Tag Archives: umgangssprachlich

Bücher im Herz

Diese Woche habe ich das Ausdruck »Frühlingsputz machen« – spring cleaning – gelernt. Als wir über das Thema geredet haben, kamen wir auf die Herausforderung zu sprechen, sich von Bücher zu trennen. Ein Leiter sagte, dass er viele Kartons im Keller habe. Alle enthalten Bücher. Seine Kinder sagten, dass wenn er diese Bücher nicht seit fünf Jahren lesen hat, er die vielleicht wegwerfen wird. Das hat mein Herz berührt, weil ich auch viele Bücherkartons habe. Was noch schlimmer ist, die stehen nicht nur in Hamburg, sondern auch in Birmingham, Alabama und St. Paul, Minnesota. Also dann,ich bin Schriftstellerin und deswegen sind fast alle Bücher wie Kinder: man muss sich um sie kümmern. Wenn man umgezogen oder etwas ist, muss man für die Bücher ein neues Zuhause finden. Aber das geht nicht so einfach, und man kann die Nerven statt die Bücher wegschmeißen!

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Absolutely!

Yesterday I encountered a sign that read:

Unbedingt Hygienebeutel benutzen

I was struck by the economy of words, nothing wasted in this discussion of what to do with your waste. My sense is that in the US we would be likely to say something much more like “Don’t flush sanitary products, please put them in this container” which, in addition to having many more words, also feels significantly less direct.

The word unbedingt is one which I first encountered on another sign; there it was used to leave people in no doubt that dogs must be on leashes/leads. Various sources render its meaning as “absolute(ly),” “unconditional(ly),” “imperative(ly),” “obligator(il)y,” categorical(ly)” and “without fail.” In other words, it’s strong stuff. With these meanings, and given it appears on signage, it also feels that little bit formal to me. It would seem that this intuition is perhaps incorrect, though, as DWDS.de lists some lovely synonyms in umgangssprachlich (ugs.) or colloquial usage and their translations into English are also quite colloquial:

allemal – “every time”
hundert Pro – “sure as the sun rises” or literally “one hundred per[cent]”
ey Alter, ich schwör – “Hey dude, I swear”
todsicher – “dead sure; a dead cert”
auf Gedeih und Verderb – “completely and utterly; for better or for worse” or more literally something like “spanning success and decay”

DWDS also includes the expression ganz und gar – “utterly and completely” – a combination I’d wondered about given the ability in German to verstärken almost everything, including superlatives. What, is that ganz genau, I hear you say?!

 

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