https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Titchymitch

Request for idiom help in German

I am a native English speaker, but this is hard to explain, as it's mostly used verbally (As I've seen it), so please stick with me. So in English we have a way of portraying, I guess, disrespect and disregard for an idea or thing, by adding "schm" before it (Eg, "Rules, schmules". Be aware that that's a terrible example, I just can't think of a better one right now). I was wondering if there's a similar thing in German? This is purely put of curiosity, to see the differences in, I guess, slang words.

Thanks

May 24, 2016

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/person243

There is this interjection: "Ach, papperlapapp!" which means about the same. But it is universal and does not have the word you want to downplay in it. Then there is the idiom: "Namen sind (nur) Schall und Rauch." =lit. "Names are (only) sound and smoke." = "Names, shmames." if you want to say it like that. This would also work with other things that are spoken but the original phrasing is with "names". Similarily you could build yourself something for written things. "Verträge sind nur Tinte und Papier." = "Treaties are only ink and paper." But that was made up by me just now it is not a real proverb in the sense that it is often used. It would work though.

I hope I could be of help.

PS: As a reference the duden.de page of "papperlapapp":

http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/papperlapapp

And here something about "Schall und Rauch":

http://www.redensarten.net/Schall+und+Rauch.html

May 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Titchymitch

Thank you very much, especially for the added sources. That was very interesting, and I greatly appreciate the response, particularly as it was pretty fast. :)

May 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

How would you translate "das ist Quatch"? It's an expression I heard in Berlin.

May 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/person243

"Quatsch" is a word for nonsense in German. A coloquial one. It can also mean "foolishness" and "tomfoolery". An idiom with this word would be "Quatsch mit Soße". Meaning, that is total and utter nonsense what one did there. "Quatsch!" can also be used as an interjection. You then mean that the before said is nonsense or just wrong. It is often used that way. For example:

"Obama ist seit 2000 im Amt." – "Quatsch! Das geht doch gar nicht. Der ist doch immer noch im Amt." = "Obama is in charge since 2000." – "Nonsense! That isn't even possible. I mean he is still in charge, isn't he?"

You can also correct yourself in that way: "Die Hauptstadt von Australien ist Sydney. Quatsch! Natürlich Canberra, Sydney ist nur die größte Stadt." = "The capital of Australia is Sydney. No, wait! It is Canberra, Sydney is just the biggest city."

"Hast du gestern den Auftritt von diesem amerikanischen Möchtegernpräsidenten gesehen?" – "Ja. Das, was der geredet hat, das war vielleicht mal ein Quatsch mit Soße." = "Did you watch the public appearance of this wannabe American president yesterday?" – "Yes. That what he said there, what a way to show his intelligence." (I don't get this translated without either sounding abusive or not getting the vibe. But in German it is not really abusive, it just says that the person thinks he could have done way better with his time and simultaniously he would express that the things said were complete and utterly nonsensical.)

I hope I could be of help.

May 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

Thanks for the detailed explanation. Very helpful!

May 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Otto_Didactyl

Fancy/Schmancy is a common use of this device.

May 26, 2016
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.