Teaching irony to the German police
Wordless Wednesday

A poor grasp of the penis, if you ask me.

I've already observed that when an English-speaker listens to German, it sounds all warm and squishy and arousing. That feeling disappears when you actually try to converse on the warm, squishy topic auf Deutsch . Then you just get confused. Lucky I found the Alternative German Dictionary.

Testicles are reasonably straightforward. We call them balls, the Germans call them eggs. Unless some language refers to them as sugared almonds (Italian, maybe?), I guess German is the most accurate.

The penis poses a challenge to the German tongue. We often call it a cock—probably because, as Andrew Dice Clay observed, it wakes up half an hour before you do. But the common German word for the penis is a schwantz, semantically related to the word for tail.

Now, liebschen, that’s just plain ass-about. Obviously, the Germans must have a very poor grasp of anatomy, or at least certain bits of it.

The Yiddish form of German, of course, keeps things in much better perspective. The American expression "schmuck" is, in fact, the Yiddish word for the penis. The language derived it from the hochdeutsch word for jewellery or ornament.

If we put these together into a full suite of male genitalia, an Anglophone man may refer to it as his equipment. But your average Herr an den Strasse will call them the Geschlechtsteile, or, literally, dynasty parts.

(Many men give their penis a name. From now on, mine will be Alexis.)

OK, we might call our bits the family jewels, but we don’t get anywhere close to making them instruments of destiny.

In the act itself, the two languages resemble each other at the root. Bonk, fuck, bumsen, ficken—the words all relate to bumping, banging, colliding. The most common way to refer to masturbation, interestingly, is to go five against one.

The Austrians refer to the sex act a more delicately. A young couple may play the violin. Or they may enjoy a schnacksel, which means a little chat.

Beyond all this, the Germans talk of sex by referring to animals. Rabbits, oxen, the horniness of apes, und so wieder. Children say that boys have snails between their legs. (Hmmm...I don't recall antennae on mine.)

By contrast, English often enlists a gentleman's name to refer to vulgar acts and objects. Think of Dick, Roger, Willy, Percy and John Thomas. Perhaps we can invent a smutty way to use the name George W.

Sorry, must dash. I need to get on my bicycle (ride-wheel) for a trip to the late-night drugstore(druggery) to pick up a lighter (fire-trinket) and some peanut butter (earth-nut cream)

I have sourced the photographs in this post from public sources, and believe that I have used them fairly for quotation or illustration. Should any of the copyright owners of these photos wish me to remove them from the sit, I am happy to do so.

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