I speak German better in my dream than I do in real life

I dreamed that I was at a large trade show, where everybody had cleared the center of the main floor to make room for an impressive real-time holography demo.

After the demo was over, everybody moved their chairs back, but the German delegation had difficulty returning their chairs to the exact position they took them from, because everybody else (not being German) just put the chairs in rows without regard for their original row and seat number.

Next came dinner, and I had to help interpret for a German attendee (who in retrospect may have been Angela Merkel with dark hair) who had taken two appetizers and no main course (which was allowed, but it meant that she didn't get a main course). I got stuck translating the word "dessert" but I guessed.

When I woke up, I looked up the word, and it turns out that dream-me had guessed correctly. So I can speak German better in my dreams than in real life.

Comments (21)
  1. steven says:

    Did you dream up "das Dessert" or "der Nachtisch"?

    ["Nachspeise", because I learned German a long time ago and use the old-fashioned words. -Raymond]
  2. Piotr says:

    Nachspeise isn't old-fashioned at all, at least not in western Germany.

  3. Ooh says:

    +1 for Nachspeise (it feels bit more colloquial; Dessert and Nachtisch are more formal)

  4. creaothceann says:


    I think Nachtisch is much more colloquial than Nachspeise…

  5. lefty says:

    Who cares about which German word for dessert was in the dream?  What's up with dreaming about Angela Merkel with dark hair?

  6. Robert says:

    A German friend's kid used to call it "Nachschitt" when she was little. Try to correct her with a straight face on that one.

  7. anyfoo says:

    Just my 2 cents on the fact that I, too, find that "Nachtisch" is slightly more colloquial than "Nachspeise" (I am for the south, btw). But I often find myself using the word "Dessert" instead.

  8. j b says:

    I don't know if it is directly comparable: Most Norwegians speak a lot of languages far better after a few drinks than they do when sober… :-)

  9. While everyone keeps concentrating on the dessert, I am wondering where Raymond got these German nightmares from. Thinking about it, it must be a relict of the time when was attempting to learn the language.

  10. Silly says:

    I had to help interpret for a German attendee … who had taken two appetizers and no main course (which was allowed, but it meant that she didn't get a main course)

    So did you yell "No main course for you!" (in German) at the Chancellor? (especially if the main course consisted of soup)

  11. Dream and waking life… :) Brings the question from the Matrix movie: How can you tell the real world from the dream world? :)


  12. cheong00 says:

    You subconscious mind remembers more than you know.

    Btw, one of the purpose of "dream" is to reorganize memory, so congrats in reclaiming "found" records. :)

  13. Smit-Tay says:

    I find a good way to decide, in similar circumstances, is to look up which word gets used in compound words – which die Deutschen just love.  Following this rule, "dessert" wines by a mile.  There is no "Nachspeisewein" or Nachtischwein"; no "Nachspeiselöffel" or Nachtischlöffel", the usage is "Dessertwein", and "Dessertlöffel".

  14. Neil says:

    @cheong00: Ah, so those .CHK files have a use after all!

  15. voo says:

    @Smit-Tay: Another one of those things that you really never realize as a native speaker ;)

    Btw I'd consider Nachtisch more colloquial than Nachspeise or Dessert.. from the south too (well Austria, but bairische Dialekt is shared between Bavaria and several parts of Austria, so that's fine).

  16. Tosal says:

    Don't mix up "Nachtisch" with "Nachttisch" – note the double 't'  

    Nachtisch  –> desert

    Nachttisch –> bed table (translated word by word: "night table")

    Nice  ;)

  17. AC says:

    From the south-west here (Rhineland palatinate):

    We always say Nachtisch.

  18. Gabe says:

    Tosal: Don't mix up "desert" with "dessert" — note the double 's'.

    desert –> area of land with very little rain

    dessert –> sweet part at the end of a meal.


  19. Me says:

    An American friend just made me realize how apt the part about the seats is. I didn't even really notice that on first reading. Way to confuse us Germans.

  20. @me says:

    I've never been to Germany, but I heard that the urinals in mens' toilets in at least one area come in three sizes, to accommodate different heights. I have this picture of half time at some german stadium during a big sporting event with a bunch of tall guys busting to take a piss and queuing to use the urinals, with all the toilets, and small and medium urinals free.

  21. Anonymous says:

    It's amazing how in dreams you have characters that essentially create their own dialogue, as if you were visiting another world rather than just imagining it. I can't wait to get to the point where they tell me money-making ideas.

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