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Funniest mistakes the English make in German

The Local · 4 May 2012, 08:37

Published: 04 May 2012 08:37 GMT+02:00

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German can be a perilous language to learn. For a start, you have those maddening adjectival endings caused by those four "cases" – so pointless to an English ear - and the arbitrary division of things into "genders." (Surely a carrot should be masculine, if anything?)

But as if that weren’t enough, you drop one of those pesky little suffixes, prefixes or umlauts, which seem to just buzz around like midges on a woodland camping holiday, and you end up making a right fool of yourself, prompting many Teutonic titters.

One "ein," "ab," "an," and "vor" at an inopportune moment and you could end up spending the night in a cell, or an impotency clinic.

So as a handy guide for what to avoid, we've collected some linguistic embarrassments that happened to ... ahem ... friends of ours.

Check out our list of the funniest English expat errors here

Story continues below…

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Your comments about this article

11:24 May 4, 2012 by paulskin
I have to admit to using "ich bin heiß" a couple of weeks ago, chance would be a fine thing....
12:58 May 4, 2012 by The-ex-pat
I brought a room of 50 or so people to silence many years ago when still learning (not that I have ever stopped!!). I was explaining that my dog was a Shepard- Lab cross, but was more Lab than Shepard. Asked how this was, I answered, easy he has swim skin between his paws where as a Shepard does not. I meant to say Pfoten, but I used a "different" word that describes a ladies lower region in very, very basic terms...............As I said the room went silent and about one sentence later I caught up with everyone. At which point the lady I was talking to at the time, did not blink and eye and said, "four, lucky boy".......The room erupted and glowed!
15:19 May 4, 2012 by Al uk
Good Lord, those prostitutes in the 2nd picture are a bit ropey.
17:42 May 4, 2012 by milliways
I one caused some confusion and self embarassment when trying to get a cheese sandwich, ordering a "Kasse Brotchen" The cashier was cute though.
19:52 May 4, 2012 by Englishted
This one is true .

On building sites in the U.K. when throwing thing off a scaffold,the shout is BELOW.

A warning that everyone working there understands.

To a German site if you forget when you first arrive and shout "Below " many Germans look up at thinking you are shouting Hello very dangerous it is too.
23:06 May 4, 2012 by maxbrando
Surely, the funniest ever made must be "Ich bin ein Berliner". "I am a jelly donut."
00:03 May 5, 2012 by Livioxxx
haha, some funny examples among.
14:47 May 7, 2012 by romber58
I came to (west)Berlin in 1985 and really didnt find German grammar that difficult to comprehend or learn coz I had done Latin at school,So the difficulties and strangeness of declining verbs and noun genders had been overcome by the time i was 13 or 14.
00:02 May 9, 2012 by krak
I always get schwül and schwul mixed up, leading to the following kind of mistake: "Natürlich bin ich warm. Est ist ein sehr schwuler Tag!"
10:16 May 9, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
No doubt we have all been through it. Years ago I wanted to help an old lady who wished to open the door of a tram. In a loud voice I said - druck auf den Kopf - . Of course Knopf would have been much better, but she still managed to leave in the end. What a difference a little n can make.
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