Not quite the flag I thought I was asked I had.

Fun German words: From “Belly speakers” to “sitting giants”

If you’re up-to-date with my blog, you’ll know I love the German language (kind of helps when you’re living in Germany, I guess).

Throughout my day-to-day life I come across wonderful words and phrases that sometimes throw me off in a conversation, or just make me laugh a little too much. Being the geek that I am, I write down these words so I can learn them.

Here are five of the many German words I’ve learnt, some recently and some a long time ago. Enjoy!

1. Hitzefrei (literally “heat free”)

You know in England when it’s so cold (and the heater probably breaks) so everybody has to leave school early? Or perhaps it snows so much that the headmaster decides it’s better to send their pupils home? Well, back in the day in Hannover, I learnt the word “hitzefrei”. Only, it’s not for when it’s cold or snows. It’s for when it’s too hot to be at school. Imagine that! I was once sent home from school because it rained so much – that’s definitely more British.

2. Bauchredner (literally “belly speaker”)

I’m not sure what’s running through your mind after reading that. And I’m not going to ask. But “Bauchredner” actually means “ventriloquist”. They speak from their belly without moving their mouths. Quite a neat little word (that I learnt just the other week and will probably never need to use ever again).

3. Fahne (literally “flag”)

The word “Fahne” is used for the word “flag”. However, it can also mean the horrible smell you have in your mouth the day after a big night of drinking lots of alcohol. I’m not too sure how that word came about (if anybody knows, do let me know!) but it’s safe to say I was little confused when somebody said to me in German “Ew, you have a flag”. I then became offended when I was taught what it actually means. I BRUSHED MY TEETH TWICE, OK?!

4. Sitzriese (literally “sitting giant”)

This is quite a clever word and is used to describe people who look tall when they’re sat down, but are actually short when they stand up (due to having a long body and short legs). I don’t personally know of anyone who I would describe as sitting giant, but it definitely sounds like a good title for a children’s book.

5. Nasenlöcher (literally “nose holes”)

Hahahahahahaha. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is the word for nostril. Nose hole. Brilliant! Then again, I guess that is literally what they are – holes in your nose. I don’t know whether to be impressed or to just laugh histerically! Nose hole. Ha.


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