Lists of typical German mistakes in English?

147 posts in this topic

On 9/29/2018, 11:46:28, tor said:

One that still is a bit of a mystery is the pronunciation of 'since' like 'science'. 

 

Mixed up with "seit"? Still, I've never heard that, despite LIVING HERE SINCE YEARS

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On 28.9.2018, 15:53:40, tokeshu said:

It's a bit hard to type the pronunciation of hotel when I only have my fingers to try and express myself.

 

The Germans, at least in my region, are particularly fond of stressing the first syllable and shortening the last while making the 't' very soft. In my version of English, the accent for hotel comes on the second syllable, which is what I also hear in German, again, at least where I live. Maybe I should have said, when it's accented the same way in both languages...

 

The stress (accent) is indeed on the second syllable in both dictionary-english and standard-german. The o, however, is a different kind of o.  A 't' between 2 vowels in english often becomes voiced ("harder", closer to 'd')... If they're stressing the first syllable when saying hotel in english, they're hypercorrecting, trying to make it sound more "english"

 

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I don't get why certain words are pronounced wrong by Germans when they have the same sounds in German.  Why "willage"? There is the "v" sound in German (Ich will...). Why "Mitchigan" for Michigan when there is the German word "Mischen"?

 

When Germans make fun of my pronunciation, I just shout "Arthur's brother is thinner than Arthur's father!".  That shuts them up :)

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It's exactly because it's a different thing here.   The German "v" is a different sound from our "v".  Our "v" sound is like their "w".  Similar with others like our "c" is often their "k" (while "c" is barely used outside "sch").  I have these in my name and as a result it gets spelt wrong a lot here, even where I've given the correct spelling, as it's so embedded, and said incorrectly.   

 

You see it in famous names all the time in fields like sport, or anything involving foreigners.  East european names are a good example.   The anglo version of an athletics world record holder's name is Yelena Isinbayeva.  Here, she's Jelena Issinbajewa.  (Putin is naturally Wladimir, and before him there was Jelzin, Gorbatschow et al, and so on).

 

The town example has a lot to do with the soft consonants, there the soft "g".   It's similar with places like "London" (the "d") and also e.g. "finger".  Similar, German teachers know anglophones start by mispronouncing German because we come in hard with those (gingen - gang - gegangen was where I got that drilled out).

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1 hour ago, swimmer said:

gingen - gang - gegangen was where I got that drilled out

 

I need to pay a bit more attention but I don't think anyone* here (Franken) pronounces those in correct hochdeutsch even when they're not speaking in dialect (gingen is out of the equation since no one uses the past, and a gegangen is a different beast. There might be hope for hearing Gang as a noun though)

 

I still remember trying to pronounce words ending in -ig properly. I mostly gave up when I was corrected by a doctor who couldn't understand why I wasn't saying "richtig" with a hard g

 

*anyone is an exageration. Some German teachers probably say it correctly while in class :P

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I mostly gave up when I was corrected by a doctor who couldn't understand why I wasn't saying "richtig" with a hard g

 

Rischtisch is actually the correct pronounciation, I think they will find :lol:.  No wonder s/he is confused.  Greetings from Hesse. 

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9 hours ago, swimmer said:

It's exactly because it's a different thing here.   The German "v" is a different sound from our "v".  Our "v" sound is like their "w".  Similar with others like our "c" is often their "k" (while "c" is barely used outside "sch").  I have these in my name and as a result it gets spelt wrong a lot here, even where I've given the correct spelling, as it's so embedded, and said incorrectly.   

 

I understand when they read it wrong.  However, I had some students (back when I taught) that simply could not say it correctly.  Even when I wrote "Will + ätsch".  Pople who have known me for 20 years can still not pronounce Michigan correctly.  It is not like the sound doesn't exist in the language, like the "th" or our difficulties with ä,ö,ü or rolling the r's (in the regions where they do so). 

I think it just might be German stubborness.  They are sure they are saying it correctly and we are wrong :)

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2 hours ago, BradinBayern said:

I understand when they read it wrong.  However, I had some students (back when I taught) that simply could not say it correctly.  Even when I wrote "Will + ätsch".  Pople who have known me for 20 years can still not pronounce Michigan correctly.  It is not like the sound doesn't exist in the language, like the "th" or our difficulties with ä,ö,ü or rolling the r's (in the regions where they do so). 

I think it just might be German stubborness.  They are sure they are saying it correctly and we are wrong :)

 

My ex always used to say Pilzen instead of Pilze. I told him many times but he still says Pilzen. Die Pilzen waren lecker. Guess Americans are es stubborn as Germans 😙😂

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sinking

 

English:  we are sinking...

 

German:  what are you sinking?

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16 hours ago, Techsmex said:

German:  what are you sinking? thinking about?

You should know your classics 👻.

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8 hours ago, LukeSkywalker said:

You should know your classics 👻.

 

The Art of Sinking ? oder Mockford's distress, or what do you speak of that I should know?

 

boo!

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I've been teaching English here for over 10 years now and there are some things that students NEVER get right (Ok 99%) Here goes...

1. The 's' on the end of verbs in 3rd person singular. They know it should be there, can remember it in written exercises but never speak it. Interestingly, I did an Italian beginners class with a load of German students and they could all remember the SIX verb endings in that language. English only has TWO!

2. Forming questions about the past with 'DID' They'll use 'have' because that's what happens in German.

3. One and a half as a plural concept. Again, they'll forget the 's' on the noun. Strange, because 'anderthalb' is plural in German

4.Mispronunciation of 'clothes' with 2 syllables. Also words like 'executive', 'debt', 'oven' and 'robot'

5. The pronunciation of the letter 'A' in words like 'cat', 'laptop', 'apple'. It will be pronounced as an 'E'. Most think they are speaking British English when they do this, but I'd never been called Endy til I came here. There's not even any point correcting it. That's how it's taught in school.

Problem is though, because a 'd' and a 't' are pronounced the same on the end of a German word, English words like bat, bad, bed and bet will all be pronounced the same.

The list could continue but I don't want to be negative. In my experience students are very open to learning new vocabulary and idioms but it's very hard to un-learn the things they've been saying for years and were actually taught in their German schools.

Bear in mind also that although the standard of English here is quite high, most Germans don't actually hear English spoken by native speakers. All the TV shows are dubbed and business English is mostly used to communicate with other non-native speakers like Chinese, Russians, Italians etc.

So, in a way; Germans end up speaking English how they think it should sound, rather than how British or Americans speak it

 

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I've also been teaching English here for about ten years and my experiences are very similar to yours (especially the pronunciation of clothes). 

 

As I live in the heart of the Moselle wine area I encounter one other trait:  I am conducting a one man campaign to persuade those working in the wine industry to translate "halbtrocken" to "medium dry" rather than "half dry".  So far I have had very little success!

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There's also the "v" sound which is automatically transformed into "w". And series becomes serious like in the TV ads for the electric razor Braun series. Makes me cringe every time. And iron is pronounced with a distinct "r". 

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15 minutes ago, bramble said:

There's also the "v" sound which is automatically transformed into "w". And series becomes serious like in the TV ads for the electric razor Braun series. Makes me cringe every time. And iron is pronounced with a distinct "r". 

 

True that. My baby always says “voking” instead of walking and “vet” instead of wait. 😊

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13 minutes ago, thegreatdivide said:

 

True that. My baby always says “voking” instead of walking and “vet” instead of wait. 😊

 

What I meant was that valley becomes "w"alley or Vancouver become "W"ancouver etc. 

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3 minutes ago, bramble said:

 

What I meant was that valley becomes "w"alley or Vancouver become "W"ancouver etc. 

 

Oh that would be how my father in law says English words that start with V sometimes. Very well becomes becomes Weri well. They interchange W and V in many words. It’s cute. 

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