Dudenblitz and other translated pleasures

I’ve had a busy week (partly because of essays and presentations, partly because of meeting friends in bars and going to concerts and theatres, so I can’t complain too much),  and so, for my first relaxed weekend day today I… went to a bookshop (surprising, I know).

I had a good excuse for it: the need to find more books in German (it’s not book addiction if it helps you learn a language, you see? actually I could use that excuse in any language, now that I think of it, bookshops, here I come!). And I did fulfil that mission (book haul may be coming, but it’s going to be a very Germanic one, if you’re interested).

Now of course it wouldn’t be a real trip to a bookshop if I hadn’t come back from it with side purchases, but I found two books about the beauty of languages and untranslatable words, and those are:

  • Lost in translation (An illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable words from around the World) by Ella Frances Sanders


  • Schottenfreude (German words for the human condition), by Ben Schott

They are based on the same principle: find words in a language for which there is no equivalent in English. And I’ve already decided that I’m going to use most of these words in the every day life. Some, I’m already using, like Kummerspeck (excess weight due to overeating after a break-up), which I particularly love because I get to say the word speck (lard or bacon) as a vegetarian. But the rest, look at all these wonderful words:


Aktivansteher!!! welcome to my vocabulary. And Figernageltafelquietschen, thank you for existing!!



and of course, the action of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books. Those two at least aren’t Tsundoku, I’ve already read them as soon as I went home!

I’m giggling alone with all those new words, now. Who ever said German is a langweilig language has clearly never taken into account the fact that it has a world for ” discovering an indecipherable not in your own handwriting”: Ludwigssyndrom! I’ve had Ludwigssyndrom all my life and have just discovered how to name it. In short, I’m happy!


3 thoughts on “Dudenblitz and other translated pleasures

  1. I am hyperventilating over ‘Schottenfreude’! As someone who suffers terribly from Fingernageltafelquietschen in relation to the entire musical repertoire of Queen, I need this word in my life and shall use it every day forthwith. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve taken the very unproductive but life changing decision of learning every single one of this book’s words by heart instead of the medical vocabulary I’m supposed to be studying right now in German. I mean, can you live without “eisenbahnscheinbewegung”, the feeling that you are moving when It is in fact the train next to you departing? I don’t think so. It is a crucial book!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Essential! I have to have it! In French – ‘Je ne sais quoi’. In German – every word totally covered, even it means using up a whole day’s allocation of letters in the process. Love it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s