Sunday, October 30, 2016

German language training Part 2

Language training is still wonderful. I definitely speak German better now than I ever spoke Russian, even after banging my head against that language for years.

This week I wanted to say I was sad and realized we had never learned that word. So I also asked my teacher for the words for "excited, or thrilled, or delighted." He thought. He came up with a word that means "looking forward to something". Um, nope.  The conversation was almost exactly replicated with my au pair in the evening.

Apparently, Germans don't have words for extremes of emotion. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.


Ida said...

Well, we can’t leave it at that, can we?
The situations in which we use certain words might, of course, differ, so your Au-Pair probably already pointed out, that Germans aren’t „excited“ as often as Americans. But we are „begeistert vom neuen Harry Potter-Film“, „überglücklich“ to have passed an exam, „hin und weg“ (colloquial) about someone’s cute baby, „hocherfreut“ how some political negotiations turned out, and „glückselig“ just to be at home for christmas with our family.

I think in accordance with German being slightly too practical we tend to use words for not very strong emotions like happy (glücklich) and just put various words in front of it as in „überglücklich, super zufrieden, echt glücklich, total zufrieden, hocherfreut."

We do have a few words like „entzückt, hingerissen & ausgelassen“ that express strong emotions as such, but aren’t used widely. „Glückselig“ also falls in that category, whereas „begeistert“ is used very often.

Lynne said...

Begeistert is awesome and I am going to find a way to use it tomorrow. Both my teacher and au pair brought up freuten, but that only means "glad" or "pleased" which is nowhere near what I was looking for. To the American eye, adding "über" or "hoch" to a mildly pleasant word still doesn't quite take it to the level we often overuse, but I see in the dictionary hocherfreut = exhilarated.