Guten Abend, Englander scum, ein ZWEI! (Donnerstag, a little late)

Language WeekMy grandmother grew up in Germany. In college, my mother studied abroad in Central Europe one summer and visited Germany and Austria. I took four and a half weeks of German in middle school. Last year my parents had a delightful German exchange student living with them. Although I never really studied it, German was always sprinkled into language around the house.

And yet ich kann nicht sprechen Deutsch.. I have picked up phrases and words here and there - not enough to actually communicate in the language, not enough to use without embarrassment in front of actual German-speaking people, but just individual German and Germglish phrases that we use around the house like Wie viel kostet, bitte? and Raus! (sp?) and Schlag! (which is apparently Austrian-German, but not German-German for "whipped cream").

When we went to church on Christmas Eve, my sister and I would take advantage of any hymn that had the German lyrics as well as the English ones (particularly Stille Nacht). Who says you have to sing the same lyrics as everyone else? (In later years we would print out French, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic lyrics to bring with us as well.)

Marie and her elephant earWhen Marie was here last year, we taught her more appalling English ("jerkface", "you're fired") than she taught us German, but we picked up a few very useful German words here and there. I told her that I wanted to have a dachshund named Gewurtstraminer and she said hers would be called Großmuttersapfelkuchen, but we both agreed that the best name for a dachshund would be Dudelsack. At one point we were talking about platypi and she didn't understand what we were talking about ("It's an animal from Australia with fur and a beak!" "Are you making fun of me?") so I looked it up in Wikipedia, clicked on the German article, and found out that the German word was Schnabeltier. She still didn't know what we were talking about, but at least we had a German article for her to learn about them.

Anyway, that's about the extent of my German. I've often thought that I should actually make an attempt to study the language of my ancestors, but it's so much easier to just speak English with an appalling German accent, as Hugh Laurie has taught us:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfrOo3qxVmM
Die Artikel vom Donnerstag: Sag mir, wenn Sie schrieb einen Artikel für Sprache Woche Heute!

srah - Friday, 4 July 2008 - 9:07 AM
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Comments (5)

gravatar Marianne - July 4, 2008 - 2:45 PM -

Brilliant! Seriously impressive array of languages, and great to see some of the others too- all capped off by the best Blackadder clip EVER!

gravatar heliospheric - July 6, 2008 - 4:45 AM -

Srah - too funny. That is one of my fav Black Adder episodes.

I just wanted to thank you for initiating 'Language Week' - I had a lot of fun participating (although I didn't quite make it to post every day, I did post today (Sunday) in German to make up for my weekday slackness).

gravatar Cheryl - July 7, 2008 - 8:30 AM -

When I took German in middle school, all we did was color pictures of things like clocks. Is this what you did, too? I do remember how to say "the chair is brown", but that I actually learned when my brother took German.

gravatar Allison - July 7, 2008 - 10:08 PM -

Jerkface is a very useful English word to know.

gravatar Allison - July 7, 2008 - 10:09 PM -

Jerkface is a very useful English word to know.

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