Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Speak German (for anglophones)*

(*people who speak English, not angels on phones or people who only use their phone when they are inside a triangle.)

Speaking German is, indeed,  particularly easy if you can speak or read English, in part because if you didn't, you wouldn't have been able to understood anything I've written so far.  We could even make horrible fun of you if we wanted. Nya, nya, silly non English speaker.

So now that we've got past that, how does one speak German?  It is very easy.  There are 2 main steps:

1)  Speak English, except with a German accent.

Don't know a German accent?  Search Hulu for old episodes of "Hogan's Heroes".    Listen to David Hasselhoff  or Heino (only for educational purposes, of course.).  Watch "Wings of Desire" or "Das Boot" in the original German.  Download a German pop mp3 from the 80s, the only decade in the history of Germany during which American youth listened to German pop music (Look for names like Nena, Kraftwerk, Peter Schilling, usw.  (usw is German for etc).  )

If you mention you are looking for examples of German accents and people tell you about videos of a funny looking little man with a mustache who made speaches to large throngs of people and says "den Deutschen Voelk" a lot, DO NOT LISTEN TO WHAT THIS MAN SAYS.  First of all, he was Austrian and had a very silly Austrian accent.  Second of all, his grammar was at best questionable.  Thirdly, he was a vegan and we all know what kind of havoc the vegans cause when left to their own devices.  You don't want to go there.  Trust me.

2)  Pronounce everything.  For instance, pronounce Fahrvergnuegen "Fahr-fair-g[hard g]-new-g[hard g]-en," not Fahrferngully or something like that.

3) Put all verbs at the end of the sentence.  Or, if you are reading aloud, "All Ferbs at ze end of ze Sentence pootten!"

Now you are ready to speak German!

Would you like to learn to speak French?  It's easy.

Just don't pronounce ANYTHING.

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