3

I am having trouble translating the word botten in this sentence:

Ich bin am botten bis ich blutende Hacken hab,
ich kauf wie eine Frau neue Botten im Minutentakt.

(Lyrics of a German song)

  • Ich hatte mich schon gewundert, weshalb die Frage auf einmal eine ganz andere war ... – Björn Friedrich Feb 14 '18 at 6:26
  • 3
    You can't ask a question and the edit it to turn it into a completely different question. I made a rollback to the original question. If you want to ask a new question: german.stackexchange.com/questions/ask – Hubert Schölnast Feb 14 '18 at 6:27
9

This seems to be from "Peter Fox: Lok auf 2 Beinen"

Ich renne bergauf, rolle bergab
Durch die Pampa und durch die Stadt
Geradeaus, zerkratz meinen Lack, Zack
Mit dem Kopf durch die Wand, bis es knackt
Bleib wo du bist, ich hole dich ab
Ich mach nicht schlapp, auch wenn ich Gicht hab
Ich bin am botten, bis ich blutende Hacken hab
Kauf wie ne Frau neue Botten im Minutentakt

"Botten" in the last line is indeed a low German cognate (personal speculation) to "boots" in English (Schuh or Stiefel in high german). While being marked as colloquial in standard German contexts (meaning any kind of shoe) it is entirely acceptable to use in lower German dialects (also for any kind of shoe, but primarily meaning robust, big, clumsy, shoes and even more for boots)) That song being about running from a to b, all the time, the line before that is a rather unusual usage of botten as a verb. analog to stiefeln That interpretation is amplified by the fact that he does botten until his feet start to bleed. (Of course he might also describe a restless life as a messenger…?)

But being some kind of pop song this is more probably about some drugs of the stimulant variety, at best just a poetic description of having too much distress in an ordinary capitalist city life. A hectic response to "Keep on Running".

In any case a translation of the actual words might be:

Ich bin am botten, bis ich blutende Hacken hab
–– I am running until I get bleeding heels
Kauf wie ne Frau neue Botten im Minutentakt
–– Buying like a woman new boots by the minute

Someone with an earlier attempt at translating the lyrics rendered the lines:

I dance till my heels bleed, buy new shoes every minute
(Cf. section "Update" below: Marked as a "bad translation" this actually pretty spot on!)

And another attempt:

I will go on until my feet are bleeding
I'll buy new boots within minutes like a woman


Update

As pointed out by Takkat, the original lyrics seem to be:

bin am Hotten, bis ich blutende Hacken hab
kauf wie 'ne Frau neue Botten im Minutentakt

All the sites I checked had actually not the right transcription.

This information renders this answer OK for the question as asked. But also merely theoretical or just wrong for the actual song.

  • For use of "botten* as verb: I consider the analogy to stiefeln (and similar schlappen, stöckeln; shoes seem to become verbs easily) as more convincing than the connection to roboten proposed by another answer. But I was surprised to find the noun in the dictionary at all (even if marked as colloquial) - I have never heard it in Northern Bavaria. – guidot Feb 14 '18 at 9:46
  • @guidot Usage of the noun is entirely acceptable in low German dialect and only marked as low in Hochdeutsch in that area. The verb botten seems indeed, when coming from rabota, making a *bot (script, programme etc.) gaining track among coders and devs. Possible, but unlikely in these lyrics… – LangLangC Feb 14 '18 at 9:56
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The lyrics were poorly transcribed. The original sung by Peter Fox says:

...bin am Hotten bis ich blutende Hacken hab,
kauf wie 'ne Frau neue Botten im Minutentakt.

This will make sense as then this slang/colloquial speech would translate to

I am dancing hot until I have bleeding heels
I, like a woman, buy new boots every minute.

2

The verb botten:

The Czech word »robota« means »to work like a slave«. (The englisch word »robot« for a machine that does work that previously was done by human workers, is derived from this Czech work).

Derived from this Czech word there is the German verb roboten that means »to work hard«. All vowels in this words are short. If it was an old German verb is should therefore be written with double-T: robotten. But it is a loanword, and the Czech orthography is kept.

This changed when this word lost its first syllable in some slangs. Without ro- is no longer is a loanword from a foreign country. It is a German dialect-word, that is not listed in any dictionary. So there are no fixed rules that might tell you how to write it, and so most people would write it with double-T (because of the short O). But it still means: to work very hard; to work like a machine.

(Note, that also in English you often talk of "bots" instead of "robots".)


The noun Botten:

This word is listed in dictionaries, but marked as landschaftlich which means: regional. This word is not known to all German native speakers. (I didn't know it.)

This word means: boots, clumsy shoes. (In the context of this song: just any shoes.)

I believe, that the english word boot is the origin of this word. (»Boots« for Stiefel is a well known foreign word in German.)

  • FWIW, In some regions in the Netherlands, e.g. in the South, we have the word "botten" for "boots" too. Although it normally means "bones". – Rudy Velthuis Feb 14 '18 at 10:47

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