Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition

by Ben Schott | Humor |
ISBN: 039916670X Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 11/2/2013
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, November 02, 2013
I ordered this slim hardcover as soon as I heard about it. It's a collection of German words (or at least, words constructed from German words, even if the results are not actually in use - yet) for a number of different situations. As the back cover says, "Ever thought, 'There should be a German word for that'? Well, now there is."

The format presents three words per page, with extensive notes and explanations on the facing page - something that took me a little while to get used to. But it does let the reader skim over the terms themselves without having to wade through the details first, and that can be a lot of fun.

Among my favorite entries:

Herbstlaubtrittvergnügen, for "kicking through piles of autumn leaves"

Gastdruck, for "the exhausting effort of being a good houseguest" - literally, "guest pressure"

Brillenbrillanz, for "the sudden, innervating clarity afforded by new glasses"

Wohlverpackungsfreude, "the uncomplicated delight of a perfectly wrapped parcel"

Buchadlerauge, "knowing from memory where a specific book may be found on a shelf"

Some of the terms are funnier when compared to the literal translation of the terms:

Ringrichterscham, for "embarrassment at being present when a couple argues", is formed from the words for "boxing referee shame"

Lots of fun!

The author has a web site here, with some excerpts from the book.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Burlington, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (12/19/2013 UTC) at Burlington, Massachusetts USA


I'm taking this to BCer eponine38. Hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 3 by wingeponine38wing at Winchester, Massachusetts USA on Thursday, December 19, 2013
Thank you so much, Gory! This looks like a lot of fun.

Journal Entry 4 by wingeponine38wing at Winchester, Massachusetts USA on Monday, January 29, 2018
Can’t believe (well, sadly, I can) I’ve had this over 4 years. It's really a quick read - and very enjoyable. It is fun to read in little bites, a few pages a day. I loved Schott’s creativity in inventing new words, which I do hope will become a permanent part of the language.

The most fun, for me, was the literal translation of the word parts. Some favorites:
Deppenfahrerbeäugung: The urge to turn and glare at a bad driver you’ve just overtaken. Literally: Moron-driver-eyeballing.

Fetenlauschangriff: Tuning in and out of a number of conversations at a party. Literally: Party-eavesdropping-attack.

Then there were some words whose literal meaning isn’t as interesting as the concept they express. There were some I could *really* identify with:
Entlistungsfreude: The sense of satisfaction afforded by crossing things off lists. Literally: De-listing-joy. Oh, yes, that’s always rewarding!

Or, how about Dokumentverlustpanik: Anxiously patting every pocket to locate a vital document you had just moments ago. Lit: Document-loss-panic. I can’t count how many times I do this when on the way to the airport before a big trip.

Clashsyndrom: Moments of etiquette perplexity when there is no polite way of behaving. Lit: Clash-syndrome. Examples given are: whether to wait for a single penny in change…or leave without it; whether to hold a door for someone walking a little way behind you (compelling her to speed up) or let it close (in her face). Whether to ask someone to repeat something for a third time…or pretend you understand.

I also learned a couple of interesting German expressions, for example:
Dreikäsehoch (“three cheeses high”) is used to describe a small child no taller than three wheels of cheese stacked one atop another. What a great mental image!

Extrawurst (“bonus sausage”) denotes “special treatment” in German.

Thanks again for sharing, Gory, and I apologize for keeping it so long.

[Gory's link no longer works (I think the link to the book is now one level deeper); try this one. If not, just go to, click on Books, then Schottenfreude].

Journal Entry 5 by wingeponine38wing at Winchester, Massachusetts USA on Monday, January 29, 2018

Released 2 yrs ago (1/29/2018 UTC) at Winchester, Massachusetts USA


On its way (finally!) to hyphen8 via wishlist-tag. Hope you like it!

Released for Keep Them Moving Challenge hosted by booklady331.


Welcome to BookCrossing!

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Journal Entry 6 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Friday, February 02, 2018
Received today (Feb 1) as a wishlist tag, along with a very nice bookmark - thank you! (Larger photo here.)

It does look like a good book for reading in small bites, and somehow I'm completely unsurprised to see who started it off! ;)

My favorite editions of Shakespeare's plays when I had to read them for school (Folger Shakespeare Library) were laid out like this, with the text on the right page and notes on the left - I found it very helpful at the time, rather than having to flip back and forth or deal with footnotes at the bottom of the page. We'll see how it goes this time..

Journal Entry 7 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Fun stuff, although I have a fair bit of sympathy for Mark Twain's quote at the end: "These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions." :p

I appreciate the notes on the type; the blackletter font (Journalistic by Andrew Leman) is lovely.

Journal Entry 8 by winghyphen8wing at Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Released 5 mos ago (2/15/2020 UTC) at Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii USA


To be released during the 2020 Great Aloha Run Expo over the Presidents Day Weekend.

(Larger photo here.)

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