Posts Tagged ‘Momo’

Sonderling Sunday – Momo – Meeting Beppo

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

Momo1

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, or, in this case, the English translation of a German children’s book.

Today I’m going back to Momo, by Michael Ende, the first book I purchased in Germany — and the first chance I got, too.

Last time I looked at Momo, I left off at the start of the Viertes Kapitel (Chapter Four). Since German is the original language, I’ll begin with the German version.

Chapter 4 is called Ein schweigsamer Alter und ein zungenfertiger Junger, but only “Two Special Friends” in English. A more direct translation is “A silent old man and a tongue-ready young man.” (Google translates zungenfertiger as “glib.”)

Here’s the first sentence, a good one to know:
Wenn jemand auch sehr viele Freunde hat, so gibt es darunter doch immer einige wenige, die einem ganz besonders nahestehen und die einem die allerliebsten sind.
= “Even when people have a great many friends, there are always one or two whom they love best of all.”

teilten = “shared”

Beppo Straßenkehrer = “Beppo Roadsweeper”

Ziegelsteinen, Wellblechstücken und Dachpappe
= “bricks, corrugated iron, and tar paper”

gebückt = “bent-backed”

ein kurzer weißer Haarschopf = “a single tuft of white hair”

This is funny how much more the translator put in:
eine kleine Brille
= “a diminutive pair of steel-rimmed spectacles”

nicht ganz richtig im Kopf
= “not quite right in the head”

Ungenauigkeit = “carelessness”

alten, quietschenden Fahrrad = “squeaky old bicycle”

stetig = “steadily”

Besenstrich = “stroke of the broom”

Und man strengt sich noch mehr an
= “And you try even harder”

man kriegt es mit der Angst
= “you panic”

außer Puste = “out of breath” (“out-puffed”)

Wisdom from Beppo:
Man muß nur an den nächsten Schritt denken, an den nächsten Atemzug, an den nächsten Besenstrich.
= “You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom.”

Schritt für Schritt = “bit by bit”

wiedererkannt = “recognized” (“again-known”)

mit schrägem Kopf = “with his head to one side”

And the last sentence about Beppo:
Aber Momo hatte ihn lieb und bewahrte alle seine Worte in ihrem Herzen.
= “But Momo loved him and treasured every word he uttered.”

And I’ll stop there tonight. I think the most interesting word tonight was zungenfertiger. May your tongue be ready!

Sonderling Sunday – Momo – Imaginary Adventures

Monday, October 12th, 2015

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 — or in this case, looking at the English translation of a German children’s book. Sort of a Very Silly Phrasebook for Travelers.

Momo1

Tonight I want to go back to one of my favorite children’s books of all, originally written in German, Momo, by Michael Ende. Last time I looked at Momo, we left off toward the end of Chapter 3, on Seite 36 auf Deutsch, page 22 in English.

[And before I get started, I’d like to give a shout-out to Alex Baugh, who was at KidLitCon this weekend. She blogs at Randomly Reading, and I learned that she was a German literature major and reads Sonderling Sunday! I didn’t know anyone did besides James Kennedy and me! 🙂 Glad to meet you this weekend, Alex!]

We were right in the middle of a dramatic (imaginary) ocean voyage:
Meter für Meter kämpfte sich die >Argo< , alle Maschinen auf Volldampf, gegen die Urgewalt dieses Taifuns vorwärts.
= “With all engines running full ahead, the Argo inched her way forward against the elemental might of the storm.”
(“Meter by meter battled itself the Argo, all engines on full steam, against the elemental power of the typhoon forward.”)

Machinisten und Heizer = “engineers and stokers”

Kesselräume = “boiler rooms”

Übermenschliches = “superhuman efforts”

dicken Tauen = “stout ropes”

grausamen Schlingern und Stampfen des Schiffes
= “the ship’s violent pitching and tossing”

innerste Kern des Wirbelsturms = “innermost eye of the storm”
“innermost core of the cyclone [whirl-storm]”

Auf der Meeresoberfläche, die hier spiegelglatt war, weil alle Wellen einfach von der Gewalt des Sturmes flachgefegt wurden, tanzte ein riesenhaftes Wesen.
= “Gyrating on the surface of the sea, which had been ironed flat as a pancake by the sheer force of the sorm, was a huge figure.”
(“On the seas-over-surface, that here mirror-smooth was, because all waves simply from the violence of the storm flat-swept were, danced a gigantic being.”)

ein Brummkreisel von der Größe eines Berges
= “a mountainous humming top”
(“a humming top of the size of a mountain”)

This is better in German:
Ein Schum-Schum gummilastikum!
= “A Teetotum elasticum!”

allersten Zeiten der Erdentwicklung
= “the earliest phase of life on earth”

Es ist ein Jammer!
= “What a shame”

Das einzige Exemplar = “The sole surviving specimen”

Kontrafiktions-Kanone = “antifriction gun”
(Google: “Contraindications-Fiction Cannon” Is this a case where the translator changed the meaning to a similar-sounding word? It is, after all, an imaginary creature, so an Anti-Fiction Gun might work.)

Riesenkreisel = “giant spinning top”

Stichflamme = “tongue of flame”

Zwillingsrohr = “twin barrels”

leuchtende Geschoß = “flaming missiles”

Es ist zwecklos! = “It’s no use.” (“It is purposeless.”)

Erste Steuermann = “first mate”

Wandernden Taifun = “Traveling Tornado”

Überlieferungen = “traditions”

wahrer Kern = “grain of truth”

bestimmte Tonschwingungen = “certain sonic vibrations”

Nice big words in this section! Appropriate since a child is pretending to be an important scientist.
Lebensbedingungen = “mode of existence”

höchst eigentümlichen Gesang = “most peculiar song”

Donnernd schlossen sich die Wassermassen über ihm.
= “With a thunderous roar, the sea closed over it.”

patschnaß = “soaked” (“smack-wet”)

I’ll finish with the last sentence of chapter 3:
So wie bei Momo konnte man sonst nirgends spielen.
= “The games they played with Momo were more fun than any others.”
(“So as with Momo could one otherwise nowhere play.”)

That’s it for tonight! It’s good to be back! May you avoid any Whirl-storms before we come back to Momo!

Sonderling Sunday – Momo Drittes Kapitel

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

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, or, in this case, the English translation of a German children’s book.

Momo1

Tonight I’m back to one of my very favorite children’s books, which was originally written in German. This copy of Momo, by Michael Ende, was my very first non-food purchase when I lived in Germany.

Last time, we left off at the end of Chapter 2, so now we are at the start of Drittes Kapitel, the Third Chapter. The German title is Ein gespielter Sturm und ein wirkliches Gewitter (“A play storm and a real thunderstorm”). The English title is only “Make-believe.” I wish they had translated the chapter titles more directly!

Here are the first two sentences:
Es versteht sich wohl von selbst, daß Momo beim Zuhören keinerlei Unterschied zwischen Erwachsenen und Kindern machte. Aber die Kinder kamen noch aus einem anderen Grund so gern in das alte Amphitheater.
= “Although Momo listened to grown-ups and children with equal sympathy and attention, the children had a special reason for enjoying their visits to the amphitheater as much as they did.”
(More direct translation: “Needless to say by itself, that Momo made no difference in listening between grown-ups and children. But the children had yet another reason to so love coming to the old amphitheater.”

“They were never bored for an instant.”
= Es gab einfach keine langweiligen Augenblicke mehr.
(“There were simply no boring moments any more.”)

“ingenious suggestions” = gute Vorschläge

“One hot and sultry afternoon” = Einmal, an einem schwülen, drückenden Tag

“stone steps” = steinernen Stufen

“shrugged her shoulders” = zuckte die Schultern

“first mate” = der Erste Steuermann

“a scientist” = ein Naturforscher

“scientific expedition” = Forschungsreise (Ah! A case where the German has one tidy word for it!)

“sailors” = Matrosen

“ship of the future” = Zukunftsschiff

“living memory” = Menschengedenken

“abounded with shoals, reefs, and mysterious sea monsters”
= wimmelte hier von Untiefen, von Korallenriffen und von unbekannten Seeungeheuern

“Traveling Tornado” = Ewigen Taifun (“Eternal Typhoon”)

“unpredictable” = unberechenbar

“mighty embrace” = riesenhaften Klauen

“Traveling Tornado” = Wandernden Wirbelsturm
(This time the German is using more variation — the trend here is that the original language is more creative! The first time, Ewigen Taifun was a description of the storm. Wandernden Wirbelsturm is its name.)

“adamantium, a steel as tough and flexible as a sword blade”
= blauem Alamont-Stahl, der biegsam und unzerbrechlich war wie eine Degenklinge

“special process” = Herstellungsverfahren

“an old salt” = ein Seebär von altem Schrot und Korn (“a sea-bear from old grist and grain”)

“cross-legged” = mit untergeschlagenen Beinen

“melodious” = wohlklingenden

“crow’s nest” = Ausguck

“rope ladder” = Strickleiter

“slippery” = glitschig

“dome” = Kuppeldach

“giant jellyfish” = Riesenqualle

“tentacles” = Fangarmen

“terrible embrace” = schrecklichen Umklammerung

“jolt” = Erschütterung

“limp and lifeless” = schlaff und kraftlos

“Danger’s our trade.” = Die Gefahr ist unser Beruf.

“rescue operation” = Rettungsarbeiten

“crew” = Besatzung

“paralyzed with fear” = in Ohnmacht gefallen

“stood foursquare” = stand breitbeinig

“composure” = Kaltblütigkeit (“cold-bloodedness”)

“shaft of lightning” = Blitzstrahl

“cables and stanchions” = Stahltrossen und Eisenstangen (“steel bunches and iron rods”)

I’m going to finish up with this paragraph, a bit more dramatic in German:
Blitz auf Blitz und Donnerschlag auf Donnerschlag! Heulender Sturm! Haushohe Wogen und weißer Schaum!
= “Flashes of lightning and peals of thunder followed one another in quick succession, the wind howled, and mast-high breakers deluged everything with foam.”
(“Lightning on lightning and thunderclap on thunderclap! Howling storm! House-high waves and white foam!”)

That’s it for tonight! Now you have some handy phrases for your next sea voyage, real or imaginary, on a German ship!

Sonderling Sunday – Momo, A Usual Dispute

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

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, or in this case, the English translation of a German children’s book. This week, I’ll be back with the German classic, Momo, by Michael Ende.

I’ve been busy this weekend, with Sunday my only day off work, so I don’t have a lot of time to spend. But I didn’t want to skip Sonderling Sunday this week, since I missed last week. So here goes!

Last time I looked at Momo, I left off in the middle of Chapter Two, which in German is Eine ungewöhnliche Eigenschaft und ein ganz gewöhnlicher Streit, “An unusual character and a completely usual dispute.” In English, it’s just called “Listening.” We finished the “unusual character” part last time, and now we’re on page 12 in the English version and Seite 21 auf Deutsch. I will dive in with some fun phrases, which I hope will motivate readers to look for this incredibly good book.

auf den Tod zerstritten hatten = “quarreled violently”
(literally, “to the death divided had”)

in Feindschaft lebten = “live at daggers drawn”
(“in enemity live”)

geweigert = “objected”

This one isn’t translated directly, so I’ll do the whole sentence:
Nun sa?en sie also im Amphitheater, stumm und feindselig, jeder auf einer anderen Seite der steinernen Sitzreihen, und schauten finster vor sich hin.
= “So there the two men sat, one on each side of the stone arena, silently scowling at nothing in particular.”
(“Now sat they in the amphitheater, silent and hostile, each on another side of the stone rows of seats, and looked darkly at each other.”)

ein starker Kerl = “a strapping fellow”

mit einem schwarzen, aufgezwirbelten Schnurrbart
= “with a black mustache that curled up at the ends”

mager = “skinny”

verstockt = “stubborn as a mule”

puterrot vor Zorn = “puce with rage”

ballte die Fäuste = “clenching his fists”

Aber da siehst du, Momo, wie er lügt und verleumdet!
=”There you are, Momo, you see the dirty lies he tells?”
(“But there you see, Momo, how he lies and slanders!”)

Kragen = “scruff of the neck” (“collar”)

Spülwasserpfütze = “pool of slops” (“rinsing-water-puddle”)

seiner Spelunke = “lousy inn of his” (“his dive”)

ersaufen = “drown”

Beschimpfungen = “insults”

Schandtat = “assaulting”

Ninos ganzes Geschirr zu zertrümmern = “tried to smash all his crockery”

Krug = “jug”

geschmissen = “threw”

Urgro?vater = “great grandfather”

Schiefen Turm von Pisa = “Leaning Tower of Pisa”

knallroten = “bright red”

Wer nichts wird, wird Wirt. = “This inn is out.”
(I don’t get it, but it comes out literally as: “Who nothing will, will Host.”)

Ah, jetzt wirst du bla?! = “Ah, that’s floored you, hasn’t it!”
(“Ah, now you are pale!”)

Du hast du mich nämlich nach Strich und Faden übers Ohr gehauen
= “You cheated me right, left, and center”
(“You have me namely after line and thread over ear carved”)

Umgekehrt wird ein Schuh draus! = “You’ve got it the wrong way around.”
(“The other way around is a shoe out!” [“The shoe’s on the other foot”?])

hereinlegen = “cheat”

gelungen = “succeed”

geschicktes Feilschen = “skillful haggling”

Pappdeckel = “cardboard backing”

Übervorteilte = “outsmarted”

Getauscht ist getauscht! = “A deal’s a deal.”

Ein Handschlag gilt unter Ehrenmännern! = “We shook hands on it, after all.”
(“A handshake applies under honorable men.”)

jubilieren = “warble”

And to end off the chapter:
Und wer nun noch immer meint, zuhören sei nichts Besonderes, der mag nur einmal versuchen, ob er es auch so gut kann.
=”Those who still think that listening isn’t an art should see if they can do half so well.”
(“And who now still always thinks, listening is nothing special, they wish only once to try, if they it also can do so well.”)

Now we know what to call all those Beschimpfungen we learned from The Order of Odd-Fish. See if you get a chance to use some of these phrases this week!

Sonderling Sunday – Momo, Listening

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

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, or, in this case, the English translation of a German children’s book.

This week, I’m going back to one of my all-time favorite books, Momo, written in German by Michael Ende. Last time I covered Momo, I got through the entire first chapter, and also got to explain a little of why I love it so much.

This time, I’m going to dive in, beginning on Zweites Kapitel (“Second Chapter”), Eine ungewöhnliche Eigenschaft und ein ganz gewöhnlicher Streit. The chapter is, however, simply titled “Listening” in English. A literal translation of the German title is “An unusual character and a completely usual dispute.” A little more descriptive, don’t you think?

I like the first sentence, so I’ll quote the entire thing:
Von nun an ging es der kleinen Momo gut, jedenfalls nach ihrer eigenen Meinung.
= “Momo was comfortably off from now on, at least in her own estimation.”

mal mehr, mal weniger
= “sometimes more and sometimes less”

wie die Leute es entbehren konnten
= “what people could spare”

unentbehrlich = “indispensable”

nach und nach = “in time” (“by and by”)

feststehenden Redensart = “stock phrase” (“fast-standing phrase-type”)

unglaublich klug = “incredibly smart”

geheimnisvollen Spruch = “magic spell” (“mystery-full speech”)

And the key word of the book:
Zuhören = “listening”

I like the way the author addresses the reader:
Das ist doch nichts Besonderes, wird nun vielleicht mancher Leser sagen, zuhören kann doch jeder.
= “Anyone can listen, you may say — what’s so special about that?”
(Literally: “That is in fact not special, will now perhaps some reader say, listening can anyone do, actually.”)

Aber das ist ein Irrtum.
= “But you’d be wrong.”

ganz und gar einmalig
= “quite unique”

Momo konnte so zuhören, da? dummen Leuten plötzlich sehr gescheite Gedanken kamen.
= “She listened in a way that made slow-witted people have flashes of inspiration.”
(“Momo could so listen, that dumb people suddenly very clever thoughts came.” — Good thing they didn’t translate it like that!)

Aufmerksamkeit = “attention” (“out-marking-ness”)

Anteilnahme = “sympathy” (“interest-taking”)

ratlose oder unentschlossene Leute = “worried or indecisive people”
(“advice-less or un-closed people”)

Schüchterne = “shy people”

I like the conclusion of this section:
Und wenn jemand meinte, sein Leben sei ganz verfehlt und bedeutungslos und er selbst nur irgendeiner unter Millionen, einer, auf den es überhaupt nicht ankommt und der ebenso schnell ersetzt werden kann wie ein kaputter Topf – und er ging hin und erzählte alles das der kleinen Momo, dann wurde ihm, noch während er redete, auf geheimnisvolle Weise klar, da? er sich gründlich irrte, da? es ihn, genauso wie er war, unter allen Menschen nur ein einziges Mal gab und da? er deshalb auf seine besondere Weise für die Welt wichtig war.
So konnte Momo zuhören!

= “And if someone felt that his life had been an utter failure, and that he himself was only one among millions of wholly unimportant people who could be replaced as easily as broken windowpanes, he would go and pour out his heart to Momo. And, even as he spoke, he would come to realize by some mysterious means that he was absolutely wrong: that there was only one person like himself in the whole world, and that, consequently, he mattered to the world in his own particular way.
Such was Momo’s talent for listening.”

Let’s face it, with this book, it’s not so much about the cool words as that I so love what they say!

Anyway, that was only the “Unusual character” part of chapter two, but I’m trying not to go on so long, so that will do it for tonight!

In honor of Momo, try a little zuhören this week!

Sonderling Sunday – Momo

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time when I use children’s books to give interesting and enlightening translations of phrases that must be useful — they’re used in a children’s book! This is intended to be interesting even for readers who don’t speak German, but who find words even a little bit fascinating.

I wanted to look at a book originally written in German, and of course the first book I thought of was Momo, by Michael Ende.

Momo was the first book I ever purchased from Book-of-the-Month Club, and worked out so well, I blame it for my subsequent addiction. Momo was, I believe, the first book my husband-to-be and I read aloud to each other. We later read it aloud to our boys. A copy of Momo, in the original language, was my very first purchase when we moved to Germany in 1996, along with a hiking map of the area we moved to. Even if I couldn’t read it yet, I wanted to own it. I can’t quite put Momo above Anne of Green Gables in my list of all-time favorite children’s books, but I consistently call it Number Two.

Besides being a good story, Momo is mythic. Gray men come stealing people’s time. They convince people to save time — and then they steal it. Momo is the only one who can see them, since she has a gift of listening. My then-boyfriend and I were finishing reading this book aloud during Finals Week in college. We knew we “didn’t have time” — but it’s not a book you can use that excuse not to read!

This book is only slightly longer in German than in English, unlike some others. However, my English edition uses much larger print than the German one, so that may be a factor. It is 227 pages in English, translated from 285 pages in German.

I don’t have much time left of Sunday, but let’s see if I can make a start into Chapter One. Part One, Erster Teil is called “Momo and Her Friends” in English, translated from Momo und ihre Freunde. Erstes Kapitel is titled Eine gro?e Stadt und ein kleines Mädchen, which means “a big city and a small girl.” I like that much better than the English chapter title, “The Amphitheater.” Here are the two different chapter title pages:

I love it! I looked at the front matter more carefully than before, and it turns out that the German edition has a subtitle on the title page. The English edition does not. It goes like this:

MOMO

oder

Die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte

This roughly translates to: “MOMO, or: The Strange Story of the Time Thieves and of the Child Who Got the Stolen Time Back for Mankind”

Now I’ll go to some phrases from the first chapter. This time, since the original language is German, I’ll begin with the German, then tell how it was translated.

breite Stra?en, enge Gassen und winkelige Gä?chen = “broad streets, narrow alleyways, and winding lanes”

goldenen und marmornen Götterstatuen = “idols of gold and marble”

aus Steinblöcken gefügt waren = “built entirely of stone”

Die Sitzreihen für die Zuschauer lagen stufenförmig übereinander wie in einem gewaltigen Trichter. = “Seats for spectators were arranged in tiers, one above the other, like steps lining the crater of a man-made volcano.”
(Longer in English! Google translates gewaltigen Trichter as “mighty funnel,” and the translator’s choice does seem more descriptive.)

With the intricacies of word order, it’s easier to give this complete sentence:
Es gab prächtige, mit Säulen und Figuren verzierte, und solche, die schlicht und schmucklos waren. = “Some were resplendent with columns and statues [Säulen und Figuren], others plain and unadorned [schlicht und schmucklos].”

unter freiem Himmel statt = “open to the sky”

plötzlichen Regenschauern = “sudden downpours”

leidenschaftlicher Zuhörer und Zuschauer = “enthusiastic playgoers” (“passionate hearers and viewers”)

haben die Steine abgeschliffen und ausgehöhlt = “worn away and eaten into the stonework”

I think this sentence is a little more poetic in the original language:
Im geborstenen Gemäuer singen nun die Zikaden ihr eintöniges Lied, das sich anhört, als ob die Erde im Schlaf atmet. = “Crickets now inhabit their crumbling walls, singing a monotonous song that sounds like the earth breathing in its sleep.”

This, too, sounds better in German:
die Hütten und Häuser immer armseliger werden = “the houses became shabbier and more tumbledown” (Google translates it as “the cabins and houses are always poor”)

Pinienwäldchen = “a clump of pine trees”

Altertumswissenschaft = “Archaeology” (“antiquity knowledge craft”)

These are simply fun to say:
grasbewachsenen Sitzreihen = “grass-grown tiers of seats”

knipsten ein Erinnerungsfoto = “took a couple of snapshots” (literally: “snapped a memory-photo”)

man beim besten Willen nicht erkennen konnte, ob sie erst acht oder schon zwölf Jahre alt war. = “no one could have told her age” (literally: “one with the best will couldn’t tell if she was eight or maybe twelve years old”)

einen wilden, pechschwarzen Lockenkopf = “unruly mop of jet-black hair”)

bunten Flicken = “patches of different colors”

reichte ihr bis auf die Fu?knöchel = “ankle-length” (literally: “reached to her foot-knuckle” I like that word for ankle!)

deren Ärmel an den Handgelenken umgekrempelt waren = “with the sleeves turned up at the wrist”

I like this one:
aufgeschnappt = “picked up”

rostiges Ofenrohr = “rusty stovepipe”

(This picture is from the English edition.)

ein ausgedientes, mit Schnörkeln verziertes Eisenbett = “a decrepit iron bedstead adorned with curlicues” (literally: “an unused, with scrolls decorated iron bed”)

steinernen Loch = “stone cell”

Bühne der Ruine = “stage of the ruined amphitheater”

This doesn’t sound like what it is to me:
behagliches kleines Zimmerchen = “snug little room”

einen kleinen Brotwecken = “a hunk of bread”

The last sentence of the first chapter:
So begann die Freundschaft zwischen der kleinen Momo und den Leuten der näheren Umgebung. = “And that was the beginning of her friendship with the people of the neighborhood.”

Now, for a little fun. Can you use any of these phrases in a sentence? How about translating them into some other language? How do you say “ankle” in Chinese, for example? Or “snug little room” in Spanish?

My favorite phrase from tonight’s chapter was knipsten das Erinnerungsfoto, because I did lots and lots of that all over Europe during the ten years we lived in Germany. But I also have a jacket that I wear deren Ärmel an den Handgelenken umgekrempelt waren. Now when I do so, I will think of Momo.