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More Lost In Translation

Pom Pom Hat: That's one happy hat.Me: Ich schaufensterbummelmache. German person: Collapses on floor in paroxysms of laughter. Allow me to deconstruct. "Ich," means me. "Shau" is store. "Fenster" is a window. "Bummel" a walk or stroll, if you will. … Read More

By / September 26, 2007

Pom Pom Hat: That's one happy hat.Pom Pom Hat: That's one happy hat.Me: Ich schaufensterbummelmache.

German person: Collapses on floor in paroxysms of laughter.

Allow me to deconstruct. "Ich," means me. "Shau" is store. "Fenster" is a window. "Bummel" a walk or stroll, if you will. "Machen" to do or make.

The twitching German on the carpet explains that had I stuck only three words together said, "Ich mache einen Schaufensterbummel." I would have been happily going store window shopping.

After all, German is an agglutinative language. You can stick words together all day long, making sentences the size of football fields. For example, Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän, "Danube steamship company captain." Or, Betäubungsmittelverschreibungsverordnung, "regulation requiring a prescription for an anesthetic".

But I got ahead of myself. And I thought I would be cool and stick together four words that resulted in: "Ich," still means me. "Schaufenstebummelmache." In this context, the "bumel" becomes the Bavarian slang for a hat with a pom-pom. The "Schaufenster" is still the store window. But the "mache" means that my "doing" is standing in front of the store window with a hat with a pom-pom over my genitalia. Where did the genitalia come from? The German couldn't explain.

But when I said my sentence, he instantly imagined me in front of Macy's on a cold winter's day with a hat with a pom-pom on my Johnston and nothing else. And, his first reaction to that was gut wrenching laughter.

Note: This only works on Bavarians. Don't try it on your friends from Hamburg. They won't get it.

And in reference to my previous post about the Franklin BDS-1860 German/English translator planning to take over the world, I got a lot emails saying "You are full of it, and your hat with a pom-pom is very small." To that, I counter that I do not lie, and my mother made that hat you're making fun of. Here is YouTube proof.

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