Ever try learning German?

Or maybe the better question is: ever fail at the attempt? Perhaps because the language is full of words like Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung (third party vehicle insurance), Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit-Hyperaktivitätsstörung (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or Donau-Dampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft (Danube Steamship Company)?

One mouthful that exists only in our fair language is Pilzwiderstandsfähige Rebsorten. Admittedly this term, which translates to fungus-resistant grape varieties, is unwieldy even for Germans, who typically shorten it to PIWI – pronounced pee-vee. Which, coincidentally, is also how Germans pronounce the name of the hero of Tim Burton’s 1985 directorial debut. Remember that one? Pee Wee’s Big Adventure with Paul Reubens, Elisabeth Daily, and Mark Holton? No? Ok, perhaps not Burton’s finest work.

The English term for PIWI is also a lot easier to pronounce than Pilzwiderstandsfähige Rebsorten. It’s simply hybrid. Yet if you ask the people who work with them, they’ll say that that term alone isn’t enough, preferring instead to call them pioneer varieties. A bit of explanation might help.

Copyriht: trinkmag.com Christoph Raffelt

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