Word of the Day – “die Schranke”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of

die Schranke

 

Schranke as well as its brother der Schrank are great examples for the harsh beauty of the German language. I mean just look at it. Schrank!  it sounds like a gearbox failure, and yet it means something like loving caress, as tender as a as a butterfly’s wi… okay of course this is crap. Schranke and Schrank are rather worldly things. And Schrank is actually pretty common.  In fact, most of you probably have a Schrank at home and if you’re one of those people who put little post its on stuff to learn vocabulary, then you’ll know that a Schrank is a wardrobe. Or a cabinet. Or a cupboard. Or an armoire. Or a locker…. basically it’s a huge-ish piece of furniture that you use to store stuff in and – and this is the crucial part – it has doors.  Without doors it’s called Regal.

Haha… I’m so funny. But seriously, there are all kinds of Schränke … Bücherschrank  is for books, a Schuhschrank  is for shoes,  a Kleiderschrank is for clothes, and a Badezimmerschrank is for bathrooms… like… if you have a few extra bathrooms spare that you need to store away… I don’t really understand how that works, actually. But anyways, time to move on and stop at our actual topic… the Schranke.
Meaning-wise Schrank and Schranke very little to do with one another but they both come from the same origin. They are related to the German word schräg, which means at an angle and Schrank and Schranke were both words for some sort of wooden grid-like structure. Beams that go across something. Timber framings, wooden fences , stockades, wooden beams that carry a ceiling… these were context where you’d find Schrank(e). But then the two words developed in different directions. And while Schrank shifted toward the idea of wooden enclosing and became a piece of furniture, die Schranke focused on the idea of having one single beam that goes across something. From there, it took on the idea of blockade. And today the main meaning of Schranke is ….this:

schranke-image

A Schranke is a  boom gate or railway gate. A wooden beam (or it used to be wooden) that is at an angle and crosses a road.

And of course people also use the word for more abstract beams across more abstract roads.

Now you’re probably like “Wow, knowing boom gate and  Blut-Hirn-Schranke is really gonna help me in my next exam. “ And all I can say to that is  that I know, that’s why I picked this to.. oh wait, that was just sarcasm, was it? Well, of course Schranke looks like  the use is rather limited. But the real reason why we talk about this is not the noun itself… it’s the verbs that are derived from it.
There are not many. Dictionaries say that schränken as a stand-alone does exist. But dictionaries say a lot of things when they’re bored. I have never ever seen schränken just like this and I wouldn’t know what it means. But there are 3 prefix versions of it that are rather common:  einschränken, beschränken and verschränken.
Einschränken 
and beschränken are very similar. They both express the idea of setting new, smaller bounds or limits for something.

Beschränken sounds a bit more technical and a bit harsher. Like… beschränken really sounds like a wooden beam while einschränken sounds more like there’s a buffer zone, if that makes sense.  But in a lot of contexts you can use either one and it comes down to what’s more idiomatic.

Beschränkt is also often used in context of dumb or narrow minded.

The second one is very very harsh and offensive so you need to know the right time for it…  I usually use it when I scold our interns. Anyway, so these were einschränken and beschränken. There’s also begrenzen which literally means to be-border and in a lot of cases they are interchangeable but the schränken-ones usually imply that humans are responsible for the limitation.  So in context of limited natural resources for example begrenzt is the way to go.
All right.
The last word we’ll look at today is verschränken and the number one example that comes to mind is…  Quantenverschränkung. Quantenverschränkung – quantum entanglement in English – described the phenomenon that a pair or group of particles consistently exhibit perfectly correlated observables even though they are in different locations like they’re using snapchat or something

“Yo, being measured, I’m turning clockwise.”
“Oh okay, I’ll do counterclockwise right away.”

 Now you’re probably all like “What the hell is he talking about.”, face all skeptical and your arms  crossed.  Well, that’s perfect because that’s exactly what verschränken is used for in daily life :)…. crossing the arms.

In German you don’t say cross, you don’t say fold… you say verschränken.

There are other uses of verschränken but they’re very niche-y. The arms-one is the one you need.
And….  that’s pretty much it already. Hooray. That was our little look at the meaning and the family of die Schranke and at least the verbs einschränken and beschränken will prove useful. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions just drop me a comment.
And oh…  I almost forgot… here’s a little riddle for you…

What do you get when you order “Pommes Schranke”?

 Well, it’s not really a riddle but “Pommes Schranke” is a colloquial term for a specific kind of dish and you sound really really local if you use it :). Little hint… it has something to do with the colors on a Schranke. Viel Spaß beim Überlegen. Ich hoffe, euch hat’s gefallen. Schöne Woche und bis nächstes Mal

for members :)

45
Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
MacFeagel
MacFeagel

“I usually use it when I sold our interns”. How much did you get for them? ;)

MacFeagel
MacFeagel

Das war wie immer sehr hilfreich, Danke. Ich habe mich oft gefragt, was die Beziehung zwischen einem (Kleider)schrank und einer (Strassen)schranke war.

berlingrabers

Ich hatte immer gedacht, dass die “-schränken”-Verben irgendetwas mit “Schrank” zu tun hätten… also “beschränken” hieße “inflict a closet on something” (you know, figuratively).

a.n.onymous
a.n.onymous

Was bekommt (oder kriegt?) man, wenn man “Pommes Schranke” bestellt? Ich habe einen deutschen Kollege gefragt. Er hat keine Ahnung.

eknehr
eknehr

Ich kann meinen Augen kaum glauben. Niemand hat gesagt, was Pommes Schranke bedeutet. Ich glaube, Pommes Schranke ist auch als Pommes rot-weiß bekannt, da echte Schranke rot und weiß gestreift sind. Pommes rot-weiß kommt mit Mayonaisse und Ketchup.

eknehr
eknehr

Tut mir leid….Schranken sind

eknehr
eknehr

Ich habe das erraten, als ich das Foto in deinem Artikel sah. Vorher habe ich von Pommes Rot-Weiß gehört. Ich habe erraten, dass die beide verbunden waren. Das würde logisch sein. Danach habe ich im Internet nachgeguckt, mir um sicher zu werden. Ich habe noch nie Pommes Schranke gegessen. Hoffentlich kann ich das kosten, wenn ich nach Deutschland reisen. Und natürlich auch Currywurst. Ich freue mich darauf!

eknehr
eknehr

wenn ich nach Deutschland reise…

Hunny
Hunny

Another great post. I was looking for one of my favorite german words :
Geschwindigkeitsbeschränkung.
I can’t resist now to ask when is the book coming ?

Cyal
Cyal

Hey there!
I’m from Germany and i find this blog quiet interesting to read :D
As a native speaker of the German language I don’t really think about the words I say, so it’s somehow funny to read about all the different meanings.
You mentioned the word “schränken”. The German dictionary says, that there is a word “schränken”, but even as a native speaker I didn’t know about it before looking it up. ^^

BTW: Ich wohne in der Nähe von Stuttgart, aber “Pommes Schranke” ist mir nicht geläufig.

benboyledusunuyorum

Hey! I love your blog and i had a good laugh where you said “Now you’re probably all like “What the hell is he talking about.”, face all skeptical and your arms crossed. ” because i was exactly in that state:P

a
a

Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Hafung… Hafung -> Haftung?

James Currie
James Currie

Very nice. One thing: I assume that you scold your interns (with a “c”) and haven’t sold them.

Jon

Is this where the English word “shrink” comes from?

Simon Boyd
Simon Boyd

Hallo Emanuel,

ich hab seit langen mich gefragt was die Unterschied ist zwischen “Kasten” und “Kiste”. Mit Sicherheit hast du eine gute Erklärung! Freut mich drauf!

keineAhnung
keineAhnung

Danke für die schnelle Antwort!

Passt bei einem Bierkasten zB. Man tut was rein. (Oder raus). Und man kann auch einen Kasten auf den anderen daraufstellen.

Meine schlaue Schwiegermutter sagt die Unterschied ist ein Kasten hat ein Deckel, eine Kiste nicht. Passt auch so ungefähr. Wenn die Deckel von einem Bierkasten ist noch einen Bierkasten! Außer die gezeichnete Viereck. Aber in 2D kann man ein Kasten auf den anderen daraufstellen.

keineAhnung
keineAhnung

Ups. Umgekehrt

Sarahswids
Sarahswids

Ich habe heute Abend mit meinen Cousins mit den Zug-Speilzeugs gespeilen. Ich hatte dieses Artikle gerade gelesen. Ich war freue das ich hat das Wort fur die Zug Schranke gelert. Danke!

Sarahswids
Sarahswids

*Meinen Deutsch Sprechen Cousins (ist das die richtig Weg dass ich das erklären?)