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RabbitHoleLost
2010-02-23, 04:00 PM
I need some help, those of you across the pond who speak German.
A little background:
My mother was German, born and raised, and my dad met her when he was in the Army and stationed near her home. They got married and moved here to the US, and then I was born.
This is where the story gets dramaful, and, in the end, my mother moved back to Germany, and I never heard from her again.

Enter my cousin.
He finds me on facebook, adds me, and then...tries to speak to me. But I know very little German (having only taken two years in high school), and his English...makes my head hurt.

Is there anyone here who'd be willing to help me?

Eldan
2010-02-23, 04:11 PM
Well, how exactly? My german is pretty good, I guess, and there are several germans in the playground, as far as I know. I mean, I could easily translate a few texts for you, if you need that.

RabbitHoleLost
2010-02-23, 04:18 PM
Well, how exactly? My german is pretty good, I guess, and there are several germans in the playground, as far as I know. I mean, I could easily translate a few texts for you, if you need that.

Generally, I'm pretty okay, myself, with basic things.
I guess, just someone I could send my translations to and ask if its accurate.

Edit: RABBIT HAS LEVELED UP.

faerwain
2010-02-23, 04:27 PM
Would be glad to help, Rabbit.

Disclaimer: As long as they aren't High-Priority-Messages like "What did I tell you yesterday, where do I store my medicine again?" Chances that I respond in time would be very unlikely due to chronic lazyness.



V Hehe....

Don't expect grammatically perfect sentences, though, I'm technician :smalltongue:

So in case of doubt, expect Petey to simply translate everything into "Sie müssen nur den Nippel durch die Lasche ziehen"


(Explanation:Silly old song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOympMtG5Dk) about how to open various things in a good technical way. Zar Peter might know it. )

Zar Peter
2010-02-23, 05:29 PM
Sign up to help, too.

Have two kids in school so I think my German should be refreshed. Don't expect grammatically perfect sentences, though, I'm technician :smalltongue:

Ziren
2010-02-23, 05:33 PM
I'd help as well.

Mauve Shirt
2010-02-23, 06:19 PM
I'm pretty alright at German.

Mercenary Pen
2010-02-23, 06:49 PM
I can speak German, but my skill has atrophied significantly over the past few years since I stopped studying.

faerwain
2010-02-23, 06:53 PM
I'm pretty; alright, German ?

Yes, you are, dear. :smalltongue:

OverdrivePrime
2010-02-23, 07:51 PM
I've got 5 years of German thanks to 8th-12th grade, but it's atrophied horribly. I can speak pretty good "Milwaukee Deutsch" as there's a lot of pidgin German goin' on in this town.

CollinPhillips
2010-02-23, 10:41 PM
Ich kann auf deutsch lesen und tippen. Just remember, in polite German you have to begin conversations with the phrase "Halt den Mund, Schlampe." It doesn't have a literal translation in english, but it roughly equates to "I beg your pardon."

randman22222
2010-02-23, 10:47 PM
Ich kann auf deutsch lesen und tippen. Just remember, in polite German you have to begin conversations with the phrase "Halt den Mund, Schlampe." It doesn't have a literal translation in english, but it roughly equates to "I beg your pardon."

No one follow this advice. Ever. :smalltongue:

Froogleyboy
2010-02-23, 10:52 PM
aha! Now, someone has shown you the confusion you have shown me . . . But, I'm sorry, I don't know German, but your local library may have some books on it

CollinPhillips
2010-02-23, 10:55 PM
aha! Now, someone has shown you the confusion you have shown me . . . But, I'm sorry, I don't know German, but your local library may have some books on it

Library? You mean that place with DVDs and manga?

RabbitHoleLost
2010-02-23, 10:57 PM
Ich kann auf deutsch lesen und tippen. Just remember, in polite German you have to begin conversations with the phrase "Halt den Mund, Schlampe." It doesn't have a literal translation in english, but it roughly equates to "I beg your pardon."

Yeah, see, I did take a little bit of German in highschool. Just a little bit.
Just enough to know you're being ridiculously silly =P

Zeb The Troll
2010-02-24, 12:43 AM
Itch been inna banana! No. Sorry, no help here. But I thought ZP was a resident of Deutschland? Maybe not.

RabbitHoleLost
2010-02-24, 12:57 AM
Itch been inna banana! No. Sorry, no help here. But I thought ZP was a resident of Deutschland? Maybe not.

I thought so, too, so I was a little confused...
Edit: His facebook says Austria! But who knows.

Whoracle
2010-02-24, 02:27 AM
Ze resident German iz villink too halp *salutes*

Just send away!

Mercenary Pen
2010-02-24, 03:26 AM
Ich kann auf deutsch lesen und tippen. Just remember, in polite German you have to begin conversations with the phrase "Halt den Mund, Schlampe." It doesn't have a literal translation in english, but it roughly equates to "I beg your pardon."

Lies. Never follow this advice, EVER. Translates roughly as "Shut your mouth, whore" (and that's without checking a dictionary- pretty good going considering how rusty my German is)...

Satyr
2010-02-24, 04:21 AM
But it's at least a nicer version of "shut up". "Halt den Mund" is something I tell my students. "Schlampe" not so much.

If you really want to start a normal, informal conversation, the winged words are "Ey Alda..." (respectively "Ey Alde" if you talk to a girl) or "Ey Digga" (the female version "Ey Digge" is unusual). "Dattkanndonishwaahsein" ("Oh dear, are you certain that this is absolutely correct?") is an almost always appropriate reaction to any news, or information, good or bad. And finally, if you end every declarative sentence with a "...,ja." "...,ne" or "....,gell" you sound exactly like a native speaker (the differences are regional, just pick one and stay with it).

I work as an assistant teacher and a semi-professional translator for English and German texts. If you have any question, I'll gladly answer it.

GolemsVoice
2010-02-24, 04:31 AM
I'd love to help, being German myself, the German language poses little problems to me. I could even add that nice Frankonian dialect, for good measure. Fun at parties! Tell your friends!

Und, Saddyr, sachma, du bist ja wohl aweng a Sauwaafn? Du koost doch dem Madla, wo ka Deutsch kann, net derzelln, das alla Leud so redn wi bei dir? Des Zeich is ja wohl ka Deutsch, des is ja wohl a Verbrechn.

Satyr
2010-02-24, 05:50 AM
Na, wiä hijer oben tun nech so rejdn. Harrijasses, es is ja nech so als ob das jedä tut, ne?
Bi uns tau hus, da wörd noch Platt spoken gesnackt. Odä wajnigstens pseudo-Platt. Abä es is doch wohl so des de Mähheit und so die Grundbegriffe Daskanndonichwahsein und Naistochwah guht verstejt.

Und ich sach ma is imma noch bessä ols dies süttoitsche Genuschel und Gezischel. Wiä tuhn noch haate Konsonanten haben. Dafür ham wiä kein "ej-ärr".

(This was: Northern German; roughly translated and without the local colour: "Well, we here up north do not speak this way. Dear Lord, it is not like everyone does, is it?
Where I come from, people still talk Low German, or at least pseudo Low German. But the majority will probably more likely understand core terms like Daskanndochnichwahsein and Naistochwah (absoloutely meaningless closure phrase for a longer, more exited speech; best translation would be "but that's what it is like".)
And I mean this is still better than the Southern German mumbling and sizzling. We still have hard consonants. But, on ther hand we do not have the typical e-r sound".)

Since the nineteenth century or even earlier, the idea of a German Nation (which didn't exist then) was linked with the language. Not any values or philosophies, language. Germans are slightly obsessive with it, and have their regional dialects and accents which are often typical for each region; in addition, a regional coloration of the language is traditionally associated with a lack of education, or provincialism. It doesn't help that any German dialect sounds ridiculous or just plain ugly for the ones who don't speak it, and it is sometimes hard to understand the people from the other "extreme" - where I live, people still use colloquations from Low German which are some weird code for the Southerners, while the typical very soft pronunciation of the words and the felt complete lack of plosives make them extremely hard to understand if you are used to the hard consonants and elongated vowels in the north.
There is also a traditional rivalry between the different regions in Germany, both on a East-West and a North-South axis. Nowadays, this is mostly a relic and carried on mostly for comic relief, and football matches.

rakkoon
2010-02-24, 06:03 AM
ZP is from Austria? I though they only spoke Egyptian there? Ah well.

Make sure three people agree roughly on the translation before sending it. Some kidders around here...

Tschüs

Eldan
2010-02-24, 06:21 AM
So, hämmer jätzt auso die Dialekt usem wäg grumt? Chömmer de wider angersch redä? Wöll so uf'd längi gömmer jo eh nume allne angere uf de sack.

Yup. Swiss german.

(So, are we done with these dialects yet? Can we speak normal again? Because if we do that for long, we're just annoying everyone else.)

Winterwind
2010-02-24, 07:24 AM
*waves* Yet another German here (well, not by birth, but spent 22 out of 26 years of my life here, so let's not split hairs), glad to help.

I hoff nua, des ma net die ganz' Zeit inna Dialektä schwätza müssa, weil i doch eig'ntlich eha Hochdeutsch schwätza tua. :smalltongue:

(Swabian. Though I have to concentrate to keep it up; I naturally fall back to High German otherwise.)

Eldan
2010-02-24, 07:26 AM
Heh. Funny thing, really, but I speak two german dialects. Solothurnian, from my parents, and the eastern thingie I was speaking up there. For the really funny stuff, I have a colleague from the Lötschental, a valley in the alps where they speak a dialect no one else in the entire country understands a word of. Literally. Not a single word. He thinks it's incredibly funny to just make up new words to confuse people.

LCR
2010-02-24, 07:35 AM
Well, enough native Germans already. Nothing left to do, I guess.

GolemsVoice
2010-02-24, 07:37 AM
no one else in the entire country understands a word of

So he's from the Oberpfalz? When I attended the one-week course that came with the substitute for armed service (is there an English equivalent to Zivildienst?) our tables were arranged in U form, and on every side of the U said two people from there. Once they started going at it, you could barely make out a word. Combine that with their perfectly stereotypic "dumb peasant" mindset and a chronical distrust of foreigners, and you have a throrougly unlikeable fellow.

Eldan
2010-02-24, 07:43 AM
No, I mean, that, not even when they write it down phonetically, or spell it out for you slowly, can you even guess what the word means.

See Walliserdeutsch (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walliserdeutsch) on Wikipedia, and imagine a much more extreme version. The valley has only 1500 inhabitants, and even others from the same canton have trouble understanding them.

Example phrase of the less extreme version with standard germa ntranslation:

# «Der Käfer an der Decke bewegt sich.»: «Dr Güegu a ner Welbi mottut schi.»

I've heard the joke that it's "German's Scottish".

Zar Peter
2010-02-24, 08:07 AM
I thought so, too, so I was a little confused...
Edit: His facebook says Austria! But who knows.

Yep, Austria is correct. It's just that they changed the grammatic since I was in school so my spellings could be a bit out of time.
And I wasn't in school for 19 years now.
And I'm mostly writing english for the last 3 years.

GolemsVoice
2010-02-24, 08:12 AM
Example phrase of the less extreme version with standard germa ntranslation:

# «Der Käfer an der Decke bewegt sich.»: «Dr Güegu a ner Welbi mottut schi.»

I've heard the joke that it's "German's Scottish".

Oh dear. The first part might be intellegible, provided you know what those terms are, but when it comes to the verb... no chance.

LCR
2010-02-24, 08:51 AM
Yep, Austria is correct. It's just that they changed the grammatic since I was in school so my spellings could be a bit out of time.
And I wasn't in school for 19 years now.
And I'm mostly writing english for the last 3 years.

You're from Austria and you're afraid your German would not be good enough?
It's the same language! While you do sound very funny, it's really not that much of a difference (unlike Swiss German, which I don't understand at all. Might as well be a different language).

Zar Peter
2010-02-24, 08:53 AM
You're from Austria and you're afraid your German would not be good enough?
It's the same language! While you do sound very funny, it's really not that much of a difference (unlike Swiss German, which I don't understand at all. Might as well be a different language).

I'm a technician and I'm seeking for perfection. I always hated learning languages at school, mostly because of the grammar. I love reading but when it comes to writing I'm insecure if the wording is correct.

Eldan
2010-02-24, 08:54 AM
You're from Austria and you're afraid your German would not be good enough?
It's the same language! While you do sound very funny, it's really not that much of a difference (unlike Swiss German, which I don't understand at all. Might as well be a different language).

It's still considered the same language for some reason, unlike dutch. Anyway, see the example I posted above. Yes, our language can be horrible.

Oh, another nice example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bESS6fhJ03s&feature=related

Funny thing: 95% of the words in that story were made up by the comedian in question. However, about a dozen of them have entered the real dialect of bern. Even funnier is, however, that you can play it to someone from St. Gallen, and he can't tell that it's not real.

GolemsVoice
2010-02-24, 08:58 AM
Well, Austrian German IS German, just a little bit different. So "your" German is correct in Austria, no problem. Although I've heard that Austrians, especially people from Vienna (Viennians? the Viennish?) like adding (and displaying) a lot of honorific titles, or is that just a stereotype/no longer the case?

Satyr
2010-02-24, 09:06 AM
From hearing alone, I find Austrians easier to understand than, for example Bavarians, or Saxons.

One of the most devastating moments in my life was a conference were I talked a bit too fast and used several Latin technical terms someone in a very, very broad Saxon accent interjected that I should speak "propper German" and that "no pig could understand me" (this doesn't translate well). It really doesn't help that she started her sentence with "Eiverbibscht" or something like that.

Zar Peter
2010-02-24, 09:15 AM
Well, Austrian German IS German, just a little bit different. So "your" German is correct in Austria, no problem. Although I've heard that Austrians, especially people from Vienna (Viennians? the Viennish?) like adding (and displaying) a lot of honorific titles, or is that just a stereotype/no longer the case?
I wish it was just a stereotype. Actually we have titles like "wirklicher Hofrat" (real Hofrat) to make them distuingishable from the many honorific Hofräte.

And the problem is that you can't speak of Austrian German, there is Vienese, Tirolerisch, Voralrbergerisch (Xibergerisch), Salzburg, Kärnten... all different kinds of Dialekt. As is Schwyzerdütsch and Platt and and and.
German isn't a living language, it's a scientific arrangement.

Eldan
2010-02-24, 09:21 AM
Same with Schyzerdütsch... there are dozens and dozens of dialects in it. It's not even all the same dialect family, there are at least three.

See the example here:

# «Der Käfer an der Decke bewegt sich.»: «Dr Güegu a ner Welbi mottut schi.»
That's what a Walliser would say. I'd just say "Dr Chäfer a dr Decki bewägt sich."

Eastern swiss is a lot closer to standard german. Though we have some of our own words, they just don't occur in that sentence.

Satyr
2010-02-24, 09:24 AM
Platt is not a dialect, it is a form of Lower German and closer related to Dutch than to Modern High German (Sound shift? We need no stinking sound shift!). It is also ripe with varieties, where seemingly every village has its own dialect, and in the Frisian towns so does every quarter, and so does the VW factory in Emden which has formed its own dialect (actually a pidgin of the more typical Platt versions around there).
Schwytzerdütsch is at least linguistically seen as a language on its own, as it has one additional sound shift usual High German didn't made.

Eldan
2010-02-24, 09:28 AM
We also left out one other sound shift.

And I was sure that it wasn't recognized as a different language, actually. Are you sure about that?

Satyr
2010-02-24, 09:40 AM
I am pretty sure that it was mentioned in one of my linguistic seminars, but then my major is Anglicistics, not Germanistics, so it was probably only touched very briefly.
On a European scale, language categorisation is mostly done by the EU, and I don't think it is completely out of reach that the Swiss were just left out of it because, they are no part of the union.

Zar Peter
2010-02-24, 09:57 AM
Since Switzerland is in the commitee that decides the German spelling I'm pretty sure they are still considered as part of the German sphere of influence (better translations of Sprachraum are welcome).

Although they completely ban the ß.

Satyr
2010-02-24, 10:03 AM
"Language area?"


Although they completely ban the ß.

And boy, do we envy them for it.

I think there is a difference between "Swiss High German" and Schwytzerdütsch.

Eldan
2010-02-24, 10:06 AM
Ooh, careful on that one. Switzerland's official government language, or however you call that, is Standard German. We get to decide on how to write that, and we are allowed to add french loanwords, but it's not the same language we actually speak outside of radio broadcasts and the TV news.

Technically, what we write in is the same standard german which the germans use, with some carefully applied "helvetisms", as they are officially called. We get to say "parkieren" instead of "parken" for "parking".

Zar Peter
2010-02-24, 10:09 AM
Ooh, careful on that one. Switzerland's official government language, or however you call that, is Standard German. We get to decide on how to write that, and we are allowed to add french loanwords, but it's not the same language we actually speak outside of radio broadcasts and the TV news.

Technically, what we write in is the same standard german which the germans use, with some carefully applied "helvetisms", as they are officially called. We get to say "parkieren" instead of "parken" for "parking".

I always laugh when I see documentations from Switzerland with German subtitles. Actually sometimes we have subtitles when there is a contribution from Vorarlberg :smallbiggrin:

CMOTDibbler
2010-02-24, 10:20 AM
I speak English with a German accent, does that count? I play a german in my local Ren. Fair.

Eldan
2010-02-24, 10:23 AM
I always laugh when I see documentations from Switzerland with German subtitles. Actually sometimes we have subtitles when there is a contribution from Vorarlberg :smallbiggrin:

I only laugh when they show swiss politicians speaking "standard german" which is supposed to be the same, with german subtitles, because of the accent :smallbiggrin:

Satyr
2010-02-24, 10:31 AM
That's why I put the "Swiss High German" in inverted commas. It's not like it is not right or something or that there is some kind of language authorities who define what's right and what not (it's not like there are no people with this kind of delusions of grandeur, but as someone with at least basic linguist training I shudder at this prescriptive nonsense). I just thought that this is a different language than actual Schwytzerdütsch.

And in German television, completely normal Germans are sometimes subtitles when they have a strong accent or use more than the usual amount of "precariatisms".
There were also at least one Austrian movie which had subtitles in cinemas in Northern Germany, but not in the South. Which I guess was the director mocking us.

Castaras
2010-02-24, 10:53 AM
Ich bin einen hamburger.
I am a hamburger

No, I can't speak german.

Zar Peter
2010-02-24, 10:59 AM
Ich bin einen hamburger.
I am a hamburger

No, I can't speak german.

Not bad. It's either "Ich esse einen Hamburger" or "Ich bin ein Hamburger" :smallwink:

Edit: Reading the white text it's the second one of course.

Castaras
2010-02-24, 11:17 AM
Not bad. It's either "Ich esse einen Hamburger" or "Ich bin ein Hamburger" :smallwink:

Edit: Reading the white text it's the second one of course.

Huzzah :smallbiggrin: I can now speak with proper german grammar and say that I am indeed a hamburger.

That will go well with Je suis une gare. (I am a train-station, in french).

Zar Peter
2010-02-24, 11:24 AM
Huzzah :smallbiggrin: I can now speak with proper german grammar and say that I am indeed a hamburger.

That will go well with Je suis une gare. (I am a train-station, in french).
I remember travelling in France via train:

A friend (to lazy to look out of the window): Which station is this?

Me (peeking out of the window): Must be Sortie, it's written all over the place.
:smallbiggrin:

(Sortie means exit, I didn't know that)

Eldan
2010-02-24, 11:26 AM
Ah, french. A nightmare of a language.

Who the hell needs so many past tenses? We have one, and it works perfectly. English need three for some reason, but I can see the sense behind that. But french? Those people are crazy.

Winterwind
2010-02-24, 11:30 AM
Ah, french. A nightmare of a language.

Who the hell needs so many past tenses? We have one, and it works perfectly. English need three for some reason, but I can see the sense behind that. But french? Those people are crazy.What do you mean, "we have one"? :smallconfused:

Präteritum: Ich ging.
Perfekt: Ich bin gegangen.
Plusquamperfekt: Ich war gegangen.

The same three as in English, essentially.

Eldan
2010-02-24, 11:34 AM
Swiss german has one.

"I bi gange".

Swiss german has no präteritum or plusquamperfect.

Well, technically, we have "I bi gange gsi", I.e. "Ich bin gegangen gewesen". But that's rarely used.

LCR
2010-02-24, 11:36 AM
Swiss german has one.

"I bi gange".

Swiss german has no präteritum or plusquamperfect.

Well, technically, we have "I bi gange gsi", I.e. "Ich bin gegangen gewesen". But that's rarely used.

Switzerland is a small country, you don't need more tenses.

Zar Peter
2010-02-24, 11:38 AM
What do you mean, "we have one"? :smallconfused:

Präteritum: Ich ging.
Perfekt: Ich bin gegangen.
Plusquamperfekt: Ich war gegangen.

The same three as in English, essentially.

An there's: "Ich bin gegangen worden" for "I've been sacked" :smalltongue:

GolemsVoice
2010-02-24, 12:27 PM
I am actually very proud of the ß, and the ü and all the Umlauts. I mean, we get to be special! Look at the French, or the Finnish, or the Turkish (Turks?)! They all have accents and whatnot. I am sure they LAUGH about us when we're not looking, pitying us fopr our lack of special characters.

RabbitHoleLost
2010-02-24, 08:02 PM
Thank you all =)

I might be hitting some of you up with a PM soon.