November 18, 2016

Germans using English dirty words...

... without realizing how bad it sounds to native English speakers.

This 2012 ad is a hilarious example. Watch all the way to the end for the laugh:

43 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Germans are smarter than we want to believe. Too bad they are belligerent. But our best cuss words are in good hands.

mikee said...

T-shirts with such language on them are often seen in foreign countries, too. Also, there exist tattoos in Kanji that don't exactly mean "Peace" or "Harmony" on the bellies, thighs and shoulders of many a young US transgressive/illiterate.

YoungHegelian said...

A past friend of mine studied classical Chinese in Taiwan (this was before the PRC would allow Americans in for study). He would use a Chinese curse phrase which translates into English as "Dead Ghost". Now, to Anglophone ears, this phrase sounds inoffensive. But, to the Chinese, whose curse words often involve images of death, it's really rude. One of his Chinese friends finally told him to stop, since it was too rude a phrase to use in normal company.

Another example of Chinese death-related curses. Remember when the judge at Jiang Jing's trial called her a "white boned demon"? That's like an American judge calling her a goddamned bitch

Rod McFadden said...

Ach, du liebe!

rhhardin said...

It sounds okay to me. It's in the same screw-it register as the rest of the ad.

rhhardin said...

I don't know German expletives. I mean, I know the translations of English expletives, but I don't know that they're expletives in German.

Maybe fuck is unique in its performance.

The Drill SGT said...

my favorite German-GI word is

"ungefucked"

rhhardin said...

Who can forget Lt Scheisskopf in Catch 22

All his friends wondered what he was up to.

"I wonder what shithead is up to."

mockturtle said...

I once used the word 'hooey' in the company of a Russian friend and he became apoplectic with embarrassment. He was no prude--not even close--but he refused to tell me what it means in Russian. I still don't know but I would occasionally hurl the word at him just to get a reaction. ;-)

Amexpat said...

Norwegians often use "fuck" and "shit" in casual speech without swearing. They're just fun words that they have heard often on TV and in films and music. Their Norwegian equivalents aren't strong swear words. That's reserved for the devil in hell, "faen i helvete".

Static Ping said...

As I understand it "Fuckmiller" is an actual surname. Needless to say immigrants to American would go about changing that to something else.

German commercials using any American words at all is funny. If the topper line was "I like bunnies" or "my car is blue" or even "food is tasty" it would still be hilarious.

madAsHell said...

We have the acronym FUBAR (which was news to Hillary), but I've often wondered if the acronym was just the Anglo-sized "furchtbar". Which means about the same thing in German.

My 9th grade science teacher actually told the class that fuck was an acronym: For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and it would be written on the pillory of the adulterer. Fick is a German verb meaning to strike. I'm guessing my science teacher was wrong.

madAsHell said...

As I understand it "Fuckmiller" is an actual surname.

I don't think you're going to find any Fuckmiller's (or Fickmüller) in the phone book, but I did work for the guy once.

mikee said...

I read that F*U*C*K was the acronym written by English Bobbies in the arrest records of London prostitutes, shortening "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" to something that fits on the same line in a logbook as the name of the arrestee. Apparently your 9th grade teacher researched further back in English literary, criminal and carnal history than I ever did. Full points, that boy!

mockturtle said...

I've also read that it stands for "Fornication Under Consent of the King".

jimbino said...

The worst thing is for Amerikans of German descent to mispronounce their own names. Anthony Weiner's is more like "Whiner" than "Wiener." Of course you can't make much of a joke out of the correct pronunciation. Juan Williams is someone who can't properly pronounce his first name, although, for an African American, he could be considered "wan."

Yancey Ward said...

Many years ago a young Chinese man began working in my chemistry lab, and a colleague of mine asked him for the Chinese equivalent of "Motherfucker". He told us, and over the next couple of weeks everyone, including me, in the lab would use foreign phrase whenever something went wrong. The young man walked into my office one morning and asked me to implore the others to stop using the phrase- even knowing what the phrase meant in Chinese, it had no visceral impact on us the way "Motherfucker" itself had, but it was clearly disturbing my young colleague. We stopped immediately.

rehajm said...

Wanna learn English?

Bob R said...

I'm told that lots of fluent Yiddish speakers consider "schmuck" to be taboo - at least at the level of "cocksucker" or "motherfucker." It was supposedly the word that Lenny Bruce arrested.

The Drill SGT said...

jimbino said...
The worst thing is for Amerikans of German descent to mispronounce their own names. Anthony Weiner's is more like "Whiner" than "Wiener."


actually "viner"

In German, a V is pronouced like an English F and a W like a V

so VW, becomes "Fou-Vey"

tcrosse said...

When I was a little kid we moved from Milwaukee to New Jersey, where I got to learn some Playground Italian. One word which was fun to say was Bafangool, although I had no idea what it meant. My Dad, Milwaukee bred, had no idea, either, but he worked in New York City. One day at work he used it, in a moment of mild consternation. His boss explained to him what it meant, and that it was not to be used in polite company. That evening Dad told me not to use it again, but I didn't know what it meant until years later.
For those of you playing at home, it's a Street Italian pronunciation of Va fan culo, which doesn't literally mean Fuck You, but it might as well.

mockturtle said...

My Jewish sister tells me that 'putz' is not to be used lightly, either.

Big Mike said...

... without realizing how bad it sounds to native English speakers

@Althouse, most Europeans have English as a second language. They know all right.

Clark said...

Mark Twain on swearing and the Germans (from a list of suggestions on how he would improve the German language):

"I would import some strong words from the English tongue -- to swear with, and also to use in describing all sorts of vigorous things in a vigorous ways.

'Verdammt,' and its variations and enlargements, are words which have plenty of meaning, but the sounds are so mild and ineffectual that German ladies can use them without sin. German ladies who could not be induced to commit a sin by any persuasion or compulsion, promptly rip out one of these harmless little words when they tear their dresses or don't like the soup. It sounds about as wicked as our 'My gracious.' German ladies are constantly saying, 'Ach! Gott!' 'Mein Gott! 'Gott in Himmel!' 'Herr Gott' 'Der Herr Jesus!' etc. They think our ladies have the same custom, perhaps; for I once heard a gentle and lovely old German lady say to a sweet young American girl: 'The two languages are so alike -- how pleasant that is; we say "Ach! Gott!" you say "Goddamn."'"

Jose_K said...

The English language is one of these Islands' most successful exports..er.. second hand export.. the words come from USA movies and music. There were not that many 4 letters words in the Beatles lyrics

Jose_K said...

Americans use Spanish obscene words too. coj.. mari... and "dirty words" and even Madeleine Albright used the former

Left Bank of the Charles said...

George Carlin is rolling over in his grave, laughing.

Jose_K said...

My 9th grade science teacher actually told the class that fuck was an acronym: that is an internet "fact"
Fuck comes from the Latin Futuo. From that came Fottere in Italian, Foutre in French .Joder in Spanish

JaimeRoberto said...

Gute Fahrt.

southcentralpa said...

It happens. I'll never forget the time I found out the hard way that in UK usage, "Paki" is not merely a conveniently shorter form of "Pakistani". It didn't end with fisticuffs, but it easily could have ...

(Fun fact: one of the true false cognates between German and English is the word "Gift", which in German means poison.)

madAsHell said...

that is an internet "fact"

Unfortunately, I was in 9th grade LONG before Al Gore created the internet.

Rob McLean said...

F**k the Diet

What do the Germans have against the Japanese parliament? Are they still mad about the war?

Bad Lieutenant said...

The worst thing is for Amerikans of German descent

jimbino, how come (is that good English? colloquial. ok, "why," "wherefore") you can spell "German" correctly but not "American?" I get that you are making some kind of (rancid, but to each his own) political statement, but what part of the "USSA" is worse than, e.g., Germany, so that you give the latter the simple respect of its name?

Bad Lieutenant said...

Blogger southcentralpa said...
It happens. I'll never forget the time I found out the hard way that in UK usage, "Paki" is not merely a conveniently shorter form of "Pakistani". It didn't end with fisticuffs, but it easily could have ...

"Pak" is OK, right? I did know about "Paki."

Gabriel said...

F--K is not an acronym. It's one of the oldest words in the language, used since at least 1300. It's the same root as Viking: and "viking" originally was a verb. People didn't become Vikings, they went out viking.

Acronyms are a really recent thing.

Gabriel said...

@jimbino, Drill SGT:"Wiener."

Weiner would be vine-er in German. Wiener would be veen-er.

Wien refers to Vienna, usually. Wein refers to wine or grapes.

jimbino said...

Himmiherrgottsacramentkruzafixhallelujahsheissglumpfaregtz!

The Cracker Emcee said...

Fuck shows up in Old English quite a bit. Definitely not an acronym.

The Cracker Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
southcentralpa said...

Bad Lieutenant: didn't ask, but Asian (those wacky, wacky Britons) is okay, and still shorter than Pakistani.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You can take the autobahn most of the way from Kissing to Fucking, but the scenic route via Petting and Tittmoning is better.

Livermoron said...

Schmuck is German for 'jewelry'. It is also a colloquial name for the penis.

Putz is German for 'cleaning' (Putzen). It is also a colloquial name for the penis.

Gluecksbringer is German for 'lucky charm'. It is also a colloquial name for the penis.

'Mist' is another word to watch out for. In German it means 'manure'.

German swearwords are more scatalogically-oriented than English ones. Everyone says Scheisse in all of its permutations.

The great Knight Goetz von Berlichingen is a folk hero in Germany. When he was asked to surrender as a hostile neighbor laid siege to his castle, Goetz replied
'Leck mich am Arsch', usually translated as 'kiss my ass' but a more accurate reading is 'lick my ass' - a step more rude I would say.

mockturtle said...

I've always liked the word' scheisse. Somehow sounds better than 'shit'. More stylish.