German Word and Rule of the Week: Knöllchen

A Düsseldorfer on Facebook recently found this underneath her windshield:


It reads:

"You're parked illegally!


Joke we're just kids playing

we're sorry"

I found this pretty adorable. Almost makes me want to reproduce.

There are a few errors on the ticket, though. For one thing, there's no thorough explanation of your legal rights and the deadline for submitting an objection. For another, they describe the ticket as a 'Knolle'.

Knolle means bulge, lump, or more technically nodule. There is a slang expression for a traffic ticket here in the Rhineland, but that is Knöllchen, the diminutive form of lump. You get a 'little lump' on your windshield if you park illegally. Ain't that cool?

I'd be willing to bet the German kid who wrote this actually no-shit dreams of growing up to be a parking cop. Job security, civil servant status, reasonable hours, a tiny little bit of authority to exercise — what's not to love?

2 thoughts on “German Word and Rule of the Week: Knöllchen

  1. By the way, in England we would say pronounced wrongly, not wrong. i’ Wrongly’ is an adverb, which qualifies the verb pronounced.
    ‘Wrong’ is either a noun ,
    ‘ he has done her a great wrong”

    or an adjective

    ‘ your use of this form is quite wrong’

    But English syntax is hard for foreigners.


  2. I rather suspect — rahhtheir! — that both in England and the USA, you would get a reputation as a bit of a fusty old pedant if you actually said pronounced “wrongly” or feeling “poorly”. I’m usually fairly prescriptivist, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.


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