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Humoristically Extended Expressions
in Low Saxon

by Reinhard F. Hahn, Seattle, USA, 2008

In Low Saxon (“Low German”), there is a tradition of adding phrases to idiomatic expressions, stock phrases and popular sayings to give them humorous twists. In some cases, the original saying is in German (for centuries touted as a superior language), and the Low Saxon extension then comes across as all the more earthy.

Please click here and here, to find further expressions.

In the examples shown below, the original expressions appear underlined, and German portions are shown in italic script.


Wo man singt, da lass dich ruhig nieder,“* sääd’ de Düvel un sett sik in’n Immenschwarm.

Settle down where they sing,” said the devil and sat down in a swarm of bees.

The German saying by Johann Gottfried Seume (1763–1810) ends with “Böse Menschen haben keine Lieder” (Wicked people have no songs).

Allens mit Maten,“ seggt de Snieder un drinkt de Boddermelk uut’n Fingerhoot.

Everything in moderation,” says the tailor and drinks the buttermilk from a thimble.

The traditional stereotype of tailors used to be that they were poor and wimpy but liked to talk big.

Elk Ding waar ’t henhöört,“ sääd’de Deern un stell den Nachtputt up’n Disch.

Everything has its place,” said the maid while putting the chamber pot on the table.

Wullt all hoog ruut,“ sääd’ de Schooster; dunn krööp em ’n Luus up’n Hoot.

Everyone wants to come up in the world,” said the shoemaker as a louse was climbing onto his hat.

Des Guten kann man auch zuviel bekommen,“ sääd’ de Buur; dunn full em ’n Foder Mess up’t Lief.

It is possible to get too much of a good thing,” said the farmer and got buried under a cart-load of dung.

Laat lopen,“ seggt Fritz Lüth un pisst in de Büx.

Let things run their course,” says Fred Little and pees in his pants.

Wat sien mutt, mutt sien,“ sääd’ de Buur, verköfft sien Ossen un köfft sik ’n Prüük.

One’s got to do what one’s got to do,” said the farmer, sold his oxen and bought himself a wig.

Nu heff ik endlich mien Roh,“ sääd’ de Snieder; dunn harr em sien Fru uut ’t Huus smäten un de Dœr achter em toslaten.

Peace and quiet at last,” said the tailor as his wife threw him out of the house and locked the door behind him.

Reendlichkeit erhöllt de Welt,“ seggt de Fro un fäägt den Höhnerschiet vun’n Disch.

Cleanliness is is next to godliness,” says the woman, grabs the broom and sweeps the chicken droppings off the table.

Ik straaf mien Fro mit gode Wöör,“ sääd’ de Buur; dunn smeet he ähr de Bibel an’n Kopp.

I discipline my wife with good words,” said the farmer and threw the Bible at her head.

All Bott helpt,“ seggt de Mügg un pisst in de Oostsee.

Every bit helps,” says the mosquito and pees into the Baltic See.

These examples have been collected from a now unknown assortment of sources over the span of several years.

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