Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Friday, 5 August 2016

Will I EVER Reach My Destiny?

Will I EVER reach my destiny? (Of course I know that I should speak of destination... :-)
These days you hear strange tones from my bow window room: I'm practising the pronunciation of some places. I knew about Leicester, Clapham and Greenwich - and a few more - but am still astonished how I ever I made it to "Ho-bun", "Tott-num" and "Marly-bone".



But then: my pronunciation is always a risky one ... n'est-ce pas, Tom? - on the other hand: it peps up my conversation, so mysterious...





 






27 comments:

  1. I would hate it if non-English friends lose their accents and pronounce everything perfectly correct. I have had German friends who you would not have guessed that English was a second language. Only opera singers must have perfect accents, even if they don't understand the meaning of the words.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that, Tom - and I agree with everything you say (here :-). I own a book by an opera singer who describes his way to learn languages - "Fluent Forever" - not my way, but an interesting approach ("don't translate" e.g.)

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  2. Austrians smile at my version of Deutsch and my futile attempts at pronouciation, and ask me if I am from Niederland.

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    1. Gwil, I utterly like to hear English people speak German - and the Netherland pronunciation is very charming too.

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  3. Britta, then I have plenty of homework to do! I used to be self-conscious when I was young; not so much anymore. I'm often told that I don't sound Italian; but it doesn't help me if I still have an accent! Accents are difficult to tame. Even local accents can make the same language sound different. Here a Roman accent is completely different to a Napolitan accent, to a Sicilian... and to my very own Veneto accent - I probably speak English with a Venetian accents :)
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I would like to hear that, Maria - English with an Venetian accent - but you are right: a Bavarian or Swabian will speak English differently from us Northern Germans (I am very proud that I can understand their native German, even when they speak quickly - but I lived in all these regions, so I had to). And I love to hear the melody of her sentences of my insegnante Gloria - she is very good in speaking German, we sometimes laugh about little expressions that are said this way in Italian and a different way in German. And the possibilities to confuse "to have" and "to be" are wonderful! Greetings, Britta xx

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    2. One of my best friends is from Florence. It sounds really great when he speaks English.

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    3. Florentine accent is lovely also in Italian, Gwil. They kind of "huff" on the "c" letter : "casa" (house) sounds like "hasa", Coca-Cola sounds like "Hoha-Hola" :)

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  4. Haha ...... the joys of the English language Britta !!! Like Tom though, I love to hear a foreign accent speaking English and their little mistakes are delightful ..... crikey ...... so many foreigners can speak English so well and us English expect it of them !! I do always try to learn a few words of the language of the country that I'm going to but wouldn't have a clue about nuances of local dialect etc.
    Your English is brilliant, as is Maria's. XXXX

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    1. Thank you, Jackie! I love to hear a foreign accent too, very much indeed - but a German (!) friend admonished me about wrong stresses I set - and he is right - but then: he speaks as correct as Queen Mom, and I just don't want to. Though I want to say "Mar-lybone" and not "Marylbone".
      I found out that it helps a lot to press your nasal wings a bit, and move your mouth very little, to sound convincing. AND I'm proud that I can understand people like 'Dalziel (= Dee-ell) and Pascoe' or other dialects quite satisfyingly (after a pint or two). Sometimes I'm asked: "Are you Scottish?"

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  5. Regional accents must never go away. They are the world's spice.

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    1. I am with you, very much, Joanne. In northern Germany, where my mother is from, they speak "Plattdeutsch" (resembles English/Dutch) beside High German - and it is a very poetic language. Now school children have the option to learn it again (in Northern Germany).

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  6. I love to hear all the foreign accents around here as well as the very broad Norfolk accent of my partner.

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  7. I tried to find examples for the Norfolk dialect at the Internet, Rachel. "Oi loik 'er" were the only words I understood in a video on Youtube.

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    1. Many English people, Britta, with whom I "correspond" upon these blogs would, I believe, find my partner difficult to understand.

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    2. If we meet one day - which I hope - I will try my best.

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  8. Languages and accents fascinate me. I once had a dear friend who came from Scotland. Just her brogue made it difficult for some people to understand her not to mention different terms for common items. I found myself often translating because I took the time to listen and understand what she was saying. She and her husband had twin daughters while they lived here. Of course when she returned to live in Scotland she took her "wee bairns" with her.

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    1. When I was for 1 month in Edinburgh, people had fortold me that I would a) have difficulties to understand them - and b) that it would be almost impossible to make their acquaintance. Both was not true - though, as you say, Emma: different terms for common items were a lot. And the funny thing: The Scots asked me: Are you English - or Dutch?

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  9. As an amateur radio operator, I speak to people from all over the world, who invariably apologize for their English. Nonsense! I love hearing all of their different accents, and they can certainly speak English better than I can speak any of THEIR languages! And I have no doubt that your accent is delightful.

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    1. Wow, that is new to me, Susan, that you speak on the radio! If I hadn't found a Dave Barry quote in your blog post, thus thinking him as funny as I do (and not insulting), I would not have dared to quote him: "Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages." And thank you for giving my accent the credit of being delightful!

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  10. Many years ago when I was a young mum, new to Germany and with few German words kind village friends took my education in hand. The all spoke Plattdeutsch but insisted that when we were together they would speak Hochdeutsch because it was a matter of pride for them that I would be understood by other Germans. As the years go by my German becomes rusty - it has been 3 years since I had to dust it off.
    Accents? There are few Canadians who don't have someone in the family who speaks with an accent. We come from all over!

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    1. Dear Pondside, that was the right thing to do for them: I LOVE Plattdeutsch, but out of northern Germany everybody would have stared blankly at you... I am convinced that after a little dusting you are quick in speaking German again!
      One cousin of mine has married a Canadian - and as before she was raised in Swabia, she will have an accent, I bet.

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  11. I rather prefer "Will I EVER reach my destiny?" over "...destination". It has a ring of mystery and profundity about it. Also, from your excellent pronunciation guide, I believe I'd need an interpreter in England.

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    1. Thank you that you noticed, Geo. and mentioned the "destiny". Yes, I hope we all have one. sounds so reassuring. And as to the pronunciation guide: to hear that from you is reassuring too !

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  12. My mixture of Kentucky English and German has kind of created its own unique language LOL

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