January 18, 2006

On The German Language

Filed under: Random, Germany — Alex Ravenel @ 7:25 pm

It’s pretty well known that Mark Twain liked to write all sorts of damning comments about the incomprehensibility of the German language, most of them quite accurate. Here’s a similar comment, but one that puts it into terms non-German speakers might understand with a very pertinent example.

A shortcomment on this ongoingdebate I have. In German biglongwordsthatcontinueforeverwithnoendinsight there are. Bigdeal. Two biggerproblems there are. First, in the Germanlanguage, verbs at the end of sentences or clauses go. In normalconversation, which is a question or which is a declarativestatement vocalinflection indicates. But in the writtentexts, only at the endofsentences with a period or a questionmark when you the difference can tell isn’t it? Second, negatives the noun not verb modify.

What the ruleimpact of this in English try to imagine would be. We ever where until there we got would we know are going? Many famoussayings notmemorable would be: “Before you leap look,” “Notcart before the horse put,” two examples are. Richard Nixon would have said, “I a notcrook am.” Connie Chung to the Newtmother would have said, “Why not you to me girltogirl it whisper?”

If you the Billandhillaryclintonhealthplan indecipherableandhardtounderstand as it written was think, it not according to germanizedbureacraticliterarystyle with all the verbs at the endofsentences be glad written was! Otherwise, we Harryandlouiseprotest would have had to hear, “To this listen! They my choice away take! I my notchoice to keep get! And this muchminemoney will cost! This stinks!”

And letterstotheeditor really, really no sense with Germanrules would make.”

By Donald Sensing.

A truer thing has never been said.

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