Sonderling Sunday: The Wall-Carpet

Welcome to Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translations of children’s books. The idea is to look at things a little differently, while gaining Useful Translations of things you might need to say in German some day!

This week, I’m back to the book that started it all, James Kennedy‘s Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, The Order of Odd-Fish. We left off on page 152, which is Seite 192 in the German edition.

I’ll look at some interesting phrases:

“Aunt Lily swung over” = Tante Lily tauchte auf (“dipped up”)

“You did yourself proud this morning, Jo.” = Du hast dir heute Morgen sehr viel Respekt verschafft, Jo.
(“You have for yourself this morning very much respect procured, Jo.”)

“She was stunned” = Verblüfft sah sie

“face fell” = Miene verändert (“mien changed”)

“ferociously” = eindringlich

“warily” = argwöhnisch

“this would all explode in our faces” = würden sie uns übelst beschimpfen

“hanging around the edges of conversations” = lauschte den Gesprächen der anderen Partygäste
(“listened to the conversation of the other party guests”)

“I’m off” = Ich verschwinde (“I’m disappearing”)

This is a bit clunkier:
“Okay, but it had better be good.”
= Also gut, aber ich kann nur hoffen, dass es spannend ist.
(“Okay, but I can only hope that it is exciting.”)

This has a fun sound in German:
“the thump of the dancing” = das dumpfe Stampfen der Tänzer

“trapdoor” = Falltür

“dim” = dämmrigen

“lit” = entzündete (“inflamed”)

“as the room became brighter” = als das Licht aufflammte (“as the light blazed”)

“tapestry” = Wandteppich (“wall carpet”)

“fire-scorched, blood-spurting battles” = von Pulverdampf und Feuer durchsetzte blutrünstige Schlachten
(“of gunpowder and fire throughout bloodthirsty battles”)

I have to list this one because of the lovely English phrase I’ve never seen in a book before:
“an army of glitteringly armored spiders” = eine Armee von glitzernden bewaffneten Spinnen

Not so lovely, but still intriguing:
“queer-shaped people with sickly smiles and dead eyes cutting open their stomachs and pouring forth floods of centipedes and beetles and snakes”
= misgestaltete Leute mit widerlichem Lächeln und toten Augen, die Bäuche aufgeschnitten, aus denen sich Fluten von Tausendfü?lern, Käfern und Schlangen ergossen

“with a capering tiger, convoluted flower, or snickering face”
= mit einem springenden Tiger, einer prachtvollen Blume oder einem höhnischen Gesicht

“creaking, clunking, and squealing” = Quietschen, Klappern und Knarren (funny that “creaking” is Quietschen. But it sounds creaky in German.)

“a raucous parade” = eine üppige Parade

“enormous walrus-like demons” = gewaltige walrossartige Dämonen

“kicking down buildings” = zertrümmerten Gebäude

And I’ll finish up with this distinctive sentence:

“Her bones turned to ice.” = Ihr wurde kalt bis auf die Knochen. (“She was cold to the bone.”)

There you have it! I dare you to use gewaltige walrossartige Dämonen or einem höhnischen Gesicht in a sentence this week! Hmm. The way our heat’s been in the library lately, I may well have an opportunity to say, Ich war kalt bis auf die Knochen.

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