Lampenputzer

The other day we went for a walk and saw some bulrushes, or Rohrkolben, as they are called in German. Although, commonly they are also known as Lampenputzer – lamp cleaners, just like the other picture above. And it just reminded me again how wonderful the German language puts words together  and make sense. Just today a student asked me about the word ‘Warteschlange’.

Can you guess what it is?

Warten – to wait
Schlange – snake, but it also means queue.
So, a Warteschlange is a queue or waiting line. Just imagine the way a snake moves…

So, next time you see a German compound word and you’re not too sure what it means, take it apart.

For example ‘Mitarbeiter’.
Mit = with
Arbeiter = worker
Mitarbeiter = somebody you work with, a co-worker

Or

Kühl = cool
Schrank = cupboard
Kühlschrank = a cupboard that keeps things cool, a fridge

Which compound nouns do you like?

And one last question: which ‘Lampenputzer’ would you rather have 🙂

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