Sonderling Sunday! The Party Was Over.

Believe it or not, it’s time for 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.

But you may well ask, Sonderling Sunday, where have you been? Hasn’t it been almost a year since your last post?

That’s right — it’s been far too long. But in case you hadn’t heard, last year I had this little activity of being on the Newbery Committee and basically that was eating up every minute, forcing me to read children’s books whenever I could find the time. (I know, twist my arm!) But one very good thing that did go by the wayside was Sonderling Sunday.

And I didn’t even manage to finish going through Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge before I went on hiatus!

This book, with the original title The Order of Odd-fish, by James Kennedy, is the book that started it all. And I am so close to the end! Last time we left off on page 334 in the original edition, Seite 424 auf Deutsch.

There are some fun ones on this page. Surely you can find a reason to say these things, right?

“fawning psychoanalysts” = kriecherischen Psychoanalytikern

“guffawed” = johlte

“a venerable therapist” = ein ehrwürdiger Therapeut

“you hit the nail on the head!” = Sie haben den Nagel auf den Kopf getroffen!

“cooed a spinster nurse” = gurrte Eine altjüngferliche Krankenschwester

“Take it down a notch.” =
Schalten Sie einen Gang runter.
(“Switch you a gear down.”)

Okay, I need to see how they handled this one:
“Why, you’re a regular ding-a-ling ding-dang-doodle, Belgian Prankster!” chirped a young doctor. “A first-class, blue-ribbon, dippity-doopity ding-a-ling ding-dang-doodle, and you can take that to the bank! Huh, fellas?”
»Also wirklich, Sie sind ein echter Kni-Kna-Knüller, Belgischer Scherzkeks«, zirpte eine junge Ärztin. »Ein erstklassiger, ausgezeichneter Kni-Kna-Kno-Knüller, darauf können Sie Gift nehmen! Stimmt’s, Jungs?«

(Hmmm. They seem to have translated “dippity-doopity” as Kno. Doesn’t seem quite as creative to me.)

“Esteemed doctors” = Hochgeschätzte Doktoren

“You got us that time, I’ll give you that!” = Sie uns aber wirklich drangekriegt, das muss ich Ihnen lassen!

“zinger” = Hammer

“What have you done to them?” = Was haben Sie mit ihnen gemacht?

“rigors of the workday” = strapaziösen Arbeitstag

“at random” = willkürlich

The German is so much more specific:
“She bit her cheek.”
= Sie biss sich auf die Innenseite der Wange.
(“She bit herself on the inside of her cheek.”)

“empty jest” = hohlen Witz

“unnecessary” = überflüssig
(“superfluous,” “over-fluid”)

Let’s finish with that important sentence:
“The party was over.”
= Der Party war vorbei.

That’s all for tonight, and I must say, it’s good to be back! One of the things that I think is so much fun about this pseudo-phrasebook is that we’ve gone through almost the entire book — and I’m guessing I haven’t given away the plot at all. I have given away how much James Kennedy likes to play with language, though.

Here’s wishing my readers a Kni-Kna-Kno-Knüller of a week!


  1. I was so delighted to see that you were on the Newbery committee, Sondra! I haven’t read any of the winners yet because I’m in the thick of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival season (we’re up to 14 cities now! ) but I’m so looking forward to it! I have to find some way to bring it to Virginia . . .

    Anyway, I’m so tickled to see that Sonderling Sunday is back!

    1. Being on the Newbery committee was one of the most awesome experiences of my life! I hope that you’ll soon see videos based on those books!

      And yes, I’ve been wanting to bring the 90-second Newbery Festival to our library system for a long time. I’ll have to suggest it again….

      It felt great to get back into your oh-so entertaining prose for Sonderling Sunday. It’s been awhile — I had to look up words I’m sure I’ve checked before. Alles gut!

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