March 27th, 2010


Ahhh . . .

One of the problems with language study is that textbooks and teachers rarely give you the vocabulary to read and talk about the things that really interest you. Like, how about camping vocabulary? I’d like to know how to express myself on that subject in German. For instance, how would one say “Camporee?”

Toward that end, I Googled Pfadfinder, the German word for Boy Scout. It referred me to a Wikipedia article (auf Deutsch), with lots of cool links. I was interested to learn that the Scout motto in German was not (as I had assumed), Immer fertig (“always ready”), but rather Allzeit bereit! (“all the time prepared”). Much snappier.

I learned from a linked article that Zeltlager is “tent camping.” (I had thought it would be Zelterlager (sic) but that would not have been idiomatisch.) In German, Zeltlager can be used to describe either the style of camping (“I like Zeltlager”) or a particular event, such as summer camp or a camporee (“We’re having a Zeltlager next week”). Older Scouts, the article said, aren’t content with just Zeltlager. They go on to Fahrt.

Fahrt means “journey,” or as we would say (in context), “trek.” There are other sorts of adventures, too. Seefahrt is what they do at Sea Base. Kanufahrt is what they do up at the Boundary Waters. These are all great trips. As we say in Venturing, there’s nothing like a really good Fahrt. In fact, the good life (as defined by us outdoorsmen) is just one big Fahrt after another.