Shooting star 2

In Deutsche definieren Englisch neu, USAnwalt comments on the most common ‘German’ meaning of shooting star:

Warum bezeichnen heute so oft die englischsprachigen Nachrichten aus Deutschland Politiker als Shooting Star? So eine Welle gab es schon einmal. Meine Amis verstehen das nicht.

Bezeichnen deutsche Journalisten damit Leute am Ende ihrer Karriere, die verglühen? Das passt aber nicht zum Kontext der Berichterstattung in den Deutschen Welle- und sonstigen englischsprachigen Nachrichten über deutsche Politik. Dort geht es scheinbar um Leute, die einen meteoric Rise vorweisen.

In English, Franz Müntefering or, dare I say it, Horst Seehofer would be more of a shooting star than Philipp Rösler, for example.

I’ve mentioned this one before.

He also discusses the problem often encountered in German contracts of anglicisms that a native speaker wouldn’t understand, and that ‘English experts’ in big German law firms, that is, German lawyers with a US LL.M., may have studied a narrow area of law but missed the basics. And another point: that German lawyers very often use the passive when they draft contracts.

This is something I meet a lot. I think it is also sometimes done by English and US lawyers, but strongly recommended against (courses on legal drafting seem to have been around longer in common-law jurisdictions, with their long and complex contracts, than in Germany, where there are certainly books on drafting contracts on the market, but only in recent years – this isn’t to say that English contracts are always well written). For instance, a lawyer might write the equivalent of ‘The rent shall be paid by the third working day of a month’, thus avoiding a subject: who is to pay the rent? It would be better to write ‘The tenant shall pay the rent by …’ In this case, it’s obvious who pays the rent, and probably explicitly stated elsewhere. But in more complex clauses it may be unclear what the subject should have been.

I’ve also claimed before that it is more common in German contracts to encounter poor use of defined terms: a term is defined and given a label, in German in capital letters, and then either never comes up again, so the label is never used, or is replaced by a synonym that is not particularly marked. If this is so, which commenters have disputed, it could also be explained by the fact that common-law contracts tend to be more complex so lawyers are more likely to have been trained in drafting them.

LATER NOTE: I checked the Deutsche Welle site, since that was what Clemens referred to, and I found Philipp Roesler referred to as a ‘rising star’. Have they changed it? I did find in a site search that ‘shooting star’ has been used there for Gautier Capuçon, David Kross, Manuela Schwesig, and even ‘twin shooting-star artists Gert and Uwe Tobias’.

6 thoughts on “Shooting star 2

  1. You can find lyrics where “shooting star” seems to be used positively — in the sense of up, not down:

    “I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky
    Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity”
    – Queen

    The song “Shooting Star” by Bad Company also seems to use the term to indicate that someone is rising up, though it is also clear that the person’s famed will be fleeting:

    • Yet another reference to the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon! I suppose they must be really obscure in the USA. I will have to rename it the Unabomber phenomenon or some such.

  2. This is nice! I have never seen that Faber Castell factory. It sure looks pretty for a factory, right? Anyway, thanks for posting these photos. Looking forward to more of them. Cheers!

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