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»Sara hat mir erzählt, dass sie das Gezeter ihrer Mutter leid ist…« – “Sara told me that she is tired of her mother’s nagging.” This sentence comes from the children’s book Das Cafe-geheimnis (it was originally written in Swedish and stars Lasse and Maja) and introduced me to both the word das Gezeter, which will be treated in a subsequent post, and the verb-adjective combination leid sein.

On Duden I found this entry for leid sein. It offers the definition “someone is/has grown tired of something” – » jemandes, einer Sache überdrüssig sein« – and this sample sentence »ich bin sein dummes Gequatsche leid.« – “I’m sick of your blathering.”  Clearly this is an important concept as there are a fair few synonyms given in this entry, and they range from the colloquial to the idiomatic to the rather formal:

genug haben –” to have enough”
müde sein
– “to be tired (of)”
satthaben – “”to have had a bellyful”
satt sein; (gehoben)  – “to be fed up” (satt sein is used to mean that you have had enough to eat)
überdrüssig sein; (umgangssprachlich)
– “to be tired of/weary of”
bis obenhin haben
– “to have had it up to here”
dick haben/kriegen 
– “to be fed up” (literally something like “to have or get [it] thickly)
die Nase voll haben
– “to be sick of something” (literally “to have a nose full”)
langen – “to be enough” (it can also mean “to reach” and in its transitive form “to pass, to hand”) 
reichen – “to be sufficient” (like langen, it can also mean “to reach” and “to hand”)
überhaben; (salopp) –”to be fed up with something” ( literally “to over-have”)
stinken  Mir stinkt es! – “to be fed up” (it can also mean “to stink”)
den Kanal/die Schnauze voll haben – “to have had enough” (literally “to have a canal or snout full “), with Kanal, it can also mean “to be sloshed” something that happens when one has “had enough” to drink and puts one in mind of the literal meaning of a canal overrunning its banks.

Many of these can be made even stronger by adding gründlich – “thoroughly” – as in etwas gründlich satthaben – “to be sick to death of something or someone” or “to be fed up to to the back teeth with something .” (One can also add the word die Faxen – “nonsense” or “shenanigans” – as in Ich habe die Faxen satt.) I don’t think I’d ever given much thought to the expression “to be fed up” before. On seeing the various translations, though, I was startled to see how many of them are related to the consumption of food: “a bellyful,” ” to be fed [up],” “back teeth” and even “to be sick of,” as something one is “sick of” can be something that one doesn’t want to eat again. Perhaps that might be that one is “fed up” with something then that thing is what one can no longer “stomach?!”

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Week 5 Anniversary

It’s an anniversary post and thus the theme once again is loosely related to earthquakes. The most active areas for earthquakes are at the join between two tectonic plates (die tektonische Platten), each of which is in motion either toward to away from the other. As it turns out, the plate is an apt metaphor for language learning in several ways.

First of all, satisfaction with progress in learning a new language is also something where things can feel as though they are coming together or that they are getting further and further apart. It can even feel that both things are happening at the same time, you suddenly have new vocabulary that you can use rather naturally and directly (rather taking an indirect route through your native tongue), and, at the same time, perhaps you struggle with a sentence structure about which you once felt similarly confident.

Perhaps a better metaphor for language learning than the tectonic sort of plate is to imagine the circus act where someone is keeping lots of plates (die Teller) spinning (I managed to find one source with something close to this phrase and there it was translated as viele Teller in der Luft zu halten – “to keep many plates in the air.”) Like this performance, speaking a foreign language requires you to do many things at once and give all of them at least a bit of your attention to prevent the whole thing crashing down around you.

Alternatively, one might say that when learning a new language, you “have a lot on your plate,” a phrase which dict.cc translates as both viel/genug am Hals haben and eine Menge/genug um die Ohren haben. Both of these have parallels in English in terms of being “up to your neck” or “up to your ears” in work (note that dict.cc also gives the first phrase, with the reference to Hals, as a translation for “to have many balls in the air”).

One thing is for certain, though, unless you are a child or a very unusual person, a new language is not something handed to you on a plate or auf den silbernen Tablett servieren!

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