Some Germans have a chicken – A brief birding journey by way of the German language

Some Germans have a chicken – A brief birding journey by way of the German language

Properly of us, it’s been a whereas.

And whether or not the return is a everlasting one or not stays to be seen as these elements sealing my destiny as a daily contributor are nonetheless binding me to today. However, I felt it was time for a brand new put up. Having come again to the weblog in no matter kind and persistency, the overarching topic of language in birding appeared to be an acceptable and deserving theme since chicken names had been a part of my authentic beat.

Now, the names completely different languages give to birds are peculiar certainly, however that could be a topic very particular to those that search out and determine birds. You see, Taylor Swift is unlikely to be a birder and much more unlikely to ever write a music in regards to the drawback of naming the Pied Wheatear “Schwarzrückensteinschmätzer”. So what about most of the people? How have birds infiltrated our on a regular basis language, even of non-birders?

Properly, I did a fast search of my native language, which is German, and was stunned by each the amount and the standard. Now, there are a number of apparent makes use of of chicken names that I actually needn’t cowl, like our ambivalence in direction of the home sparrow. Its nickname “Spatz” is certainly one of our commonest phrases of endearment, but “Dreckspatz” interprets to grime sparrow and describes an individual with questionable physique hygiene. A girl perceived as silly is dismissively known as a “goose” or perhaps a “snipe” when she’s annoying and appearing entitled. Come to consider it, many chicken names are used when describing girls, but don’t pertain to males. However don’t concern, we’re not being kinder to males – we simply straight-out name them idiots, jerks and even worse. No birds required.

Under are a number of of the extra intricate and stunning methods birds characteristic in German every-day language, in no specific order. I’d love to listen to of some high quality examples out of your language within the feedback.


“Weiss der Geier” – the vulture could know & “Hol’s der Geier” – could the vulture take it

Ever contemplated the actually existential questions of life – like the place you left your automobile keys – and failed miserably? Then the spontaneous exclamation “the vulture could know the place I left my keys“ would clearly point out a German origin. Or have you ever ever tried to perform one thing and once more, you failed and gave up? Properly, then could the vulture take it. Within the latter case, there’s no linguistic various to the vulture whereas within the first case, relying in your degree of frustration, options vary (within the order of delicate anger to disgust) from fox to cuckoo and hangman.

Oh, cheeky me ignored one other various for each instances, which brings us proper to the origin of those sayings: the satan. Sure, Germans had been a very supersticious breed within the days of outdated, and wouldn’t dare to make use of the phrase satan even when cursing. So, they cleverly would hijack unpopular animals or folks as placeholders for the satan after which swear to their coronary heart’s delight. Since apparently neither foxes, nor vultures, cuckoos or hangmen had been held in significantly excessive esteem again then, we’re left with some peculiar prospects to precise our frustration to today.


Egyptian vulture clearly realizing the place I left my smartphone


“Lahme Ente” – lame duck

Any gradual individual could also be known as a “lame duck“ in German, however at the moment it’s mostly utilized in site visitors to explain an annoyingly gradual automobile. The origin of this expression clearly lies within the gradual, dopey waddling gait of a duck on land. Nevertheless, the rationale for “lame duck“ being principally directed at vehicles these days probably pertains to the Citroen 2CV. This mannequin was very fashionable in Germany within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties and it was generally known as “Ente“ (duck) resulting from its spherical hood. Evidently, the motorization of the “Ente“ may have been extra highly effective and your entire mannequin thus ended up exemplifying gradual progress on the street.

The particular English time period “lame duck“ describing a politician who’s on their approach out is just not in frequent use in German. In recent times, folks started utilizing it increasingly more in political conversations, however then they‘d principally select the direct English expression “lame duck“ to obviously distinguish between a politician and a automobile.


“Rabeneltern” – raven dad and mom

Raven dad and mom, raven moms, raven fathers – disgrace on you all, for you’re neglecting your youngsters.

Being known as a raven mother or father is grim, as a result of it is a slightly sturdy insult paired with a damning judgement of your parental qualities. It could be used tongue-in-cheek amongst spouses however then must be visibly paired with a wink and a smile to keep away from conversing completely by way of divorce attorneys from then on.

However why are ravens considered negligent dad and mom? Properly, compared to many different birds, younger ravens go away the nest earlier and are thus extra clumsy and helpless when they’re discovered on the bottom or on low branches, all by themselves. The truth that the younger birds are nonetheless cared for by their dad and mom apparently escaped these intrepit early observers, leaving us with a straight-forward chance to verbally dismiss anybody with whose parenting we disagree.

Widespread Raven not caring in regards to the welfare of its offspring


“Reihern” – to heron

If somebody is heroning, they aren’t having time in any respect, as “to heron“ describes the method of vomiting violently. It’s a slang time period nevertheless and as such is usually utilized in personal settings and amongst youths.

As far as the origin is worried … ever noticed a heron feed its chicks within the nest? Precisely.


“Kauzig” – to be owly

This time period describes somebody who exhibits the peculiar behaviour related to a solitary individual or a recluse and – no shock there – is most frequently related to outdated folks. Now, the origin clearly pertains to the principally solitary, reclusive behaviour of our beloved nocturnal buddies and their offended faces when noticed through the day.

I’d wish to level out although that “owly“ is a poor translation. You see, in German now we have three distinct phrases for various teams of owls. The eagle-owls of the genus Bubo are all known as “Uhu“. After which now we have the phrases “Eule“ and “Kauz“, however the assigning of the varied species into these two classes is just not consistend and lacks taxonomic base and cause. As a rule of thumb, with fairly quite a few exceptions, if the species sports activities feathery ears and isn’t an eagle-owls, it’s an “Eule“. If nevertheless it has a pleasant spherical head, likelihood is it‘s a “Kauz“. So that you see, “kauzig“ pertains to not folks paying homage to such sassy species because the long-eared owl however slightly to grumpy ol‘ codgers just like the Barred Owl or the Tawny Owl.


Hawk Owl mastering the artwork of hiding its fluffy feathery ears – since we name it SperberEULE, the sparrowhawk owl

“Erdrosseln” – thrushing

To thrush is a verb folks use to explain the method of strangling somebody to demise. Yupp, you learn that appropriately. Thushing means strangulation till demise do us half.

When researching the origin of this saying, I figured it pertained to snares that had been used to catch thrushes till higher instances prevailed. However no, there may be one more reason for this surprisingly artistic approach of describing the grotesque killing of a creature: the traits of looking in Germany.

Searching in Germany is a really conventional pursuit and thus has a really particular and sophisticated code of conduct. This goes as far as to hunters even utilizing a really distinctive hunter’s jargon for the varied actions associated to looking, or the names of the completely different elements of animals they hunt. For those who haven’t realized their particular vocabulary, you wouldn’t even perceive what the heck two hunters are speaking about. Listed below are some examples of hunters “borrowing” frequent German phrases and giving them a brand new, very particular that means:

A hare’s tail known as a Blume by hunters, which suggests flower. To anybody else, a Blume is a flower and a tail is a tail. An animal’s blood is known as Schweiss, which suggests sweat. So the blood hound known as the sweat hound right here. Replica interval is the Setzzeit (sitting time). And lo and behold, the throat of an animal – regardless of the species – known as the Drossel, the thrush. So if you go for somebody’s throat, you go for his or her thrush in ordert o thrush them to demise. For actual.


“Du hast einen Vogel!” – You have got a chicken!

That is actually extra cheerful than thrushing somebody, but is much more absurd. You probably have a chicken, you’re loopy, unhinged, insane. Or unreasonable to the purpose of lunacy. “Darling, thoughts getting me a beer from the fridge?“ “I believe you’ve gotten a chicken!“

This stunning use of a chicken in our language may be traced again to the – former, I guarantee you – common perception that the heads of mentally challenged folks had been in truth inhabited by birds. Critically. I’m not making this up. If folks again then met such an individual, they surmised that the rationale for his or her mind-set was {that a} chicken had occupied their cranium. This explains why alternatively, such folks can be known as having a tit (straight face), a member of the Paridae. You understand, cavity breeders. How these folks thought these birds would enter and exit their cranium is past me and clearly signifies that these scientists of outdated all had a chicken.

Blue Tit wanting suspiciously prefer it has seen the world by way of human eyes


“Vögeln” – birding

This is a vital public announcement for any birders planning a go to to Germany and desirous to be taught a number of German phrases beforehand to facilitate informal conversations. Once you and your companion go birding, don’t, underneath any circumstances, say you go “vögeln”. Turning the phrase “chicken“ (Vogel) right into a verb could describe the method of birdwatching in English, but the German that means of such a verb is solely completely different: you don’t go watching birds, you’re having intercourse of an intimate nature. Yupp. Slang phrase, however a constructive one.

Properly, the origin of that description is straight ahead. Think about you’re a conservative mother or father going for a stroll within the park together with your youngster someday within the nineteenth century, and your youngster spots two birds within the course of of creating extra birds. The kid may have questions. And the mother or father will want solutions. Solutions that can silence the kid, but don’t condem their souls to everlasting hearth. So, what are these two birds doing? Oh, the birds are simply birding, my pricey. Nothing to see right here, let’s transfer on.

And this German use of the noun “Vogel“ (chicken) as a verb is the rationale why capital letters are so essential in German. All nouns are written with a capital letter, and verbs with out one. All of them, all the time, respectively. And in case you are good to birds, you’d say “Ich bin intestine zu Vögeln“. But, “Ich bin intestine zu vögeln“ means you’re good to … by no means thoughts.


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