The result of a sleepless night

As Thanksgiving approaches, and the majority of us are making preparations for grand feasts, my mother is preparing for a journey across the Atlantic.  She will be spending a week in Germany, where there is no Thanksgiving, and, having taken French in high school, she speaks none of the language (except for “Danke Schoen,” and that is only thanks to Wayne Newton).  I have offered a helping hand by providing some handy phrases she may need to use whilst overseas, including, but not limited to “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Pleased to meet you,” “My name is…,” “How much does that cost?” and “I’d like to speak to the manager.”

These little sayings came from a jiffy little phrasebook:

Jiffy Phrasebook: German. Maspeth, NY: Langenscheidt Publishers, 1986.

As helpful as this book is for getting around German-speaking countries, it doesn’t cover some of the more culturally refined, if not more fun and vulgar, phrases that one may find the need to use.  That’s why I turned to the following:

Besserwisser, Gertrude. Scheisse! The REAL German you were never taught in school. New York: Plume, 1994.

Tomb, Howard. Wicked German for the traveler. New York: Workman Publishing, 1992.

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite selections from these books to share with you.  Not only are the English-German translations included, but also the most approximate alfuepc pronunciations, should you decide to utter these phrases to your loved ones.  You may get punched, but that’s the risk you run.

You can’t fool me. I know what’s going on.
Ich weiβ wo der Hase lang läuft.
Iyks voyc vuw deyr hocu long lawft.

Don’t you talk to me like that, you old boozer.
Das laβ ich mir von dir doch nicht sagen, du alter Saufkopf.
Doc loc iyks miyr fon diyr doks niykst cogen, dю olter cawfkopf.

Were you trying to hit on my girlfriend?
Hast du etwa meine Freundin angemeiert?
Hoct dю etvo moyne fruwyndiyn ongemoyiyrt?

Don’t you know who I am? I’ll have your hazelnuts in a vice, my friend.
Sie wissen wohl nicht, wer ich bin? Ich werde Ihre Bröchten unter Beschuβ nehmen, meine Gute.
Ziy vicen vol niykst, veyr iyks bin? Iyks verde iyre brerksten юnter besюc neymen, moyne gюte.

You know, your pickup line is not exactly very sublte. But I like it.
Sag mal, deine Anmache ist ja nicht gerade sehr subtil. Aber das gefällt mir.
Cog mol, doyne onmokse ist yo niykst gerode ceyr cюbtiyl. Ober dos gefaylt miyr.

I bathe my psychic wounds in Beethoven’s velvety adagio.
Ich bade meine Wunden in Beethovens samtenes Adagio.
Iyks bode moyne vюnden iyn Beytuwfenc comtenec odajiyuw.

What you just said is a riddle to me. Nevertheless, it soulded mighty rude.
Was Sie gerade sagten, ist mir ein Rätsel. Trotzdem klang es unheimlich rüde.
Vos ziy gerode cagten, ist miyr oyn reytcel. Truwtzdeym klong es юnhoymliyks rюde.

What a pity. I cannot attend. There’s a documentary tonight about German cheeses!
Schade. Ich kahn nicht dabeisein. Und es gibt im fernsehen einen Dokumentarfilm über deutsche Käse!
Sode. Iyks kon niykst doboycoyn. Юnt ec gibt im feyrnseyen oynen dokyюmentorfiylm юber duwytxen keyze!


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