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Here in India, we use Studio D A1 for course book. In it, there is a box in which the following is written.

LICHTUNG

manche meinen, 
lechts und rinks 
kann man nicht velwechsern, 
werch ein illtum

ernst jandl

My understanding of this is "some think left and right can be confused which is an error."

Spelling mistakes: lechts, rinks (links and rechts), verwechseln (confuse) and welch ein irrtum (which is an error).

Is my understanding correct? And what is LICHTUNG?

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The translation should be: "Some think left and right CAN'T be mixed up... the hell they can't." –  Emanuel Nov 24 '12 at 22:01
2  
Although Lichtung seems to be just the word Richtung suffering from the l vs. r change, it is a real German word: clearing (in a forest). All other misspellings (lechts, rinks, velwechsern, werch Illtum), however, do not make valid words. –  Hagen von Eitzen Nov 26 '12 at 22:05
    
Yes, that's why I asked what it really means. Clearing just didn't make sense to me. –  thandasoru Nov 27 '12 at 4:12
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3 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I guess Lichtung should be Richtung, since r and l are switched in that text.

Here is the Wikipedia article for that poem with some possible interpretations.

"[...] Während berichtet wird, dass manche die Verwechslung von links und rechts für ausgeschlossen hielten, sind in allen Wörtern die Buchstaben l und r vertauscht."

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Mr. Jandl was an expert in playing with the language. Your example is just a funny way to underline what he is saying by exchanging the position of letters. In this case r and l !

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In this short text, all the r are replaced with l and vice versa. That's why the title is Richtung and not Lichtung. This means something like direction. And your translation is more or less correct.

He says that you can't confuse left and right, but in his whole text he does exactly that.

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