Every author loves the subtle variations between words, the hidden meanings, the possible misunderstandings. "Bare" words can be fascinating, in any language.
Being a native German who writes in English, I also enjoy the cultural differences that show when it comes to proverbs. Quite often, they make me laugh -- and if you make the mistake of translating them word by word, you'll find that people will scratch their heads.
So I thought I would give you a tour of German proverbs in the months to come. Here's the first one: In English, you say "Don't make a mountain out of a molehill." I love the image that conjures up in my head. It's also a fairly logical escalation from a small amount of earth to a big amount of earth.
However, if you'd translate that into German, people would probably get the idea, but they would still smile because the correct saying is: "Don't make an elephant out of a mosquito." Not quite as logical, but just as effective.
I always wonder how sayings like these developed and settled in every-day language over the years. I believe they are rich in history and tell us a bit about our culture. Though, to be honest, we don't have native elephants here, and while we do have mosquitoes, we have less than other countries. Maybe it's a sign that the Germans love exotic things? Who knows . . .
Tell me about your favorite sayings, and I'll give you the translations!
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Mischief & Humor from Page 1
It shows the medieval city of Meissen in Saxony, Germany.