Speaking of Poop... in Swiss German

Achtung!
If you are even remotely disturbed by talk of poopy diapers, then you may want to skip this post, although I only mildly allude to the actual contents of the poopy diapers.

***
It's a day not unlike the others. The boys have breakfast and then play with their autos. At around 10 am I begin to smell something foul. I believe it's the usual suspect, so I walk over to Little L.

"Hast du Kacki?" I inquire.

"Näi. Bislä." He never likes to admit that he's made his morning poop. He'd rather just fess up to tinkling in his nappy.

"Amanda luege?" I ask him. He nods in agreement, knowing full well that when I have a look inside his nappy, a fresh little turd will be staring back at me. (Do you like how I refer to myself in the third person and use the infinitive of the verb luege, meaning to look at, because I don't know how to conjugate verbs in Swiss-German?)

Once I confirm that Little L needs a new windle, his older brother Al begins the guessing game. He's trying to figure out if Little L has made a big turd or a small one. He dreams big.

"Groosse Kacki?" he asks.

Another thing that Little L dislikes is having a big one in his pants, so he argues, "Näi. Kliene Kacki."

(The High German word for "small" is klein, as in Calvin Klein, but the Swiss tend to take the "ei" sound in some words and turn it into an "ie" sound, as in cotton briefs. So now the Swiss word for "small" - kliene - sounds like the English word "clean".)

"Well, I don't know. We'll have to go upstairs and find out."

The brothers follow me upstairs to Al's room, where we find the changing table and a stash of Pampers. Al waits with bated breath. I'm not exactly sure why he cares what Little L has in his dirty diaper. I mean, does he keep tally or something? I wonder which he thinks is more desirable: big poos or little poos.

I open the diaper and declare, "¡Guácala!" (That's Mexican for "Eeew. Gross!") Little L responds with an equally emphatic "Yuck!" Of all my non-German words that could rub off on him, it had to be these two. As I continue to take care of the matter, I throw in another guácala for good measure, and because I like to hear Little L repeat it. He has a cute way of putting the accent on the second syllable rather than the first. Luckily, what I discover today is a kliene lump, plus a kliene reminder that Little L ate too many carrots the day before.

In the end, whether it's a kliene kacki or a groosse kacki, it's NEVER a clean one and ALWAYS a gross one. I do wonder if I'll ever get over changing "full nappies" (which seems like a euphemism, but is actually what you say in German to refer to a poopy diaper). I can't seem to get through a changing without a few "yucks" thrown in. Does it take a few hundred more full ones before I finally become desensitized? Maybe by the time I have my own kids I'll have grown out of it. Maybe.

P.S. The German word for the noun "fart" is "Pups" (said like poops). The verb to fart is pupsen. Hehe.

Disclaimer: In this post I have related the use of some words in Swiss-German. Since it is a non-written dialect, all spellings are approximate and in no way authoritative. (I have employed spelling patterns found in "Schwyzertütsch" by Jürg Bleiker and "Swiss-German Booklet" published by Swissboox AG, as well as my own spellings.)

4 comments

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you liked my piece and happy to hear that it triggered a memory for you.

    Kids are definitely the best way to learn Swiss-German. I've been here for just over 8 years and it wasn't until by first (turns 4 today) was born that I really started getting the Swiss. I still don't speak it - I choose to speak the written German - but I totally understand it now.

    I'm looking forward to browsing your archives!

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  2. Love the German lesson and the great story. Here's to living in the land of Queso Swizo.

    Jessie

    I'll be checking in frequently

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  3. So there is hope to learn Swiss German?

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  4. On learning Swiss-German: I wouldn't call it Obama-yes-we-can-hope, but I think there is hope in learning to understand it, though I doubt I'll ever really learn to speak it.

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