Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Jawohl and all that


A little nuance for all those exposed to too many wwii war movies.  We all know just enough to really screw up.  This item will straigthen thee out.

The story here is delightful.  Jawohl!! I will wash the dishes.  How can a parent answer that little act of rebellion.

It was a specific military usage and never civilian unlike Okay which was just too convenient and made it directly into our language.

Why do the Germans not use “Jawohl” any more? Do they still click their heels together when receiving orders, or is that just Hollywood?

Okay, this is the deal with ‘Jawohl!’ in Germany.

Jawohl consists of the words ‘ja’ and ‘wohl’ meaning “yes” and “well” or “indeed.” In the German Army at one time ‘Jawohl‘ was used in agreeing with something in a sharper sounding 'o'. It was sort of a more harsher tone than in everyday language.

Today in Germany it is used to mock people in a military tone.

I use to say “Jawoll!” all the time with my mother when I was a teen. I would up straighten up, salute and yell:

Jawoh! Ich werde jetzt in die K├╝che gehen!

when told to do the dishes. She would just stare at me and shake her head.

As for soldiers clicking their heels together? That is a whole different story.

It started in Prussia and the German Empire in 1871.

When you go to "Habacht Stellung" or attention position, your feet are next to one another. This made the heels click and made a sound. So when your commanding officer would say "Achtung!" the command to all his soldiers to stand at attention, you will hear an audible click in unison.

This later turned into when you salute you snap to attention. This included your heels clicking together. It showed your commanding officer respect. If you had a rifle in your hands and could not salute, you would click your heels together to show your respect.

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