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Language Exercise: Twisted Sentences

This week in the yoummday weekly exercise series, our new format with practical tips and tricks for your everyday work: Twisted sentences - a simple and entertaining exercise to get to know the languages you speak better!

Train the conscious use of language through twisted sentences.
28 March 2022
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"Dog bites man - that's not news. Man bites dog - that's news!"

This basic journalistic rule shows how important the position of words in the sentence structure is - and how much fun it can be to play around with it.

Because even small changes and shifts can have a big effect and sometimes produce funny or bizarre new sentences. For example, the German title of Marc Forster's film "Wenn Träume fliegen lernen" (When dreams learn to fly) quickly loses its poetic effect when it becomes "Wenn Fliegen träumen lernen" (When flies learn to dream). And the proverb "Many cooks spoil the broth" takes on a completely different flavour when suddenly "too much broth spoils the cooks."

But twisted sentences are not only funny - they can help us to better understand and get to know the languages we speak. And this is true regardless of whether it is our mother tongue or a foreign language. Even children learn to speak with such language games. And as we all know, we never learn languages easier and better than when we are children!

In customer service, a conscious approach to word order and sentence structure is particularly important. As a customer service agent, language is one of your most important tools. So every detail counts! After all, even a small inaccuracy can cause confusion for your customers and lead to misunderstandings or misinformation. This exercise shows you how important the correct sentence order is in German! In this way, you can playfully try out how content and meaning can shift even with minimal changes in the sentence structure - so that you don't make such mistakes in the first place!

Here's how it works: Think of a series of sentences that you can twist. These can be well-known proverbs and sayings, cooking recipes, song and film titles or even completely normal statements. The main thing is that the sentences are long enough so that a new meaning (or nonsense) emerges when you exchange individual words - for example, subject and predicate.

Examples:

  • "There was vegetable quiche for dinner and lemonade to drink." "There was lemonade to eat and vegetable quiche to drink."
  • "Fry the onion in the pan." "Fry the pan in the onion."

The aim: Language games are not only fun - you will also learn to use language more consciously and pay attention to details!

What you need: Creativity and fun with language!

How long does it take: As long as you like! You can either take a few minutes at a time or twist individual sentences in between.

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