It’s Sonderling Sunday! When I play with language by looking at the German translation of odd phrases from children’s books. This is the week I’m back with the book that started it all – Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge by James Kennedy, the translation of The Order of Odd-Fish.
We left off last time on page 131 in English, which is Seite 167 in the German edition. Jo and Ian are about to ride elephants through the city.
In the very first paragraph, we’ve got some phrases you must have always wanted to hear translated (without knowing it):
“The elephants were painted with colorful, swirling designs.” =
Die Elefanten wurden mit bunten, blumigen Mustern bemalt.
“brass necklaces” = Messingshalsketten (“brass neck chains”)
“jewel-studded bracelets” = juwelenbesetzten Fuβkettchen (“jewel-beset foot-chainlets” – these are bracelets on elephants, so it would be around their feet, after all.)
“a lush garden” = ein üppiger Garten
“huge bulbous trees” = riesiger, knolliger Bäume
“flimsy shacks” = baufälligen Baracken
“smoky” = verqualmt
“shuffling heaps of rags” = wandelnden Lumpenbündeln
“seething” = brodelnde
“crushing, surging throngs of people” = wogenden Menschenmassen (“surging mass of mankind”)
“iguanas” = Eidechsen
“clanking and clattering” = klappernd und scheppernd
“wispy mustache” = flaumigen Schnurrbart
“Municipal Squires Authority” = Städtischen Knappenbehörde
“gnarled trees” = knorrigen Bäumen
I dare you to pronounce this one! Maybe just spit:
“spliced” = gepfropft
“change the subject” = das Thema wechseln
That’s it for chapter 11!
Hmm. This week’s wasn’t too terribly exciting, only I know now how to describe certain flaumigen Schnurrbart I’ve seen lately. (November was No Shave November at the College of William and Mary. Are those two things related? Maybe.) And now I can say not just that I don’t like crowds, but that I don’t like Menschenmassen. But bottomline, I will probably spend the next week trying to pronounce gepfropft.