Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts tagged ‘Language’

Strassenbetrieb, Müllkübel, Müllsprüche, Mistkübel, Abfallkörbe, Abfalleimer, Innsbruck, Tirol, Tyrol, Austria, Oesterreich, fotoeins.com

My Innsbruck: I do not refuse the humour

It’s not really low humour, and besides, I’m not one to reject humour.

As an encouragement for everyone to keep the environment clean (aside from personal and collective responsibility), the ubiquitous red garbage or waste bins throughout the city of Innsbruck are all tagged with a succinct sentence that’s amusing and punny. I don’t abide by the stereotype that the German language can’t be funny; instead, the stereotype persists because of lazy ignorant thinking.

Many small red waste-bins or garbage cans are located throughout the Tirolean capital. With a real chance to causing double takes, the different sayings on the bins is a mix of Austrian German and English, encouraging residents and visitors to use them as intended. The bins are emptied when city staff open them from underneath. This “attraction to waste” is not a unique phenomenon, as various other cities employ a similar trick; for example, in Hamburg and Berlin. But when a waste-bin urges people to feed it, I find it hard to look away.

From over 1200 submissions for a public city-wide competition for the best slogans, 20 were selected and unveiled in autumn 2010 (Innsbruck informiert, 2010: 15 Sept and 6 Oct). Theses mottos are on hundreds of bins in the city. Below are 17 out of 20 for a 85% completion rate, which is pretty good for a few days in and out of town.


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Oberstdorf, Oberbayern, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria, Allgaeu Alps, Alps, Germany, fotoeins.com

Oberstdorf: Sunday Allgäu night auf Deutsch

Why multiple languages rock my world

With fewer than ten-thousand inhabitants, Oberstdorf in southern Bavaria is as its German name suggests: an “upper village” tucked in the Allgäu Alps near the German-Austrian border. Yet, the town feels busy and full with skiers, snowboarders, and winter hikers.

It’s Sunday night and I’m on the hunt for “schnitzel and spätzle.” With my eye already on a place, I arrive at 630pm to a full house. I don’t have a reservation (which is dumb in a small town), but a table of four is available (which is fortunate). The server offers me the table, with the condition I’ll be sharing the table if two people want places. “Alles klar,” I reply.

I order a standard half-litre Weizen beer, along with the required schnitzel-and-spätzle platter. An elderly couple is offered two places at my table; they take one glance in my direction, and they’re gone. The server wears a puzzled look, and I can only shrug. A second couple arrives ten minutes later, and as they approach my table with curiosity, I tell them “die Plätze sind noch frei” (the places are available). They express their thanks, and take their seats across from me. Those last five German words set a positive tone for the rest of the evening.

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