All the station names appear in German guise. Some are straightforward unremarkable translations, as when King’s Cross appears as Königskreuz, Westferry as Westfähre, Shepherd’s Bush as Hirtenbusch and Old Street as Alte Straße.
Others are in varying degrees ridiculous, as when East Ham becomes Ostschinken (Schinken is the German for ham, the meat product). The German for a fish’s fin is Flosse, so Finsbury Park becomes Flossenstadtpark. The map tells us that the translation uses “actual meanings, associations and sound-alike words”.
Moorgate could have retained its etymology and meaning by appearing as the cognate Moorengasse, but instead becomes Mohrentor ‘blackamoor’s gateway’. Dagenham becomes Tagesschinken, in which the -schinken part is again literally ‘ham’, but the Tages- part means ‘day’s’, perhaps because of the resemblance of English Dag- to the Dutch
daag dag ‘day’, cognate with German Tag. Vauxhall comes out as Fuchshalle ‘fox shed’, although the name has nothing to do with foxes. I don’t know why my own local station, Wimbledon, features as Wunibaldshügel (Hügel means ‘hill’). And why is Clapham transformed into Schinkenklatschen (‘ham gossip’)? I suppose because klatschen also means to clap.
Harrow is rendered as Heidenhügel ‘heath hill’, though a literal translation might be Egge, which I think would have been more fun. For Barbican, Frisierdose (‘hair dressing tin’) is indeed fun, although Außenwerk would have been a literal translation.
One or two of Prillinger’s choices are of particular phonetic interest. According to David Mills’s London Place Names, the second element in Tooting Bec reflects the name of its owner from 1086, the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary of Bech (Bec-Hellouin in Normandy). So why does it become Zurücktuten? Because to a speaker of German, though not to a NS of English, ‘Bec’ is evidently a homophone of ‘back’ (zurück).
The conversion of Hounslow ˈhaʊnzləʊ into Hundslangsam ‘dog’s slow’ depends on ignoring the distinction between s and z. The native English pronunciation would rather suggest the translation Hundsniedrig or even Hundsmuhen, both ‘dog’s low’.
Ah, well. It’s ‘still a work in progress’, we read.