The Perils of Denglish, or Ass Love Deluxe for the Whole Ass Family

Ass Golf

Ever played 'Ass Golf'? In the mood for some 'Ass Love Deluxe'? Does your family deserve to become an 'Ass Family'?

If you answered 'Jawohl!', and I'm sure you did, have I got a hotel for you. It's called the Saalbacher Hof, in Saalbach, Austria, and its summer vacation packages include:

The theme here, as German-speakers will have immediately noticed, is playing cards: Trumpf = trump, and Ass = ace. But then the oily-haired marketing types pepped up the stodgy hotel's image with some of that sickeningly hip English. Today's Austrian 'Familys' deserve no less!

One simple rule for ad-men, delivered free of charge: If you start a phrase or sentence in German, for G$d's sake finish it in German.

The Saturation of the Deer

Yo, behold this pleasant 1846 painting by Moritz von Schwind:


I admired it in person at the Hamburger Kunsthalle last weekend. It seemed darker in person -- I think the digital version may have been brightened a little. Nevertheless, a nice chunk of late Romanticism, dusted with kitsch. The modeling of the buck's solid, sagging flesh and horns is nicely plastic.

Here is the translation of the picture's title:

Von Schwind

I chuckled over the translation of the German word tränken as "saturate". But then I became thoughtful, and stroked my chin. There's no easy translation for tränken. Tränken describes only how animals drink. Humans trinken, animals tränken. Same thing for eating: humans essen, while animals fressen. Add to that the fact that English has no simple transitive word for "give water to". You can "water" plants, but that always implies pouring water over or into something. You wouldn't water your dogs or your children, you would only give them something to drink.

The translators seemed to realize this, but then fatally chose "saturate" as the proper translation from the other entries on the list. But how can we blame them? The meaning comes across, sort of, and the only other alternatives would have doubled the length of the title, which doesn't seem right.

The other titles were translated quite well.

Strictly for Non-Swabians

Over the weekend, I visited the magical kingdom of Swabia. Its ancient tongue is an unmistakable sing-songy drawl, and its inhabitants are the Germans' Germans, in the sense that some writers are 'writers' writers.' The Swabians are Germans' Germans for two reasons. First, they embody (many aspects of) Deutschtum at its purest and pristinest. Second, like novels written by 'writer's writers,' Swabians are, shall we say, a niche product. Other Germans complain loudly about the Swabians' obsession with order, as exemplified by officious neighbors who crawl inside of garbage cans. Why do they do this? To make sure that whichever tenant was last obliged to clean them during the Kehrwoche (weekly rotating cleaning duties) had done a proper job.

But let's put that to one side for a moment -- especially since I have a looming deadline. For now, you'll just have to content yourself with some pictures of things I found amusing. Translations, if needed, provided in the hover text.

Beware of dog sign, with numbers of 'postmen, auto tires, burglars, and cats' the doggie has claimed. Har Har Har!

'No brat with some stupid name on board'. Extra points for being (apparently) handmade!

Unterriexingen UnterROCKSingen! Note to d'Frishinators -- band name rethink session overdue (feminine hygiene product? toilet bowl cleanser?) 

Deutschlands Patheticste Poster

 'Stop it!' you're screaming. 'I can't take it anymore! Wasn't there anything -- anything -- redeeming about Swabia?'

Why yes, this bird, resting on the letters of a beer advertisement in a passage under the Stuttgart central station:

The 'a' would be more comfortable, if it weren't for the bloody umlauts