03 October 2006

German Phrase Books

More on the process of learning German...

In my recent travels in Germany and Switzerland I have carried with me a small book by Berlitz that includes all the handy phrases necessary to communicate basic information. Plus a bit extra if you care to try to converse with people. Of course, if they answer you, they had better only answer one of the stock phrases in the book. And very slowly, one word at a time. Otherwise the conversation is over.

GL Hubby laughed at me when I purchased it in the airport in London. But when he saw how useful it was, he started calling it "our book."

Of course I knew what that meant. It was just a matter of time before he claimed it as "his book."

So I took action. I got him a German Phrase Book of his very own. The bookstore on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich had three different phrase books. Librarian that I am, I spent nearly 30 minutes studying each before finally selecting the Lonely Planet edition as the most complete version, but still pocket sized. I soon discovered that it is, perhaps, a tad too complete.

He was very pleased when I handed it to him and he immediately started to flip through it. Within moments he had discovered a section that I had not seen before I made the purchase -- the Romance Section. With subheadings such as "Asking Someone Out," "Pick-up Lines," "Getting Closer" and more! Trust a man to find that section first.

Here is a small sampling of the translations. My apologies for the lack of appropriate umlauts. Haven't figured out how to make them in the blog quite yet...

Was fur ein Sternzeichen bist du? What is your sign?
Ohne Kondom mache ich es nicht. I won't do it without protection.
Sie ist nur eine Freundin. She's just a friend.

And the always classic:
Ich rufe dich morgen an. I'll call you in the morning.

I can only assume the last one is a lie in any language.

And I didn't even include the "dirty" ones.

At first we just laughed at it. But after the guys at work stated that I had given him "permission," I took it away. He can use the Berlitz.


The Big Finn said...

May I recommend "Wicked German for the Traveler" by Howard Tomb? There, you will learn great pick-up lines such as:

Ich finde deine Stiefel/deine Hose/dein Hemd/deine Jacke/deinen Hut/deinen Lippenstift einfach toll. Alles in Schwarz.
Keiner könnte mehr Schwarz tragen als du.
Lass mich mit Geld aus meinem schwarzen Portemonnaie zahlen, und wir nehmen dann mein schwarzes Fahrrad.

(I find your boots/pants/shirt/jacket/hat/lipstick simply great. All in black.
No one could wear more black than you do.
Let me pay with money from my black wallet and we'll leave on my black bicycle.)

Global Librarian said...

German for the Goth!