Sonderling Sunday – Ecknische und Knirps

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.


It’s been awhile since I’ve done a post, with no good reason but your basic busyness. So I’m happy to get back to it tonight. And it’s the turn of my stand-by, the truest Sonderbook of them all, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, by James Kennedy, the translation of The Order of Odd-fish.

Last time I visited this book, I finished with “the picture of happiness,” die Verkörperung von Glückseligkeit, which is on page 228, Seite 287.

As always, I love learning how to translate James Kennedy’s disgust-inducing prose. 🙂

“a dingy, nameless place” = ein schmuddeliger namenloser Ort

“its walls yellowed with decades of smoke and stains”
= Die Wände waren von jahrzehntealtem Rauch und Schmutz vergilbt.

“an ornery dog” = ein übellauniger Hund

“godawful” = einfach schrecklich (“simply horrible”)

“worry” = Kopfzerbrechen (“head-breaking”)

“corner booth” = Ecknische
(Yes! This is now exactly what I’m going to name my corner cubicle!)

Here’s a handy phrase to know:
“scrawled-upon napkins” = vollgekritzelten Servietten

We can say this much more concisely:
“snaky” = schlangenartiges

“brushed off” = freiklopfen

“thinking about it too much” = zu viel darüber nachgegrübelt

I mean, who puts words like these together but James Kennedy? This is why this book got me going with these handy-dandy phrases you didn’t know you wanted to know.
“squeaky whisper” = quietschendes Flüstern

Again, we’re a bit more concise:
“Right now!”
= In ebendiesem Augenblick!

“or worse”
= möglicherweise geschieht sogar Schlimmeres

“Nora had gone too far.”
= Jetzt war Nora eindeutig übergeschnappt.
(“Now was Nora undoubtedly over-snapped.”)

“vindicated” = gerächt

“headline” = Schlagzeile (“Strike-line”)

They kept all the headlines alliterative. Here’s the shortest:
(“Chatterbox flattened”)

“superlative distinction” = unübertrefflicher Ehre

“swaying tassels” = wippenden Quasten

I like this one:
“a wee tot” = ein Knirps

And let’s finish off “with delirious joy” = freudetrunken (“joy-drunk”)

I’m truly jazzed about finding an appropriate name for my cubicle at work (The Ecknische), though perhaps not quite freudetrunken. And I’m going to look for an excuse to call my little nieces the Knirps.

Bis bald!


  1. I hope I can put this as a blurb on some future edition of the book: “disgust-inducing prose”!!

    And yes, Ecknische, that’s delightful! But my favorite was “schlangenartiges.” Yum!

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