Bruckner Sprachendienste  
building bridges of communication  

Bruckner & Brücken (bridges)


The family name of Bruckner stems from the German speech areas of Bavaria and Austria. A “Bruckner“ is someone who lives near a bridge, builds bridges or collects the bridge toll, or also someone who stems from a village or town with the name of Bruck (in Southern Germany and Austria there are at least 9 places called Bruck). The wife, sister or daughter of a Bruckner  is called “die Brucknerin”.

In English, there are the terms “bridge-man“ or “bridgemaster“, also “the keeper of a bridge“, which describe someone who builds or maintains bridges. The “bridge-ward“ has a similar function or could also be a guard at a bridge.

The most famous person with the name of Bruckner was the composer and virtuoso organist Anton Bruckner, born on September 4, 1824 in Ansfelden (Upper Austria), deceased on October 11, 1896 in Vienna.





Proverbs, sayings, associations

From English

“A gold or silver bridge” is a metaphor for an easy and attractive way of escape (OED).

The expression “bridge-building“ provides an image of the promotion and development of a friendly relationship between countries and states (OED) or between parties previously at variance (Penguin).

“We´ll cross the bridge when we come to it” means that one should not worry before a problem has actually arisen (OED). There is a variety of this proverb: “Don´t cross your bridges before you come to them” (Penguin), advising you not to trouble your mind over things that may never happen.

One may also “burn one´s bridges“.”Burning bridges“ means leaving everything behind and starting a new life (Penguin).

“That´s all water under the bridge“ is said if everything is lost and nothing can be changed about it any longer (Penguin).

And finally the saying “to pull up the drawbridge“ describes a retreat into one´s private sphere. Example: “We enjoy entertaining, but at Christmas we like to pull up the drawbridge and be on our own.“ (Penguin)


From German

“Jemandem goldene Brücken bauen“ means facilitating communication (Wahrig) or offering someone an opportunity, or even helping someone generously. In contrast to that, “alle Brücken hinter sich abbrechen“ means abandoning all and any relationships (Griesbach, Schulz).

The saying “Dem fliehenden Feinde soll man goldene Brücken bauen“ has a slightly different meaning (Hellwig). This corresponds to “a gold or silver bridge“ in English (see above).

“Das muss zur Brücke dienen“ describes the transition of one thing into another (Grimm).

Under the entry “Brücke”, the following associations are found in the German dictionary “Dornseif”:
verbinden, Verbindungsweg, Wasserweg; leicht, befördern, erleichtern, vereinfachen, den Weg freimachen, Hindernisse entfernen; Hilfe zukommen lassen, sich einer Sache annehmen, gute Dienste leisten; Gelegenheit bieten, entgegenkommen; Verständigung anbahnen, Missverständnisse beheben; einen Weg finden, zusammenkommen, handelseinig werden.

This is widely equivalent to the associative entries found in Roget´s Thesaurus of English words and phrases under “bridge”: connect, bond, passage, pass; “bridge over”: pass, compromise; “bridge the gap”: facilitate.

Dornseif, Franz: Der deutsche Wortschatz nach Sachgruppen. Wiesbaden: VMA Verlag 2000
Grimm, Jacob/Grimm, Wilhelm: Deutsches Wörterbuch. Munich: DTV 1984
Griesbach, Heinz; Schulz, Dora: 1000 deutsche Redensarten. Berlin and Munich, Langenscheidt, 1981
Hellwig, Gerhard: Zitate und Sprichwörter von A-Z. Gütersloh/Berlin/Munich/Vienna, Bertelsmann 1974
Roget, Peter Mark/Kirkpatrick, Betty (ed.): Roget´s Thesaurus of English words and phrases. London, Longman Group UK 1987
Simpson, J.A., Weiner, E.S.C.: The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford, Oxford University Press 1989
Gulland, Daphne M./Hinds-Howell, David: The Penguin Dictionary of English Idioms. London, Penguin 2002
Wahrig, Gerhard/Wahrig-Burfeind, Renate (ed.): Deutsches Wörterbuch. Munich, Bertelsmann 2002