Reading What Sucks

Oct 12, 2007 17:53 # 45086

Magnifico *** posts about...

My German skills. ..

69% | 3

. . . such they be, are getting me a little down. I know my language grasp is getting better, especially because I spent time in Frankfurt before I came to Graz and just went to Munich more recently. The problem is, it's not just me. On top of the already noteworthy (apparently) accent of most Austrians, I have to deal with the specific lingo of people here in Graz (itself on top of a more generic accent of the Styrian region). To give you an idea:

"I don't know" in German is "Ich weiss/weiß nicht" which becomes, in Graz, "Wozzig ned."

Typed up, the differnce between "sag mir was" and "sog ma woss" doesn't seem that bad, but I learned German as having the continental vowel system so that everything sounds the same all the time. This kinda makes things difficult, because I have enough trouble with listening comprehension in English (bad hearing and zero common sense). I just forgot that not everybody is going to speak like a Berliner (including a number of Berliners, I discovered last summer) just the same as a Londoner, a New Yorker, a Liverpudlian, and a Memphian would all sound rather different. I simply assumed you people had some kind of agreed-upon, linguistic-evolution-defying concept of how everything should be said, and I've been rather disappointed trying to understand people over here. The great thing, I must say, is that when I went to Munich a few weeks back I had zero trouble understanding the Bavarians; Bairisch and Austrian German are in the same family, and Münchner German was actually really simple by comparison to, say, the people I delt with in Selzthal.

But damn has it been a hard transition from "hallo" to "servus" (which, by the way, sounds like "sehr-vas" here). And I'm not even trying some of the more bizarre vowel combos like g'miatlichkeit

I'll believe in anything if you'll just believe in anything

Oct 13, 2007 09:12 # 45094

null throws in his two cents...

Re: My German skills. ..

?% | 1

Heh, something tells me it's not going to help a lot when I compare your situation to somebody who wants to learn English and moves to Scotland. (Apologies to all Scots, you're a very cool&friendly bunch.) All I can say is hang on, it'll eventually get easier. When you think it can't get any worse, spend a weekend in South Tyrol and I promise the first thing you'll do when you return to Graz is kiss the ground and hug a random person.

When life hands you a lemon, that's 40% of your RDA of vitamin C taken care of.

Oct 13, 2007 15:01 # 45095

andromacha *** replies...

Re: My German skills. ..

When I went to Switzerland - in the German part of it of course - I had trouble in understanding their funny accent. With null and Jaz... well I never got myself to let out a single word in German (aside from when they got me halfway drunk, but I don't remember much of it). I was already getting depressed at the idea of having spent 3 years of my university life to study a language to find out that when you're out there you're totally screwed. I kinda understood the people at the hotel, and I got myself understood as well, however they were trying to refrain to speak in ways that were too weird.

Then we moved up to Germany (I was with my parents), and man that was awesome! Germany rocks. As soon as we were in Munich I was like "yay I understand these people, and I can speak their language". Plus there was nobody who knew me there (not Jaz, nor null), so I felt free to speak in German without thinking twice :P

I even got to understand what 2 jerks on the subway said about Italians. This is because we had gotten tickets that would have allowed us to take 2 subway stops and 2 bus stops as well. But we needed only to use the two subway, and I was trying to convey the message to my dad. A German middle-aged couple heard our conversation (of course they understood nothing of it), and said to each other how the Italians always make mistake. I got so upset, and I definitely didn't let that pass. I went there and said to them in perfect German that I understood what they said and that we made no mistakes... ahem I also added to think about the mistakes the Germans make when they are in our Bel Paese. They got so red... lol it was great! And at the next stop they got off (whether it was theirs or not, I will never know, but I like to think that they were too ashamed and wanted to get off as soon as possible).

Italy no longer accepts illegal immigrants. Mr. B sink their boats!!!!!!!

Oct 13, 2007 15:05 # 45096

andromacha *** replies...

Re: My German skills. ..

spend a weekend in South Tyrol

Heh I wouldn't have a problem there :P At least Italian is still the first language (even if they wish it wasn't :P), so they are bound to talk to me in Italian ;) That's anyway what I pointed out when I was in Sterzing aka Vipiteno and I was trying to buy some yogourt, and they were speaking weird things to me in their so called language. Sometimes they need to be reminded that South Tyrol is still part of Italy :P

Italy no longer accepts illegal immigrants. Mr. B sink their boats!!!!!!!

Oct 13, 2007 15:45 # 45097

charlie *** throws in his two cents...

Re: My German skills. ..

?% | 1

As an English teacher living in a foreign country, my opinion is that no matter how hard you try, real life is always different than the classroom.

You have been equipped in the classroom, you just need to take those tools and KEEP GOING. The most important thing is heart. Who do you want to talk to, the kid whining that he can't speak German in the corner? Or the one trying every stupid and hilarious thing he can to make himself understood?

Of course you want to talk to the kid with spirit. Attitude is everything. Keep at it and it'll come.

Please contiune to vote AND post.

Oct 14, 2007 23:32 # 45104

ginsterbusch *** replies...

Re: My German skills. ..

before I came to Graz and just went to Munich more recently. The problem is, it's not just me. On top of the already noteworthy (apparently) accent of most Austrians

s; Bairisch and Austrian German are in the same family, and Münchner German was actually really simple by comparison to, say, the people I delt with in Selzthal.

You shouldnt try to compare Austrian with Bavarian dialect, as its not completely, but very much different from the first one.

BTW: Münchner Bairisch ist nicht wirklich als eigenständiger Sprachtypus zu betrachten. Es ist mehr ein Hochdeutsch mit Einsprengseln des Oberbayrischen.

(in english: Munich Bavarian cannot really be counted as an own dialect (type). Its more like a high german mixed up with some spots of Upper Bavarian dialect)

Auch ein Hinweis: Es ist (physisch) sehr ungesund, einen Bayern mit einem Österreicher (liebevoll auch "Schluchtenscheißer" genannt) zu vergleichen. Dasselbe gilt übrigens auch für Franken und Bayern. Dort heißt es auch so schön: "Frei statt Bayern!" (eine Verballhornung des Namens "Freistaat Bayern").

(in english: Note this: it is (physically) very UNhealthy to compare a bavarian with an austrian (also lovingly called "Schluchtenscheißer" (untranslatable). The same goes for Franconians and Bavarians, too)

"Servus" kommt aus dem Lateinischen ("Diener, Sklave") und stand ursprünglich für soviel wie "Dein ergebener Diener", also eher als Begrüßung gegenüber Gleichberechtigen oder auch Ehrbezeichnung anzusehen.

(in english: "servus" is a latin word ("servant, slave"9 and originally stood for something like "your obedient servant". Meant as a salutation between equal folks or as a honourific notation)

cu, w0lf.

beards are cool. every villain has one!

Oct 15, 2007 13:04 # 45107

Magnifico *** replies...

Re: My German skills. ..

As far as comparing Bavarians to Austrians is concerned, I've already been handed a fairly solid explanation about the differences from the last time I made that mistake, though then (like now) I was more trying to convey that the languages are linguistically related, and certainly not that the people are the same (God knows there's enough differences among people in a town, let alone across national borders).

It's funny you mentioned the etymology of "Servus!" because I had a teacher explain it this morning, and how it's a curious coincidence that Austrians say Servus, the latin word for servant, but also at one time said something along the lines "G'schaumster Diener" or "(Your) Humble servant," which he claims was a connection in meanings of two greetings of which most people weren't even aware. Funny, the things we say in our mother tongues that we don't even think about.

With the German (or Austrian, I should say), my skills are still improving. I just have this tendency to not speak as much as I should because everybody here is too nice, it seems, and when I make myself unclear it typically leads to a misunderstanding where somebody kindly explains every nuance of whatever I accidentally insulted. Maybe 7 times in 10 it's a nice way to get a better feel for the culture, but those other 3 times seem to take forever just for me to clear up that I knew what I was talking about, I just didn't know how to say it in German. Talk about killing me with kindness, eh? At least it's nice to know that, at the end of the day, I can talk with my roomates in Denglisch (or, God forbid, Frandenglisch, an amalgamation of English, German, and my rusty French), I can get a train ticket, and I don't seem to have a lick of trouble buying a döner kebap. And that last one probably counts for the most.

Mmmmm, kebap.

I'll believe in anything if you'll just believe in anything

Oct 15, 2007 14:15 # 45110

ginsterbusch *** replies...

Re: My German skills. ..

aybe 7 times in 10 it's a nice way to get a better feel for the culture, but those other 3 times seem to take forever just for me to clear up that I knew what I was talking about, I just didn't know how to say it in German.

A big problem that arises these days in Austria is the way-too-much tendencies to right-winged thinking. Even in some articles at fm4.orf.at this opinion did appear ..

When we went to the Summernight Festival nearby Salzburg, there was heavy racism against us "Deutsche", something I wont tolerate any more. Although it was a great festival atmosphere and bands were great, too, this small but significant shit did totally put out the fun of our visit X-(

So, the next issue of this festival will happen nearby the bavarian border (just 1 km across a bridge), thus I'd might give it still a try, but we would stay in Bavaria to avoid this racistic crap that happened to us this year. I dont want to hold my wife once again back to break someone's face .. :-/

and I don't seem to have a lick of trouble buying a döner kebap. And that last one probably counts for the most.

Mmmmm, kebap.

if possible (and available, too!), try out a yufka ;)
outside of Baden-Wurttemberg its also known as Döner Dürüm, but not really the same as it tastes much different and contains less (good) meat than the Yufka stuff we're used to in Bade-Württebersch ;)

cu, w0lf.

beards are cool. every villain has one!

This post was edited by ginsterbusch on Oct 15, 2007.

Oct 15, 2007 18:27 # 45116

null agrees...

Re: My German skills. ..

and I don't seem to have a lick of trouble buying a döner kebap.

Mmh, what more could one ask for?

When life hands you a lemon, that's 40% of your RDA of vitamin C taken care of.


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