Sonderling Sunday – Seeking the Belgische Schezkekse

In honor of Memorial Day weekend and having already finished reading 5 books this weekend and written 3 reviews, let’s do a short, late night Sonderling Sunday!

Sonderling Sunday is 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 my last Sonderling Sunday post, and I’m getting so very close (proportionately) to the end of the most Sonder-book of all, that we’re going to stick with Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge, The Order of Odd-Fish, by James Kennedy, again this time.

We are still on Chapter 24 (of 28), on page 331 in the English version, and Seite 420 in the German edition. As is traditional, I’ll begin with the first sentence of the section:

“Jo watched the ceiling as another sleepless night dragged on.”
= Jo betrachtete die Decke, während eine weitere schlaflose Nacht sich dahinschleppte.
(You’ve got to love “dragged on” = dahinschleppte.)

“as if she were full of squirming baby mice”
= als würde es in ihrem Innern von winzigen Mäusen nur so wimmeln

“wandered” = streifte

“deserted” = vollkommen menschenleer (“completely people-empty”)

This one’s interesting. “Flurd-Poffle” is translated Bodenhatz which means something like “ground-hunt.” It’s another made-up word, but why was it translated at all?

“a large, cold room with glass walls”
= ein großer, steriler Raum mit gläsernen Wänden

“harsh light” = grelles Neonlicht

“little rips” = kleinen Kerben

“pallor” = Blässe

“a guard or a receptionist” = einem Wächter oder einem Pförtner

“eerie” = gruselig

“empty skin” = leere Hülle

“maximum security section” = Hochsicherheitstrakt

“nurses” = Pfleger

“made his long-dreaded return”
= seine so lange gefürchtete Rückkehr inszeniert
(“his so long feared return staged”)

“a swank bachelor’s pad”
= eines prahlerischen Junggesellen

“centerpiece” = Prunkstück

“swinging lounge music” = coole Swingmusik

“off balance” = aus dem Gleichgewicht

“sipped” = schlürften

“laboratory glassware” = Reagenzgläsern

“robotic merriness” = mechanische Unbekümmerheit

“that creeped Jo out”
= bei der Jo ein Schauder über den Rücken lief
(“that Jo a shadow over her back ran”)

“desperate lightheartedness” = verzweifelte Fröhlichkeit

“blithely” = schlichtweg

They preserved alliteration:
“toast of the town” = Star der Stadt

“interchangeable” = austauschbaren

It’s very late and not, technically, Sunday any more, so I’m going to end with this sentence in the middle of a section:

“Wherever he went, he warped everything around him into an empty jest.”
= Wohin auch immer er ging, er verzerrte alles um sich herum zu einem hohlen Witz.

That’s all for tonight. It’s fun now to imagine scenarios where you could possibly use these new German words you know.

Bis zum nächsten Mal!


  1. You’re in the home stretch now! I’m intrigued at how “Flurd-Poffle” became “Bodenhatz” which translates back to “ground-hunt” . . . I never would’ve guessed without your assiduous attention to this! And I’m glad they preserved the alliteration in “toast of the town” = Star der Stadt!

    1. In the homestretch… but it still may take awhile. Every minute… I should be reading! It was good to get back to it this week, though. With the extra day off, I felt like I could spare an hour…. (And needing to read is a wonderful problem to have — not that I’m complaining!)

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