Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ted Mosby, Klaus and the funny use of the German language!

I have just watched the first episode of How I Met Your Mother Season 8.
I found it very good, it is the essence of the whole series, i.e. the Ted's quest of the true Love!
Anyway the speech between Ted & Klaus is simply delightful :)

In this post you will see, the video of this scene, a transcription of the dialog (from www.opensubtitle.org and myself) and an explanation of these very long words (contribution of the first reviewer of this post! ... and I thank all the other reviewers too). Enjoy!

[The song is "Funeral" by the "Band of Horses", here is the youtube link]

Ted: Uh, excuse me.

Klaus: Oh, hey, it's you.
Ja okay, I'm not sure what kind of vibe I was giving off before, but I am not interested in your schnitzel, okay?

Ted: No, no, no, no, no-- God, no.
I-I just have one quick question:
Victoria seems like a great girl. Why wouldn't you want to marry her?

Klaus: Ach, okay, Victoria is wunderbar.
I'm sorry, wunderbar is the German word for wonderful.

Ted: Yeah, no, I know.

Klaus: Oh, you speak German?
Sie sprechen Deutsch?! Ich habe keine Freunde, die Deutsch sprechen in Amerika!
Das macht mich so einsam, so einsam!
TRANSLATION: Do you speak German?! I don't have any Friends in America who speak German!
This makes me so lonely, so lonely!

Ted: No... No, no, no... No, just-just-just the one word.

Klaus: Oh. Oh.
Ah... Okay, Victoria.
There is a word in German:
And the closest translation would be...
"Lifelong Treasure of Destiny."
And Victoria is wunderbar, but she is not my Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz.
She is my Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand, you know?
You know wunderbar but you don't know Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand?
That is something we learn in kindergarten.
I'm sorry, "kindergarten" is the German word for--
No, no, I know that one. Oh, okay.
But you don't know Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand?
You are maddeningly inconsistent.
It means...
"the thing that is almost
the thing that you want...
...but it's not quite."
Das ist Victoria to me.

Ted: How do you know she's not Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz?
I mean, maybe as the years go by, she'll get Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz-ier.

Klaus:  Oh, nein, nein, nein.
Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz is not something that develops over time.
It is something that happens instantaneously.
It courses through you like the water of a river after a storm...
...filling you and emptying you all at once.
You feel it throughout your body...
In your hands...
in your heart...
in your stomach...
...in your skin...
Of course you feel it in your Schlauchmachendejungen.
Pardon my French. Have you ever felt this way about someone?

Ted: Yeah, I think so.

Klaus: If you have to think about it,
you have not felt it.

Ted: And you're absolutely sure
you'll find that someday?

Klaus: Of course. Everyone does eventually.
You just never know when or where.

Ted: And he was right.
Unfortunately, the "when"
of it was still a little ways down the road.
But the "where" of it?


So what about these very long German words?
Well, don't be disappointed but all the longest ones are ... made-up!!!

But let's go in order...

das Schnitzel = it means Cutlet and it's a very popular dish not only in Germany but also in Austria, Italy (where it's called Cotoletta) and many other countries.

(from wikipedia)

Why Klaus names Ted's penis "Schnitzel"... well, this is absolutely obscure to me!

A commenter suggested Schnitzel could be the left-over of  "Wiener schnitzel" (this is the most common type of Schnitzel. Probably the Wiener part of "Wiener schnitzel" was too explicit (in English), whereas in German it simply means "from Vienna" (or "Wien" in German). So, censorship at work, Maybe :)

wunderbar = it's an adjective and means wonderful (check^^)

der Lebenslangeschicksalsschatz = First disappointment: it's made-up!
There is no such word or phrase in the German language!
Individually taken, the words "lebenslang" (lifelong) "Schicksal" (destiny) and "Schatz" (treasure, darling, love) exist.
You probably would not "glue" those words in English either, wouldn't you?  ;-) "lifelongdestinytreasure"

der Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand = and again: made-up. "Beinahe" (almost) "Leidenschaft" (passion)"Gegenstand" (thing/object)or "almostpassionobject" :)

der Kindergarten =kindergarten

die Schlauchmachenjungen = another made-up word "Schlauch" (tube) + "machen" (to make, making) + "Jungen (boys, but in this case they probably meant children)" =  "Penis"

Bonus curiosity
As pointed out from one of the commenters, in the German version of this episode

"lebenslangerschicksalsschatz" is simply "lebensschicksalsschatz" while "beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand" is "beinahe ein und alles"
Even if these very long words are made up, there are, actually, in German some true ones. Among them probably the most famous is


that means

The button of the uniform of the captain of the steamboat service line of the great navigation line  Danube-Main-Rhine!

As another prove of the fact these words from HIMYM do not exist in German  (at least until 2008), you can have a look on Google Ngram Viewer!

Other interesting stuff you may be interested in...

If you want to re-watch the all the episodes of How I Met Your Mother...



-> said...

You are right! A great start in Season 8 but the artificial use of the German language drives me crazy :)

das Schnitzel = http://germanfood.about.com/od/meatbasedrecipesandmenu/r/wienerschnitzel.htm

wunderbar = wonderful (check^^)
die Lebenslangeschicksalsschatz = made-up. There is no such word or phrase in the German language.

The words "lebenslang" (lifelong) "Schicksal" (destiny) and "Schatz" (treasure) exist. You probably would not "glue" those words in English, would you ;-) "lifelongdestinytreasure"

der Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand = and again: made-up. "Beinahe" (almost) "Leidenschaft" (passion)"Gegenstand" (thing/object)or "almostpassionobject" :)

der Kindergarten =kindergarten

die Schlauchmachenjungen = the tube making children (made-up, btw the translation is accurate but i´ve never seen children making tubes XD).

die Leidenschaft =the love (the passion)
The love= Die Liebe
der Gegenstand = the thing

There is no wisdom in made-up words BUT the idea behind them is just wunderbar :)

Greetings from Germany

eddie said...

Ich danke dir für deine Bemerkung!

For the records, I made this post yesterday just after having watched the episode!
Clearly I wanted to update it later on because as you can see it looks like a list...

If you hadn't had already told me, tomorrow I would have asked about the existence of Lebenslangeschicksalsschatz and Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand (omitting Schlauchmachenjungen :) ) directly to my German teacher!

I change the title of the from "Ted Mosby, Klaus and the Wisdom of German words!" to "Ted Mosby, Klaus and the funny use of the German language!".
It seemed much more appropriate :)

Viele Grüße aus Deutschland!

eddie said...

Ah, I also would like integrate your comment directly into the post .. if you don't mind!

-> said...

Hi Eddie,

first of all: feel free to integrate any information from my post.
Do not get me wrong I love the show. We Germans are always portrayed as humorless but believe me I had a lot of fun watching the last episode.

In Germany all series which are originally shot in a foreign language will be translated before the show premieres. I take every chance I get to watch several US-Shows in their original language. Many jokes and expressions get lost in the process of translation (lost in translation^^).

Funny fact: it is an awkward situation when characters of the original series (for example Klaus) meet their german synchronous speaker. In this case Ted (after translation a "native" german speaker) meets Klaus (a native german speaker, too). A German speaking german with another German ... hmmm ;-) (not to mention the voices ...omg...)

I remember in one episode of Scrubs the german version used danish or swiss to "translate" the german from the original series to the "german" in the german version.

Ask your German Teacher anyway. He/She will certainly have fun with this "challenge". If your teacher responds with the sentence "challenge accepted" you know for sure he/she is knowing what you are talking of :)

Greeting from Germany

eddie said...

Servus J,
Thanks to your precious contribution, this post became much more interesting!

I know what you mean, it's pretty normal when success TV-shows or movies are not in your native language! Another reason to know more than one language!

I haven't told my teacher about these words, but I simply suggested her to watch the new episode of How I Met Your Mother (I know she watches it ;) )


Doremi said...

Hello :)

I am from Austria and I've just watched this episode and I really had to laugh about the use of German language :D

So epic how they pronounced the words. I also wondered a few seconds if I'm so bad in my on mother tongue that I don't know the made-up words. xD

One question: Why does Klaus say "Pardon my French" after Schlauchmachendejungen?
And could it be that this word is used for phallus?

Has your teacher already said something because of these words? :D
Yes, it just could be an advantage to know more languages!


eddie said...

Servus Doremi,
thanks for your comment, I really appreciated!

About your question, as part of the English language, "Pardon My French" or "Excuse My French" are used when someone employs a foreign language (not necessarily French!) to say some profanity.

In this case, Klaus instead of saying "Penis" or "Phallus" uses "Schlauchmachenjungen" a foreign (although made-up) word for it. So, in this sense, his "Perdon my French" is fully justified ;)
That's also why Ted, after Klaus's words, makes that slight face gesture as for saying:
"Never mind the vulgarity you just said, go on."

Yes, I asked my teacher and I discovered she is a fan of HIMYM as well!
The answer was these are made-up words and she added that saying something like that in public will simply make you look completely crazy!

That's all.
Ciao und Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Anonymous said...

Hello everybody and greetings from Germany,

I guess I am not the only German who googled this episode after shown in TV today. All Shows get translated to German as said above and they mess it up every time. See Scrubs, Malcolm in the middle etc. By the way the actor's German is difficult to understand as well.
Just want to add one small detail. The word "Junge" means boy, not children. I would translate Schlauchmachendejungen with tube making (you to a) boy.


eddie said...

Yeah, every day about 40 persons around the world "google" something related to this speech between Ted and Klaus :)
I updated the post with your clarification.

Thomas said...

If anything, it should be der lebenslange Schicksalsschatz.

Thomas said...

Also, “Schatz” in this case means “dear.”

eddie said...

My bad!!!! Thanks!

eddie said...

Updated! :)

Anonymous said...

"Why Klaus names Ted's penis "Schnitzel"... well, this is absolutely obscure to me!". Maybe: Schnitzel -> Wiener Schnitzel -> Wiener -> http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wiener

eddie said...

I thought they chose it to be not so vulgar, but your chain of implications seems to be quite convincing :)

Maureen ♥ said...

i don't know if you've seen this episode in german, but klaus is speaking in saxon - so it's pretty funny (and for me as a german way more funnier than the english version..)

"lebenslangerschicksalsschatz" is in the german version simply "lebensschicksalsschatz" and "beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand" is "beinahe ein und alles"

grüße aus deutschland :D

eddie said...

Hello Maureen!
I haven't seen (yet) the German version of this episode but what you wrote is for sure very interestring and therefore I will it add to the post!
Thanks for your comment!

Schwedenlebendenmenschen said...

Great episode! I'm rewatching the whole series at the moment. Thanks for the interesting german lesson. I go bonkers in my TV sofa whenever they use a swedish charachter named Inga or Sven who, for some reason, has a german accent and lederhosen. :)

eddie said...

@ Schwedenlebendenmenschen
Thanks for your comment! I re-watched the whole series I don't know how many times ;)
What? Swedish people do not wear Lederhosen?!? :) It's still a TV-Show, so you cannot expect it to be accurate ;)
But actually, Lederhosen and Pretzel could be matter for another post... something like Germany is not = Bavaria ;)

Karina said...

Re-watching this episode and found this thread. Although incredibly late to the game, I had to add my two cents as to why they probably chose "schnitzel."

I have a strong feeling it started as "Wiener schnitzel" in the script but was very likely censored by the FCC. Don't need to explain to anyone here what we mean by "wiener" in the US-- but in Germany it simply means it comes from Vienna (or "Wien" in German).
Really, they should've gone with Bratwurst if they were going for the phallus reference but it's probably a less recognized word in the US.

eddie said...

Hi Karina,

I like your theory, it seems a lot of sense.
I will update the post ;)(Even if the post is quite old, it still remains one of the most read on his blog! Wahnsinnig!)
Thanks for your comment.