A Fresh, Steaming Cup of Pure Lust

Dscf5061_1Most German students are required to take years of English in school. This is unfortunate, in that they grow up to put fewer amusingly odd English inscriptions on their consumer products.

Nevertheless, that didn’t stop the Teekanne company from coming out with ‘Pure Lust’ tea . The secret ingredients? "Strawberry — Rhubarb — Cream Flavor." Yes, rhubarb.

The Teekanne corporation has a website, and yes, you should visit it to enjoy the soothing music and to learn what Steffi Graf’s "favorite teas" are.

It’s a little eerie, since Steffi apparently not only drinks teas because they taste good, but also somehow uses teas so that she herself "can determine how [she] feels." Her favorites all have names like ‘Get energy,’ ‘Inner Peace,’ ‘Simply lovely’ ("aids in purification and inner cleansing").

‘Pure Lust" is not among them.

UPDATE: I’ve been getting grief in the comments for making fun of ‘Pure Lust’ tea. Yes, the posters are right — this is not a queer-sounding attempt to use English (as is the Essen Conference Center’s eerily phenomenological slogan "Place of Events").

As the commenters correctly note, "Pure Lust" is actually perfectly fine German and is meant to be read as German. It just happens to be identical to an English phrase that nobody in their right mind would ever associated with tea. There’s probably a literary term for this, but I don’t know what it is.

‘Dengrish’ is here to be interpreted broadly as any use of German or English that leads to amusement because of the differences between the two languages. You may not like that definition, but it works for me, and it’s my blog.

I hope that answers your questions!

23 thoughts on “A Fresh, Steaming Cup of Pure Lust

  1. I’d assume the marketing guys at Teekanne were just ignorant about how English speakers would perceive the title, since “Pure Lust” is correct German aswell, and the German “Lust” doesn’t (neccessarily) have a sexual connotation. It’s still a remarkably stupid title for a tea, but I don’t think it qualifies as… what’s the German quivalent of Engrish?

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  2. Even the most stupid German (or Austrian) would see the sexual connotation it has in German too. I can hardly remember this sentence has been used without sexual reference. So they did not only ignore the stupidity for English speakers they ignored it for the German as well.

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  3. First of all (as it has already been noted by Jan) the German word “Lust” has by no means sexual connotations only.

    “auf etwas Lust haben” = “to feel like something, to fancy something”.

    Nevertheless, there is a (rather weak) sexual connotation but I doubt that the marketing people were ignorant about it as Christian claimed. It’s most likely intended.

    Saying that they were ignorant about how English speakers would perceive the title on the other hand might be true. I think most Germans develop a blind spot for German/English faux amis after a while, otherwise we would spend more time associating than talking. But that’s not what they are paid for anyway. After all, the vast majority of their customers are German native speakers. Accusing an American marketing company to be ignorant about the German meaning of the words “gift”, “mist”, “after” or whatever after spotting their ads somewhere in Porcupine’s Rest, Iowa would technically be true but …

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  4. Eins kann mir keiner, eins kann mir keiner,
    eins kann mir keiner nehmen und das ist die
    PURE LUST am Leben.

    No sexual reference, i think, i’m not completely sure.

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  5. “Eins kann mir keiner, eins kann mir keiner,
    eins kann mir keiner nehmen und das ist die
    PURE LUST am Leben.”

    It’s right, there is no sexual connotation in it. Otherwise these lines are pretty old. Language develops. Though I am always motivated to use correct German language which isn’t that easy today there is another bad truth. “Der unaufhörliche Sprachwandel ist ein unaufhörlicher Sieg des Falschen.” (the ongoing change of language is an unstoppable victory of the wrong thing) is a quote from the book Stilkunst by Ludwig Reiners that is a must-read for everybody who’s interested in good German. I think the change of lust over the years made it sound old-fashioned first then it saved it’s existance in the sexual niche.

    Whenever you see the word “Lust” in advertising please pay attention to the context. There is an ad about Yoghurt which also has a “harmless” storyline with some very explicit indirectnesses.

    Maybe German natives should get used with the idea their language is lost in some way.

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  6. “Der unaufhörliche Sprachwandel ist ein unaufhörlicher Sieg des Falschen.” (the ongoing change of language is an unstoppable victory of the wrong thing) is a quote from the book Stilkunst by Ludwig Reiners that is a must-read for everybody who’s interested in good German. I think the change of lust over the years made it sound old-fashioned first then it saved it’s existance in the sexual niche.

    A good dictionary, on the other hand, would be a “must-read” for anyone who wants to educate us about what meanings of a word are “correct” and which aren’t. So, for the record: Desire, craving, lust — including the sexual aspect — are the oldest and most primordeal meanings of the word “Lust”, and the weak “pleasant feeling” is a more recent derivative.

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  7. not to out myself as a drinker of teekanne but the raspberry + vanilla brand is called “heisse liebe” and the cherry + strawberry is called “sweet kiss.” i’d imagine that sexual connotation/english meaning was not lost on anyone in the marketing dept.

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  8. It’s not only German that has the wider meaning of Lust. I remember a novel titled ‘Lust for Life’ which I read some years ago. Lust applies to pleasurable experiences of all kinds.

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  9. Ahh, it’s brilliant conversationalists like joro that make running a blog such a pleasure. All that effort to overcome the spam detector, just for a limp-wristed little 5-word insult like that?

    Nota bene, you hypersensitive little weenies: I did not write this post to insult the German language. Or to express my hatred of tea. Or of Steffi Graf, for that matter.

    The reason I found this tea interesting is that its name is simultaneously completely standard (i.e., non-borrowed) English and completely standard German. That is, it’s an interlanguage homograph. That’s incredibly fucking rare. How many other phrases can you think of fit that description?

    The reason I found it amusing is that its meaning in English is exclusively erotic, whereas in Germany it is not. I am well aware of both facts, since I use the word Lust when speaking German at least 4-5 times a week with, of course, no erotic overtones. Sure, there are slightly metaphoric English uses such as “Lust for Life” and all that, but if I told a woman “I feel pure lust for you,” I don’t think there’s any chance I’d be misinterpreted, do you?

    Class dismissed!

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  10. well, Mr. Hammel

    As I tried to explain in another comment (I think it was that one about Markovits): some people here have serious problems of misinterpretation

    =/ (sad)

    Anyway, it´s really “lustig” to see how narrow-minded the humankind can be.

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  11. Mr. Hammel,

    I intended no insult to you and I’m not certain why you took what I wrote as such. Perhaps you would prefer some of us leave your blog in a more pristine state? Uncommented and (I fear) unread?

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  12. Don, my man, I wasn’t insulting you, I was insulting joro! I have no problem with people who disagree with me, but I find it petulant to just accuse me (presumably) of ignorance without trying to demonstrate that fact. I like comments; if I didn’t, I could simply turn the function off, as some blogs do.

    I do, however, disagree with you that lust is used in English in a non-erotic sense. Webster’s lists the meaning “pleasure, delight” or “personal inclination; wish” as obsolete.

    http://www.webster.com/dictionary/lust

    but “usually intense or unbridled sexual desire” is not.

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  13. Pure Lust might be pure German but it also smacks of pure stupidity and shows lack of imagination with the German advertising fraternity. Of course they lean heavily on the English language for marketing products in an interesting way.
    Nevertheless Pure Lust to Germans or non Germans has sexual undertones.
    Deutschermichel

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  14. “I do, however, disagree with you that lust is used in English in a non-erotic sense. Webster’s lists the meaning “pleasure, delight” or “personal inclination; wish” as obsolete.”

    Today that is true. The book I cited was written during the 1950’s I believe. Even then ‘Lust’ mostly was understood in a sexual context in English, but I think the book referred to a usage when it did not a century or more ago. Languages mutate over time (not that you need me to tell you that).

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  15. I want some of that tea! I hope I can get some on line. I know some people who NEED some of that tea. What a great gift for the ladies around the office, they are always going on about what tea is their new favorite. I can’t wait to suprise them. The tea company did it on purpose for shock value, you’re talking about a country that puts bare boobs on standard tv. What is the active component of Viagra anyway, couldn’t it be purified Rhubarb extract?

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  16. that tea is fantastic! i was in germany last summer and after i tried it i only regretted i didnt buy like 10 packs home 😀
    but now my friends are in germany and guess what i asked to bring me from there 😉

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  17. I think that is a great find :D. I never thought of it :D. (I don’t buy it either, I only buy the boredly named – fixbutte rosebud tea)

    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: dfg34hdb
    URL: http://risedeste.04jh09.info/
    IP: 70.80.12.88
    BLOG NAME: risedeste
    DATE: 12/06/2006 08:26:20 PM
    abitazione antica toscana imputatogli proletaria

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