Fremdscham

It’s been awhile since I’ve made fun of a German word, but I suppose it’s as good a time now as any to dig further into this gold mine. 😛

I think that, for the majority of English speakers, the word schadenfreude has long entered their vocabulary.

This word, from the similar German word Schadenfreude*, means something like the enjoyment derived from observing someone else’s misfortune. Anyone who’s ever seen TV shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos or Tosh.0 will know exactly what this word means.

*Etymology: Schaden (damage or harm) + Freude (joy)

Few will know, however, that Schadenfreude actually also has a polar opposite cousin: Fremdscham**.

Google Translate gives Fremdscham the definition in English as foreign Cham, but don’t you believe it for one second! This word actually means the embarrassment that one feels at watching someone else embarrass themselves. Complicated, right? And, I’ll have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever run into this situation before (not one that I recall anyway). How did it ever get turned into a word?

**Etymology: Fremd (foreign or unrelated) + Scham (shame)

You may also be interested to know that Fremdscham has further spawned a related verb: fremdschämen*** – to feel ashamed for someone else who has done something embarassing.

***Etymology: Fremd (foreign or unrelated) + schämen (to feel ashamed)

Those who are adventurous with their word compounds, however, should shy away from the combination of Scham (shame) + Entzündung (inflammation). The resulting word will probably not mean what you think it should mean.

Want to read more about other uncommon words? 🙂 See the Interesting Words page.

Sources:
Wiktionary – schadenfreude
Wiktionary – Schadenfreude
Wikipedia – Schadenfreude
Wiktionary – Fremdscham
Wiktionary – fremdschämen
Wiktionary – Schamentzündung

Time Writer 1.1 (Android)

To download, please see the download page.
For the previous version, see Time Writer 1.0.

I’ve made a few small alterations to this app:
1. Both Portuguese (Brazilian) and Portuguese (European) have been combined into one language option: Portuguese. This is because, at least for telling time, there is no difference between the two.
2. When reading the time (written out as words), you can now copy the contents via the options menu. A quick confirmation message will appear to show you what you’ve copied.

For the previous version, see Time Writer 1.0.
To download, please see the download page. I hope you enjoy it!

Time Writer 1.0 (Android)

To download, please see the download page.
For the next version, see Time Writer 1.1.

This is my second Android app and the first to be on its own, not an extension of a PC app that I’ve made. I started making this program to learn how to tell time in different languages. Thanks to the app Number Writer that I’ve made previously, this one came into fruition relatively quickly.

The ability to tell time is something extremely basic that all language learners have to do at one time (pun intended :P) or another. Much like the last program I made, this one came about due to the curious fact that there seems to be no reliable service to give you translations of time. Check out these Google Translate results:

English to Mandarin (Traditional):
It’s twelve sixteen. becomes 這是一二一六年. (Meaning: It is 1216. – this is wrong on 2 levels, because (1) you can’t say “這是” in Chinese for time, and (2) it translated twelve sixteen into the year 1216 and not the time 12:16.)
It is eight nineteen. becomes 這是8點19分. (Meaning: It is 8:19. – like above, it still literally translates “it is” into “這是” and, furthermore, it didn’t write out 8 and 19, leaving the reader unable to say it out loud if he/she can’t read numbers.)
English to Vietnamese:
It’s nine fifteen. becomes Đó là chín mười lăm. (Meaning: That is nine fifteen. – this is wrong on 2 levels, because (1) you can’t say “đó là” in Vietnamese for time, and (2) you can’t say “chín” and “mười lăm” without any time units.)
It is nine fifteen. becomes Là chín mười lăm. (Meaning: Is nine fifteen. – aside from the mistakes pointed out above, a simple removal of the apostrophe yielded an entirely different translation, this is just plain weird.)
English to Portuguese:
It’s six ten. becomes São seis de dez. (Meaning: It’s six of/from ten.)
It is one thirty. becomes É uma meia. (Meaning: It is one half. – should actually be “É uma e meia.”)
English to German:
It’s ten fifteen. becomes Es ist 1015. (Meaning: It is 1015. – like Mandarin, it assumes this is the year and not the time.)
Vietnamese to German:
Bây giờ là sáu giờ hai mươi. (Meaning: It is now six twenty.) becomes Jetzt 26 Stunden. (Meaning: Now 26 hours. – Just… plain wrong.)

These translations are pretty bad, and there’s no reason why they should be so. That’s why I’ve made this new program.

The app itself is very easy to use. You run it and it’ll display the current time (in 24-hour format), with an arc that tells you how far along in the day it is. When you tap the time, it’ll show you the time written out in plain language. You can use the menu to change what language(s) you want to see, and you can use the volume buttons to scroll through your selections.

In this first version, you’ll have 13 language options: English, French, German, Italian, Korean (Hangul), Latvian, Mandarin (Traditional and Simplified), Portuguese (Brazilian and European), Russian (Cyrillic), Spanish, and Vietnamese.

For this app, there are 2 color schemes (light blue on black and dark orange on white). The colors will change automatically depending on the level of ambient lighting.

There’s currently only 1 version of this app, but the good news is that it’s FREE! 🙂 So go check it out!

For the next version, see Time Writer 1.1.
To download, please see the download page. I hope you enjoy it!

Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

Before starting, I’d like to apologize for the fact that this post’s title is so long that it runs off the visible page. Today’s word comes from my dad, actually. 🙂 Although he doesn’t speak German, I guess the word was just so large, he couldn’t help but run into it.

Never knew before what eternity was made for. It is to give some of us a chance to learn German.

Mark Twain

The 63-letter (or 65-letter, if you turn ü into ue) word breaks up as follows: Rindfleisch + Etikettierungs + Überwachungs + Aufgaben + Übertragungs + Gesetz, which mean: beef + labeling + monitoring + tasks + transfer + law, respectively.

Or, as a whole, it means: law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling.

This word came about when the European Union demanded more testing of cattle during the mad cow crisis of the late ’90s. But now that testing has halted, the word fell out of use and has been struck from the language (as much as any word can be struck from any language, I guess).

With Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz gone, a new word has risen to claim the longest German word title (albeit unofficially): Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe (a 48-letter word that means widow of a Danube steamboat company captain). The official (i.e., dictionary accepted) longest word is actually Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung, meaning automobile liability insurance.

I guess it’s questionable whether or not we should consider these words “words” at all. But that’ll be a more appropriate topic for another debate.

Want to read more about other uncommon words? 🙂 See the Interesting Words page.

Sources:
Global Language Monitor
BBC News
Yahoo! News

Number Writer 1.0 (Android)

To download, please see the download page.

After having made a number writing program earlier last month (see Number Writer 2.0), I’ve finally finished making and distributing a similar program for smartphones (specifically for Android). Luckily, the learning curve was not as steep as I had feared. 🙂

Much like its PC predecessor, this app has the ability to convert from numerical digits to words and back – in 16 different language options:
– English
– French
– German
– Italian
– Korean (Hangul and Romanized)
– Latvian
– Mandarin (Traditional, Simplified, and Pinyin)
– Portuguese (Brazilian and European)
– Russian (Cyrillic and Romanized)
– Spanish
– Vietnamese

Although there is only one operating system this time around, there are a total of 3 versions: FREE, STANDARD, and ULTIMATE.
The FREE version will include English as its only option, with no negatives or decimals allowed, and maxes out at 1000 (one thousand).
The STANDARD version will include all languages, with no negatives or decimals allowed, and maxes out at 1000000 (one million).
The ULTIMATE version will include all languages, with negatives and decimals allowed, and maxes out at 1000000000 (one billion).

This is the first real Android program I’ve ever written. Please let me know what you think. If you are interested in becoming a tester, a free copy of any of the above versions can be made available. There are some strings attached though, so please contact me personally (at polyglotfun@gmail.com) and we can discuss the details. 🙂

To download, please see the download page. I hope you enjoy it!