I admit my German is not all it should be, but nowhere is that more prevalent than when I’m trying to have a nice, normal, non-work conversation with my friends. All those big words I need for my research do me no good when I’m trying to explain the jackass I met last week or my own idiotic behavior.
Thanks to Til Schweiger movies, however, my vocabulary is expanding at a monthly pace (because as much as I love watching movies in German — no sarcasm, here, really — there is only so much time in a single woman’s life to partake in romcoms, and for me, even two hours a month is too much, unless Til Schweiger takes off his shirt, which he always does, so I can forgive the two hours I’ve just wasted).
The latest addition to my German not-very-nice word treasury, courtesy of Til and his movie Kokowääh, is Schlappschwanz. Literally, limp dick. Or at least that’s how I translated it in my mind before I proudly pulled it out for a friend (the word, not the Schlappschwanz, since I’m a proper lady), who gasped in horror and told me that it would have to be removed from my vocabulary tout suite. I thought I was saying a guy was a real wet rag, you know, a total bummer to be around. She did not agree.
So I did what anyone learning German does: I took to Twitter and its #dailydeutsch crowd. I learned SO much from my German/English-speaking friends. About both languages. Seems a schlappschwanz can also be a douchebag (HATE that word, nevah evah going to say it out loud), a wieny, a pansy, or a slapdick. Yes, that’s right, a slapdick. Which I had never heard of before, but the Regensblogger insists its in common usage in the US Midwest. And he pointed to Urban Dictionary to prove it, so I guess he’s right.
But after all that, I realized maybe my friend was right, I didn’t need to have Schlappschwanz in my everyday vocabulary. After all, it’s not every day I walk around calling people limpdicks in English, so it’ll have to be one of those words relegated to the “special occasion” German. Instead, I’ll just continue to walk down the street mumbling about fuckers and I don’t need to better my German to do that, now do I. It seems to grab just as much attention, anyway. And at least this way, when the kid picks up on my foul language, no one will understand what she’s saying.