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A month ago, we studied the enigma of "Anti-mouth-bowls" (3/1/15).  It was Jan Söhlke who had sent me a photograph of what were labeled "Anti-Mund-Schuessel" ("anti-mouth-bowl").  He mentioned that the same Viennese shop had other bowls with equally mystifying names and promised to go back and take pictures of them.  Jan has now delivered on his promise by sending the following photographs:


German translation of the Chinese:  "Anti-Rand Schuessel"

English translation of the German:  "anti-edge / rim bowl"

Chinese:  fǎnkǒu wǎn 反口碗

English translation of the Chinese:  "bowl with everted rim; flare-rimmed bowl"

Notes:  Is the German trying to say "bowl without an edge / rim"?  Could there be such a thing?


German translation:  "Anti-Bowl"

English translation of the German:  "anti-bowl"

Chinese:  fǎnkǒu wǎn 反口碗

English translation of the Chinese:  "bowl with everted rim; flare-rimmed bowl"

Notes:  This sounds like something from Nietzsche's kitchen or a particle physicist's laboratory.  Very mysterious.  Is the bowl meant to prevent something?  What is the bowl against?


German translation:  "Fashion Plattenspieler"

English translation of the German:  "fashion turntable"

Chinese:  shíshàng zhuǎnjiǎo pán 时尚转角盘

English translation of the Chinese:  "fashionably undulating plate"

Notes:  The German comes from Google Translate.  The Chinese word for "turntable" is zhuǎnpán 转盘.  The literal translation of zhuǎnjiǎo pán 转角盘 would be something like "plate with corners that turn".  So far as I know, "fashion" is not a German word; the German equivalent would be "Mode".

From Jan:

As for "Platte", there are two relevant meanings in this context and it isn't that straightforward: A "Teller" (plate in English) is the dish you put in front of you and it serves as the last station from which food goes to the mouth. The thing in the picture looks like a "Teller" to me. Then, there is German "Platte", the etymological relative to English plate. A "Platte" would hold a dish in the middle of the table (as in "Schlachteplatte", butcher's plate). In my mental lexicon it would be something much larger which would never be used as a "Teller", where a "Teller" could occasionally fulfill the duties of a "Platte".

The other meaning of "Platte" is "record" (think vinyl, 33 rpm). Here "Platte" is short for "Langspielplatte" (long playing plate). Thus, a record player is a "Plattenspieler".

4. (the type of bowl in the previous post)

German translation:  "Anti-Mund-Schuessel"

English translation of the German:  "anti-mouth-bowl"

Chinese:  fǎnkǒu wǎn 反口碗

English translation of the Chinese:  "bowl with everted rim; flare-rimmed bowl"

Notes:  The first two bowls in this post and the bowl in the previous post all have the same name in Chinese:  fǎnkǒu wǎn 反口碗 ("bowl with everted rim; flare-rimmed bowl").  They also have the same shape.  Their only difference is in size, and consequently in price.  How could the translator(s) come up with three such dissimilar German translations?

1. "Anti-Rand Schuessel"

2. "Anti-Bowl"

4. "Anti-Mund-Schuessel"

All of this reminds me somewhat of IKEA naming practices, which we have addressed before on Language Log:

However, this shop in Vienna has an entirely different, and much more haphazard, system, one given to generating conundrums.


  1. db48x said,

    April 4, 2015 @ 10:11 am

    A bowl without a rim is called a Klein Bottle. A Klein Bottle is a 4-dimensional object which has no distinction between it's interior and exterior. It would either contain the entire universe or none of it, depending on your perspective. See also the Möbius Strip, which is a three-dimensional object which you can make any time you want. It's a loop (usually of paper) with only one side and edge.

  2. rjp said,

    April 4, 2015 @ 10:14 am

    Lipped bowls exist and would seem to fit "bowl with an edge" – that would also fit into the "anti-mouth bowl" if lip can be mangled to mouth?

  3. Lucy Kemnitzer said,

    April 4, 2015 @ 10:43 am

    I think the answer for the "anti-" part is pretty straightforward. It's "anti-" as in "anti-clockwise:" away from. All of the bowls have rims that turn slightly down. The other question, why they didn't use identical translations for identical words, I don't have an answer for, unless the labels came to the translating person in a long list of terms, not clustered together, and they did each one as they came, without stopping to think they had already done the same term before.

  4. Victor Mair said,

    April 4, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

    Gerald Mair, my second cousin once removed (or something like that) from Vienna, remarks:

    German: Anti-Rand Schuessel

    English translation of German: ?????
    Anti-rim (edge) bowl
    (it makes no sense in german)

    German: Anti-Bowl

    English translation of German: ?????
    This is not a German Term
    Anti- is Latin and bowl is no German Term
    (it makes no sense in german)

    German: Fashion Plattenspieler

    English translation of German: ?????
    Fashion is not a German Word – Plattenspieler means record player
    (it makes no sense in german)

  5. bratschegirl said,

    April 4, 2015 @ 1:26 pm

    An anti-mouth bowl ought to be a bowl bound and determined to spill something onto one's lap or shirt front.

  6. George Grady said,

    April 4, 2015 @ 4:41 pm

    German "Platte" sounds like it corresponds to English "platter", then.

  7. marie-lucie said,

    April 4, 2015 @ 8:48 pm

    German "Platte" corresponds to French "(un) plat" = English 'platter'.

    German "Teller" corresponds to French "(une) assiette" = Eng. 'plate'.

  8. richardelguru said,

    April 6, 2015 @ 6:17 am

    Surely an "anti-mouth bowl" is a bowl for ones anti-mouth—you know the one that has opposite charge, spin etc. …and I don't think I should pursue this analogy any further in a family oriented blog like this.

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