1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Hilfe, das Pferd frisst die …

"Hilfe, das Pferd frisst die heilige Kartoffel!"

Translation:Help, the horse is eating the holy potato!

October 13, 2015



I can't help but chuckle at Duolingo's nonsensical sentences :)


Thanks for sharing this. I remember seeing a similar story, from America, where someone had seen a holy face on their piece of breakfast toast. I couldn't remember if they had decided it was JC himself or the Virgin Mary ... so I Googled Holy Toast.

What I got was a lot of adverts for a stamp you can buy to emboss a picture of either one on each piece of toast you make ... and then, I guess, you eat it.

And now I'm speechless.


Wow! Or should I say holy s***! ? I think you can't translate the last English idiom directly word-for-word into any other language.


Now that got my interest, so I ran it through Context Reverso. Apparently, you can translate it word-for-word into German - but the French have their own variations on a theme .... none of which I plan to repeat here.

Maybe we should stick to heilige Kartoffeln :)


Agreed, let's stick to the potato :)


You can work with The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch if you like.

Hilfe! Die Killerkaninchen von Caerbannog frißt die Heilige Handgranate von Antiochia!


Oh, OK, macht nichts.


Well, you can perfectly say "Je suis sans voix" (I'm left without a voice), which is a good and wholesome approximation (You meant "I'm speechless, or am I confused?)


Somehow I knew this was going to be a real thing. I thought it was maybe some stage of the St Martin's Umzug that I hadn't noticed due to it being a) lit by torches and b) pouring with rain, every single time.


How does this sentence use frisst over isst? I thought fressen meant "to eat (meat)" or the like.


Fressen is used to talk about an animal eating while essen is used for humans. That is why frisst is used in this sentence and not isst.


Oh, so it has nothing to do with what is being eaten? Thanks! I did not know that!


Nope, it doesn't matter what it is eating. You're welcome, I hope this helps.


Of course, I suppose you can say a person "frisst" if you want to insult him over the way he eats.


Ja, er frißt wie ein Schwein.


Except if somebody eats very much and/or very messily. Then sometimes, in coloquial speech, "fressen" is used. (Has a rather negative vibe, though!)


Fressen refers to when an animal eats. It can be also used as an insult, for example "Halt die Fresse".


Or as a juvenily joke: "[Sollen wir] fressen [gehen]?" (heard the question "Fressen?" instead of "Essen?" from some "funny" colleagues)


Well, if you are a vegetarian... then maybe you'll use it so in a certainbl situation


What exactly is a holy potato?


It is a potato which is holy. For a real-life "example" see the most positively rated comments in this thread.

[deactivated user]

    What I found most interesting is that, despite ending in 'el', Kartoffel is feminine





    I was just about to write, there is no gender rule concerning the ending "-el" . But then I found the third link - which I think is incorrect. It seems that you can find that somewhere on the internet.

    But: The ending "-el" does not really help you to know the gender. Examples:

    das: das Achtel, das Gemetzel, das Gedudel, das Überbleibsel, das Rudel,

    die: (see PeterPan173079) , die Hantel, die Schüssel, die Gabel, die Rassel,

    der: der (Stoff-) Wechsel, der Dussel, der Tölpel, der Schlüssel ...

    As you can see by the given examples, the ending "el" is not specific.


    Oha! The third website you dug out, Ursulias, should better have been buried. It makes it look like all there are many endings of words in German that cause a word to have a specific gender. That's wrong. Some of the longer ones like -keit may have no or very few exceptions. All of the listed shorter ones have exceptions.


    It's not that rare: die Wachtel, die Schachtel, die Fackel


    This is the second sentence I've come across with holy potatoes!


    Duolingo keeps finding me sentences to laugh at ;)


    how would you change this sentence into imperative in German? would it be "Hilfe dem Pferd die heilige Kartoffel zu fressen" ?


    how would you change this sentence into imperative in German? would it be "Hilfe dem Pferd die heilige Kartoffel zu fressen" ?

    Nearly -- "Help the horse eat the holy potato" would be Hilf dem Pferd, die heilige Kartoffel zu fressen: no -e on hilf!.

    (Often, the informal imperative has two forms, one with and one without -e. But helfen does not; it only has the one without the -e. I think this is common in verbs that change -e- to -i-; similarly, we say iss! but not isse! or esse!.)


    Wait but "Hilf dem Pferd die heilige Kartoffel zu fressen" is not the same as "Hilfe, das Pferd frisst die heilige Kartoffel." though. The first is an order requiring one to help the horse to eat; and the second is asking for help, because the horse is eating; unless I am misunderstanding the original sentence.


    Right; I guess you could retain the meaning by adding mir, uns or any other term of address according to context.

    Hilf mir, das Pferd frisst die heilige Kartoffel!


    I don't think you should make fun out of peoples believs, it's only that christians are not agressive,but remember what happened to Charlie hebdo.Just a thought.


    @Malvazija: that would be soooo fantastic - if only it was true. Christians - and I am sad to say so - are not less aggressive than any non-Christian. History shows that religion does not create peace.


    Tribes are tribes regardless of their religion or lack of it. The wars with the greatest amount of loss of life and destruction had nothing to do with religion.

    The current wars that we are interested in are about cultural differences some of which are reflected in their tribal religion. Most of the contention is about the local geography, how it is used and by whom


    Sometime I need help. I do not know why but I understand everything the man says but very little the woman says. Frustrating.


    That cracked me up bahahah


    Maybe it is from Doitsuism, a religion based off the Hetalia character Germany, or "Lord Doitsu." The three most sacred items of the Doitsu religion are the potato, wurst, and beer, which form the "Holy Trinity" of the Doitsu religion.


    Well... At least you don't have to count to three before using it? :-P


    This nonsense does not look funny. Maybe its purpose is to exercise one's tolerance. But i would prefer to see less of such stuff here.


    Thank you for clarifying. It looks like they try to be funny and make the exercises engaging, but in my case it does not work as expected. It's something wrong with me :)


    Obviously it does work with you. You have noticed the words and remember what they mean enough to comment on them months later.

    If you are like most students here, you lack the vocab, grammar and understanding of word order to be able to deal with profound and elegant examples.


    Out of curiosity— what lesson is this sentence in? I have not actually encountered it before.


    Every one's a critic.


    Oh Duo providing us with more content that will come so handy in real life. Danke



    It’s a grammar exercise, with a bit of humor added to make it interesting.

    Duo is not supposed to be a travelers’ phrase book, providing useful sentences to memorize.

    [deactivated user]

      This sentence is gibberish; I do not find it amusing. Childish perhaps. Added to that, the woman speaker's voice is indistinct. Why does Duo make learning German more difficult than is necessary?


      Actually, the sentence is pretty simple. Nothing difficult about it at all.

      At this level, Duo students have less vocabulary and grammar than the average German speaking seven year old. How could the examples be anything but childish?


      Duo gives sentences that are amusing to several learning levels, including younger users. Having a "curve ball" like this one challenges you to think about the grammer and vocabulary and not guess.


      What is the point in learning this non-sense sentence?


      None whatsoever. You don't learn a language by learning all the possible sentences which can be formed. However, the sentence does contain words like "help", "horse", "potato", frisst, holy etc. all of which might be useful.

      Especially if you ever encounter a horse eating a holy potato and require assistance.


      You're not supposed to learn it by heart :)

      Just to translate it, as an exercise in German grammar and vocabulary.


      Duolingo tries to prove deperately that the cliché is wrong that German has no sense of humour. OT: What's the "heilige Handgranate of Antiochia" from "Life of Brian" in the English original?


      That's "The holy handgrenade of Antioch" from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". If I remember correctly they use it to destroy the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. https://youtu.be/QM9Bynjh2Lk (careful, NSFW)


      Is that the Gourd? I've not watched in in German so not certain.


      This sentence is so stupid that I got the answer wrong. It's not funny, it's pathetic. Afterwards I could feel the spirit of Humour as it died sail past me, weeping at the sheer idiocy of this sentence.


      Chill out it's just a sentence it's not like it killed your family or something


      Well we should see what the holy potato would say about it. If it could.


      One day it will. Then all the mockery on Duo, which has been duly noted, will come home to roost.

      Of course, it might take a couple of thousand years. But whenever it comes all the doubters will be sorry. Until then, the Flying Spaghetti Monster aspect of the holy trinity says .....Bless you. Peace be upon you. And, wait for it.....what is the sound of s**t happening? The latter coming directly from the Holy Potato him/her/it self.


      that was poetic, but like Deutsch_Brot said, its just a sentence! at least now we'll never forget how to say the individual words


      Couldn't agree more. Things you want to learn stick better in your memory when emotion is involved. Being upset, feeling insulted or laughing, seeing the humour and the relativity of the content of the phrases: as for remembering words, word order in a sentence, etc it is fantastic! Thank you Duolingo!!! Next time a phrase about the Spaghettimonster stealing noodles?


      Unsinn! Alle Nudeln gehören dem Fliegende Spaghettimonster.


      Nudeln sind sein Körper und Sauce ist sein Blut. Wir essen sie zur Erinnerung an ihn.


      That's funny. And simple enough for me to get the joke. Good one.

      Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.