gereon's blog

Words I Like

Ungemütlich (ˈʊngəmy:tlɪç)

I love saying "ungemütlich". It makes my mouth and face move in a fun way - scrounch the lips forward for the "un", smile wide for the "ge", forward again for the "mü", only to pause shortly with the "t", bringing it all back into a grimasse for the "lich".

Ungemütlich.

It roughly translates to "uncomfortable", but there is so much more to it! It's the reversal of "gemütlich", also a pretty word which I am basically shadow including with this. "Gemütlich" meaning "homely" - the feeling of a warm fire, a cozy couch and a cat on the lap, purring. We can take this even further apart: "Gemüt" being an old form of "mood" and "-lich" the suffix for something cute - but its all an adjective instead of a noun! Saying more about a general feeling than a factual state.

So "Ungemütlich" is from the bottom up: the opposite of a the cute side of cozyness - and having that reversal in your heart while you say "Das Wetter ist sehr ungemütlich" can really help you make those beautiful expressions while forming the sounds.

UN GEH MÜH TLICH

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F'jeden (fʝedn)

This is an absolute murder. A bastardization if I've ever seen one. And it's become my go-to word of approval: "F'jeden". I'm not even sure how to write that, I've never seen it written. The "F" used to be a full word, as those things often are: "Auf", english "on", shortened to only a single fricative FFH (readers are invited to do this sound with their mouth now, please). FFFH. FFFHHHH. FFFFFHHHH'JEDEN.

But whats the "jeden"? It's german for "every", but it is also part of a bigger phrase. In german, when you want to say something is "a sure thing" you can say: "Das passiert auf jeden Fall". "Auf jeden Fall", engl. "in every case". Over time (and through a lot of haze in many colours), me and my buddies have completely sanded that saying down to the one-and-a-half syllables of: F'jeden. Lazy people find ways to open their mouth as little as possible while still saying just enough.

#words #linguistics #german

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