Despite being known as having words for anything you could ever think of, such as Verschlimmbesserung which would translate to making something even worst by trying to make it better, Germans also have the most basic vocabulary possible. Taking into consideration their popularity with such expressive phrases, you would think that the Germans’ inspiration is never-ending. Well, it turns out even they can suffer from dried-out creativity. You wonder what is their secret? How do they form simple yet funny words? Build a collocation and call it a day.
Die Glühbirne (glühen + die Birne = glow + pear)
Don’t be surprised if a German asks you to buy them a glowing pear. It’s not a pear that glows… well, wait a minute… it actually is. Believe it or not, it’s a lightbulb. Since it has the shape of the fruit and emits light, why not call it exactly what it is?
Die Handschuhe (die Hand + die Schuhe = hand + shoes)
This word represents the purest form of logic I have ever encountered. I imagine the following thoughts going through a German’s mind: ‘We have shoes which keep our feet warm, but what about our hands? Instead of gloves, we can name them hand shoes!’
Die Schildkröte (das Schild + die Kröte = shield + frog)
What’s the name of the animal that to non-Germans looks nothing like a frog and is protected with a shield? It’s a turtle, of course. Apparently, Germans find a dashing similarity between frogs and turtles, so they have decided to not bother coming up with a new word, but rather put a shield on the frog. Simple as that.
Flugzeug (die Flug + das Zeug = flight + thing)
Flugzeug is hands down one of my favorite words because it expresses the Germans’ lack of imagination. Even though it apparently sounds beyond logical to them, this word might not be the favorite cup of tea to the rest of us. Translated as a flying thing, it refers to, you guessed it, an airplane.
Speisekarte (sie Speise + die Karte = dish + card)
Forget about the menu when you can have a Speisekarte, a literal card on which restaurants list their dishes. It’s simple, logical, and straight to the point. No need for fancy French words at all.
If you loved learning these logical German words, hit this link for more German expressions that will surely make your day.