Sonderling Sunday – Chapter Nine – The Seltsamen Sonderlinge’s Squires

It’s time at last for another issue of Sonderling Sunday, where I play with words by looking Der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, the German translation of James Kennedy‘s The Order of Odd-fish, and find translations that give interesting insights or are simply fun to say.

The title of this post is a warped German-English hybrid to say The Squires of The Order of Odd-fish. I plan to look at only the beginning section of Chapter Nine. We’ll see if I get carried away….

We’re beginning on page 78 in English, Seite 100 auf Deutsch.

Interesting. Here’s a pretty direct translation:
“homelier” = heimeliger (I wonder which word meant “ugly” first?)
“arched brass ceiling” = verzierten Messingempore (“ornate brass gallery” says Google)

I like this one. It’s so obvious:
“vines” = Schlingpflanzen = “sling plants”

“unidentifiable fruit” = undefinierbaren Früchten (“undefined fruit.” This appeals to my mathematical brain.)

This sentence has a candidate for longest word at 16 letters:
“It was as if they had all been stolen from different places.” = Die Teile schienen von überallher zusammengeklaubt worden zu sein.

More fun to say in German:
“filthy black robes” = schmutziger, schwarzer Roben

Here’s the word for Squires:
“Squires” = Knappen (Ah! So my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Knapp, may have had a squire in his ancestry. Only in German, the K is pronounced.)

“precisely knotted bow tie” = einer sorgfältig gebundenen Fliege (Interesting. The word for “bow tie” is also the word for “fly.”)

Better in English:
“teetering trays” = beladenen Tabletts

Better auf Deutsch:
“rushing back and forth” = hin- und herhuschten (“there and here scurried”)

I’ve mentioned this one before but love it:
“tiptoe” = Zehenspitzen (“toe points”)

“discredited metaphysics” = Ungnade gefallene Metaphysik (“disgrace-befallen metaphysics”)

“a beloved eccentric.” = ein hochgeschätzter Exzentriker

“flash photography” = Fotos mit Blitzlicht (very descriptive, nicht?)

More fun to say in German:
“wooden stool” = hölzernen Hocker

“one weirdly birdlike” = der einem Vogel unheimlich ähnelte

“an unfortunate nose” = eine knubbelige Nase (“knobbly nose”)

I like this better in German, too. You could say your kid is in this, and it sounds mysterious and important:
“growth spurt” = Wachstumsphase

“perpetual stoop” = ständig gebückt

“babbling” = plapperte

“the Silent Sisters” = der Stummen Schwestern

Shorter in German!:
“a tattered tan corduroy jacket” = ein verschlissenes Cordsakko

Maybe a little more dignified in German?:
“the wispy beginnings of a mustache” = der erste Flaum eines Bartes (“the first fuzz of facial hair”)

That’s the end of the first section, and all I have time for tonight. To sum up:

Most logical: Schlingpflanzen
Most fun to say: hin- und herhuschten
Most descriptive: Fotos auf Blitzlicht
Best German short form: Cordsakko
Best Euphemism: der erste Flaum eines Bartes

Armed with this knowledge, I can aspire to be ein hochgeschätzter Exzentriker!

Leave a Reply