Almost everyone has had an earworm in their head at some time and tried to get it out, but where do they come from? Germany? The term earworm originated in German over a hundred years ago and entered English as a literal translation of the German word Ohrwurm, or ear-worm, which Germans used to describe a catchy tune caught in one’s head.
Article by John Morrish
Words travel, and sometimes in surprising ways. An English slang term has been enthusiastically adopted by the Germans. It has been embraced by the business and political classes, appeared in big headlines in the serious press, and been accepted by the Duden dictionary, an important work of reference. Angela Merkel has been known to use it. Nothing so unusual in any of that, except that the word is “shitstorm”.Continue reading full article…
Many of those locked away in long days of lockdown feel an indescribable ache to be someplace else, not just anywhere, somewhere nice and new and interesting. The German language already has a precise word for that aching far away feeling, and the German word has lately been been filling a void in the English language: Fernweh.
Fernweh isn’t just a case of “Get me out of here” or “Beam me up Scotty” or a desire to be nowhere at all, it’s a longing for faraway places that erase the ache and relieve the longing, and so the word is used in German travel adverts and even printed prominently on brands of activity clothing.Continue reading full article…
Don’t sniff, but are spicy Brits glugging glue this Christmas? Bountiful bottles of Glühwein selling from UK supermarket shelves might suggest people who come unstuck in extended isolation are reaching for a remedy or trying to put a broken Christmas back together, but in fact this import is the traditional German equivalent of mulled wine, also known as spiced wine, and has no known connection to glue. A humble red wine heated with cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and even raisins is a widespread winter drink in Europe and nicely disposes of otherwise undrinkable dregs of cheap wine. Although traditionally this potion goes by different names in different lands, now in English it is flirting with a hot new name from abroad, and we are provisionally adding it to our growing list of German words used in English.
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Hamsters have been emptying shop shelves across Germany and now seem set to cross borders as other countries take up the telling term Hamsterkauf. Wise advice to stock up on essentials before being confined to home by an anti-coronavirus diktat, combined with an angst attack in the face of a pandemic, has seen runs on toilet paper, pasta, flour and hand gel – snatching away all available wares. The German language term for this buying more than you need is Hamsterkauf, meaning literally hamster buying, or buying like a hamster. The tiny hamster with its puffy cheeks full of nuts is a lovable symbol for sensibly storing what you need for later, like its bigger cousin the squirrel, but neither actually pay for what they accumulate and have never been seen panic buying.Continue reading full article…
Are capitalists hoping to harness unicorns to lead the charge to a zero carbon economy? Some experts think so and are calling for investment in unicorn incubation programmes with the promise of great returns. Recently the unicorn has lent its name to the elite group of billion dollar startup tech firms, and now looks set to sire a whole new breed of firms focused on facilitating low carbon living. As icecaps melt, sea levels rise, and global overheating threatens human extinction, can a magical horse with a pointed hat save the human race? Some hard-headed technologists are advocating this, so is it time we understood this beautiful beast and its future a bit better?
The unicorn has captured the human imagination since the earliest days of India, appears in the Christian Bible, in medieval bestiary books illustrating beasts of every alleged kind, and has often been harnessed as a symbol. Typically understood to be a forest-dwelling white horse with a single, spiralling and pointed horn sticking out of its forehead, it might initially have been the ancients’ remote misinterpretation of actual one-horned animals such as the ibex or rhinoceros, or of profile representations of cattle, but it developed a mythical presence in the Middle Ages in Europe which lives on to this day.
2019 sees centenary celebrations for Germany’s groundbreaking Bauhaus design school, whose 14 year lifespan influenced art, architecture and design worldwide throughout the twentieth century and beyond. On 8 September The Bauhaus Museum opens in Dessau, and HE Translations have added the word Bauhaus to our growing list of German words used in English, many of them highly influential terms.Continue reading full article…
A report by TastyWebDesign.com
With coffee being so wildly popular these days, is a coffee substitute a winner or a loser? Anyone who has watched enough World Cup matches has seen a substitute come on the field and decide the match with fresh energy, or else disappoint when they can’t do what the missing star player did. A coffee bean isn’t a football so why even talk of substitutes, why not some other better word? And why do people drink coffee anyway?
People enjoy the rich roasted taste of coffee and many cherish the stimulating effect of the caffeine it contains, a drug which zaps away fatigue and sleepiness and speeds things up. Regular coffee drinking can lead to caffeine addiction, meaning without this stimulant at regular intervals the coffee lover feels tired, with poor concentration, irritability, and even headaches – which are quickly cured by a fresh cup. Coffee breaks become not just a pleasurable social ritual but a required recharge, part of the grind of daily life. So why would anyone want or need to drink something else instead? To replace a drink or a drug, or both? Or just to respond to the endless cycle of headlines about coffee being good or bad for you?Continue reading full article…
Following US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK in the midst of a heatwave and the ball-kicking fest of the World Cup, the laughter and tears are flowing with the timely release of the revised 2018 edition of The Madhouse Effect. This work, a lively synthesis of science and cartoons, rips the mask off the climate change deniers, having been updated with new content for the era of the Trump regime.
The Madhouse Effect: How climate change denial is threatening our planet, destroying our politics, and driving us crazy features an outstandingly authoritative text by award-winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and contains cartoons by prize-winning USA political cartoonist Tom Toles. It is ideally suited for both the layman and general reader struggling to see through the haze of misinformation on these vital issues. In an article titled Burning Down The House, the Washington Monthly named this “The book Donald Trump does not want you to read.”
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As evidenced by the photo below from August 2014, our visitors from Germany took their ironing duties quite seriously, in the knowledge that Extreme Ironing was in fact invented in Leicester. Needless to say, we have the book, as shown on the table in the photo.
Extreme ironing has not yet translated into a professional sport sponsored by manufacturers of irons or ironing boards, although the German language once again demonstrates efficiency by condensing the translation of extreme ironing down to just one word, albeit a compound word.
For further edification see the fascinating article under the heading The Finely Pressed, Death-Defying World of Extreme Ironing.
Deutsche Infos zum Extrembügeln gibt es auf Wikipedia.
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