Krank is the German word for ill or sick. A sickness/illness is Krankheit.
If you’re too sick to go to school or work, you might need a doctor’s note, or Krankmeldung. A sick-report. It’ll state that you are unfit for work until a given date and can be extended if necessary. They are on yellowish paper, which is why we also call them Gelber Schein or yellow slip.
Interesting enough, playing hooky, skipping school or work without legitimate reason, is called blau machen: to make blue.
Being krank is won’t usually ruin you in Germany. We do have mandatory health insurance, the providers are called Krankenkasse. Something like sick-bank.
So you don’t really have to be afraid of THIS reason if an ambulance or Krankenwagen (sick-car) picks you up and drives you to the Krankenhaus.
Over there, nurses will take care of you. Or as we call them Krankenschwester (sick-sister, or rather sister to the sick) if female and Krankenpfleger (sick-carer) if mail.
I’m pretty sure the sister thing came from when the sick were primarily cared for by nuns in abbeys, their title being Sister. That’s why the head nurse of a hospital still is called Oberschwester, a mix of, well Schwester and Oberin (Reverend Mother, from which you could make the link to matron, or hospital matron).
Krankenakte – sick file or medical record Krankenbett – sick bed Krankengeld – sick-money, benefits you get paid when you are hospitalized past a certain threshold. For the first six weeks of being sick, your employer HAS to continue your pay, after that your Krankenkasse takes over.
So, yeah, our language might be a bit brutal, but being sick wont really kill you. Uh…unless it does. Sorry.
Turns out there’s quite an abundance of pigs in Germany.
Our word for pig is Schwein.
A piglet is a Ferkel.
We call guinea pigs Meerschweinchen which translates back to little sea-pig. Their bigger relatives, Capybara, we call Wasserschwein. Water-pig.
Then there’s Seeschwein which translates to sea-pig as well. See is our word for lake or the sea depending on context and gender. Der See is the lake, die See is the sea. Seeschwein is a rarely used word for Dugong. Sometimes we also call it Seekuh = sea cow.
We also have stinger-pigs, Stachelschweine. Those are porcupines!
Finally there’s the Schweinswal. Pig-whale. You probably know it as harbor or common porpoise.
So many pigs. Man, I could totally do with a sausage now.
As you see, German has some awesome words, and we’re really good at naming stuff.
And we’re in love with the word for stuff. The German word for that is Zeug. We love that word so much we use it in compound words all the time. Some really official, some a little colloquial, but they’re all legit.
But there’s more: our word for toy is Spielzeug. Yup, play-stuff.
The less official ones might be Waschzeug = wash-stuff. Or toiletries. Like the kit that you take with you on vacation, camping or an overnight stay.
Bettzeug = bed-stuff = bedding. Linens, pillowcase, etc.
Schreibzeug = writing-stuff. If we tell you to get your Schreibzeug, we are talking about pen and paper to take notes.
That’s it for today, I hope you enjoy #GermanWithOlli
While Cairn’s cat continued to shun me I got a big dose of hospitality today. After starting the day with a berry big breakfast at the Black Bear Diner, my awesome hosts drove me all the way to Yosemite National Park to take pictures of rocks and waterfalls and squirrels and stuff. We had tons of fun on this road trip within the roadtrip even if the weather wasn’t ideal at times. Vanity Plates and bumper stickers provided some entertainment as well, but the main attraction was the quite beautiful scenery of the national park itself. And some of the fattest squirrels I’ve ever seen, darting around between the visitors protecting their sandwiches from them at the visitor center. I didn’t take a picture of those, though. No fatshaming squirrels. ((also my camera was in the car at the time))
As you’ll see in the slideshow below, Yosemite is worth a look even when it isn’t bright blue sky all around, so here’s what we saw gallivanting about the park itself!
After seeing all that we drove back Sacramento-wards, only stopping to pick up our well-deserved dinner at this place:
“Wait, what?” the non-US ones of you will say. Wiener Schnitzel? In the States? As fast food, by the looks of it?
Nope. It’s a hot dog chain.
“So what?” the Americans not “in-the-know” will say.
I’m back from my vacation but I’m still horribly jetlagged or something like that. So instead of showing off pictures or telling you stories, I give you something else I brought home from my vacation.
It somehow came up when I had dinner with Amira Makansi, which was totally awesome ((both dinner and Amira)). We were talking about everything that came to mind and she mentioned a facebook friend who used to do a daily German word but sadly stopped at some point. So I kinda suggested doing something like that on twitter, and yeah. Here I am, starting it.
You might remember my more or less weekly lessons that I stopped at some point because I ran out of ideas. These ones will be bitesized, mostly contained in one tweet, and not daily. I’ll try to go for a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule for now.
If you don’t want to follow me for that, or are afraid to miss my tweets, I’ll hashtag them with #GermanWithOlli
This was sort of what I did today. Except, being German, my taxes are different. I guess.
Let’s start with a few explanations: I am working full time, so my employer deducts my taxes directly from my salary. Taxes, payment for some social security stuff. They don’t deduct health insurance stuff because I’m in private healthcare. So in fact they pay me a little more because they’re obligated to pay half of my health insurance costs. To a certain degree.
The biggest chunk they keep from my salary is the earnings tax or Lohnsteuer. They give that directly to our equivalent of the IRS, the Finanzamt.
Since the taxes of employees are paid in advance, we have up to four years to file our taxes, depending on the exact situation, which I wont bore you with. But because I hate keeping track of documents and want it to be done as soon as possible, I usually do it end of February every year.
My Einkommensteuererklärung (literally income tax statement). I could do it by hand, filling in forms the Finanzamt provides, but I prefer to do it via a software that costs me 15 bucks a year. If I wasn’t so bad at keeping track of certain invoices, I could claim a refund for that, too.
The software tells me where to find the information on the paperwork I get from my employer, so most of it is pretty easy to fill.
I tell the Finanzamt how much money I made. How much in income tax and church tax my employer already paid. How much money went into benefits. How much money they gave me to cover costs driving to and from work.
Then I have to tell them (and in some cases file receipts) about my professional expenses or Werbungskosten. Which is a nasty words because it translates to advertising cost and should be Erwerbskosten. Costs related to me making a living.
Clothes or work materials I have to by, travel expenses for business trips, that sort of stuff.
Any other tax allowable expenses like certain types of insurance, maintenance costs for my living arrangements, costs related to the care of sick or old relatives, etc etc etc.
Why we do that? Well, in my case, in a few weeks or months, depending how busy the Finanzamt will be, I will get what we call a Lohnsteuerrückzahlung. An income tax refund. I’ll probably get mine in April or May.
This year I’m expecting something in the very low four figures, which is pretty good.
Somehow Germans ended up with a reputation of being humorless. Part of that might be, because we put aside a certain time of the year to be funny.
While neither is true, I’m not here to debunk both myths, I’m just trying to shed a light on what we sometimes call Die fünfte Jahreszeit – the fifht season
Fastnacht (Fassenacht, Fasching, etc)
Both words seem to derive from lent starting right after it. Karneval is often attributed to the latin words for meat and farewell, while Fastnacht can almost literally be translated to lent-eve. Or, if you want to pun: Almost night. It is celebrated in most catholic reagions of Germany, namely the Rhineland. The most well-known and widely spread variation is the Rheinische Fassenacht (Rhenanian Carnival) with the biggest celebrations in Cologne and Mayence.
The season traditionally starts on November 11th at 11:11, or am Elften Elften um Elf Uhr Elf. The eleventh eleventh at eleven past eleven. The number 11 is considered a wacky number in Germany, the first Schnapszahl ((booze number, a number considering of all the same digits)) and plays a big role in Karneval. It also has sort of history roots especially for the rhenanian Carnival, related to the French Revolution. Elf. E-L-F. Ègalite, Liberté, Fraternité.
The first parties and celebrations start then but are suspended during Advent and Christmas until February and the Carnival week starting with the main events on Weiberdonnerstag (Wench Thursday) going through Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) and Fastnachtsdienstag. (Carnival Tuesday).
During that time the Elferrat reigns. This committee of eleven with a president at the top and in most places the Prinzenpaar (the prince couple) are the rulers of the carnival activities and will often judge comedic performances at the carnevalistic sessions. Their costumes and those of their gards and pages are often a mock-up of late medieval and Napoleonic or Prussian uniforms and clothing, closely related to the tradition of making fun of the government during the season.
Each village and city in the region has their own Elferrat, their rulers and Prinzengarde or Funkengarde and of course the Funkenmariechen (Sparkling guard and Sparkling Mary) trailing them and dancing during the celebrations.
This is what they look like performing a mix of dancing and acrobatics at a carnival session:
Depending on where you are the uniforms look pretty much similar, but the color scheme can vary. Red is traditional in my home area.
In addition to their costumes pretty much every village, town and city has their own carnevalistic battlecry and using the wrong one, especially in rival cities is a very serious faux-pas.
Now in the primetime of carnival people tend to go wild. During celebrations a lot of people take time off, businesses in the active areas often just close shop and people exhibit a What happens in Vegas attitude. If you join the activities try to retain some common sense though. Don’t go assuming anything when you get a Bützchen (a kiss) from a total stranger at a Fastnachtsparty in Cologne.
A big part of the tradition are the Kappensitzungen, sessions named after the Narrenkappe (the fools hat) worn by the Elferrat and Karnevalsprinz (see picture above). Sometimes they can also have other names, often mock-militaristics due to the Napoleon/Prussia-merrymaking.
Those sessions are basically big comedy shows with music (we have our own genre for that thing), acrobatics and comedy. A bit like a themed circus. A lot of brilliant political cabaret was born in carneval.
A big carnevalistic comedy tradition is the Büttenrede (tub-speech).
Someone enters the tub (a decorated speakers pult) and delivers a comedic, mock-poetic speech with bad rhyming, usually bitterly sarcastic and centered around current events and politics. The punchlines are usually marked by the traditional Karnevalstusch.
But there’s more.
There’s Weiberdonnerstag when women storm the city hall, cut off men’s ties and generally go apeshit. Just like men during that time.
The climax of the whole season is the Rosenmontagszugm the Rose Monday Parade (usually neighboring cities, town and villages time it so some are actually on Saturday, Sunday or Tuesday, so groups and spectators can go to more than one).
Orchestras, clubs, carneval associations form up a parade and throw candy (Kamelle!) , hand out oranges and snacks, fling confetty and paper streamers. Well, not the orchestras, those play music. And the dancing groups dance. But you get the pictures. Mind you, this is not an official holiday. But in most places where it’s celebrated, business just close down for the day or a couple of hours, because nothing would get done anyway.
How big is this? The largest one in Cologne has been around since 1823. The parade is more than 4 miles long. Yes, 4 miles of parade floats, groups and orchestras one after another. They hand out about 300 tons of candy, snacks, flowers and little presents. About 12.000 individuals are involved in organizing it, there’s about a million spectators. In 2014 there were 82 orchestras, four of them riding on horses. In 2014 the parade was longer than the path it took, so the first group was already done when the last one hadn’t even started.
Here’s an example for a parade float (and it’s actually a pretty small and cruddy one, compared to what you occasionally see) critizising a German Cardinal opposing abortion.
You get all kinds of stuff on the big ones. Polititians, church figures, TV scandals, literally NOTHING is safe from satire on a Rosenmontagszug.
And now, to wrap things up, I give you THE traditionall carnevalistic music, the Narrhallamarsch. The March of the Fools Hall, which is played by orchestras on the parades, wherever the Prince is due to appear or when a new performers enters or exits the stage on one of the sessions.
All of these can be translated with the German word Schrank.
Usually some sort of qualifier is added, as to the location, content or built of your Schrank.
Küchenschrank – cupboard, literally the kitchen cabinet Kleiderschrank – wardrobe – clothes cabinet Schlafzimmerschrank – a wardrobe that very specifically resides in your bedroom Badezimmerschrank – the one in the Bathroom
The fun starts with the fridge and freezer. Those can be a Schrank, too.
A Gefrierschrank (freezing cabinet) or Kühlschrank (cooling cabinet)
And you thought German was hard and complicated? Doesn’t get easier than that. If it is large enough and contains stuff, it can be a Schrank.
A server rack where you install all the 19″ computer equipment is called a Serverschrank.
If it’s one that only contains say patch panels and maybe a few switches, it’s a Netzwerkschrank. A network cabinet.
A gun locker? Easy: Waffenschrank. A weapon-cupboard. ;-)
Worried about shoe storage? Put them in a Schuhschrank.
Another example where German is a lot easier than English would be the hoover or vacuum cleaner. Jeez, don’t make it complicated. We just call it Staubsauger. Literally: dust sucker.
Hey, no worries, I’m not going to make you learn how to make Sauerkraut. Not in the least because I don’t know how. :-D
Instead I’ll let you tag along with my impromptu lunch today and maybe teach you a few kitchen and food-related terms.
Here we have: Schinkenwürfel – diced ham
Champignon – apparently you guys call them button mushroom. The generic term for mushroom (and all kinds of fungi) is Pilz
Paprika – bell pepper
Now what to do with that? I poured some Olivenöl in a Pfanne. some olive oil into a pan, turned up the heat, threw the ham in there, added the diced Champignons after a bit and topped it off with a cut up Tomate.
Since I don’t cook every day I stopped keeping fresh Zwiebeln (onions) or Knoblauch (garlic) around unless I plan for something specific. To be honest, gefriergetrocknet ( freeze-dried) or powdered works as well. I added both to the pan, sprinkled generously with Salz and Pfeffer ((you can probably guess what these words mean)), some freeze-dried provencal herbs and started preheating the oven. Or den Ofen vorheizen.
Kräuter = herbs Gewürze = spices
Time to deal with the Paprika.
In a spur-of-the moment decision I cut up a ball of Mozzarella (same word in German) into small pieces, leaving a few larger slices.
The small pieces I filled into the ham/mushroom/tomato mix. The Füllung (stuffing) for gefüllte Paprika!
I put the larger slices of Mozzarella cheese on top, put the peppers into an Auflaufform or casserole dish to bake it for about 20 minutes at 200°C or roughly 390 Fahrenheit.
Literally “good appetite”. A way of saying “enjoy your meal”.