Friday, June 2, 2017

The German un-cabbage

The German language is fun, once one gets over how awful it is, at least as Mark Twain puts it.*

For example, you can make opposites of some words, especially adjectives, by adding the prefix -un. Okay, we can do that in English too so you're probably thinking, "so what?"

The cool thing about German is that this sometimes works with nouns.

Let me introduce you to a newly learned word that I enjoy:


This can literally mean "un-cabbage."

Unkraut: not this!

It actually means weed, as in the unwanted plant in one's yard.**

How fun is that? I'd like to start defining things in what they aren't.


*No, I don't think it's awful but at the beginning of learning it, I felt...lost.

**Although the more that I learn about foraging the more compassion I have for many weeds because they're EDIBLE in many cases!


  1. Some of my favorite German words begin with "un-"!
    "Das finde ich unschön." un-nice
    "Nichts für ungut..." "Nothing for un-good..." (no offense...)

    I find them especially cute when we don't have the equivalent in English.