There are some German words which trip off the English tongue without having been given a second thought. A number of them leave little doubt as to their their origin: Kindergarten, rucksack, poltergeist. Others we utter whilst probably ignorant of their Teutonic roots: Aspirin, Diesel, Hamburger, Lager, to name but a few.
Well, for you fortunate readers, I extend an invitation to increase your vocabulary with a word like no other you have heard before. Having been only recently made aware of it I intend to utilise it in discussions with my daughter as often as possible.
So, without further ado, I present to you, Achtung Baby's Word of the Year 2011:
Granted, it's not likely to trip off the tongue without some practice, but your efforts will pay off I promise.
I'd forgive you for thinking that I'd copied down an interesting Scrabble hand or had picked up the wrong spectacles before starting to type. In fact it is a real German word. And it's a cracker.
You may well be wondering how you might crowbar such a word into your daily conversation. You can and you will. As soon as you know what it means that is! Translated into English you find yourself with an egg-laying-wool-milk-pig, and just about everybody needs one of those do they not?
Allow me to provide you with an example:
Finje: Mama, I want to be a vampire bat. Can you make me some wings? They must have batteries so I can fly too. Oh, and can you make a big wooden thing and hang it from the roof in my bedroom so I can hang upside down? Also, I need some of those spiky teeth. Can I have Weißwurst on my bread for supper please? Can I have black hair?
The trick is to listen intently. Nod a lot. Make affirmative noises. Look very serious. And (when you can get a word in edge-ways) reply with as much regret as you can muster,
"Oh Finje (insert appropriate name), what a lot of varied things you need from me, and all right now. I'm so very sorry. It sounds to me like you need an Eierlegendewollmilchsau and I do believe we're all out of those at the moment."
The Eierlegendewollmilchsau is the Swiss Army Knife of animals. That which could do everything if it were to actually exist.
So there you go. My gift to you. Practice, use and enjoy.
You are very welcome.