Advent Calendar 7 – “Cugly and Lazy”

 

 

Hey everyone,

welcome to Day 7  of our Advent Calendar…. well, 7 and a half, to be precise since I’m a bit late  :).
Anyway, you’re probably all wondering what cugly is. Well, it’s a mix between cute and ugly and it kind of describes … this:

Awww… but also ewww. Cugly.
This beautiful creature is a called der Schweinehund (a pig-dog), created and raised at the University of Bielefeld and the question we’ll address today is:

Human hubris. Has genetics gone too far?

Okay… of course, I’m kidding. This animal doesn’t exist in reality.
But the word Schweinehund does and it is super common  because it is an idiomatic name for something we all in us.
The full name is der innere Schweinehund (the inner pig dog) and it is what Germans call that force within us that keeps us from achieving our goals.
You know… you should do the dishes and it would only take like 10 minutes but there is this voice inside of you telling you to just leave it.
Or in the morning, you’re super resolved to go to the gym after work, but then colleagues are going for a beer. You know it’s gonna be boring and you’d feel much better after the gym. But you someone inside you makes you go with them anyway.
Or you’re working as a waiter and you go to the toilet and a part of you knows you should wash your hands but there’s this little voice inside you saying “No one is going to know.”
All that is der innere Schweinehund at work.
Let’s look at a couple common examples.

  • Eigentlich wollte ich heute Deutsch lernen, aber der innere Schweinehund war stärker.
  • Originally, I wanted to study German today, but my inner demon was stronger.
  • Ich gebe euch gleich noch 6 Tipps, wie ihr den inneren Schweinehund garantiert überwinden könnt.
  • I’m going to give you 6 tips how you can subdue/”overcome” your inner demon.

I translated it as inner demon but I at least to me that sounds a bit too dire. Like… a demon can be something really bad. A Schweinehund is just super lazy and ignorant. And cugly, of course :).

How did Germans come up with that name? Well, Schweinehund, or Sauhund actually used to be a real thing. It was the name for the dogs used for hunting boars, vicious, . Both, Schwein and Hund were also used as insults and so it’s no surprise that students in the 19th century started using the combo as an insult.
Kind of like ass-hole, broadly referred to all that’s bad about one’s personality. Kurt Schumacher, a famous politician of socialist democrats before the Nazi era said that the Nazi propaganda was a constant appeal to people’s inner Schweinehund.
But over time, probably because it was used a lot context of military drill and sports, the Schweinehund shifted focus and became what it is today…. the lazy, hesitant voice within us that is stopping us from being our best self.

And even though your inner Schweinehund is probably gonna try and talk you out of it… it’s really worth adding the word to your active vocabulary :).
What about you? Have you heard the word before? Or do you have a word for that creature in your language? What do you do to überwinden (overpower, subdue) your inneren Schweinehund?
Looking forward to reading your tactics. Have a great day and bis morgen :).

Yeay…. now I just have to add the audio and I’m done. It’s just two example… hmmm… or should I watch the Walking Dead first. Yeah, I’ll totally do the audio later. …

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demoneyes136
demoneyes136
4 years ago

Like I said it’s a (role-playing) gaming term, as in rolling dice against one of your character’s statistics. To break down a door you might make a Strength roll (i.e. trying to roll less than your strength figure on a 20-sided dice). To dodge falling rocks you might make a dexterity roll. To resist the villain’s mind-control ray, or in this case just to get out of bed in the morning, you might make a willpower roll. Or you might fail your willpower roll and so stay in bed.

How common the idiom might be outside gaming geeks I couldn’t say, but my friends would certainly understand it! :-)

demoneyes136
demoneyes136
4 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

English is far from consistent here. To quote from a quickly googled D&D rule: “ability modifiers affect almost every Attack roll, ability check, and saving throw”. Three different terms for essentially the same thing in the same sentence! :-)

demoneyes136
demoneyes136
4 years ago

Fascinating as “Schweinehund” (or equally likely “Schweinhund”) is, or at least used to be when I was growing up, super-common in its insult form in English WW2 films or TV shows e.g. any time you needed a German bad-guy to insult the English hero (or vice versa). These days that’s (fortunately) largely gone away, and I think you’d probably only see it in over-the-top comedy portrayals because it just became so stereotyped an cliche’d – I don’t know if it’s in ‘Allo ‘Allo or Blackadder Goes Forth, but it wouldn’t surprise me in either case because that was the comic effect they were aiming at. Fascinating to find the word has another meaning.

English equivalent to the idiom “innere Schweinehund”? I can’t really think of one offhand. If you said “inner devil” or “weaker self” then I’m sure people would know what you meant (though more usually in the context of something leading you into temptation than laziness/inertia) but neither is really a common usage. More likely I suspect to say “laziness got the better of me” or (for gamers of my generation) “I failed my willpower roll”.

Anonymous
Anonymous
4 years ago

This is great! I had never heard this term before and I like it a lot – the imagery really fits for that feeling of laziness and inertia that can sometimes beset one’s better intentions.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
4 years ago

Discovering that “Schweinehund” is a real word is fab! A German girl at boarding school (in the 80’s) taught us all to say, “Du bist ein Schweinehund” and told us it meant pig-dog and that it was a horrible thing to say in German. We all thought she made it up but “Schweinehund” rolled off the tongue so nicely and it sounded “foreign” while still identifiable (swine + hund) so it’s a word I’ve used profusely since then, albeit more often to swear than to label a foe. When I started learning German I was delighted to find that it, indeed, is a real word. I mean, “Schweinehund” just sums it all up, doesn’t it? Makes us all a little bit more human.

parisbongi
parisbongi
4 years ago

Ouch, your first example about studying German hit home. Heute arbeite ich…Oder nicht ;)

Anonymous
Anonymous
4 years ago

I think we would say ‘the little devil inside’. Nice story thanks

Billur Olcay
Billur Olcay
4 years ago

Hey, like that word Schweinehunde very much. Thank you for teaching, Emanuel. In Turkey we use the words like the devil inside. In order to overcome it, we ask for angel’s help… ☺

Billur Olcay
Billur Olcay
4 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I totally agree..

Array
Array
4 years ago

I remember FitX in Berlin had a memorable Muskelkater vs. Schweinehund campaign a few years ago. It‘s still google-able if anyone wants a far less cugly image. :)

Shannon Skilton
Shannon Skilton
4 years ago

Subdue? Hell no!

Layia
Layia
4 years ago

okay, good to know thank you

dbayly
dbayly
4 years ago

Some cartoon character, was it Daffy Duck, used to have a white and a black avatar present the cases for and against some evil action. Your inner demon is the black one. Inner demon isn’t quite right to my (Australian) ears, I’d say personal demon or personal devil probably. If I had one ,that is …..

RuthE
RuthE
4 years ago
Reply to  dbayly

Nur zum Spaß, hier ist Donald Duck (auf Daffy war nicht viel los) in seiner Teufelsperson: http://animalia-life.club/other/devil-donald-duck.html Diese Tropen scheinen die neueste Version von Faustus zu sein, aber es könnte viel älter sein.

In anderen Nachrichten, offensichtlich ist Donald Duck in Deutschland ziemlich beliebt: https://www.german-way.com/donald-duck-in-german/ Deutsch Donald sieht viel mehr Spaß als Disney Donald.

RuthE
RuthE
4 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Vielen Dank, Emanuel.

Layia
Layia
4 years ago

Das ist großartig, ich werde dieses Wort absolut gebrauchen!