Well, I’ve done it. I’ve finally cracked the German language. It turns out it’s not as difficult as everyone makes out either.
It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that Germans really love pork – in fact, they eat approximately 0.15kg of pork a day. Therefore, I guess it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that so many porky expressions permeate the language.
So now, instead of spending years trying to learn the vagaries of the German language, I’ve decided to communicate mainly through the use of piggy expressions.
Here are my top eight pig-related German expressions (or, to be more correct, the only eight I know).
8. Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei
Everything has an end, only the sausage has two. Pretty self-explanatory and quite profound in a porky sort of way.
7. Unter aller Sau
The literal translation of this one would be “under all pig (or sow)”, which doesn’t really make much sense to the average English speaker. However, when you imagine what usually lies under all pigs, then it starts to become a little clearer. I guess you could translate it as “everything is in total shit or chaos” – something Germans do not like.
6. Ich habe die Schnauze voll
I believe the original version of this one was “Ich habe die Nase voll” but, naturally, the Germans had to porkify it. And so, “I have the full nose” became “I have the full snout”, which does not mean that your nose is blocked. No, it means that you’ve had enough of something.
Ah, one of those brilliant German compound nouns, but what on earth does it mean? Translating it doesn’t provide much help either – an egg-laying wool milk sow.
I can’t even think of an English equivalent for this one but the basic idea is that you’ve got one animal that can lay eggs, grow wool, produce milk, and even give you bacon and sausages. So, for example, if someone is asking you to do more work than you can cope with, you could yell, “For God’s sake! I’m not an egg-laying wool milk sow! There’s only so much I can do!” At least I think that’s how you could use it…
4. Ich glaube, mein Schwein pfeift
Literally, “I think my pig is whistling.” Obviously, pigs don’t normally whistle, not even German pigs, so this one expresses great surprise.
3. Der Kummerspeck
Grief bacon. Initially a bit of an oxymoron to me as bacon induces anything but grief in me. More accurately, it’s the excess weight that you gain from comfort eating in times of heartache. (Snigger.)
2. Es ist mir Wurst
If you translate it word for word, it means “It is to me total sausage”, or to put it into words that people can understand, it means “I don’t care about this at all”.
And my absolute, all-time favourite:
1. Jetzt geht es um die Wurst
Or “Now it gets about the sausage”, which means “Now it’s time to get serious” or “It’s now or never”. As I’ve mentioned before, Germans take their sausages very seriously so if a German says this to you, you might want to start running.
So, you’ve seen my top eight porky German idioms, but maybe you’re struggling to see how I could get by communicating through porky idioms alone. Well, for example, imagine that I’m breaking up with my imaginary German boyfriend. This is how that conversation could go:
Me: I have a full snout. It’s over.
Dagobert: But why? We’re so good together, baby!
Me: Everything has an end. Only the sausage has two.
Dagobert: But I don’t want this to end!
Me: Huh. Our relationship is under all pig. I think you know that.
Dagobert: But I thought everything was perfect!
Me: You expect too much. I’m not an egg-laying wool milk sow, you know.
Dagobert: I think my pig is whistling. I wasn’t expecting this.
Me: It’s all sausage to me.
Dagobert: But why now??
Me: Now it gets about the sausage.
Dagobert: But, but…
Me: Oh, just leave me in peace. I need to get my grief bacon on.
Hopefully it’s now clear how my new approach to German language-learning will work. Or maybe I’m just throwing my pearls before swine?
The image of the egg-laying wool milk sow was taken from here.