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Monday, February 16, 2015

My Turtles Are Dead! | Mistranslation Monday

Ever since I first came to Germany in 2011, I have struggled with the German word for turtle.

The topic first came up when Marco bought me my first Kinder Überraschungsei (those chocolate eggs with the toy inside). My toy inside was a little plastic turtle.

"That's a Schildköte," Marco told me, "it combines the world Schild (shield) and Kröte (toad)."

"Germans sure do love their compound words," I thought to myself as I tried to save the word Schildkröte into my vocabulary. Except I didn't. Instead, I always thought of turtles as shield-toads.

Opening my first Kinder Egg in 2011
Luckily, the German word for shield is pretty easy to remember, but I could never remember the name for toad. But what did I know the word for? Frog. So, Schildkröte became Schildfrosch, and just like so many things I share on my Mistranslation MondaysSchildfrosh is still a term that Marco and I use quite often.

In fact, that is why Marco keeps this little glass turtle that I bought for him while in Prague on his desk at work.

Unfortunatly, however, this new compound word of mine is a little too ingrained in my memory, because when I was recently confronted with a new compound word that began with "Schild," I could only think of those darn shield-yielding frogs.

Did I mention that Germans really love compound words? Well, this also goes for biological and medical terms, as the word for thyroid (English-speakers are smart and just modified the Latin word) in German is Schilddrüse, with Schild meaning "shield" and Drüse meaning "gland."

Makes sense, but in my mind, the only word that comes after Schild is Frosch. So when the doctor told me that my Schilddrüse were not working, I was quick to turn around and tell Marco, "My Schildfrösche aren't working!"

And now every morning when I take my medication, I think about my poor under-functioning Schildfrosch.


  1. I didn't know frog was schildkröte... or at least, it never stuck.... it should now!

  2. What a sweet and funny Mistranslation Monday story!

    And the pictures you hunted down for it. Hehe.
    I bet this is one to make you laugh now and then and will do so for some time to come. It sure made me smile. :-)

  3. Uh oh, I think I may have confused you. The word for turtle is Schildkröte, not frog! Don't start making the same mistakes as me!

  4. That was a typo duh frog is frosch hahah


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