Advent Calendar 12 – “Idio_s”


Hey guys

day 12 of our epic Advent Calender. And if you’ve already been a reader last year and the year before that, then you’ll know that the Epic German Advent Calendar wouldn’t be The Epic German Advent Calendar without at least one post about German politics.
So today, I’ll tell you a bit about what is going on in the Bezirksverordnetenversammlung and what these idiots have decid…
okay, I’m kidding, of course.
What we really need in this calendar are

some nice, colorfuGerman idioms

Today, I’ll give you three of those.
And the first one might come in handy when the Christmas dinner table discussion is in danger of getting out of control.

“Der Ton macht die Musik.”

Literally, this means that it’s the tone that makes the music. Which is kind of duhhhhh.
But the real meaning is this:

“It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

It matters HOW you say something. Like… you can have great arguments, the perfect arguments, you can have all the facts on your side, if you say it in a wrong way, the other person will have a really hard time accepting it.
Ironically, the German version does sound a tad bit patronizing. So unless the discussion is already somewhat heated, I’d stay away from it. But yeah… it’s a pretty common idiom that every German understands.
Cool…. what…
“Where are the examples? Give us examples.”
Uh… no.
“But a good teacher gives examples so we know how to use it in practice.”
Yeah, maybe, but der Ton macht die Musik. No example for you.
“But we’re paying for your site.”
Oh… right. Of course, I’ll give you as many examples as you want. It’s my pleasure…
Now, you might be wondering what I am saying… well, that was basically an real life example for what the second idiom is about :).
Here it is….

“Wes’ Brot ich ess, des’ Lied ich sing.”

Wes’ is a old fashioned, shortened version for wessen  and des’ is a shortened version of dessen and the literal translation of the idiom would be something like this. “Whose bread I eat, their song I’ll sing.” And I think you all got the idea. It basically talks about the opportunistic streak we all have in us. Apparently, the English version is

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

But this is kind of twisted, though. Like… you have many people competing to pay one piper, probably minimum wage. In German on the other hand you basically have one person deciding what to play by handing out bread to many. That’s just closer to how the world works. And at least to my ears, the German one sounds a bit playful and that combined with the message and the first person perspective gives it a much higher weasel-factor, if you know what I mean :).
Anyway, the saying sounds a bit old fashioned and it’s not as common, but everyone understands it and I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to use it. And it’s a nice example for the Genitive case.
Hey and speaking of case… that’s brings us right to the last idiom. Because that is making a case for getting a second drink.

“Auf einem Bein kann man nicht stehen.”

Literally, it means that you can’t stand on one leg. Which is technically not true. I mean… most of us can stand on one leg just fine, unless we’re totally hammered. But who cares about the biological reality – it sure sounds convincing, so next time you are pondering with your friend whether to get a second one just use it and it is decided.
I was trying to think of a way to modify it for the third drink… maybe something like “Auf zwei Beinen kann man keinen Liegestütz (push up) machen.“. It’s untested yet, but try it with your German friends and let me know how they reacted.
Anyway, that’s it for today :).
If you have a good translation for any of these, let me know in the comments.
Schönen Tag euch, und bis morgen.

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Billur Olcay
Billur Olcay
3 years ago

Für ‘Der Ton macht die Musik’ In der Türkei sagen wir; Die süße Zunge schlängelt die Schlange aus dem Loch und für ‘Wes’ Brot ich ess, des’ Lied ich sing.’ sagen wir ‘Wer auch immer für die Pfeife bezahlt, spielt es’

Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
3 years ago

Magst Du Cevapcici mit Pommes Frites? Für mich ein beliebt und bekömmliches Thema.

Die TV Nachrichten bei euch in DE finde ich viel besser als was wir hier kriegen. Nur ist die ZDF Seite etwas kompliziert für
Anfänger und Nichtkenner Ich wollte nur zeigen dass Nachrichten mit Untertiteln zu finden ist. Was für Dich Alltag ist, ist oft für uns Amis eine ganz andere Welt! Leider ist vieles bei ZDF für Ausland gesperrt. Viele hier reden über Netflix aber ZDF kostet GAR-nix!

MfG, – mit freundlichem Gruß

Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
3 years ago

Für Fortgeschrittene diese Woche neu.

—-Unantastbar— The world wide erosion of privacy and human rights (my description)
90 min. keine Werbung
Viel unangenehmes zu überlegen. Leider so, ist unsere Welt geworden.


Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
3 years ago

Hallo A-E-I-O & YOU und alle sonst-


haben Sie Breitbandverbindung? ( a broadband connection?)
Wenn so If so,
Link klicken. SOFORT!! NOW Here is what’s really going on.
Ganz rechts unten das Viereck klicken für Vollbild! For full screen click the small square bottom right side.

Die Nachrichten mit Untertiteln für 12.12 2018 ohne Werbung German News – no ads
German news
Alle Weichen sind schon gestellt. All the settings are „tweaked“ in the link – I hope!

Die Heute Show ist im Stil von John Stewart. Der „Ollie“ Welke ist super!

Abgaßß macht „learnings“ Spaß ohhhhhh! nails on chalkboard

Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
3 years ago

PS — “Glyphosat” ist das Pflanzengift (weedkiller) — Roundup

3 years ago

I think your first two translations are spot on! As for the third, there’s no idiom in English (at least that I know of) meaning exactly the same. However, we do have the expression “legless”, meaning someone who’s really drunk, which somehow relates to the German idiom, as it also includes the concept of not being able to stand properly. Or maybe “think before you drink”, which doesn’t have the same meaning, it’s more like a slogan for people who are going to drive!
Bis morgen!

3 years ago

I’d say that “Wes’ Brot ich ess, des’ Lied ich sing” could also be translated as “I’m not gonna bite the hand that feeds me”, although based on a dictionary definitions, I guess the English one is less about being a weasel, and more about being (un)grateful…?

3 years ago

Or perhaps: es gibt keine zwölfte Tür.

3 years ago

Heads up – die zwölfte Türchen gibt es nicht auf der neuen Sammlungsseite. Man muss durch die elfte Tür, um auf „12“ unter dem Blogeintrag zu drücken.

3 years ago

Ich stimme nicht zu. ICH mache die Musik. Wes meine Musik hören, des mein Leid singen und auf einem Guitarre kann mann nicht besitzen.

Gute Post wie immer. Bringt mir wie immer zum Lächeln. Das ist etwas was diesen Tagen selten passiert.

3 years ago

Die neue Schnittstelle des Adventkalenderns gefällt mir! Alle Tage auf einer Seite – super!

Mein Vater sagte immer, wenn er seinem Angestellten etwas zu tun:

Remember the Golden Rule:

He who has the gold, makes the rules.

He used that on me quite often, like regarding curfew.