reich" in English? Why is reich not translated when Dritten ("third") is? And what is the English synonym of reich? Realm? Austria (Republik ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Formatting English Translation in Foreign Dialogue

This short paragraph of German dialogue needs to be translated into English within a larger work: “Zurück bleiben! Fenster schliessen!” Stay back! Close the window! shouted the man on the roof. ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Is “diversified” really a suitable translation for what Germans call “abwechslungsreich”?

I need a word to describe a meeting or conference or other event which was the opposite of boring due to the variation of activities there.* German language has abwechslungsreich, literally rich-of-...
20
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8answers
8k views

How can I say I can't guarantee information I'm about to give is correct?

In German, there's an idiom that goes like "Nagel mich nicht darauf fest" (literally, "don't nail me down on that!") usually followed my some kind of information that is given without complete ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Better way of saying “national character”?

Is there a better way to express what is meant by “national character” or is there a good term that gets close to the German word “Volkscharakter”? I'm looking for a word that captures “the true ...
4
votes
6answers
629 views

“Durch den Wind sein” in English

How would you translate "Ich bin etwas durch den Wind" into English? "Durch den Wind sein" means having scattered or not fully coherent thoughts, not having full presence of mind (Geistesgegenwart), ...
0
votes
1answer
134 views

“Body Leasing”: Is it English?

In my country, we sometimes call working arrangements where one company "leases" individual employees to another "body leasing". "Body" and "to lease" are obviously English words of good standing, ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Origin of ending a sentence with a preposition-German separable verbs?

One thing I've noticed about the usage of ending a sentence with a preposition is how similar the construction is to German separable verbs. With German separable verbs, the prefix is often a ...
1
vote
2answers
205 views

Is the verb suffix -en (as in light->lighten) rooted in German?

Is the verb suffix -en (as in light->lighten) rooted in German? German verbs in their infinitive form always end in -en.
-2
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1answer
46 views

Go and come as verbs and the ommitting of and

I have a question relating to the verbs "come" and "go" plus another verb. Why do americans say come sing with us (for example and not come AND sing with us (as is the norm in English English. Like ...
3
votes
2answers
390 views

Does English have a saying for “The person who orders something is the one has to pay for it”?

In German, we have the saying Wer bestellt, bezahlt, which translates literally into Who(ever) orders, pays in English. Is there a corresponding English idiomatic expression or proverbial refrain for ...
1
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2answers
158 views

is “predatory capitalism” a correct word? [closed]

Jean Ziegler invented the German word Raubtierkapitalismus for huge companies without ethics and morality. For example Amazon, Google and Facebook. What are similar words in English? Best would be a ...
2
votes
1answer
327 views

Two different german words (“Raum”, “Zimmer”) both translates to “room” [closed]

I'm searching for an English translation of "Raum" and "Zimmer". It is related with this question. Is a translation to two different words possible? Or is it only "room"? To put this more into ...
2
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5answers
292 views

English idiom equivalent to the German Gretchenfrage “wie hast du's mit…?”

In German, a Gretchenfrage is: Compound of Gretchen (diminutive of the given name Margarete) and "Frage" "question". In reference to Goethe's "Faust" (published 1808), where the character of ...
1
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1answer
78 views

“Buchungsangebot mit Option” translation to English

I wonder whether I'm on the right Forum. I need the translation of the German concept "Buchungsangebot mit Option" into English. It's about hotel rooms reservation. I understand "Buchungsangebot mit ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

Is it ok to use “to stream” for downloading/consuming?

In Germany there is a habit to use the verb stream for consuming a video stream from the Internet. I don’t like this very much and I am wondering what you think about it as a native English speaker. ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is it “Rhine”, but “Rhenish”?

Being a native German speaker, I just came across the word "Rhenish" (as a translation of German "rheinisch", belonging to the Rhine). I am a bit confused about this, and am at a loss for the proper "...
6
votes
2answers
696 views

How old is the proclamation: “Here comes the bridegroom”?

Long before the German composer, Felix Mendelssohn, composed the “Wedding March” in 1842 for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard Wagner’s wrote the chorus “Here Comes the Bride” in ...
2
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2answers
1k views

Word for someone who studies to become a teacher

A friend of mine is currently writing her thesis in teaching methodology of mathematics. We are searching for an appropriate translation for the German word 'Lehramtsstudierender'. This is a person ...
1
vote
1answer
453 views

What nouns of German origin should be given capital letters?

On another post an interesting fact has just been discovered about the OED's treatment of nouns adopted into English from German (loan-words). A lot of them e.g. Nazi are spelled with a capital ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

What is the origin of “smiddock”?

Pennsylvanian English: smiddock Put your middle finger behind your thumb and flick it against your arm — or better, someone else’s. I believe this is usually called a thump nowadays. But when I was ...
2
votes
1answer
359 views

Etymological link between “shall” and “will”? [closed]

"X shall happen" means "X is (strongly) expected to happen" ("X wird geschehen") or "X is hoped for to happen" ("X soll geschehen") German "Ich will, dass X geschieht" means "I want X to happen" (...
1
vote
0answers
74 views

Why the writing and reading in English are different? [duplicate]

I do not encounter so big problems with the English language although I'm not a native English speaker. But I'm curious why some languages (like English or French) are written different from the way ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

How to translate the german word “Motiv” (= Beweggrund)

I want to translate the german word "Motiv" (with the meaning "Beweggrund") to English. A sentence in english would be People have various ... to do sport What would be the most appropriate ...
1
vote
2answers
437 views

Is there an English equivalent to the German word “Substanzwissenschaftler”?

As a German statistician, I distinguish between statisticians and "Substanzwissenschaftler" (my best translation so far substantive researchers). While the former know which regression model should be ...
13
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2answers
2k views

Is there one word for fat gotten from stress eating (Kummerspeck)?

In German, there is the word Kummerspeck, which literally translates to sorrow lard and means: the fat gained from stress eating Is there such a word in English? I never found any.
2
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1answer
142 views

Does the origin of the auxiliary “shall” lie in the medieval blood-money practice of wergeld?

Perusing some 19th-century grammar books for another purpose, I came across an interesting etymology: "According to Grimm 'shall' or 'skal' is the preterite or perfect of a verb meaning 'to kill'. ...
1
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2answers
2k views

What is a good synonym for “appointment”? Is “date” one of them?

TL;DR: If I use “date” for “appointment”, is it unmistakably understood? If not, is there a shorter word for “appointment”? In German, there’s Termin, from Latin terminus (“boundary, limit”), for ...
0
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0answers
59 views

What's up with umlauts in English? [duplicate]

I've been seeing words with umlauts in prominent publications - for example The New Yorker spells re-election like this: reëlection What's going on?
20
votes
3answers
7k views

Why didn't “spiel” get spelled with an “sh”?

The pronunciation for "spiel" allows for either "speel" or "shpeel". The "shpeel" pronunciation is significantly more common where I live (American Midwest) and I'm curious why "spiel" didn't get the ...
2
votes
2answers
456 views

Respective Use of “Respective” in English of German Speakers

Can anyone familiar with English use by German speakers explain the use of "respective" as in the list of examples below? I see this frequently from German government bureaucrats and the like, and ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Word/expression for a German “Ausflugscafé” - a cafe mainly catering to people taking a walk

In Germany, there are many cafés (often combined with restaurants) that are located in a nice setting, typically close to, but a bit outside the next settlement (or inside a small village) mainly ...
-1
votes
1answer
109 views

Can “heavy duty” mean violently (in german: heftig)? [closed]

In Starcraft2, a RTS game, one of the characters says "heavy duty", and in german it's translated to simply "heftig" (which, to me can be simply translated to "heavy") Now, i think the Blizzard team ...
4
votes
1answer
189 views

Use definite article or not in conjunction with a German institution's name which contains a strongly declined article?

Picture some German university's arthistory department, and its official title would be "Kunsthistorisches Institut". "Kunsthistorisch" is an adjective, and "kunsthistorisches" is its nominative case. ...
20
votes
10answers
3k views

Describe that someone’s explanation matches your knowledge level

In German, in the context of knowledge transfer from one person to another (or to a group) you can say Du hast mich gut abgeholt. (literally translated You picked me up well) This sentence means ...