German Word ……………..Literal Translation…………………..Meaning

Meerschweinchen ………….. ocean + pig + diminutive ending……. Guinea pig

Schnurrbart …………………..purr or line/cord + beard……………….. mustache

Schneebesen …………………..snow + broom ……………………………….. whisk

Wackelpudding……………….. bounce/jiggle + pudding …………….. Jell-o

Hörnchen ……………………….horn + diminutive ending ……………. croissant

Eichhörnchen …………………red + horn + diminutive ending …….. squirrel

Wasserstoff …………………….water + material/matter/stuff……….. hydrogen

Trinkgeld ……………………….drink + money ………………………………. tip ($)

Glühbirne ………………………glow + pear ……………………………………. light bulb

 

Some of you have heard me going on about Meerschweinchen.  It was a word I learned last summer during my German class at Northwestern, where it was explained as “little pig from across the sea.”  How can anyone not love that word?

I learned Schnurrbart about the same time.  My German teacher in Evanston explained that schnur is the word for a line or a string, hence “line beard.”  My German teacher here said that it comes from schnurr, the word for the sound a happy cat makes, because cats often have a marking on their muzzle that looks like a mustache.  You decide.

Schneebesen, she also explained, is so called because it is traditionally used to whisk egg whites, which look like snow.

Glühbirne I just learned last week from a high school student working at DLR for a few weeks.   (Aside: German high school students spend two three-week stints at different job sites, learning, as one girl told me, what it’s like to “be in the real world and work seven hours a day.”  So we had a bunch of 15-year-olds running around DLR for most of January.  Trying to find things to keep them from getting bored, let alone something scientifically meaningful, is a real challange.  End Aside)  I told Stefan about my new word on the way home, and he said it was a pity I’d learned it, because they are being completely phased out in Europe and replaced by the non-pear-shaped Energiesparlampen, what we call compact florescent blubs. Schade.

One Response to “Answers”

  1. Jeanette Says:

    Greetings from Ames, Iowa. Spring came early today with temperatures almost 60 degrees. Only to be followed with a forecast that perhaps the largest storm of the season will arrive this weekend. So everything is normal in Iowa.
    Enjoyed reading your blog. Sounds like not all is hard work. Keep enjoying these very special days. They will all pass to soon.
    CPC bell choir has some new members this year. All the many repairs have almost been completed and the bills paid with a little to spare. Have a good day. Lee and I miss you.
    Jeanette

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