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Author Topic: Cunning linguistics - check readers requested for an AngloGermanic experiment  (Read 529 times)
Fairley B. Strange
Zeppelin Overlord
*******
Australia Australia


Relax, I've done much dumber things and survived..


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« on: March 16, 2016, 12:47:50 pm »

So, while I was abroad, I had some time to add a few more chapters to Book 5 of my as-yet-unfinished Trilogy and have hit a linguistic quandary.
There are 2 persons, one English the other Austrian travelling across Europa by train. Neither is particularly fluent in the other's language and I wish to avoid the movie-trope of 'zer Jermanns' speaking perfectly fluent yet badly accented english, so am developing the idea of them cobbling together a kind of polyglot anglo-german for a page or two before settling back into standard english narration and dialogue for the rest of the book.

Thus I would appreciate any comments by readers of varying degrees of german fluency from native to none as to:
1 - are the hamfisted schoolboy german and google-Translate too heavyhanded?
2 - for non-speakers, is a page of such unintelligible and off-putting?
Thanks.
-----------------

“Jah, Fraulien Ritterin, ich versteht. Ich hab auch ein Buch fur das..,” and here his semi-fluent Ost-deutsch ground to a brief halt, “... zu das schiff gehen.”

He had lifted a small Anglo-Deutsch phrasebook from his right jacket pocket as smoothly as he would normally draw the little Webley from the left, an evidently cheaper fibre-bound copy that proclaimed its nature by crossed flags printed upon its cover, the Union Jack and the Hapsburg banner.

“Ach, so das ist... y-ihre Ost ist so gut,” and now she turned her own opened book towards him to show a similar printing of paired phrases in both languages, an OstDeutsche-Englische Sprachfuhrer, “Ich hab... No. I have my-n word book and have the night .. lesen ... also? Y-ah, and I am not so goo-t.”

Her mixed speech was surprisingly comprehensible despite her frequent lapses into her native language when she paused and evidently sought in the corners of her mouth with her tongue for those words that thus far eluded her, and this combined with her tendency to combine the modern homonyms between them both like ‘my’ and ‘mein’ into an impure ‘my-n’ or similarly ‘your/ihre’, ‘yes/ja’ and ‘good/gut’ gave her otherwise rather reserved manner a charming naivety that drew him to continue the stilted conversation further rather than simply study the sterile translations of the written word in his hand.

“Nein, Herrin Ritterin, fur ein nachte Englische gelesen, das ist sehr gut. Ich habe ein langer studiert. Ich spreche ein bissen OstDeutsche im Jerusalem for das Heilige Freistadt, so ich habt ein bissen mehr. Aber du sprech so viele im ein nacht is sehr schone..”

Her smooth cheeks coloured – most delightfully, he noticed despite his own embarrassment – at the realisation that with his lack of fluency he had used ‘schone/beautiful’ in lieu of a more temperate or nuanced ‘well/gut’.

“Excuse m...Entschulige sie mir. Ich... meant to say... ihre Englische ist ‘sehr gut’, und Ja, ‘sehr schone’ naturlich... Perhaps, instead of buche lesen, wir kann sprechen mehr..?”

Thankfully, she smiled in reply and in acknowledgement of their mutual awkwardness, and the remainder of the locomotive’s journey through the green Essex countryside was occupied in a stilted but animated exchange of their respective histories in an odd admixture of both languages with occasional flurries of ‘Charades’ as each strained to find for the other the apposite verb or expression.
 
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VampirateMace
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


Mein Hexapod


« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2016, 06:10:34 pm »

My level of German is I've never studied it, but found I understand many written words anyways. Which is really cool when you're looking at Einstein's papers.

I don't find this off putting, though maybe I feel like I'm not getting everything. It's more interesting then the usual, 'hey' there's foreigners onboard, and such-and-such says they say. . . '.
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Cora Courcelle
Snr. Officer
****
England England



« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2016, 07:03:47 pm »

-----------------


Her mixed speech was surprisingly comprehensible despite her frequent lapses into her native language when she paused and evidently sought in the corners of her mouth with her tongue for those words that thus far eluded her, and this combined with her tendency to combine the modern homonyms between them both like ‘my’ and ‘mein’ into an impure ‘my-n’ or similarly ‘your/ihre’, ‘yes/ja’ and ‘good/gut’ gave her otherwise rather reserved manner a charming naivety that drew him to continue the stilted conversation further rather than simply study the sterile translations of the written word in his hand.



Don't read or speak German but the dialogue didn't put me off, however I'm afraid this paragraph did as it reminded me of school text books. (You could always include a translation in a footnote if you need your reader to understand what is being said)
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GCCC
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States


« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 10:43:56 pm »

I am unable to comment on the language and grammar as you've used it, however, I find the exchange to be a charming, delightful, and original way to address the issue at hand.
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Fairley B. Strange
Zeppelin Overlord
*******
Australia Australia


Relax, I've done much dumber things and survived..


WWW
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 07:14:43 am »

-----------------


Her mixed speech was surprisingly comprehensible despite her frequent lapses into her native language when she paused and evidently sought in the corners of her mouth with her tongue for those words that thus far eluded her, and this combined with her tendency to combine the modern homonyms between them both like ‘my’ and ‘mein’ into an impure ‘my-n’ or similarly ‘your/ihre’, ‘yes/ja’ and ‘good/gut’ gave her otherwise rather reserved manner a charming naivety that drew him to continue the stilted conversation further rather than simply study the sterile translations of the written word in his hand.



Don't read or speak German but the dialogue didn't put me off, however I'm afraid this paragraph did as it reminded me of school text books. (You could always include a translation in a footnote if you need your reader to understand what is being said)

So delete the :

 ... like ‘my’ and ‘mein’ into an impure ‘my-n’ or similarly ‘your/ihre’, ‘yes/ja’ and ‘good/gut’ ...  ?

I agree it does seem a bit too much like a dictionary entry.
Thanks.
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Cora Courcelle
Snr. Officer
****
England England



« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 10:05:05 am »


So delete the :

 ... like ‘my’ and ‘mein’ into an impure ‘my-n’ or similarly ‘your/ihre’, ‘yes/ja’ and ‘good/gut’ ...  ?

I agree it does seem a bit too much like a dictionary entry.
Thanks.

Yes, I don't think it adds to the scene - don't they always say 'show, don't tell'? The dialogue shows the interaction between the characters and makes me want to know more about them.
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