Vocab Friday: It’s baaaaaaaack!

With only a month left before we pack up and move to Austria, I thought it might be wise to start, you know, learning some German.

I will freely admit that I am at a vast disadvantage this time around, seeing that I have zero prior experience with the German language beyond Achtung Baby. I also have a toddler and a fetus taking up all brain space that could possibly be devoted to trying to learn another language. In other words, I’m screwed.

The good news? “Epidural” is apparently the same in German and English. So I’ve got that going for me. What I don’t have going for me is pretty much the entirety of German grammar, which is almost comical in its utter complexity. Add to that a harsh accent and my propensity to absent-mindedly call the Austrian people “Germans,” and you can pretty much guarantee that somebody is going to misunderstand my efforts and punch me in the face.

Husband has been trying to pass on some of the basics from his language classes, dutifully laying out workbook pages for me to study and quizzing me on simple vocabulary. But because I have the sense of humor and attention span of a 12 year old boy, I’ve failed to retain very much beyond the words that make me giggle.

Like Schnurrbart. That means “mustache.” Say it with me: shnurrrrrrrrrrbart. What a fine schnurrbart you have sir. Best word ever.

Or Ich leibe dich. Which means “I love you,” but doesn’t really give off that romantic vibe for me. It sounds like it means something more akin to “I’m going to be sick.” Which brings us to my third and final vocabulary word:

Durchfall. That means “diarrhea.” You do not want to know how I learned that word, but it is now in constant rotation at our house.

So to summarize, when we arrive in Vienna a few weeks from now, I will be able to smile broadly to my new Austrian neighbors and say “You have diarrhea in your mustache. I love you!” 

Yep, the next two years are going to be AWESOME.


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  1. Constance Gabrielli

    Ok, drop everything and have a Marlene Dietrich film festival this weekend. Yes, I do know she’s German not Austrian but she can make anything in that harsh tongue sound good. You might be able to pick up a few moves.

  2. Cris angsten

    I laughed, and I’m sharing this with my German friends. Ich spreche etwas Deutsch, es ist nicht so schewer! You will learn quickly, don’t worry. And, not so harsh sounding after all – you will find it can sound every bit as nice as English. Next hurdle though is, in my experience, Austrians are not as nice as Germans are with imperfect language skills. Hoping that has changed!

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