Off topic: Germanic sentences
Thread poster: Susan Welsh

Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:10
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Sep 5, 2009

This, from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court:

Hank has encountered Demoiselle Alisande la Carteloise (who doesn't sound Germanic to me--I haven't read the book since adolescence, and this is from a book review--but this is Twain...). Twain writes:

"I was gradually coming to have a mysterious and shuddery reverence for this girl; nowadays whenever she pulled out from the station and got her train fairly started on one of those horizonless transcontinental sentences of hers, it was borne in upon me that I was standing in the awful presence of the Mother of the German Language. I was so impressed with this, that sometimes when she began to empty one of these sentences on me I unconsciously took the very attitude of reverence, and stood uncovered; and if words had been water, I had been drowned, sure. She had exactly the German way: whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever a literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of the Atlantic with his verb in his mouth."

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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:10
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
This cracks me up! Sep 5, 2009

...Whenever a literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of the Atlantic with his verb in his mouth."

My biggest problem with German -verb at the end- couldn't have been expressed bettericon_lol.gif

Thanks for sharing, Susan!


 

Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
"The awful German language" Sep 5, 2009

by Mark Twain

http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/awfgrmlg.html#x1

I bet you'll find it absolutely hilarious! I have known it for many years now and each time I read it I laugh myself to tears.

P.S. This link should be clickable:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Awful_German_Language

[Bearbeitet am 2009-09-05 21:06 GMT]


 

Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:10
German holds no terrors ... Sep 5, 2009

... to compare with the verbiage I have seen in a couple of contracts from the U.S. that I had to translate INTO German.

Thankfully, I usually translate FROM German!


 

James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:10
Russian to English
+ ...
Christel, thanks for the Mark Twain link Sep 5, 2009

As one who has struggled with German (and failed to master it) on more than one occasion, I can really relate to it.

 

Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:10
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Christel Sep 5, 2009

That is totally hilarious! I am still wiping away the tears of laughter.

Susan


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'm glad... Sep 6, 2009

I'm glad I don't have to work between German and Spanish, especially as an interpreter, because in Spanish it is often the style to put the verb at the very beginning of the sentence. With a very long sentence in German, that could be almost fatal, because you would have to wait until that verb is spit out at the very end before even starting!

Problems of syntax between English and Spanish are not always easy either.


 

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 21:40
German to English
+ ...
Downright side-splitting hilarious! Sep 6, 2009

Christel Zipfel wrote:

by Mark Twain

http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/awfgrmlg.html#x1

I bet you'll find it absolutely hilarious! I have known it for many years now and each time I read it I laugh myself to tears.

P.S. This link should be clickable:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Awful_German_Language

[Bearbeitet am 2009-09-05 21:06 GMT]



Mark, old chap, I hope you haven't reincarnated in India, for you would go bonkers learnng Sanskrit with its 8 (not 4 cases), verbs with the dual tense, and sentences actually spanning pages with no fixed word order at all!






[Edited at 2009-09-06 06:46 GMT]


 


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