Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Meine Jacke

I took one or two semesters of German at Temple University while studying there in the 1980s. Unlike my French and Italian in high school, I recall very little of the language I'm sure I learned in college.

One phrase that stuck with me was "meine Jacke".

The professor would act out whatever he was teaching us and I found it quite amusing when he said, "meine Jacke" while he gracefully stroked the lapels of his blazer.

It reminded me of how my father, once, during a heated game of Password, used the hand motion of playing with yo-yo and saying the word, "bob". (The password was "yo yo".) It caused a great ruckus, this illegal use of pantomime. The game quickly fell apart as the highly competitive McGlinchey family exchanged accusations of cheating and foul play.

My kids find it amusing, and a little odd, that the key phrase I remember is "meine Jacke." I find it useful. I actually get to use it a lot when I can't find "meine Jacke."

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Blogger Sundry said...

I have similar German remnants in my brain, from having spent a few months there in the mid-80s. Strassenbahn is the only word I can think of for streetcar or trolley sometimes, because it's the only version I used on a regular basis.

Also, "Wo ist de bahnhoff?" Where is the train station? Apparently, I was deeply moved by the availability of public transit.

I find that I also remember how to say "How much is it?" in just about every language I've learned it in...German, French, Spanish, Chinese even. (In China, "Too much!" also came in handy, as one was expected to barter: "Tai guay la!" though I think my pronunciation probably makes it sound like a Spanish phrase.)

Nice Jacke, by the way.

3/26/2008 01:03:00 PM  

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