Franconian Word of the Month

Hau nei

Hau nei

Hau (de) nei  /haʊ (dæ) naɪ/

Hochdeutsch: Schlage hinein / Hau rein

English: dig in / have fun

By now, it should be an established opinion that Franconians are weird. Thus, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that they came up with a phrase with two very different meanings: Hau nei.

Usually, Hau nei is used to refer to the act of food consumption with a certain amount of gusto. Or, in other words, if you have cooked a meal and want to tell your guests to dig in (start eating), then you would use this phrase. Though in Franconia, it’s not just a hearty invitation to eat, it literally means “dig in”! So prepare yourself for some kind of food war after the utterance of these words, mostly about the Glös (balls of minced potato boiled in water) and the sauce to whichever dish you’ve prepared.

But, as already mentioned, Hau nei has another meaning: It is a rather frequent challenge to have fun, usually said when two people part in the street. In this context, it counts as a rather chipper discharge of the person you are talking to, and similar to the food war, it usually refers to the fact that this other person now has to do some chore or other that might not be the most pleasant. Though since Franconians are still considered German, and work is holy for any true German, they are still supposed to have fun.

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