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A recent Spiegel article talks about a 14-year-old who was sentenced for insulting her teacher by posting a photo of him on Facebook and commenting it with:

Behinderter Lehrer ever

I don’t understand what she wrote. What does ever mean? Is is just the English word? And isn’t Behinderter grammatically wrong here? If it is a superlative, shouldn’t it be something like behindertster?

I am guessing from the fact that the article provides no further explanation that this insult is easily understandable to a native speaker?

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    Because of that weird (wrong) construction, the article reads "(sic!)" after the quote. de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic! – Robert Jun 8 '16 at 2:15
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    behinderter facebook kommentar ever – Alex Jun 8 '16 at 8:56
  • Interesting to note that she tries to insult somebody by labeling him as disabled. It has been non-PC even in Germany basically since 1945, but like harassing somebody by labeling them gay it has continuously been losing its impact maybe since the 80s. To me neither label is insulting (and like so many attempts of insult reflects on the speaker instead). – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jun 8 '16 at 12:51
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    @PeterA.Schneider: In youth culture, "behindert" has worn off in meaning to the point where it's actually used as an everyday pejorative. "Das ist total behindert" -- "That sucks" are more or less equivalent. – DevSolar Jun 8 '16 at 14:05
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    "Behindert" everyday German has to do with disabled people about as much as "suck" in everyday Engish has to do with suction. Some people get offended because the expression is about disabled people, though. The use of wrong grammar probably is because insults often use incorrect grammar. After all, Turkish kids got the funniest insults. :D I actually witnessed the use of similar insults ("behinderter" instead of "behindertster") some years ago, iirc. – UTF-8 Jun 8 '16 at 14:44
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You are right with all your assumptions. The word ever is the English word; so the insult was formed by mixing German and English – which is not too unusual and probably seemed more “cool” to the girl. The word behinderter should have indeed been behindertster, which makes the whole thing even more embarrassing. A native German speaker will have no problem figuring out what she meant to say, but also should have no problem noticing the wrong grammar.

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    Since the post is written in a weird English-German mixture, maybe the correct form is "behindertest"? – Federico Poloni Jun 8 '16 at 13:42
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    @FedericoPoloni No. As others already pointed out, the usage of ever is common youth language. Thus, it is not a weird English-German mixture. – Stefan Jun 9 '16 at 5:57
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    At least I (native Swiss) had some trouble figuring out the wrong superlative, it sounds very wrong. – caconyrn Jun 16 '16 at 3:25
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I would break down the phrase to:

  • behinderter (physically or mentally challenged): arbitrarily chosen derogatory adjective
  • Lehrer (discussed topic)
  • ever (English word) sort of emphasis, German equivalent would be aller Zeiten

Obviously the phrase lacks in nearly every respect, but mostly a superlative form for the adjective would help.

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Let’s just go backwards analysing this:

Ever, being used just like in English, is rather frequent in youth culture nowadays. It has pretty much replaced aller Zeiten and to add ‘coolness’, it is often written evar and/or with repeated final vowel. As far as I know both English-speaking and German-speaking youth culture, ever fulfils the same role in both.

Lehrer is, of course, her teacher and no discussions.

Behinderter. Using that word as an insult or with a pejorative meaning is not new; in the late ninties when I was in early grammar school it was the pejorative of choice next to schwul. Usually when used, it can be replaced with bescheuert or idiotisch, so it clearly implies mental disability, not physical. However, I would argue that for a notable percentage of people using it, the actual meaning (disabled) is perceived as not present when they use the word — a bit like some people insist on using the word gay to mean happy (although there are more people using behindert in the idiotic way than there are those using gay as happy). Usage of behindert to mean idiotic is not restricted to school children but can be found amoung twens, too (and some of my colleagues recently hit their thirtieth birthday, still using it).

The expression as a whole does not fully make sense. Usually, the word ever goes with some kind of superlative. So the quote ‘should’ have been ‘behindertster Lehrer ever’. But arguably that is not going to make any difference any more; the intended meaning was still understood.

All things considered, a good translation would have been:

Most idiotic teacher ever.

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    Seeing the meaning here, I'd compare it to "lame" in English, which also used to be a word meaning "disabled" but gained a different connotation and is no longer used in the original sense either. – Joe Z. Jun 28 '16 at 18:47
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Adding "ever" to a sentence is quite common in german, but very informal and colloquial. It is mostly used to emphasize an opinion and probably developed, as it has already been stated, from using "aller Zeiten" as emphasis. A sentence in which "ever" occurs is significantly shorter, since in most cases it lacks a verb and any pronouns.

For example: For "Es war das schlimmste Unwetter aller Zeiten." you can also write: "Schlimmstes Unwetter ever!" Both sentences have the same meaning: "It was the most devastating storm of all time."

It's always [superlative of adverb/adjective] + [noun] + "ever"

Other examples would be:

"Bester Kollege ever!" (He/She is the best colleague there is)

"Schlimmster Kurs ever!" (This is the worst lecture of all time)

"Bestes Bier ever!" (This beer is the best one I've ever tasted)

You can also use "ever" as you would use "aller Zeiten" in any sentence, like: "Es war das schlimmste Unwetter ever.", but this isn't as common.

Concerning the insult your assumption is correct: "Behindertster" is the superlative of the adjective "behindert", which means "disabled", but also "retarded", which in this case would be the right translation. So she assumed her teacher was mentally disabled/dumb.

For insulting someone as disabled in a sense that he is incapable of normal physical activities someone would rather use "Krüppel", which means "cripple".

Both insults are quite severe and almost never used in a "friendly" way, unlike other insults which can be ways of teasing a friend (similar to "I hate you" in english).

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    As a german, and from the undertones that insult is usually used with, the insult plays more on the stigma of physically disabled persons (as unsexy/useless/defenseless, intentionally dismissing and scorning social justice aspects, aggressively painting the insulting person as one that is above having to feel pity for the disabled) than on mental retardation... and yes, depending on context, it is VERY harsh and rude. Compare "Opfer" (victim) used as an insult if you want to understand how Germans think if they really mean to insult and insult to be mean. – rackandboneman Jun 8 '16 at 14:45
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    Oh, there is another irony in that case that becomes clear when reading the original article (which makes the sentencing appear callous too): The school that happened in was a school for the (mentally) challenged. – rackandboneman Jun 8 '16 at 14:49
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    Attaching "ever" to a German sentence is just a bad anglicism. – Robert Jun 8 '16 at 16:30
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    Attaching "ever" to any sentence is not valid german in any way and is youth slang. Don't advise anyone to use it. – Polygnome Jun 8 '16 at 18:05

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