Floating Candles | Mistranslation Monday

One afternoon, not too long ago, I was browsing Pinterest with my girlfriend from Lithuania (as stereotypical ladies do). And as you can imagine (and as evidenced by my other Mistranslation Monday posts), mistranslations are quite common when us two non-German women spend the day speaking German with each other. Anyways, as we were browsing Pinterest, my friend found a lovely centerpiece that we thought would be perfect for a winter wedding. It looked something like this: After thinking about all the different flowers and greenery we could put in the water, we starting talking about where we could buy Continue Reading

Balls | Mistranslation Monday

After almost a month of internet silence, I am back with everyone’s favorite type of post: Mistranslation Monday! Today’s Mistranslation Monday is brought to you a single seemingly simple word, balls. Over Christmas and New Year’s, we rented a big house in Germany where both Marco and my families would spend the holidays together. This included both of our parents, both of our brothers, my sister-in-law, and Marco’s practically-step-brother. It was a full house, and of the 8 residents…1 was English/German bilingual1 could speak German and very limited English2 could only speak Germanand4 could only speak English. With such a Continue Reading

Intimate Dancing | Mistranslation Monday

Mistranslation Monday has been missing from the blog lately. Unfortunately, this is not because my German is getting better. It’s more likely due to the fact that I took a vacation to the U.S. and have been speaking a lot of English lately. So, today’s Mistranslation Monday doesn’t come from myself, but my lovely friend Adele from Lithuania. As you may know, the German fiancé and I are currently planning our wedding. Since we will only have about 30 guests, we have been discussing whether or not there should be dancing at the reception. When Adele came over last week Continue Reading

He’s My Sponge! | Mistranslation Monday

I recently started tutoring two female German high school students in English. Seeing as I have no experience in talking to teenagers or teaching English, this has been an interesting experience to say the least. During our sessions, I discuss all kinds of things with the girls, from dream vacations to embarrassing school stories. Since we only speak English, they occasionally come across words for which they don’t know the English translation. So, after saying the German word, they will pause, waiting for me to say it in English before they continue with their story. My German is good enough Continue Reading

Floor Meat | Mistranslation Monday

If you didn’t know already, I am American. Thus, I grew up speaking American English. In Germany, however, students are generally taught British English. So, over the past five years, I have had to slowly convert my German fiancé over to my mother tongue. Unfortunately, even after five years together, Marco still uses some quintessentially British terms instead of their American counterpart. One instance of this happened last week when we were writing up a grocery list. “Add minced meat,” Marco said. “Only if you can say it to me in American English,” I replied.  [Before you think I am Continue Reading

Flying Kohlrabi | Mistranslation Monday

While in the U.S. last month, the German boyfriend saw his very first hummingbird! Hummingbirds only live in the Americas, so this was something he was quite excited about. Since my parents have a hummingbird feeder, we continued to watch a group of hummingbirds fly all over the backyard for our entire two-week stay. As we were watching the hummingbirds from my parent’s patio one morning, I tried to strike up a German conversation with Marco by saying the German word for hummingbird. “Kohlrabi!” I think this is what Marco imagined when I said that. After a confused pause, Marco Continue Reading

Colorful | Mistranslation Monday

–haft is a German adjective suffix. Examples of words with this suffix include dauerhaft (permanent; long-lasting), herzhaft (hearty), and grauenhaft (atrocious; morbid).  Today, however, I want to talk about the German word fabelhaft, which I always missheard as farbehaft. Fabelhaft means fabulous or mavelous. It comes from the word Fabel (fable). Add on the suffix –haft, and it becomes an adjective which basically means “like a fairy tale.” Silly me has always understood the word fabelhaft as farbehaft, which is not a real word. To me, however, it meant “colorful” (Farbe = color). I am pretty sure that I have been Continue Reading

Liebhaber | Mistranslation Monday

Liebhaber. What a beautiful word. Or at least I thought it was until an embarrassing situation with the German boyfriend happened recently. Marco and I recently played the computer game Spore together. In the game, you can choose to make your character an aggressive killing machine by killing all other species. You can choose to be a peaceful ruler by simply studying the other species. Or you can choose to be something in the middle. We had already played through the game once, and our character ended up somewhere in the middle. Since it was pretty fun, I wanted to Continue Reading

Giggles & Jiggles | Mistranslation Monday

On Sunday nights, Marco and I always watch Game of Thrones together. Anyone that watches Game of Thrones knows that the show can leave you in a weird mood once the credits start rolling. I guess the episode a few weeks ago left Marco in a really weird mood, because as he was getting ready for bed later that night, he told me: “I have the jiggles!” I shot him the *what the heck are you talking about* look. “I mean the giggles!” he said in an attempt to correct himself. “You have the jiggles or the giggles?” I ask, Continue Reading

Vermöbeln | Mistranslation Monday

A lot of German verbs begin with the letters “ver.” Verbessen means to improve. Versüßen means to sweeten. Verabreden means to arrange (a meeting). The thing about all of these verbs (and most German verbs that begin with ver), is that when you take the “ver” away, you are still left with a German word. Besser means better. Süß means sweet. Abrede means understanding or agreement. So, when confronted with a German verb that began with “ver” recently, I used this base to try to understand the meaning. The instance occurred when Marco yelled at me, “Ich werde dich gleich vermöbeln!” Continue Reading