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"Plattdeutsche Redensarten"

Idiomatic expressions (from Fehmarn)

Collected by Peter Wiepert/Fehmarn
English Translation By E.Bügge-Wood

  1. He kaak ehr in en Ohr Grütt un in de anner Beer = He cooks grits in one of her ears and beer in the other. (Making a fool out of a girl.)
  2. Dor is wat in de Flat = There is something (brewing) going on.
  3. Dat is en Knievel Brot = That is a thick slice of Bread
  4. He is so grotsch as de Börger Klockentorn = He is so vain like the church tower in Burg
  5. Dat is bedäk Luft = The sky is cloudy
  6. Bedoh di man nich so = Don’t act so great, or don’t bragg
  7. Dat gottwedert = It’s thundering and lightning
  8. Paslatand = Wasting the time. French: pas le temp
  9. En grotbetansch Dern = A girl who is acting snobbish
  10. Uns Övernaver heet NN = Our neighbor across from as is NN.
  11. De Kalv is schnickenfett = The calve is fat
  12. He is sunn richtig Herrnhiller = He is a real brown noser (Worshipping the lords)
  13. En Botterhex = A Xantippe (to put down a woman)
  14. He hett sik bepowert = He got rich by being stingy
  15. Knop = Mustard seed. (Latin: sinapis arvensis.)
  16. Se is noch in dumm Viddeljohr = She is still in dumb first quarter year of age. (Just a babe)
  17. He is ganz un gor blucks = He lost everything. (Blucks means broke or pennyless from gambling.)
  18. De Kark bengt = The church sweats. (after cold weather the outer walls of high buildings would have a gray layer for a short while)
  19. De schriff - bliff in Griff = With your signature you are responsible
  20. Se lepen mit en Pollnus rüm = They wore a collar lined with lambfur
  21. Se tünselt rüm as en Blindemeu = She walks shaky like an old woman who has her eyes tied up.
  22. Se geiht in deep Sorg, as Fru Schellbietern = She is dressed in mourning attire, like a [Schellbieter =] black bug
  23. Bi uns hüs Rament in Hus = At home we have much noise. [Rament = Arguments].
  24. He markert grot Kommaf = He makes like a great man. (He acts like a monkey in command.)
  25. Dat mag woll = That could be (if a person doesn’t want to agree.)
  26. He spelt hüt Blirre- un Bleiermann = He is pretending, because he’s drunk
  27. He kann opn Möhl keen Weeten mehr mahln = He can’t make a profit by running the mill.
  28. He hett sin Naver opn Schill schaten = He shot his neighbor on the stone bridge. Duel or getting even with a person, (old tradition which was outlawed by 1750)
  29. Jor vel beter de Jor. - jor vel fuler de Kor = The better land will give a full return. (It isn’t all gold that glitters.)
  30. Wer keen Schap dörch'n Winter bringen kann, schall mit‘n bücken nich
    örst verseuken = If you can’t get the sheep through the winter, you need not try to send her to the bock, [For fertilization]
  31. He is grot an – Heutt bi’n Kämmerer Flöh. = He’s doing so great, that he’s herding the chamberlain’s flees. (he’s brown nosing)
  32. Sin Fro is en: deepgahn Schip = His wife can spend much for the house. (His wife sails in deep waters)
  33. He kümmt all weller över Westermarkelsdörp ansegeln = He starts to speak very diplomatic to get what he is after.
  34. lk weet dor nix vann!' sä de Jungn, as de Preester ein frogen dä, wer bi
    sin Appeln wes wär,man hett de Kopp so nog vull. = I have no idea, said the boy, when the preacher asked him "who picked my apples?" One has enough to remember!
  35. De Welt is rund un bunt", sä de ol Tante Menne (Emereutia), eäwer
    kunterbunt is dorin to leven! = The world is round and crowded but it’s difficult to live in it.
  36. He hett op Burger Brüch een Ticker kreegen = He goes berserk when in the company of a well respected person and meeting someone below his status. (Or class)
  37. Mi kannst nich meen, ik heff de näs vor = You can’t impress me, I am informed
  38. Piekas is Lukas sin Höhnerhund, aver Rotten bit he nich = "Ace of spades" is "Luke’s" (biblical) [name for the beach manager] chicken dog (who only attacks chickens [the meek], but never bites rats. [Never catches the real criminals.]
  39. Sin Geld is uck in Sund foln = He lost all his money
  40. Schüter de Buck von vörn - de Per von achtern - de Menschen aver vor all
    de Sieden = Grab the [male] goats from the front and he horse from the rear, but the people you chase from all sides
  41. De Menschen sünd hüterdogs uck nich beter wordn as freuher", sä de Voß,
    as de Buer ein Deuwelsdreck (Asa foetida) opn Stert streit har. = "people aren’t any better nowadays as they used to be" said the fox, when the farmer had poured some devil’s dirt (Asa foetida), on his tail.
  42. Vel Schwien gev dünn Drank = Many children in the family get meager meals.
  43. Uns Heine föhrt to See", sä de ol Fro ut Landkirchen, as ehr Jungn in de
    Puttgorner Wieschen, de överschwümmt wärn, Hei rutbötern müß. = Our Heine is going to sea, said the old woman from Landkirchen, when her son had to use a boat to get the hay out of the floode Meadow near Puttgarden.
  44. He is so olt, as de Vitzber Steenkist = He is as old as the stone grave (prehistoric grave) in Vitzdorf
  45. Dat Recht mütt sin Gang gahn", sä de Jellnsdörper Schütter
    (Vieheinfänger), do sparr he sin eegen Koh in. = The law has to be obeyed, said the animal catcher from Jellingsdorf, when he caught his own cow – [In another man’s field]
  46. Op de Welt let sik leven", sä de Kohharrjungn, „wenn de verdammte
    Scholmeister nich wär" = It’s nice to live here on Earth, said the boy, herding the cows,- if it wasn’t for the damn schoolmaster [When he finds out that I’m missing school]
  47. He strev as en Plogdriever na Fierabend = He gets very busy after work
  48. De beiden lev bettvertörnt = They live separate between bed and table [They don’t sleep together]
  49. He mütt bald na Peter Rießen" = He’s soon going to die [Going to Peter Riessen in Landkirchen, who was grave digger and church-bell ringer]
  50. En Schörtenband kost nich vel – aver doran fummeln hett all Lüd von Hus
    un Hoff bröch. = An apronstring cost little – but to fondle it [to be a womanizer], has robbed many a man of house and property.

A note from the translator: "Many of these expressions can only be understood by an old islander, who can still speak "Low German"



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