Gute Fahrt, Mr Krabs!

Any expat living abroad will experience this at some point: you’ll come across a word in the language of your country of choice that may provoke an inappropriate reaction because, though being perfectly neutral in that language, it is rude or knee-slappingly hilarious in your native tongue. Let’s look at some German words that cannot be pronounced by an English-speaking person without at least a tiny smirk.

It all starts with ‘Gute Fahrt!’ (‘Have a safe journey!’), which my husband, in his British, slightly-embarrassed but giggly, can’t-let-that-one-go-uncommented manner usually responds to with ‘Don’t mind if I do…,’ as it sounds to him like best wishes for a healthy passing of wind.

Remaining in the realm of digestion, one day on our street I came across a van labelled with a strange company name that doesn’t even mean anything in German but struck me because it would have been impeccably spelled, were it an English name: Oxenfart (pertaining to a certain Frank, who, as it happens, does very snazzy bathrooms).

Names of companies or products are a fascinating thing in this respect, by the way. Have any of you heard of the Mitsubishi Pajero? Probably not, because it’s called ‘Shogun’ in the UK and ‘Montero’ in North America and Spanish-speaking countries because in colloquial Spanish ‘pajero’ means ‘wanker’. Also, would you go and have your hair cut at a salon called ‘Arson Hair’? (Could be a great dare for your next stag or hen do, though …) But my all-time-favourite in Cologne is…drum roll…Mr Krabs, which is actually a good name for someone dealing in aquarium paraphernalia! Can’t remember why I thought it was funny…

Sorry, guys and girls, this was a very childish foray to the not-so-profound linguistic depths – but I couldn’t resist. And next week, too, we’ll have a crackin’ time, I promise.

The Pommes Buddha says: When you’re looking for crayfish, Mr Krabs is your guy!

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4 thoughts on “Gute Fahrt, Mr Krabs!

  1. I love those little unintended jokes as well! Emma has this infatuations with diggers and whenever she sees one in the streets she shouts at the top of her voice ‚Bagger!!‘ The first time she did it my husband was in hysterics and he still has to chuckle at it every time. =)

  2. it’s pronounced ‘bugger’.)

    Ooh, that’s a point of contention.

    It makes my skin crawl to hear Germans pronounce my English word „bullk“ like their „Balg“ or my „bus“ like their „Baß“ or my „lunch“ like Italian auto brand „Lancia“.

    I bet someone decided many decades ago „English short u should be pronounced like a German long a and now every German can pronounce those English words correctly!“

    But I sure wish he hadn’t.

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