Saulkaue: When your handwriting is so bad that it looks like a pig wrote it, Germans will say you have a “sow hoof”

German students can no longer write properly. At least, that’s what a recent survey of German teachers suggests. Nearly nine in ten educators say that students’ handwriting has become worse in recent years. Or in other words: More and more students have a real Sauklaue.

The study cites ongoing digitalization and excessive media consumption as the main reasons. After all, constantly swiping up to see the next TikTok video doesn’t really help strengthen your fine motor skills. When students hand in their exams, teachers read them in a state of frustration and sigh: Das kann kein Schwein lesen (“no pig can read this”), which is a commonly used expression to comment on a messy handwriting. It’s probably also the link to how the term Sauklaue eventually came into existence.

In the end, many students tend to see writing by hand as an outdated cultural technique. Just like pottery or glassblowing. Or looking outside the window instead of checking the weather app.


German Is Weird: Crazy Words von Arschkarte bis Zielwasser - from "ass card" to "aiming water"

For more language weirdness, check the brand new “German is weird” book. 

Related Weirdness

German is weird: Fun Facts and Trivia about the German language

This blog is a love letter to the curiosities of the German language that give it its poetic and, at times, oddly humorous qualities.

German Is Weird: Crazy Words von Arschkarte bis Zielwasser - from "ass card" to "aiming water"

The “German Is Weird” book is now available: order here!

Weirdest Articles
Instagram Feed