Sunday, February 27, 2011

The English...I mean Germans...Are Coming...The Germans Are Coming

Many times throughout my days and weeks surrounded by Germans, I am struck by differences in language and word usage, pronunciation, and idioms.  In fact, we coaches have many discussions about such things as we learn from each other and try to have multi-national conversations on a large variety of topics.

Last week I had such a conversation that nearly made me fall off my bike laughing.  It was a heated debate over the noises animals make in English versus German.  Did you know that German roosters say "kee-kee-ree-kee"?  I vehemently argued that they probably say "cockle-doodle-do," just like American roosters do.  But no, apparently German roosters sound like high-pitched parakeets.

Don't even get me started on frogs.

A few other examples:

Americans yell "car!" when a car is passing a group of cyclists during a ride.  Germans say "auto!"

Germans "stand" on their bike.  Americans "get" on or "ride" their bike.

Germans "make the gym."  Americans "go to the gym" or more generically "workout."

If a German gets sun-burned his friends ask him "why did you not use protection?"  And immediately, every single time, my mind jumps to reproductive contraception.  My A is health class was well-deserved, apparently.

Americans in a peloton of bikes make use of each other's "draft."  Germans sit in each other's "wind shadow."

If one side of the body is more flexible than the other, a German calls it the "chocolate side."  Do Americans even have a term for that?  At first I thought "muffin top," but I don't think so.

Americans call it a "tri [as in try] suit."  Germans call is a "tri [as in tree] suit [as sweet or suite]."

The same difference exists for the American "wetsuit."  Germans say "wetsuit [as in sweet or suite]."  Or they simply call it a "neo [as in neoprene]" and my skin kind of crawls, although I have no idea why.

American carry "cellphones."  Some Germans and almost all Spaniards carry "handis [like "boy is he handy to have around"]."

And many times, we simply guess at respective translations.  If we are talking about exercises to do in the gym and a German searches for the proper word and says in German - and frustration -  "hantel," I guess "handle," and they nod, all is understood.

Everything except "nose rope."  I will let you guess what those are.

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