German is not an easy language; most people agree about that. However, what many people don’t know (or will only learn once they start learning German) is how amazingly specific it can be.
German speakers have words for all sorts of things, and the way they form their vocabulary is also quite interesting.
As we head into spring (finally!) and temperatures rise all over Europe, there are certainly a few words and expressions that will be very useful during the coming months.
Like in every language, some idioms shouldn’t be literally translated – but we will do it just for the fun of it. After all, it’s fun sometimes to understand only train station.*
Here are a few expressions and words that you will probably hear, or might even incorporate, in the following months:
Sauheiß or Affenhitze
Sauheiß is literally “pig hot”, and Affenhitze would be “monkey heat”.
Both can be used for that extreme heat that is becoming ever more common during European summers.
Literally, the “Emperor weather”, or something like a weather fit for an Emperor. Usually, they use that for those days when the sun is shining bright, and the skies are cloudless blue.
Some say the idiom comes from Austria. Emperor Franz Josef had an August summer birthday and enjoyed sunny birthdays.
Etwas Sonne tanken
To fuel up with the sun. It is a very typical sentence, especially by the end of summer days, as winter looms closer and Austrians, Germans, and Swiss know that they need to “stock up” in that summer feeling to face the cold and dark days (weeks and months) ahead.
Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, es gibt nur falsche Kleidung
This is a very typical expression and a life lesson, really. It means “there is no bad weather, only wrong clothes” and it’s usually said during winter and cold days.
The life lesson could also be employed during summer – at least to a certain degree, unless you go for the FKK (frei korper kultur), of course.
Die Sonne lacht
Literally means the sun is smiling or laughing, and it’s used for when the sun is shining. A less sweet version would be “Die Sonne scheint” (the sun is shining).
Austrians love swimming. Austria is known for skiing and winter sports, but there is a lot to do when the weather is nice and warm as well.
The beautiful lakes are perfect for swimming, complete with options of fun waterslides for kids and artificial beaches. The many public pools and parks options also allow for fantastic swimming opportunities for the city dwellers, so don’t miss out when it’s Badewetter (swimming/beach weather).
April April, der macht was er will
Watch out for those days when sun and rain take turns for hours on end, or when it’s the middle of April, and it just starts snowing. This is when Austrians will typically shrug and say: April, April, it does what it wants to.
Auf der Sonnenseite des Lebens stehen
This literally means “to be on the sunny side of life” and is used to say that someone has a nice life – who wouldn’t when standing in a sunny place?
Geh mir aus der Sonne!
Finally, a good expression for those tired of being bothered by someone else. After all, nobody wants to share the sun with an annoyance. It means something like “get out of my sun” and is used in the same way as “get out of my face”.
*Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof is a very famous German idiom that is literally translated as “I understand only train station”. It means “I don’t understand a single thing”.