Thursday, April 05, 2007

German v. English, One-on-one!

I'll be off the blog for a couple of days. To ponder in the meantime - which of the following words do you prefer - the English, or the German? As I learn German I find myself picking favorites. "Oh, that's way better than the English word for that!" or "Ew...I'll take English on that one." What do you think? Submit your ballot in the comments!

1. typical v. typisch
2. pumpkin v. Kuerbis
3. butterfly v. Schmetterling
4. helicopter v. Hubschrauber
5. Germany v. Deutschland
5. Cologne v. Koeln
6. Venice v. Venedig
7. licorice v. Lakritz
8. polar bear v. Eisbaer
9. discover v. entdecken
10. fish v. Fisch :)


  1. My votes:
    1. typisch (I like the sound "sch")
    2. pumpkin (sounds very round to me for some reason)
    3. butterfly (don't know why)
    4. Hubschrauber (sounds like hover to me)
    5. Deutschland (What is the etymology of "Germany" anyway?)
    5. Koeln (Cologne sounds like a perfume.)

    By the way, I never commented on your previous post, but I was thinking about it. Is there some kind of club you can join where you mix more often with Germans (and thus practice the language)? Maybe a local choir or something?

    Take care!
    6. Venice
    7. Lakritz (Being from the midwest I love the letter "a")
    8. Eisbaer (I assume it's prnounced similar to ice-bear)
    9. discover
    10. How different do these sound?
    It's ard to say how much of my votes are influenced by attraction to novelty or love of the familiar.

  2. Argh! I screwed of the formatting of my previous comment - sorry.

  3. DON'T LEAVE ME!!!

    ok i'll vote...
    1. typisch
    2. pumpkin.
    3. butterfly.
    4. helicopter.
    5. deutschland.
    6. cologne.
    7. venice.
    7. lakritz.
    8. EISBAER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    9. discover
    10. fisch. fish. wait, are they the same?

  4. Germany vs. Deutschland: I see a lot of own-goals in that game.

    My picks with the whys:
    Typisch, cuz I hear it everywhere.
    Pumpkin, because it sounds heavy.
    Butterfly, as they flutter by.
    (Schmetterling, because it sounds like it's being squashed.)
    Helicopter, because it sounds like the blades whirling around.
    Deutschland - it's the original.
    Cologne - don't know why
    Venice - sounds softer
    Eisbär because it would make sense in English too.
    Discover/entdecken cannot decide
    Fisch, because there's more to c.

  5. err, I meant NOT Schmetterling...

  6. Hey, I like your blog. I'm hoping to study in Heidelberg next year, so it's interesting to hear about someone who's there.

    Nice idea for a quiz. Just yesterday I was thinking what horrible words "Schmuck" and "Schmink" are for jewelry and make-up, but German also has it's share of winners.

    1. typisch - but "typical!" is a great expression of exasperation and wins in that context

    2. Kuerbis - it sounds very gourd-y

    3. butterfly - Schmetterling sounds like something that would make you shriek and try to kill it

    4. Hubschrauber - incredibly fun to say

    5. Germany

    2nd 5. :) Cologne

    6. Venice - I think all of those names are more poetic sounding in English

    7. Tie. Licorice has that "isshhh" sound that somehow makes me think of someone chomping them down. Lakritz sounds cool though, and is more appropriate for that strong salty licorice they have in northern Europe.

    8. polar bear - the "polar" reminds me of polar expeditions and the northern lights, Eisbaer is fine but more prosaic

    9. tie

    10. fish - seriously!

  7. 1. typisch
    2. pumpkin
    3. papillon (why should I have to choose between two ugly words, but if it matters, I'll pick Schmetterling because I never liked flies in my sandwiches)
    4. Hubschrauber
    5. Deutschland
    6. Venice
    7. licorice
    8. Eisbaer
    9. egal
    10. Fisch!

  8. And here are mine...

    1. typisch - I don't know why, but this has completely replaced typical in my English
    2. pumpkin - I like the diminutive ending
    3. Schmetterling - Tough call, but -ling beats -fly
    4. Hubschrauber - Helicopter sounds very technical, where as this sounds like a goofy toy
    5. Deutschland - I don't think countries and cities should have alternate names in other languages - proper nouns should stay what they are in any language!
    5. Koeln - It's a bitch to say, but see the Deutschland argument.
    6. Venice - neither of these is Venezia, but Venice is a lot closer! It took me a long time to figure out what Venedig was.
    7. Lakritz - I don't like how licorice looks one way but is pronounced another. The -itz ending makes the German version really badass.
    8. Eisbaer - Sounds chipper
    9. discover - Entdecken is harsh. Both are cool when thinking about literal meaning vs. meaning of the word, though.
    10. fish v. Fisch :) - I like both!

  9. I like the butterfly one!

  10. 1. typisch
    2. pumpkin
    3. butterfly
    4. helicopter
    5. Deutschland
    5. Cologne
    6. Venice
    7. Lakritz
    8. Eisbaer
    9. discover
    10. fish and Fisch (sounds the same)


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