Somewhere in Brooklyn Paroles Traduction
How good is your English?
How about your English?
“Good English, well spoken and well written, will open more doors than a college degree. Bad English will slam doors you didn’t even know existed. "
Good written and spoken English opens more doors than a college degree. Bad English closes doors that you didn't even suspect.
William Raspberry (Washington Post Columnist) - what a sweet name 😉
First of all, we, the loving book fairies Siri and Selma, are not native speakers and neither are our dear Dina and Masterchen. But we love English 🙂, although our English often degenerates into Denglisch or BSE (Bad Simple English). Sorry We're doing our best, but have you noticed that when you speak a foreign language, you become a different person. "That has to do with the other way of thinking", Masterchen explained to us. "Language is the expression of perception and thought and so it is not surprising that the pragmatic English founded positivism, which expresses something briefly and concisely. English is ideal for writing operating instructions - well. The German language, on the other hand, produced this idealist, Hegel, who presents his dialectical thinking in complex syntactic structures, which in English would provoke a polite nod of incomprehension ” and so on and so on ... But we have one thing written behind our ears: good English is usually short and sweet - but often ambiguous and individual. This is in contrast to Hegel, who wrote in his text on the philosophy of language that the philosopher see the individual "nothing to do with“.
You may have noticed that we, Siri and Selma, your dear and wise Bookfayries, are not native speakers, neither are our beloved Dina nor our Master. But we absolutely adore the English language :-), although our English often degenerates to Germanisms or BSE (Bad Simple English). Sorry! We really try hard, but you surely have already noticed when speaking a foreign language, you will change, becoming another person. ” This is because the other way of thinking“, Explained our Master teacherlike. "Language is an expression of perception and thought. So it is hardly surprising that the pragmatic English “invented” Positivism, which is short and concise. This makes English the ideal language for user manuals - well ... The German language produced the Idealist Hegel, who explains his dialectical thinking in highly complex syntactic structures, which would cause a polite nod of incomprehension in English”… And so on and so forth… However, we learned that good English is usually short and to the point - but at the same time often ambiguous and individual. This side was of little interest to Hegel, who wrote in his philosophocial works about language “For the philosopher the individual is of no concern “.
“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. "
The problem with defending pure English is that English is as pure as a Christmas crib whore [nice expression!]. We don't just adopt words, but English, overwhelmingly other languages, and search your pockets for new vocabulary
James D. Nicoll, "The King’s English"
On the pure English language, here is a fine example of a God-enlightened blogger who is successful - which one? - promises, if you follow him:
If u r a hurry man then note down u r vulnerable to loose easily what u have got or earned
So much for pure English - we don't even want to talk about the unenglish American in which the Bostoner his “cah pahks” and the lost r wanders southwest, which is why the Texan his car “warshed” (isn't it, dear Pit?). Shakespeare occurred to me, the loving Siri, who, like Goethe, always has a reasonably fitting quote: "Here will be an old abusing of God’s patience and the King’s English.“
For the pure English language: Here is a fine example of an deeply Christian blogger, who promises his followers success - hmmmmm:
“If u r a hurry man then note down u r vulnerable to loose easily what u have got or earned ”
So much for pure English - we will not even mention the un-English American, where his Bostoner “pahks” his “cah” and the lost r's migrate southwest, causing a Texan to “warsh” his car (isn`t that right, dear pit!). I, the dear and clever Siri, have to quote Shakespeare immediately (as Shakespeare like Goethe is always handy for fairly appropriate quotes): "Here will be an old abusing of God’s patience and the King’s English.“
But it's not just the language itself (langue), the way it is spoken (parole) is also important. Masterchen often told us - it's because of his age, people say `` a little more than once 😉 - how much he was surprised that when he met Karen, an English friend, people who were with "Hello!”Greeted, she immediately knew which shift the person greeting belonged to. And it gets even better, at the very beginning, when we arrived in England, we were invited with Masterchen to a terrifyingly elegant company. Our little master, always trying to be polite, asked the landlord, who greeted him with a nasal nasal, whether he had a cold. Well, that should sound friendly - but it was (almost) completely wrong. It was dead quiet in the room except for the ticking of the antique grandfather clock. We didn't even know what was going on until the landlord laughed uproariously, whereupon the obedient guests also began to laugh and masters among men about whiskey were told that this was the way to “intone” in the upper class.
However, it’s not only the language itself that’s transmitting the content, but also the way is being put across. Our Master told us several times - this is due to his age that he is telling stories several times 😉 - how astonished he was when Karen, an English friend, immediately knew which social class people belonged to just by hearing the word "Hello!"This gets even better, at the very beginning soon after our arrival in England, our Master was invited to a shockingly upper-class dinner party. Our Master made an effort to be very polite and questioned his host, who spoke funnily through his nose, whether he had caught a cold. Although he meant to be utterly polite it did come across as the opposite. Suddenly the large room went dead silent except for the ticking of the antique grandfather clock. We Bookfayries did not know what was happening until our host erupted into loud laughter and so he was joined by his obedient guests. Later, while enjoying a single malt in the library with other men (men only, of course!), It was explained to him that it is quite usual for English Upper Class to talk in this way. Well, this UCE intonation (upper class English intonation) sounds quite funny for German speaking fairies 😉 - but our Master told us not to laugh.
Masterchen quotes Ralph Wiggum from the Simpsons: "Me fail English? That unpossible!”
Master quoting Simpsons: "Me fail English? That unpossible!“
Siri responds with Bill Bryson: "English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin - a language with which it has precious little in common.”
Siri answers quoting Bill Bryson: "English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin - a language with which it has precious little in common.“
And so this was also explained.
And so this was explained.
On Peggy's excellent England blog, Peggy, Martina and we discussed the relationship between German and English. The Duden published this year that for some time now more German words have been adopted into English than the other way around, which we can confirm from our linguistic environment. These are especially words from philosophy and many terms from romanticism - yes, the English also know the “wanderlust”, the “leitmotif” and even the “substitute” and he was also “the blue flower” in Gresham's or Eton of romance ”. Porsche and Audi take advantage of the fact that German is very popular lead by technology every Englishman knows through advertising. The Porsche concern the readers of the magazine German language world as “Sprachwahrer des Jahres”, declared that at least in internal communication, bad German proves better than good English. You can read more about it here. Dina's heart beats faster, who is a great admirer of the German language, she always wants to be corrected by Masterchen, but hello! ...
English, as we book fairies have to admit enviously, is fully in line with the modern trend towards language shortening. German is always longer than its English translation (you can also see it here), which is in line with the tendency of the modern media. We book fairies dare to claim that English is made for communication in our age of acceleration. However, we want to slow down with our contributions ...
Peggy, Martina and Masterchen discussed the relations between German and English on the excellent bilingual England Blog by Peggy a couple of days ago. The Duden (the highest authority for the German language) published this year, that for some time more German words are taken over into English than vice versa, which we can confirm from our surroundings. These are specifically words from philosophy and many terms from the Romantics - yes, the Englishman knows the “wanderlust”, the “leitmotiv” and even the “ersatz” and if he was at Gresham `s or Eton he even knows“ the blue flower the romance ”. The fact that German is at a premium is used by Audi and Porsche. Every Englishmen knows “Vorsprung durch Technik” from the Audi advertisement. The Porsche company was voted by the readers of “Deutsche Sprachwelt” (German Language World) as the best custodian of the German language. And we were amazed that the Porsche management found out that bad German stands the test of understanding better than good English - at least in the internal communication. Dina`s heart will beat faster reading this, as she is a great admirer of the German language.
But we have to admit, English is following the modern trend towards shortening language, a trend especially obvious in modern social media. A German text is always longer than its English translation (as you see here). We presume that English is thus made for the communication in our age of acceleration. But we want to slow down with our posts ...
Michel Foulcault, whom Masterchen loves very much, although he ended up delusional (Foucault, not Masterchen ;-)), said that every language expresses a certain way of exercising power. Is it reflected in the language that England became democratic early on and Germany produced fascism, although the British in the Boer War ... well ... We notice that in England the exercise of power is mostly polite to downright charming, yes, basically in English not skimp on forms of politeness and subjunctive, as a German one can only pale with envy. The "The genius of the folk style determines the language”Wrote Herder in his philosophy of language, in which, by the way, he praises Shakespeare highly - which, however, was fashionable in his time.
Michel Foucault, who is very much liked by our Master although he ended in the madhouse (Foucault - not our Master ;-)), wrote that each language always expresses a certain exercise of power. Is it reflected in the English language that England looks back to a long time of democracy and Germany brought forth fascism, although the British in the Boer War… well… We noticed that exercising power often happens in England politely to downright charming. Yes, do not save on politeness and conjunctivae in English! "The genius of the folk`s style conditions the language ” wrote Herder in his philosophy of language in which he praises Shakespeare - but this was downright fashionable in his time.
In short, what we particularly like about English is its ambiguity. Here in the village there was a popular barmaid who managed to speak two discourses at the same time. Once the non-commitments were presented in a funny way, and at the same time they expressed an intimate contemplation of the interlocutor with these words for the initiated. Our master did not find this unusual at all, this ability of double-faced discourse reminds him of the poetry of the Sufis, which reports on unity with God and at the same time about sensual desires, e.g. one can understand Nizami one way or the other - like the English barmaid.
We like English particularly for its ambiguity. A popular barmaid in one of our pubs manages to speak two discourses at the same time: On one level a funny chat and at the same time she expresses with these same words the intimate view of the conversation partner to another listener. Our Masterchen found this not at all unusual, it reminds him of the duplicitous discourse of the poetry of the Sufis who wrote about the unity with God and at the same time about carnal desires, you can understand this or that - as the English barmaid.
English screams to be understood differently
English asks for being understood differently
Last but not least, this English quality of speaking in quotations. Eco would be happy here, almost every English discourse has completely postmodern, intertextual elements. Shakespeare, Dickens, and even children's book authors are involved in the normal chat with my neighbor on my street. The upscale English is so peppered with literary allusions that if one were to imitate this in German, how show-off German would sound. And so drawing on our fine command of the English language, we say nothing more and leave George Orwell to conclude:
Last but not least about the English way to speak in quotes: Umberto Eco would love that almost every English discourse is quite postmodern with all its inter-textual elements. In normal chatting with the neighbors in my lane Shakespeare, Dickens and even children’s book authors are talking too. The better the English the more it is peppered with literary allusions and quotes. In German it would sound like showing-off-speaking. And so, drawing on our fine command of the English language, we say nothing more and let George Orwell the final word:
To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.
Writing and speaking English is not a science but an art. Whoever writes in English will struggle with every sentence. He will fight against indefiniteness, against ambiguity, against the seduction of decorative adjectives, against Latin and Greek, against overused phrases and dead metaphors that clog the language.
So bye then ... oh no, one more important piece of advice for Germans from me, the loving Selma:
Always exaggerate in conversations
Bye for now ... but wait! An important hint from me, Selma Bookfayrie, for all the Germans going to the UK: You never go wrong with understatement in England!
See you next time
Siri and Selma 🙂 🙂 and anyway ... those Fabulous Four
© for all texts and photos by Hanne Siebers, Bonn / Germany, and Klausbernd Vollmar, Cley next the Sea / England, 2013
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