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Old 04.07.2017, 05:12
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Cow eye eggs?

I'm looking for Swiss German expressions that are funny when translated verbatim. For example, my grandfather liked "cow eyes" for breakfast: fried eggs (sunny-side up in the U.S.).
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Old 04.07.2017, 08:55
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

Funny, because in India fried eggs are called Bull's Eye egg
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Old 04.07.2017, 09:29
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

My father would call the little nibbles/sweets that you get at a party or before a good dinner "mouth teasers" ("schnurrefuxerli" in Swiss German). I still use the word for dog/cat-treats and all my pets know exactly, what schnurrefuxerlis are.
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Old 04.07.2017, 09:47
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

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I'm looking for Swiss German expressions that are funny when translated verbatim. For example, my grandfather liked "cow eyes" for breakfast: fried eggs (sunny-side up in the U.S.).
"Cow eyes "/"Chueauge"? Never heard of it, but "Bull eyes"/"Stiereauge" is sometimes used.
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Old 04.07.2017, 10:18
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

In French 'oeil de boeuf' (oxen eye) is a round window ...
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Old 04.07.2017, 10:24
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

I always chuckle at the term "Warmduscher" which means someone who is a bit of a wimp or a softy. Also "Weichei" or "Sitzpisser" sort of infer the same thing.
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Old 04.07.2017, 12:46
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

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My father would call the little nibbles/sweets that you get at a party or before a good dinner "mouth teasers" ("schnurrefuxerli" in Swiss German).
In the UK it is the same...amuse bouche...more precisely a term widely used by high end culinary chefs in the UK during the nouvel cuisine epoch of the 80s, the "correct" french culinary term is amuse gueule, which is still similar in meaning to your schnurrefuxerli
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Old 05.07.2017, 06:27
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

aSwissTheUS, thank you! My mom mis-translated cow instead of bull. It sounded like my grandfather said stier-ogre.
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Old 23.07.2017, 23:20
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

We call them "Spiegeleier" (mirror eggs) and until now I never wondered why.
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Old 24.07.2017, 03:27
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

Have you ever heard of the book Holy Bimbam and is it worth trying to have it shipped to me? What does holy bimbam mean? You've got a knot in your cable?
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Old 24.07.2017, 12:42
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

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Have you ever heard of the book Holy Bimbam and is it worth trying to have it shipped to me? What does holy bimbam mean? You've got a knot in your cable?
"Bimbam" itself is an onomatopoetical term for church bells ringing, the big ones in a churchbell tower.

"Heiliger Bimbam" is an expresson of surprise, astonishment, or disbelief. I am told some English speakers say "shoot" instead of "shit" or "", based on that it could be translated to "holy shoot" or "holy shite".

More than just one book have that title. What's the one you're looking for about?
Eg this book, or this. There are more.
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Old 24.07.2017, 17:32
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

Thank you. The book is titled Holy Bimbam and on Google is the only one I've found with Swiss/English idiomatic expressions. I didn't speak German so it's harder to find one.

The story I'm writing takes place 1900-1906 so I need a few old ones, nothing modern.

Any ideas for expressions or books to find some in?
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Old 24.07.2017, 17:40
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

My grandfather alway used the phrase "Sacred God!", pronounced as if saying in English "Her gut sock ah", which my brother and I found hilarious. Who would need a sock for their gut?
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Old 24.07.2017, 21:42
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

I didn't realise the title is actually "Holy Bimbam", I thought you mistook that one

I doubt you'll find much material from a century ago in Switzerland, simply because English was rather unimportant back then around here. You may have more luck talking to old folk with Swiss or German origin relatively close to you, 2nd generation people probably are still alive. Perhaps look for German groups on facebook and meetup, a group is supposed to have settled between Austin and San Antonio. And/or contact the German-Texan heritage society. I guess it won't make that much of a difference whom you contact, many people and groups will know each other. New Braunfels for instance was founded by German settlers, Fredericksburg is said to have 1k German speakers today, about one eigth of the population.

"Herrgottsack" probably derives from "Herrgotts Sakrament", or (God's Sacrament, Holy Sacrament), a swear word handed down a couple centuries or more I guess. Due to the 2nd commandment (3rd, subject to the version you rely on) the "original" was forbidden to use so it got falsified. Likewise applies to quite a few swear words of old.

Last edited by Urs Max; 24.07.2017 at 21:53.
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Old 24.07.2017, 22:39
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Re: Cow eye eggs?

Thanks! German is not such a problem so much as finding the Swiss expressions. I mostly need these, presented earlier in the story, to be the "coded" message that proves which of two wills is valid and which is forged. A very personalized note which accompanies the will is in the hand of the dying, Swiss woman, showing her shaky signature, while the forgery's signature has been copied from her youth and the document has everything written in high German only. This is crucial as it takes all of the shy heroine's bravery to rally other family members and face off to her overbearing father.
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