Everyone in Germany talks constantly of illness.  It is a country of hypochondriacs and a country of contradictions.  The same person afraid of a drafty house will sit outside in winter, wrapped in a blanket and drink beer.  Fresh air is good for you, you see.   The person who rides his bike for exercise will do so while smoking a cigarette.  Explain that one.  And while a healthy lifestyle includes ample exercise, vegetables and bio-grown food, that exercise is tempered with plenty of smoking and drinking and veggies that are more often than not deep-fried and/or covered in cheese.  The aversion to actual medicine seems to come from a real distrust of the unnatural.  Herbs rule the day and are always the first line of attack.  No wonder everyone’s sick all the time!

I have long held the contention that German is comprised of merely 50 root words, endlessly rearranged and combined to make it one of the most complicated and difficult languages known to man.

Example:  The two syllable darling known in English as a “matchbook” gets expanded to the whopping five syllable “Streichholzschachteln” which literally translates to something along the lines of “box of wooden sticks that you strike”.

Seriously.

But if you break these impossibly long words down into their smaller components, you can easily suss out the definition based on the roots.

Here are a few examples.

SPIELOTHEK:

\SCHPEEL-o-tek\ noun

Lit: A chain of casinos.

Fig: A cinema where it is permissible to scream aloud (vent your spiel) at the movie screen, much like when in your own living room.  In every other cinema it is (read: should be) verboten.

 

CHRISTBAUMSCHMUCKS:

\CHRIST-baum-schmucks\ noun

Lit: Christmas Tree Jewelry

Fig: Messianic Jew-hating dicks. ‘Christbaum’… get it? No? Okay. Nevermind.

 

FREIHALTEN:

\FRY-halt-en\ verb

Lit: Keep clear

Fig: What Weight Watchers recommends you do after eating six French fries.

 

ÄSTHETISCHE CHIRURGIE:

\ay-SCHTEK-ish-uh  SHEER-ur-gee\ noun

Lit: Plastic surgery

Fig: A discussion on the aesthetic appearance of Javier Bardem/Anton Chirgurh’s controversial hairstyle in the film, No Country For Old Men.

 

AUSFAHRT:

\AUS-fart\ noun

Lit: Exit (for cars)

Fig: A fart that is released out into the world without fear of recognition.



EINFAHRT:

\EIN-fart\ noun

Lit: Entrance (for cars)

Fig: A fart that desperately needs to be released, but due to the unfortunate circumstance of being in close company, must be held in.

 

STADTRUNDFAHRTEN:

\SCHTAD-trund-fart-en\ noun

Lit: Sightseeing bus

Fig: A special bus where the trend is to stand and fart openly in the company of strangers from other countries.

 

FEUERWEHRZUFAHRT:

\FOY-er-VER-zoo-fart\ noun

Lit: Fire access lane

Fig: Where there’s fart, there’s fire.