Sonderling Sunday – Another Dimension

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, in this case the one I keep coming back to, the one that started it all, Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, James Kennedy‘s The Order of Odd-Fish.

Last time, we left off in the middle of Chapter 14, on page 172 in the English version, Seite 218 in the German edition.

Think of this as one of those German-learning tapes, with useful phrases for you to learn before you go to Germany, and I hope it will make you laugh. (I’d totally do it as a podcast, but I seriously doubt my ability to pronounce the German even close to correctly.)

“It was sad but true” = Es war traurig, aber wahr

“utterly tedious” = au?erordentlich langweilig

“threat” = Drohung

“to teach… about discredited metaphysics” = verrufene Metaphysiken aufzuklären

I like saying this:
“drag herself out of bed” = aus dem Bett schleppen

“stumble down the hall” = in die Halle herunterstolpern

“excruciatingly dull lessons” = entsetzlich langweiligen Vorlesungen

“babble away happily” = plapperte glücklich

“an intriguing question” = eine höchst faszinierende Frage

“with silent apprehension” = mit stummer Sorge

Going for a record-length word:
“wondering what she’d gotten herself into”
= während sie sich fragte, in was sie sich jetzt wieder hineinmanövriert hatte
(“during which she asked herself, in what had she herself now into-maneuvered”)

“tilted her head” = legte den Kopf schief (“laid the head crooked”)

“small, disconnected bits” = kleine, zusammenhanglose Bruchstücke
(“small, together-hang-less broken-pieces”)

“furry hands” = runzligen Händen

“crumpled it into a wad” = zerknüllte sie zu einem Ball

“Sir Oort waved her silent.”
= Sir Oort brachte sie mit einer Handbewegung zum Schweigen.
(“Sir Oort brought her with a hand-waving to silence.”)

“crumpled-up map” = zusammengeknüllten Landkarte

“crawling around” = herumgekrabbelt

“realized” = begriffen

Here English is much more efficient:
“Sir Oort uncrumpled the map.”
= Sir Oort faltete die Karte auseinander und glättete sie.
(“Sir Oort folded the map apart [out-one-another] and smoothed it.”)

“Jo’s mind wrestled with the concept”
= Jo versuchte, diese Vorstellung zu verarbeiten
(“Jo sought, this notion to work through”)

“mildly” = nachsichtig

“rebuke” = Tadel

“inspiring” = angeregt

“rang out like a bell” = klang glasklar (“rang glass-clear”)

And the final paragraph of this section is worth quoting:
“‘As an Odd-Fish, it is not my job to be right,’ said Sir Oort. ‘It is my job to be wrong in new and exciting ways.'”
= »Als ein Seltsamer Sonderling ist es nicht meine Aufgabe, etwas Richtiges zu finden«, erklärte Sir Oort, »sondern meine Aufgabe besteht darin, auf möglichst neue und aufregende Weisen falschzuliegen.«

There you have it. If my translations and explanations tonight aren’t perfect, I hope I’m at least being wrong in new and exciting ways. We’ll take up the story in a couple weeks in the middle, still, of Chapter 14.

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