Sonderling Sunday – Ken Kiang and Hoagland Shanks

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday, that time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books. This week, I’m back with my stand-by, the book with the most bizarre phrases of all, The Order of Odd-fish, by James Kennedy, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge.

Last time, we left off at the start of page 202 in the English edition, Seite 254 auf Deutsch.

Have you ever wondered how they decide which phrases to put in a phrasebook? Well, think of this as a set of phrases that have actually been used! So surely English-speaking travelers to Germany could find a use for them, nicht?

“former life” = ehemaligem Leben

“petty” = armselig (“pathetic”)

“to leave anything undone” = etwas unerledigt zu lassen

“loathed” = verachtete

“repulsed him” = widerte ihn an

“unbearable disgust” = unerträglichem Ekel

“smug” = Selbstgefälliges (“self-pleasing”)

“self-satisfied” = Selbstzufriedenes

“vowed” = schwur

This isn’t as melodious:
“happy-go-lucky handyman” = unbekümmerte Faktotum (“unencumbered factotum”)

Here the alliteration was preserved:
“humdrum happiness” = fade Fröhlichkeit

“guessed” = vermutete

Here’s a good one:
“wild pleasures” = ausschweifendsten Vergnügungen (“extravagant pleasures”)

This whole sentence needs to be translated:
“That is, what if Ken Kiang gave Hoagland Shanks unlimited access to any kind of pie he wanted?”
= Was wäre, wenn Ken Kiang Hoagland Shanks unbegrenzten Zugang zu jeder Art von Kuchen gewährte, nach der ihn gelüstete?
(“What would be, if Ken Kiang Hoagland Shanks unbounded access to each kind of Cake granted, after which he lusted?”)

“addicted” = süchtig

“generosity” = Großzügigkeit

“a changed man” = ein verwandelter Mensch

“desperate things” = verzweifelte Dinge

“but at best would serve to numb him against his sordid existence”
= sondern höchstens noch dazu dienten, ihn gegen die Erbärmlichkeit seiner Existenz abzustumpfen
(“but at highest still served to, him against the wretchedness of his existence to blunt”)

“suicidal quest” = selbstmörderische Aufgabe

“encroached upon every idle moment” = sich in jedem winzigen Moment an ihn heranschlich
(“in each tiny moment on him sneaked up”)

“unquenchable emptiness” = unfüllbare Leere

“a ravenous nothing” = ein alles verschlingendes Nichts (“an all devouring nothing”)

“jerk back” = zuckte er zurück

“mounting terror” = steigendem Entsetzen

“fantasized” = ausgemalt (“painted”)

“pity” = Mitgefühl (“with-feeling”)

And that’s it for Chapter 16! We are now more than halfway through the book!

There are some good phrases to try to work into your conversation this week! If you find you have steigendem Entsetzen when confronted with ein alles verschlingendes Nichts, you have all my Mitgefühl!

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