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Off topic: Euro-English (joke)
Thread poster: katstan
katstan  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:28
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 13, 2003

The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement

has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for

European communications, rather than German, which was the other

possibility.



As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty\'s Government conceded

that English spelling had some room for improvement and has

accepted a five year phase-in plan for what will be known as

EuroEnglish.



In the first year, \"s\" will be used instead of the soft \"c\". Sivil

servants will reseive this news with joy. Also, the hard \"c\" will

be replaced with \"k\". Not only will this klear up konfusion, but

typewriters kan have one less letter.



There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when

the troublesome \"ph\" will be replaced by \"f\".

This will make words like \"fotograf\" 20 persent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be

expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.



Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which

have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent \"e\" in the

languag is disgrasful, and it would go.



By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as

replasing \"th\" by \"z\" and \"w\" by \"v\". During ze fifz year, ze

unesesary \"o\" kan be dropd from vords kontainig \"ou\" and

similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer konbinations of leters.



After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil

be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu

understand ech ozer.

Ze drem vil finali kum tru!\"



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John Bowden  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:28
German to English
Well, this makes 21... Mar 13, 2003

I would make the same comment as I did the last time this text was posted (http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic_id=8574&forum_id=44):



\"I must have been sent about 20 variations on this text over the past couple of years, and they seem to fall into two categories: one lists sets of gradual \"spelling reforms\", and end up something like \"spelin wil den be ezier\".

The other, the version posted here, always starts with the statement that \"agreement

has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for

European communications, *rather than German*\", and ends up \"ze drem vil haf kum tru\" - i.e the racist stereotype of how Germans are supposed to speak English (and many racists in the UK at least accuse Germans of wanting to \"take over\" Europe). Of course I\'m not for a moment imputing racist intentions in the present case, but I always refuse to pass on this version to anyone else as I don\'t want to reinforce anti-German sterotypes.



Sorry to be such a kill-joy, but having taught German in the UK at secondary and tertiary level for the past 30 years, I\'m very sensitive to such things!\"



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Uwe Kirmse  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:28
Polish to German
+ ...
click this: Mar 13, 2003

http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic_id=7949&forum_id=27

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katstan  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:28
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
EuroEnglish Mar 15, 2003

Sorry to hit a sensitive point, John, I didn´t realise it was that well known either. Saw it for the first time yesterday.

However, after living over 11 years in Germany where I did my Translation Degree

- I didn´t even think of it being \"Anti-German - I just thought it was funny!!

Well, a lot of letters in english-language spelling are not that necessary and could be left out. So, I hope nobody considers it Anti-British!


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:28
Member
English to Turkish
sensitivity on such matters is a good thing, for sure.... Mar 21, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-03-13 15:49, John Bowden wrote:

I would make the same comment as I did the last time this text was posted (http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic_id=8574&forum_id=44):



\"I must have been sent about 20 variations on this text over the past couple of years, and they seem to fall into two categories: one lists sets of gradual \"spelling reforms\", and end up something like \"spelin wil den be ezier\".

The other, the version posted here, always starts with the statement that \"agreement

has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for

European communications, *rather than German*\", and ends up \"ze drem vil haf kum tru\" - i.e the racist stereotype of how Germans are supposed to speak English (and many racists in the UK at least accuse Germans of wanting to \"take over\" Europe). Of course I\'m not for a moment imputing racist intentions in the present case, but I always refuse to pass on this version to anyone else as I don\'t want to reinforce anti-German sterotypes.



Sorry to be such a kill-joy, but having taught German in the UK at secondary and tertiary level for the past 30 years, I\'m very sensitive to such things!\"







but upon my fourth reading I still cannot find anything anti-German in the above text. \"German [language]\" is mentioned only for once, referring to the fact that it was one of the two candidates for the franca lingua of the EU, as one of the most widespread languages spoken in Europe. There is nothing suggestive of German pronounciation in the phrase \"ze drem vil haf kum tru\", AND there absolutely is no context about \"UK-racists\' accusations about German \"takeover\" plans\" etc.



I understand that you don\'t make any direct allegation of racism here, still I find the usage of this term, racism, that is, too strong, too much, and unnecessary. Many postings are made in these forums about wrong (and absolutely funny) rendering of English expressions by people of all nationalities, including the Germans, but no one is being oversensitive about them. You may want to give some thought to your own sensitivity about the above text which does NOT at all appear to me (still, after the fifth reading right before posting this message) to be about the German language or the German people.



Kind regards
[addsig]

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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:28
English to French
Tks for posting anyway Mar 23, 2003

I did not read it for some time, and it made me smile to rered it, \'gin.



Yep, there will always be ol\' fellers who have read \'em \'ll, a zillion times, and younger chaps who can still laugh about it, and so goes the world...



Av nis dai,

Sylver


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Katherine Zei  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:28
Italian to English
+ ...
Ta for the post Apr 1, 2003

I hadn\'t seen it, ever, and it\'s pretty good.



Zanx weri macc.



Katy


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John Bowden  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:28
German to English
Thanks for your comments, Xola - see my comments below Apr 4, 2003

\"...but upon my fourth reading I still cannot find anything anti-German in the above text. \"German [language]\" is mentioned only for once, referring to the fact that it was one of the two candidates for the franca lingua of the EU, as one of the most widespread languages spoken in Europe. There is nothing suggestive of German pronounciation in the phrase \"ze drem vil haf kum tru\", AND there absolutely is no context about \"UK-racists\' accusations about German \"takeover\" plans\" etc.



I understand that you don\'t make any direct allegation of racism here, still I find the usage of this term, racism, that is, too strong, too much, and unnecessary. Many postings are made in these forums about wrong (and absolutely funny) rendering of English expressions by people of all nationalities, including the Germans, but no one is being oversensitive about them. You may want to give some thought to your own sensitivity about the above text which does NOT at all appear to me (still, after the fifth reading right before posting this message) to be about the German language or the German people.

Kind regards\"

***************************************



I understand what you mean, and I agree that there are times when people tend to be too sensitive and \"politically correct\" about things - I would hate to see a situation where we couldn\'t laugh about our own and other peoples\' (or nations\') foibles.

However, as a university lecturer in German in the UK, I have done quite a lot of research on this \"Eurospeak\" email with my students, both linguists and non-linguists, and with others outside the University.

I assume you have never had the email read out to you by a native English speaker. Since I first starting receiving it, I have carried out several experiments where I have asked various people to read it out as it is written. Invariably, as they read further they adopt a stronger \"German\" accent, and quite often shout/scream the final sentence \"ze drem vil kum tru\" - very often it\'s written in capitals too, which increases this tendency. Believe it or not, I have also seen people do a Nazi salute (Hitlergruß) at this point.You may not be aware of it, but there is an additional sentence which is often missed out, since well-meaning EFL teachers trend to use the text in their classes: the full version is:



\"Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen ve vil tak over ze world!\"



(See for example

http://www.karl.jorgensen.com/eurospeak/

and many other sites)



And this one makes the German association explicit at the end:



\"Zer vil be no more trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru.

Auf Wiedersehen\"



(http://www.bruhns.dk/noter/euroenglish.html)





Whether we like it or not, there is an incredible amount of anti-German feeling in the UK: one very popular comedian, Stan Boardman, for example (who I am sorry to say is from my home city of Liverpool!) has based his whole act for the past 20 years on telling anti-German \"jokes\" (his catchphrase is \"I don\'t like dem Geeeeermans [Liverpool pronunciation of the vowel], do you?\", at which the audience shouts \"No!\"). The tabloid newspapers routinely carry anti-German headlines (e.g. before the Euro 2000 England-Germany match the entire front page of The Sun consisted of a picture of the German manager wearing a Prussian helmet (Pickelhaube) with the headline \"Achtung. Surrender. For you Fritz ze World Cup is over\". I could go on - remember Nicholas Ridley, one of Margaret Thatcher\'s ministers who compared Helmut Kohl to Adolf Hitler? And try mentioning beach towels to any Brit ans see what racist stereotypes you get...



I\'m glad you realise that I\'m not imputing any racist intention to the vast majority of the people who circulate the message, but I\'m afraid it cannot be denied that the text is anti-German in intent: by the way, what did you imagine \"ze drem\" was supposed to be? A dream of brotherly love and international understanding?! \"Drem on!\"





Regards,

John Bowden


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katstan  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:28
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Euro-Spanish Apr 4, 2003

Well, being Irish maybe I didn´t realise there were that many feelings in the UK.



Maybe you will like this one better: I hope you haven´t heard it 21 times ´cos I only heard it the other day when it just happened....

There was this Dutch guy looking for a Spanish translator, but the ones he rang were too expensive for him. He found on that had only given the address. So he went there and knocked on his door. When he explained that he needed an urgent translation into Spanish, the guy said \"between, between\"!!



P.S.

in case your Spanish is not up to scratch \"¡Entre! in the imperative means \"Come in\" but also \"between\" as a preposition.



So I guess that that translator could make quiet a mess of the job!!



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vladex  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:28
Polish
+ ...
see it 22 :-) Apr 14, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-03-13 15:49, John Bowden wrote:

I would make the same comment as I did the last time this text was posted (http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic_id=8574&forum_id=44):



\"I must have been sent about 20 variations on this text over the past couple of years,




I hope that Mark Twain or M.J. Shields (no one is sure, who was the author) didn\'t mean to start anti-German cruciade





\"A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling

by Mark Twain¹ (aka Samuel L. Clemens)



For example, in Year 1 that useless letter \"c\" would be dropped to be replased either by \"k\" or \"s\", and likewise \"x\" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which \"c\" would be retained would be the \"ch\" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform \"w\" spelling, so that \"which\" and \"one\" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish \"y\" replasing it with \"i\" and Iear 4 might fiks the \"g/j\" anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez \"c\", \"y\" and \"x\" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais \"ch\", \"sh\", and \"th\" rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.



Note 1: The authorship of this piece is in question. Although frequently posted on the internet as authored by Mark Twain, there are some claims that it is authored by M. J. Shields in a letter by him to the Economist. See http://www.ojohaven.com/fun/spelling.html.

\"



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xxxIanW
Local time: 01:28
German to English
+ ...
Re: John / Katharina’s joke Apr 15, 2003

I have seen Katharina’s joke many times and although I wasn’t exactly rolling around the floor, I didn’t find it in the least offensive, although I, like John, tend to be rather protective of my German neighbours and the bad press they generally receive. I’m sure the original version of the mail was quite harmless, and that the snide versions John mentioned are simply the product of someone callously putting the boot in after the punch-line.



In short, I don’t think that the mail subscribes to the Sun attitude towards “Johnny Foreigner”, which lashes out at pretty much everyone: “Nips”, “Frogs”, “Krauts” etc.



As an Irishman, I can vividly recall casually anti-Irish Sun headlines – after British students fared less well than their Irish counterparts, the headline read “We’re thicker than the Irish!”. And who can forget the infamous “Gotcha” headline during the Falklands conflict?



There’s a world of difference between those who poke harmless fun and those who are ignorant and proud of it à la Fleet Street and I really don’t think it’s fair to compare them.



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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:58
English to Tamil
+ ...
Have you heard the new spelling for fish Apr 16, 2003

Take \"gh\" from rough for the \'f\' sound, \"o\" from women for the \'i\' sound and \"ti\" from nation for the \'sh\' sound. Assemble them together. You fave \"ghoti\" to be pronounced as \'fish\'. I think it was G.B.Shaw, who said this.

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Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:28
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
John, thanks for taking the time to write more Apr 26, 2003

While I agree that \'racist\' is a bit over the top, I read this old chestnut (in the \"kum tru\" version, not the Twain/Shields version) some time back in the 1990s the way you do as anti-German and appreciate your taking the time to explain your reaction.



I also applaud your discussing it in class. It certainly offers a range of points for discussion - from the language history and political history aspects (UK/EU-German tensions) to the mechanics of \"humor\" and the power of words (or the political correctness debate of recent years).



On the question of whether the \"kum tru\" version is \"political\" (also discussed in my neck of the woods): as the Twain/Shields version indicates, this little text might have ended in a number of other ways, including, presumably, a crack about English natives\' struggle with spelling. That might not be as \"humorous\" however, since English spelling is not much of a power/prestige issue (although someone more clever than I might think of a punchline relating to the end of the tension between UK vs. US spelling).



Just for background: I\'m originally from western Massachusetts, but have lived in Düsseldorf for 20+ years.

Terry





[ This Message was edited by: Terry Gilman on 2003-04-27 12:23]


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:28
English to German
+ ...
As a German living in the UK... Apr 26, 2003

I have to agree with John, unfortunately there is a lot of Germano- and Europhobia, perpetuated by the tabloids. But who reads the tabloids? I feel that among educated people and among the young in particular the image of Germany is changing, especially after recent events (you know what I mean...). And one of the trendiest fashion items for young people in London seems to be the Bundeswehr-parka with a little German flag on the shoulder.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:28
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
British test: German understand humour best! Apr 28, 2003

I did not realize, that this joke was ethnical e.g. anti-German.

By the way, as I indicated in the title-line, a Britisch tv-program proved, that Germans understand jokes better than any other nation. They published thousands of jokes on their web-page and let people rank them according to funniness. Germans thougt more jokes to be funny than other nations.



So I believe there is no danger in publishing jokes about Germans, as we are able to laught about them.



Does anyone remember the serial \"Hello! hello! hello!\"? About the resistance in France and the German occupation in a small village. It was hilarious, and all got their share, even the English airmen.

But most oft that stuff goes unnoticed by people living in big countries, where films and tv is synchronized. So I believe most Germans are totally unaware of the fact, that almost every German charcter in an American movie is a Nazi.


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