Advent Calendar 21 – “Nailing it at Christmas dinner”

Nailing it at Christmas dinner

Hello everyone,

wie geht’s :). Are you ready for the final stretch of the Advent Calendar?
Today we’ll take a quick look at something that will make you everybody’s darling at Christmas dinner:

mäkeln

 

And if you thought “Hmmm, that sounds kind of like mehhh.” then you’re spot on because going “Mehhhh” is the essence of mäkeln.
When you look up mäkeln in a dictionary, you get to criticize. But that is way to general. And because mäkeln is hard to translate, let’s just look at an example…

  • “Oh… sind da Kapern in der Sauce? Ich mag Kapern nicht.”
    “Es sind drei Kapern auf deinem Teller. Soll ich die nehmen?”
    “Nee, is schon ok.”
    “…”
    “…”
    “Hmmm… oh… irgendwie sind die Kartoffeln echt trocken.”
    “Dann misch die mit Soße.”
    “Aber…. da sind ja Kapern drin.”
    “Ugh… willst du ein bisschen Butter?”
    “Ja.”
    “…”
    “…”
    “Oh… uh… ist das gesalzene Butter?!?!… oh puh… ist ECHT salzig.”

  • “Oh… are there capers in the sauce? I don’t like capers.”
    “There are three capers on your plate. Should I take them?”)

    “Nah, it’s okay.”
    “…”

    “…”
    “Hmmm… oh… the potatoes are really dry somehow.”
    “Then mix them with sauce.”
    “But … there are capers in there.”
    “Ugh… do you want a bit of butter?”

    “Yes.”
    “…”
    “…”
    “Oh… uh… is that salted butter?!?!… oh… phew… it’s REALLY salty.”

THIS is mäkeln – this specific nagging way of complaining about even the smallest flaws just to express your discontent.
Technically, you can do it with anything but it’s primarily used in context of food and there’s not only the verb but also a few related words.

Now, some of you (at least those who said they could read Nietzsche in the survey ;) might know the word der Makel. Der Makel is a  German word for flaw, defect and it would make a LOT of sense, if mäkeln was based on that. But actually, it’s not. The word der Makel comes from the Latin word macula, which meant flaw, stain. That’s actually also where macchiato comes from. It’s a coffee “stained” with milk.
The word mäkeln on the other hand is thought to be related to the word der Makler and the verb makeln. If you’ve ever searched for an apartment in Germany, you might have heard those. A Makler is a basically agent, for real estate, yachts and stock and stuff like that,  and the core idea of the words is trading.
And now imagine you’re on a market somewhere… what is an essential part of trading and bargaining? Trying to lower the price. And a really really really good way to do that is to find small flaws on the product.
And then, it slowly made its way to the dinner table :). So if you cook a nice something for someone and they keep uttering minor complaints, just say…

Yeah… nagplaining isn’t a word of course. It’s a mix of nagging and complaining and I think it best captures what mäkeln is.
Or maybe English does have a good word, and I just didn’t find it. If so, let me know in the comments. And also, if English is not your native language… do you have a counterpart to mäkeln your language?
That’s it for today, have a great day and bis morgen :).

for members :)

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Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

Kvetch.

Elsa
Elsa

Hiya,
Although English is my native language and “whining” is an accurate translation, “whingeing” means pretty much the same, although I’m sure you’re already familiar with the term :)
I had an idea for the cartoons, I was thinking about it last night and thought that maybe you could have a special section and put it on the top bar, along with “home”, “online course”, etc. Then we’d click on it and it would take us to a page where all the cartoons would be displayed like icons, a bit like the advent stockings, with the topic or word underneath. We could then click on either (or one of them, whichever is easier to code, a subject I know nothing about!) and be redirected to the article. You could even separate them into a tab for grammar topics, e.g “the box model”, “questions in German”, etc. and another for vocab, and put them in alphabetical order, so if we wanted to look up whether there’s an article on, let’s say, “ansehen” or “vorbei”, we’d be able to look it up easily… Anyway, this was what I came up with before I fell asleep last night… just goes to show how much I think about German-related stuff on a daily basis :)
Hope my suggestion was helpful in any way.
Bis morgen!

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri

In French Does existe the same verb : maculer or adjectiv immaculé ( stained) . One says Marie Immaculé ( Virgin Mary) .
Voilà . That’s it.

aoind
aoind

Never heard “food diva”. In England we would just say “fussy eater”.

I think we also have an assortment of words for low level but wince-inducing grumbling. “Carping”, “kvetsching” (well okay that’s probably Yiddish) “bleating” (as in sheep noises) and probably others. Nonetheless, I shall forthwith be instructing my fussy teenage daughters to “stop that mäkling!”

Anonymous
Anonymous

Kvetsch

Peter Melzer
Peter Melzer

OK, you seem to be using a lot of American colloquial expressions. So let’s keep our American and British cultures separate if reluctantly equal:) Americans say “then you hit the nail on the head” rather than “then you’re spot on”. Sadly, ignorant Americans are now beginning to go to the other side on that expression. To my horror, they are also beginning to say “full stop” instead of “period” for the mark at the end of a sentence or for the end of an argument. It won’t be long before Americans start using terms like “bowling a maiden over”, the meaning of which I never figured out. Cricket is such a boring game!
On a separate issue, “don’t keep criticize the food” should be “don’t keep criticizing the food”. The British would spell “criticize” as “criticise”. Good for you that you prefer American expressions and spellings:) Let’s keep those pesky Briticisms at bay!

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

The only time we make a distinction between American and British colloquial expressions is when we (Americans) speak eye to eye with Brits – then we make fun of each other’s expressions in a loving way. Dunno if I feel comfortable trying to get non-Subjects (Brits aren’t citizens, they are Subjects) to choose one over the other. Doesn’t feel loyal.

Kinda like family – Family members can say things to each other that they would never allow anyone outside the family to say.

As Emanuel once wrote, (perhaps regarding the Dative taking over for the Genitive) “Language is one of the most democratic things in the world” – language is formed by the users.

My guess is that the American that uses a British colloquialism can’t be all that ignorant because ignorant would be someone who didn’t know that Brits spoke differently than Americans. If you’ve ever been to West Virginia, you’ll know what I mean. Certainly the person that embraces other cultures and adopts foreign words and phrases is anything but ignorant.

Let the world be our oyster.

Ruth
Ruth

A British passport nearly 40 years old describes the holder as a “British Subject, Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies”. A current one just says “British Citizen”. Even official language changes.

Aus Südkorea
Aus Südkorea

Wow dein Kurs hilft mir sehr viel
Ich bedanke dir

Ich besuche diesem Website fast jeden Tag um deine vielen Beispielsätze zu hören und zu üben

Mir fehlt gerade ein Sprechpartner zur Übung für Deutsch

die Audiodateien sind echt Spitze!
Weiter so mit deiner liebevollen Arbeit für uns

Nochmal Danke!

mfG aus Seoul

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri

Hallo Emanuel ,
In Bezug ein Gericht zu mäkeln, man sagt ” bouder odeur faire la moue ” .Das bedeutet ein schiefes Gesicht Zeichen .
Voila , bon soir.

Abgaßßstufe Es-Zett!
Abgaßßstufe Es-Zett!

Flies in my Xmas Gravy

“Dann misch die mit Soße.”

(hmm wir sagen mishmash für Kunterbunt)

Oh… are there capers in the gravy= sauce ? I don’t like capers.

Divas sind immer Weiber, manchmal mit mehr Schein als Sein. Wort ist leicht abschätzig meiner Meinung nach und oft sarkastisch verwendet.

Bedienung bei Dir ist immer ohne Makel und fast immer JAMMER frei!!!

Aber die kleinen Popel in der Gravy finde ich auch ekelhaft!!

Fruit salad mit Schlagobers und Marshmallows kann ich auch nicht—-LEIDEN!

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

Auf Jiddisch kann man auch “Nosh” – einen Happen nehmen. Naschen, auf Deutsch.

Marie
Marie

Auf französisch sagen wir “chipoter” oder “faire le/la difficile”. Das erste finde ich ein lustiges Wort, dessen Aussprache klingt wie ein schmollendes Kind, das versucht, grüne Erbsen mit einer Gabel zu essen.
(Das war sicherlich der schwierigste Satz, der ich mal geschrieben habe! War das verständlich? Oder ist meine Fantasie etwa zu verrückt?)

parisbongi
parisbongi

Ich denke, “Pinailler” ist die engste Übersetzung auf Französisch. Keine Ahnung von der Unsprung.
Danke noch einmal!

David Lung
David Lung

I would translate Hör auf zu mäkeln as Quit your belly-aching. Or more colloquially still, “Kwicher-belly-akin”.

Jake
Jake

Would you say the word clouds for mäkeln and nörgeln have substantial overlap?

In terms of usage, what’s the difference between Makel and Manko? If I wanted to point out the flaw in someone’s argument, what could I say?

Jake
Jake

Also, your incessant bitching about the food doesn’t *go* on my nerves, it *gets* on my nerves.

Rocio Del Pino Lobos
Rocio Del Pino Lobos

in Spanish (but chilean spanish) we say: “mañosear” (verb) or been “mañoso”. It is when you dont like anything, Usually with food but of course you can use it in other situations.

Abgaßßstufe Es-Zett!
Abgaßßstufe Es-Zett!

ANTWORT für E.. NAGPLAINING

And then, it slowly made its way to the dinner table :). So if you cook a nice something for someone and they keep uttering minor complaints, just say…
Hör auf zu mäkeln.
Stop nagplaining.

to pick nits NITPICKING Nit -Flöhei im Haar Stop your constant nitpicking! it’s GETTING on my nerves.

Yeah… nagplaining isn’t a word of course. It’s a mix of nagging and complaining and I think it best captures what mäkeln is.
Or maybe English does have a good word, and I just didn’t find a NOUN
informal
nit-picking (noun)
looking for small or unimportant errors or faults, especially in order to criticize unnecessarily.
“a nitpicking legalistic exercise”
synonyms:
fault-finding · hypercritical · captious · carping · cavilling · quibbling · hairsplitting · hard to please · over-censorious · over-particular · fussy · finicky · fastidious · meticulous · pedantic · over-exacting · overscrupulous · punctilious · perfectionist · pass-remarkable · nitpicking · pernickety · judgy · overnice
antonyms:
uncritical
NOUN
nitpickings (plural noun) · nit-picking (noun) · nit-pickings (plural noun)
fussy fault-finding.
“nitpicking over tiny details”If so, let me know in the comments. And also, if English is not your native language… do you have a counterpart to mäkeln your language?

Abgaßßstufe Es-Zett!
Abgaßßstufe Es-Zett!

Mäkelfritze picky eater
alles geht ums Essens!
Beim Brexit hört man oft -Rosinenpickens oder- extra Wurst haben wollens

Anonymous
Anonymous

Wow, thank you for that word. You ‘re right we don t have the equilivant in English . My husband has been doing this for the 30 years of our marriage and I never had a good word for it. Er macht mir verrückt!

Xenarose
Xenarose

Wow, thank you for that word, you ‘re right there is no English equilivant. My husband has been doing it for the 30 years of our marriage. Er macht mir verrückt

DenisSapiens
DenisSapiens

In Russian we have a lot of words for this type of behavior but none of them strictly reserved for the food /cooking. All of them could be used for any situation when someone is changing his mind over things all the time and seems like nothing ca satisfy him/her no matter what you will do.