No Ifs, Ands or Butts

Craig recently returned to Leipzig, and, lucky for you, it only took a matter of days for him to experience another quandary. This time it happened at his roller hockey practice.

As any sports player knows, communication is key to a win. Although most members of his hockey team speak some English, Craig has been trying his best to communicate with his teammates in German.

At his last practice, Craig’s teammate was trapped in the corner of the defensive zone by the opponent. Craig yelled to the player to pass the puck (or ball, actually) to him behind the net by saying a word he had heard his teammates use in similar instances. “Hintern! Hintern! Hintern!” He kept calling, “Hintern! Hintern!” but his teammate still didn’t make the pass. His goalie then turned to him and said, “I think you mean Hinten!” Just then, the other team stole the ball and threw it to the net, trying to take advantage of the distracted goalie. Luckily, the goalie was still able to make the save, but Craig felt guilty that his mistake almost cost the team.

In the locker room after practice, the goalie explained to Craig that Hinten means “behind,” as in “pass behind the net,” while Hintern (with an r) means “butt,” as in “tush”, “fanny”, or “heinie.” So Craig was literally yelling “Butt! Butt! Butt! Butt! Butt!” to his teammates! It’s no wonder they were distracted!

One thought on “No Ifs, Ands or Butts

  1. Cate says:

    haha that’s awesome! I spent many months saying ‘guten nacht’ to bar tenders, shop keepers etc in the evening until a Deutsch friend told me it should only be said to your loved ones. Ooops! I also live in fear that I was saying ‘guten nackt’ (naked) instead of guten nacht! argh!!!


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