Ratty German (English/German)

Obviously the Germans have a great satirical sense of humour because their local councillors work in the Rathaus, town hall, which to the English-speaker looks like a house full of rats. Perhaps it was no coincidence ...

Editor's note: There's an innocent and not very exciting explanation: der Rat simply means 'council' while 'rat' in German is die Ratte. There are some other 'ratty' words you might like: Ratsherr, councillor, Ratssitzung, council meeting, after which the councillors like to neck a beer or two in the Ratskeller, lit. council cellar. And no, it's not a cellar full of rats ...

Sent by: Gemma


Tatiana 2009-02-06

This may be a good way to get by for a while, but I don't think it helps too much in the long run. I think it's best just to learn the word until you have immediate recall.

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Sam Whitehall 2009-02-06

Quite a common technique, and effective too.

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Noam 2009-02-06

Mnemonics really work. There was a chap on television recently who memorised an entire deck of shuffled cards in about 24 seconds by using precisely this technique. In associating a clear image with a linguistic 'trigger' seemingly amazing feats of memory are quite easily achievable.

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Dina 2009-02-06

When I'm thinking of a certain phrase, I usually think what the phrase could be about and what I used to relate to it. like Alice said - Rathaus is town hall and you can think of politicians as rats.

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Aquafresca 2009-02-06

Therefore, there are many rats in Berlin. Why? Because I've seen many Rathäuser there. Like Rathaus Steglig, Rathaus Neuköln, ...

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Teresa 2006-02-15

The first time I went to Germany I read a sign Rathaus. I asked my German friend what was that. He explained me what Rathaus means and I started to laugh. He was so confused and I told him that in Mexico we can call a 'thief' as rata that is 'rat' in English. And I completely agree with Rebecca.

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Rebecca 2005-06-09

I always found it incredibly funny that the German word for townhall was Rathaus. Seems an apt name for a place where politicians work.

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