Happy Rosenmontag

Today is Rosenmontag, which is part of German Carnival: "Officially it starts am elften elften elf Uhr elf (11th November at 11:11am) and continues in a fairly low-key way for about three months before the Tolle Tage (Crazy Days) which climax on Rosenmontag, the 42nd day before Easter."

I had no idea this holiday existed until I got an email from my German class: "Am Montag, 7. Februar 2005, ist Rosenmontag, der wichtigste Tag im deutschen Karneval."

That announcement corresponded in its simplicity to the English translation, which gave me hope: "Monday, February 7th, 2005, is Rosenmontag, the most important day in German Carnival."

But then the email became wordy, which made the invitation to a gathering before German class a little scary: "Wir würden uns freuen, wenn Sie vor dem Unterricht ab 17:00 Uhr zu uns in den Lesesaal zu Donuts und Getränken kommen würden."

Note how the English translation is simpler (of course): "You are cordially invited to donuts and soft drinks in our reading room starting at 5 pm. Classes will begin as usual at 5:30 pm."

Maybe the German-speaking world needs to discover the joys of periods (punctuation) to prevent the onslaught of their language on simple-minded English speakers.

No comments: