Tag Archives: die Aussprache

Ein Heer von fruchtige Kraft?

Herkules, Herakles oder Hercules. Wenn es um Kraft geht, dann ist er genau der Richtige. Oder so geht die Legende.

Werbung Foto

Innocent spielt mit diesem Mythos, um mehr Smoothies zu verkaufen: Wer Kraft sucht, sollte einen „Beercules“ Smoothie nehmen. Weil beer häufiger im Rahmen Werbung meiner Erfahrung nach als das deutsche Wort „Beer(e)“ ist, brauche ich Kraft, nämlich sprachliche Kraft, um dieses Wortspiel zu verstehen. Beer /bɪr (US)/ und „Beer(e)“ /ˈbe:r(ə)/ sind nicht gleich ausgesprochen, und nur das zweite klingt ungefähr wie Herkules /ˈhɛrkulɛs/. 

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The American Hedgehog?

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, a group of us decided to have a “BBQ” (or “barbecue” or “barbeque” or “B-B-Q” or “barbie” or “cookout” or with a different sentence structure “to grill”) – die Grillparty – in Stadtpark which happily for me is very close to where I live. This is very popular in Stadtpark and as a result there are Grillzone – “grilling areas” and Grilltonne – “large metal rubbish containers for coals.”

At the end of the evening when we were trying to find all of our things in the dark, we ran across a hedgehog – der Igel – which is pronounced like the English word “eagle” – [ˈi:gl̩] (which is der Adler in German). Between the eagle being the national bird of the US and the word Igel starting with a capital “I” which as an English word is pronounced [aɪ] rather than [ˈi:], I fear that this is a word that will always mark me as a non-native speaker. A thought which makes me think »I, wie ekelig« – “Ugh, that’s horrible” – and »I wo« -“No way!” – although it seems highly likely that I will need to forget how these phrases are spelled if I want to use them properly!

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Sometimes less is more

Last week I had an interesting experience to do with pronunciation (die Aussprache) in a Dialog in Deutsch group with two Spanish speakers. One of these women was trying to explain that she was working as a volunteer – eine Freiwillige – but it came out sounding like •Freibillige because the relationship between the /v/ and the /b/ sound in Spanish. Both frei and billige are words in German and they appear together online in the context Versandkosten frei billige <etwas> – “free shipping [on] cheap <somethings>” so I am guessing that this added to the comprehension issue for the native speakers present. For me, with only a bit of German to interfere, and some knowledge of Spanish, it was clear what she was trying to say. Indeed, I am not even sure that I would have noticed the error but for the blank faces and the fact that they instantly cleared up when I said Freiwillige with a strong emphasis on the pronunciation of the /v/ sound.

I’m sure it isn’t unusual for one non-native speaker to be able to understand another non-native speaker better than a native speaker who is part of the same conversation because both non-native speakers are struggling. In addition, there is a sense of community among non-native speakers that centers around the desire to communicate and the frequent sense that the right word is just out of reach. If you can search your own word bank and pull out something that might help the other person express him or herself, you get a nice jolt of satisfaction from being helpful. And as many models of learning stress, helping someone else is a great well to build your own skills. I don’t think I’ll be forgetting the meaning or the pronunciation of Freiwilligefrei or billige any time soon, at least not voluntarily.

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