Why do pigs whistle in the German language?

This well-known (and well-worn) German expression literally translates to “I think my pig is whistling!” and is used to exclaim disbelief, usually at an absurd or extremely unexpected situation. Although every German is familiar with this idiom, it’s actually not used very often.

Opinions also diverge on where this odd phrase comes from – although its very oddness suggests that it is essentially an absurd nonsense situation that would effect the appropriate reaction of disbelief because pigs apparently don’t whistle (although, for all pig-owners: If your pig indeed produces whistling of wheezing noises, it could be a sign of lung worms, which are no laughing matter!).

Other such common nonsense phrases that express essentially the same thing are:

“Ich glaube…” (“I think/believe…”)


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