Why this forum speaks English and not German

125 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, catjones said:

 

spoken like a true Brit.

Also an English teacher. I can also teach American English as I lived over there for 12 years.

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4 hours ago, Keleth said:

Isn`t there a much bigger difference between Spanish and Portuguese than there is between UK English and US English ?

I mean that Spanish is not the same everywhere, but it's still Spanish. Also there's a big difference between the Portuguese spoken in Portugal and in Brazil and Angola.

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Years ago when I lived in Singapore, companies and people were hiring only American English teachers. Also in Japan.

 

They reckoned that their children or employees would probably get better or more jobs in the U.S. than in the UK.

 

I had English teacher friends from the UK who lost their jobs because of this.

 

Think about it.

 

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interesting question.... to me, language has one purpose: to be able to communicate with my audience. 

That's why I use my English (instead of my Spanish) to reach a broader audience. 

 

Too bad Esperanto never made it into mainstream ;) 

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18 hours ago, kiplette said:

Löffel.

 

I was stood at the counter in a cafe, with a coffee, and a small baby who wanted fed, and I was pointing at the jar of teaspoons whilst saying the word, and she just refused to put 2 and 2 together in any combination at all. So frustrating. 

 

My word was vanilla, on two different occasions (we all have vanilla moods sometimes). First time, the server, a woman in her 50s or so, scrunched her face and stuck her head forward as if to to hear better as she made me pronounce vanilla fully 5 freaking times. It was indoors, not busy, and I was pointing right at the mound of white stuff, but she still 'didn't get it'. Even my wife who was there too assumed she was just being difficult. And just several weeks later, another place another scooper, I was looked at sideways as if I was speaking Zulu. The scooper hovered unsure around the direction I was pointing, and when it got over vanilla, I nodded and said ja ja ja like a child. She gave me one of those slow oooookaaaay looks. I guess it always throws them off, not being an obvious foreigner, but sounding a little funny

 

And yes I was trying to put a German-ish spin on it, trying not to say VUH-nill-uh, but more like fa-NILL-le. I know some snobs even say fa-nill-eee-ya. I feel like back home if someone in an ice cream parlour said foonoolu, bonillers, punilla, voonilly, fenelya, or whatever, they'd still be understood. 

 

I have definitely experienced other sporadic situations like this (mostly earlier, when my German was worse). It's also been my theory that many Germans just aren't used to hearing exotic foreigner-accented German, so I don't think it's always an intentional wind-up. But sometimes it certainly is, god knows there are 'the types' here that like to lord it over each other for making unpermitted language deviations.

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You're all no better. There's a thread here somewhere where plenty of TTers are gleefully making fun of Germans they have heard mispronouncing English words.

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21 hours ago, dessa_dangerous said:

 

Not to mention, that because so many people have learned English additionally to their mother tongues, and are obliged to use it regardless of their skill level, especially in English-majority countries, native speakers--IMO, IME--are usually pretty tolerant of mistakes in grammar and pronunciation.  How many of us have pronounced an umlauted vowel incorrectly and then stood in front of someone who seems to willfully refuse to understand our entire sentence because of one mispronounced word?  Especially in a language like German, which has so many multipurpose words, where you need to put together the context for the words to make sense--some people really seem to decide to be hung up on pronunciation when actually the context should make the meaning clear.  I'm sure many of us have felt demeaned and humiliated by a person who also seemingly unkindly harped on our error and made us feel stupid for not speaking perfectly. 

 

A lot of foreigners I know--including myself, for many years--feel (or have felt) terrified to even attempt to speak in public because of the fear of being ridiculed and low-key mocked for our skill or lack thereof.  Something I never personally witnessed native speakers of English doing to learners of English, even when the meaning was really unclear--they just tried to understand it, usually not too unkindly, and then carried on with the conversation.  If only I had a dollar for every time I was literally laughed at and pretty much mocked for pronouncing something wrong or using the wrong word.  My theory being because they're confronted with non-native German less often than English speakers come in contact with non-native speakers.  A lot of people also feel more comfortable speaking their poor German with other foreigners because somehow, magically, other foreigners are "able" to understand them better, mistakes and all.  That's why it seems like a choice to not understand--the Turkish butcher understands me perfectly, but a native speaker doesn't.  Hmmm.

Yes, it's a choice and hidden xenophobia. Actually, in Bayreuth, I was praised for my (really terrible) German. Here I attend Stammtisch with Germans and Austrians from various regions, nobody has ever complained of not understanding me (my accent is really heavy). 

 

The most irritating thing on German TV is when they "translate" from German (spoken by a non native speaker) to German. They never do it to a Swiss, but a Turkish guy speaking German they translate as if he is speaking the foreign language. Why?! 

 

 

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I am not doubting anyone else’s negative experiences, but fortunately mine have been on the whole very positive.  😀 Friends, neighbors, fellow dog walkers, and shop people have been kind, patient, and encouraging.  But here in this region we actually have different dialects in each little Bodensee town and we have the Swiss running around with the same thing. Plus we have university students from around the world.  So maybe the small but  multi culti flavor automatically lends itself an embracing atmosphere.  Many locals here can’t speak high German to save their lives.  So they don’t pick on me for skills.  They seem happy to converse and are thrilled that I work to understand them as well.  I also think we are all just delightfully happy walking around in our gigantic nature park.  Glad I’m here.  

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12 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

 

The most irritating thing on German TV is when they "translate" from German (spoken by a non native speaker) to German. They never do it to a Swiss, but a Turkish guy speaking German they translate as if he is speaking the foreign language. Why?! 

 

 

 

:D

 

https://youtu.be/j0m4rcx0of4

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1 hour ago, bramble said:

You're all no better. There's a thread here somewhere where plenty of TTers are gleefully making fun of Germans they have heard mispronouncing English words.

 

 

Well, sure.  Most of us native-English speakers don’t learn other languages (I took both German and Spanish in high school, and learned nothing.  I was married to a German for many years, but didn’t really learn German until I moved here).  So, lots of us have a big inferiority complex when we encounter people who are multi-lingual.  Making fun of people who can do things you can’t is a great defense mechanism :)

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20 hours ago, Santitas said:

Those of you who think English is so easy, do you know the correct pronunciation of the following words: bough, cough, dough, tough? 

One of my friends is an English teacher and had tons of students who thought their English was brilliant. I pointed him to this lovely poem. He made them read it out loud. :D

 

Chaos: A Poem (wisc.edu)

The Chaos (by G. Nolst Trenité, a.k.a. "Charivarius"; 1870 - 1946)

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye your dress you'll tear,
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written).

Made has not the sound of bade,
Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,

Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,

Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles.
Exiles, similes, reviles.

Wholly, holly, signal, signing.
Thames, examining, combining

Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war, and far.

From "desire": desirable--admirable from "admire."
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier.

Chatham, brougham, renown, but known.
Knowledge, done, but gone and tone,

One, anemone. Balmoral.
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel,

Gertrude, German, wind, and mind.
Scene, Melpomene, mankind,

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, reading, heathen, heather.

This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;

Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which is said to rime with "darky."

Viscous, Viscount, load, and broad.
Toward, to forward, to reward.

And your pronunciation's O.K.,
When you say correctly: croquet.

Rounded, wounded, grieve, and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive, and live,

Liberty, library, heave, and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven,

We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover,

Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police, and lice.

Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label,

Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal.

Suit, suite, ruin, circuit, conduit,
Rime with "shirk it" and "beyond it."

But it is not hard to tell,
Why it's pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, and chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,

Ivy, privy, famous, clamour
And enamour rime with hammer.

Pussy, hussy, and possess,
Desert, but dessert, address.

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants.
Hoist, in lieu of flags, left pennants.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.

Stranger does not rime with anger.
Neither does devour with clangour.

Soul, but foul and gaunt but aunt.
Font, front, won't, want, grand, and grant.

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger.
And then: singer, ginger, linger,

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age.

Query does not rime with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.

Dost, lost, post; and doth, cloth, loth;
Job, Job; blossom, bosom, oath.

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual.

Seat, sweat; chaste, caste.; Leigh, eight, height;
Put, nut; granite, and unite.

Reefer does not rime with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, Senate, but sedate.

Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific,

Tour, but our and succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria,

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay.

Say aver, but ever, fever.
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.

Never guess--it is not safe:
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralph.

Heron, granary, canary,
Crevice and device, and eyrie,

Face but preface, but efface,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust, and scour, but scourging,

Ear but earn, and wear and bear
Do not rime with here, but ere.

Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,

Monkey, donkey, clerk, and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation--think of psyche--!
Is a paling, stout and spikey,

Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing "groats" and saying "grits"?

It's a dark abyss or tunnel,
Strewn with stones, like rowlock, gunwale,

Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict, and indict!

Don't you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?

Finally: which rimes with "enough"
Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?

Hiccough has the sound of "cup."
My advice is--give it up!

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2 hours ago, bramble said:

You're all no better. There's a thread here somewhere where plenty of TTers are gleefully making fun of Germans they have heard mispronouncing English words.

 

At least we have the decency to do it behind their backs. 

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1 minute ago, dessa_dangerous said:

 

At least we have the decency to do it behind their backs. 

Except the German speakers that we have on TT.

 

 

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1 hour ago, maxie said:

One of my friends is an English teacher and had tons of students who thought their English was brilliant. I pointed him to this lovely poem. He made them read it out loud. :D

 

Chaos: A Poem (wisc.edu)

The Chaos (by G. Nolst Trenité, a.k.a. "Charivarius"; 1870 - 1946)

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse

I will keep you, Susy, busy,....

 

along the same lines, albeit not quite as elaborate, is this little riddle that I used to have fun with - goes like this:


You ask your (English speaking) audience to pronounce this word, please, as if it were an English word: GHOTI

Most people won't have a real answer, or come up with something like "goatee", maybe


Then you give them a hint at the solution - by saying that the letters in GHOTI can be found in the context of easy to pronounce words, and that you will come to the conclusion, that GHOTI should be pronunced like "fish".

 

Here's why:

what sound does the GH make in "lauGH" ? - well, there's your "f"
what sound does the O make in "wOmen" ? - gives you the "i"

what sound does TI make in "naTIon" ? - clearly sounds like "sh"

 

Hence, in conclusion, GHOTI is pronounced fish :)

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46 minutes ago, cb6dba said:

Except the German speakers that we have on TT.

 

 

are you saying German speakers have no decency ?? ;) 
When I lived/worked in the US, I would sometimes warn people, before saying something out loud: "...excuse me, this may sound blunt, but I'm German..." 

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15 hours ago, john g. said:

And then decolonialisation  throughout the world and eg- they stopped teaching Dutch in Indonesian schools.

 

FYI Dutch was only taught to the elite, and it never became mainstream (they didn't want it to either). I basically didn't know what Dutch really sounded like until I went to Holland when I was 21.

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1 hour ago, dessa_dangerous said:

 

At least we have the decency to do it behind their backs. 

 

You think it's decent to laugh at people behind their backs? The decent thing is to correct people when they mispronounce words. I do it all the time with my English students instead of letting them go on their way thinking their pronunciation is brilliant. 

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