Saturday, April 16, 2016

More German Lessons!!!!

From McSweeney's Internet Tendency:

Titles of Bach Chorales as Translated by the Author's Niece After One Semester of German

It's copywrought, of course, so I can't copy it here;  you may have to look at it in a new window  so you know what I'm talking about below.

In the meantime McSweeney's is pretty entertaining, if you avoid the "straw man" assumptions behind some of the more political pieces.


I can go the author one better!  I have a BACHELOR'S DEGREE!  IN GERMAN!
So I will go through and provide correction and feedback to the author's niece.

We'll take the chorales, one by one, as listed in Nolan Bonvouloir's list (Hmm....maybe he could contribute French lessons as well.

I should say, I got my bachelor's in German when Reagan was president, so I might be a little rusty; but here goes:

1) Valet will ich dir geben.

This young lady clearly hasn't learned about dative pronouns yet, which is why she mistakes "dir" for "Hirsch", or "deer."  Understandable with someone with approximately 7 semesters fewer than me.

This chorale is actually titled, "I want to give you this valley." 

2)  Perfect.  I couldn't have said it better.

3)  See 2)

4)  Christus, der uns selig macht

This actually means "Christ, who makes us sell."  Told you he was a capitalist.


5) Nun lob mein Seel den Herren

First off, "nun" actually means "now", and loben, although it's tempting to confuse it with the English "to lob", means "raze".  I just asked my sister and I'm sure that's what she said, although she's in the other room so it's kind of muffled.  So this sentence should be translated:
"Now my seal is eating herring like a bulldozer!"

6) ALMOST perfect (this 1st year German student is really catching on fast!)...but willen means to want, not to do*. Anyway, I would actually translate this one as

"What do you want NOW, seal?"

7) This is well translated.  There are indeed legends going back to the 1st century, at least in the No-Stick gospels, of Jesus being late to band PERFORMANCES, not just rehearsals.  And we've been waiting so long for his second visit that some older evangelicals talk about "the Lord tarrying."  That's the old ones.  The rest of us are just kind of questioning the pre-tribulation rapture and wondering if maybe if Jesus has already been here and we missed him.

But what if the oldsters are right?  What if the only reason we haven't all disappeared from the view of you unsaved masses, leaving behind melted butter and voices telling you "I told you so!" that you can barely hear but sound a lot like ours, is that Gabriel has been waiting with his trumpet at the gate, looking at his smart watch and texting Jesus, "Where the heaven are you, man?  Are we gonna get this thing on, or what?" and Jesus keeps replying, "Hang on, I just have to do this one thing..." And Gabriel replies, "You've been saying that for almost 2 millennia.  #OCD." And Jesus texts, "I am NOT OCD.  I'm just very thorough." And Gabriel replies "Look, you're the only one of us who's created as perfect. You don't need to do anything to get ready for this."  And Jesus says, "Hey, do you have the amps?" and Gabriel says, "No.  YOU were supposed to bring the amps, remember?  We discussed it right after Rome fell."  And on and on.

8)  Schm├╝cken actually means "to bedeck, to gild, " that sort of thing.  It can mean schmuk, but only in Yiddish, not German.  So the best translation of this title is

 " I love you, seal.  Please wear my ring."



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*(as an aside, I know of no language that has any equivalent to the "do" in English.  It's one of those things that makes it as crazy, if not more so, than German.)


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