Archive | October, 2020

The gloves are off – but the masks are on (we hope)

18 Oct

For months the public transportation authority in Vienna has been making an announcement in its vehicles along the lines of “Dear passengers, please cover your nose and mouth when in underground stations and using public transport.” (An aside: I imagined the pleasure of the translator that they were proficient enough to know that “nose and mouth” sounds more natural in English even though in German it is “Mund-Nasen-Schutz” or “mouth-nose protection / covering”.)

A day or two ago I realized that this announcement has been shortened and is now delivered in a more peremptory tone compared to the rather mellifluous earlier version. The current version: “Dear passengers, please cover your mouth and nose.”

What’s next? No “please”?

A very Viennese cartoon

10 Oct
From Wienzig

The man in the cartoon is on his way to a new course at the Volkshochschule (VHS). There you have the first point. Almost every district in Vienna has its own VHS, a school that offers all kinds of courses for a very reasonable fee so that “das Volk” (the people) can go on learning and developing themselves. The course is “Raunzen wie ein Wiener” or poorly translated “Complaining like a Viennese”. “Raunzen” is one of those words that is almost intranslatable. It is a particular kind of ongoing complaining about little things and the Viennese like to engage in it. The final straw for me was one of the comments on Facebook. One Wienzig follower had written “Des kannst net lernen”–Viennese dialect for “That’s not something you can learn.” 🙂