Richard Armitage masters the German “r”?

This is a neat vid, but my favorite moment is the first consonant in “Freygeyst.” Yay!



~ by Servetus on September 2, 2016.

81 Responses to “Richard Armitage masters the German “r”?”

  1. His voice coach did a wonderful job and I started wondering how much german he understood before. Think he’d mentiond ” a german friend” somewhere.
    So he like the e-bikes, comfortble things, but i prefer the ones without this little battery/motor.
    But a question some complain that he uses the word “aluminum” instead of “aluminium” – is this so horrible “american” ? Would be cooler if he used “They’re made of alu!”

    • I wonder how he will do “r” in Auslaut. But this sounds really promising.

      Yeah, we say “aluminum” here. I don’t think anyone in the US would necessarily understand “alu.” Do Brits say that?

  2. Sehr gut! 😀

    • Der Frrreygeist steht ihm gut zu Gesicht.

      • it’s interesting how he gets the “ei” right coming off the “r”, but that he elongates the diphthong very slightly the second time he says it, so “Frey” sounds really good and “geist” sounds just very slightly not right. He needed to clip that diphthong!

        But he’s charming in German. OMG! Can’t wait.

        • Der Diphthong (lange nicht mehr gehört 😊) klingt nach “aai”. Eieiei…..
          Und er ist echt eine Augenweiiiiiiide im Anzug aufm Bock.

          • yeah, he has kind of picked up the American tendency to drawl a diphthong …

            He really looks fantastic on that bike. Such a German moment, too 🙂

  3. I never thought I’d sort of drool over a man biking along. LOL

  4. That was exactly what I instantly noticed. I confess I replayed that video several times in a row, just to hear him pronounce that name in an almost-German way. And R sound as good as you can get as a non-native speaker without previous knowledge of or extensive exposure to German. I noticed the diphthongs, too, but what is more remarkable, is that he gets the intonation of the word right, I think, with the slight “up” on an almost-separate /i/ sound after the first diphthong, and then then “down” without a separate /i/ on the second diphthong. That melody sounded pretty authentic to my ears, and it’s exactly the intonation that is the stumbling block for non-native speakers. (It’s certainly what trips me up when I speak English.)

    • totally agree about the Sprachmelodie. I admit, too, that since “r” is not my favorite German consonant, it made me really happy to see that he’d gotten this one.

      It makes me wonder — maybe he has missed his market with the US. Perhaps he should have learned more German and gotten into the German acting world 🙂

      • I’d support that 😉

      • oh bravo bravo bravo – I can only applaud that idea. (And actually, I think there could’ve easily been a particular niche for that sort of actor in German productions.) But then again, the German market would probably not held that much appeal for someone who has ambitions for Hollywood…
        Re. Sprachmelodie: The “r” sound is the typical litmus test, don’t you think? I don’t expect English non-native speakers to ever master the “ch” sounds properly – extremely difficult for them. But getting the “r” right shows a) an awareness of the phonetic characteristics of German and b) a willingness to practice and get it right. Good man.

        • In my experience, r is much harder than ch, but I also have r problems in Spanish and I know that many Americans have problems with German “ch,” although I would argue that it’s a function of laziness more than a genuine difficult. Both of these also have strong dialectical variation — it was handy that I dated a north German for so long so that it wasn’t usually a problem just to swallow the r in Auslaut or to mask it with some variation of the English “w” sound. However, I learned the rules for “ch” on about the third day of German and that was never a problem as long as I was in a region where High German was the norm. People were much more likely to notice the “r” problems I have than my pronounciation of “ch.”

          • Dich würde ich zu gerne mal sprechen hören 😊

            • Here I am reciting a German poem in 2011:

              My accent has weakened a lot since then. When exSO and I broke up I stopped speaking German every single day. I’m still fluent but jetzt hapert es ein bißchen.

              • Serv und Gernhardt! Unschlagbar. Ja, man hört die Amerikanerin, aber hey, der Gernhardt ist wahrlich kein Kinderabzählreim. Klasse Intonation hast du!

              • Aber es hapert kein Stück an deiner Ausdrucksfähigkeit. Fühl dich weiter in dieser Hinsicht von mir gereizt 😉

                • LOL, I was just listening to it again and thinking, yeah, you can tell I’m really outraged about sonnets 🙂 But I think this demonstrates my point; I have way more problems with “r” than with “ch” — Sperre, for instance, there’s no way for me to get around that even using my North German “I’ll just swallow that consonant and hope nobody notices” tricks. I’ve never been able to roll an “r” in my throat.

                  • Ich kann es auch nicht rollen. Das können fast nur meine bajuwarischen Mitbürger. Meine Klavierlehrerin hat auch Gesang unterrichtet und mir eine Technik verraten, bei der sich das “r” ganz von alleine vorne im Mund bildet.
                    Man sagt mehrmals hintereinander “Pdinz von Pdeussen”. Und oh Wunder, es erscheint der Prrrinz von Prrreussen. Jedenfalls, wenn man einen gewöhnlichen deutschen Schnabel hat. 😆

                    • that “r” roll I can do sometimes (it’s the Spanish variation, produced on the alveola) — after certain vowels it works for me (I can say “carro” correctly but struggle with “perro”).

                    • Aber das spanische “r” rollt nicht exakt da, wo das Fränkische oder das Opernhafte rollt, oder?

                    • You know, I lived in Franconia for a year but I never listened to the “r” — I think I had basically given up by then. My understanding is that the German “R” in words like “Rose” is supposed to roll in the throat. (However, I know it’s regional).

                    • Stimmt, die Rose rollt in der Kehle (tut das eigentlich weh?😆) und nur in der Kunst rollt sie vorne. Ist wohl der Tatsache geschuldet, das eine deutliche Artikulation auf der Bühne besser verstanden wird. Klingt aber außerhalb dieses Bereiches ein wenig gespreizt und nun ja, künstlich.

                    • I think the only time I’ve heard the “r” rolled in the front of the mouth in “Preußen” otherwise is in my highly random contact with Volga Germans. My exSO’s sister is a pastor and she had a congregation in which there were a few. But their speech seemed so unusual in so many ways otherwise as well.

                      I can’t believe we’re talking about this 🙂 Fandom is so educational.

                    • Ja, oder? Was glaubst du, warum ich immer noch hier bin?? Ist doch fein, das Angenehme mit dem Nützlichen zu verbinden.

                    • I’ll sign you up to be his dialect coach when Berlin Station moves west in its second season 🙂 Talk about useful 🙂

                    • At your service! 😀

                    • I can offer the ‘Real Rolling R’. I’m deep down bajuwarisch good at it (but there is a moin,moin in me as well!! 😉 ), and it was my speciality when I learned Spanish !! (Just in case Berlin Station ever moves south, and assuming a prior successful stopover in the west with CraMerry! We actually do proper lining up here every now and then. 😀 Ich stehe gerne hinter Frau Merry auch wenn ich dann nichts mehr sehe!! tralala…) Truly it’s exciting to hear RA speak German.

                    • Selber tRAlala! 😂

                    • We’ll work on adding his regional pronunciation later 🙂

                    • Oh….Wie konnte ich….. tRAlala! Natürlich.

                    • Obwohl hier mal eben eingeworfen werden muss, dass das rollende R nicht nur für Süddeutschland charakteristisch ist. Im Plattdeutschen kommt das auch vor.

                    • Schlauen Leuten sei es nie verwehrt, irgendwo was einzuwerfen. Obwohl das jetzt verwerflich klingt….

                    • True — yeah, I had forgotten that! (Although I always limited myself to “moin,” since I felt it sounded condescending if I tried to say any more.)

                    • Moin is such a wonderful greeting. Simple. Informal. Works any time of day.

                    • And no truly troublesome sounds. As opposed to Polish “czesc.” You don’t have a chance with that one if you’re not a native speaker or very highly skilled as a linguist.

                  • Neither can I. I can produce a similar sound only with a consonant in front of the R.

              • Love hearing the Northern German influence on how you pronounce the word “Tag” in the clip 😊. ExSO definitely left his mark.

                • I think I’ve told you his mother was a Gymnasium teacher and his father was a Lutheran bishop — they corrected their children’s speech all the time and so they just included me right in that 🙂 It was good but it’s frustrating to have your speech corrected when you’re 27, lol 🙂

  5. This was fun! I’m really looking forward to hearing how he handles German in the series.

  6. May I say, even if the bike is matching his power, those thighs powered through “every single major route” until 3:00 am? Those thighs never cease to amaze me. Sorry, I’m not a linguist lol.

  7. Man, he has long legs. (((Sigh))))

  8. OT Serv, do you have an idea why as of late my WPgravatar has changed? (I didn’t change anything)

    • I don’t know — you’re not the only person it happened to, though. You might want to create a “gravatar” with a unique picture, though — I’ve never seen those change.

      • Right, I wanted to do this years ago but it turned out that there obviously is another linda60 on WP. Thought it strange, and not very helpful to change my nickname, as it then would be difficult to not be mixed up or recognised as maybe “The One and Only linda60” (!!!!) in the fandom. 😉 Hahaha..not that I’m so well known. Ja mei!!!!

  9. […] And some eargasm for Germanophiles thrown in as an extra. As I said, that uvular trill. (Check the discussion over at me+r for more linguistic w*nking […]

  10. Eek! All that traffic and no helmet! He does look magnificent on a bike though, all beautifully long legs pumping, coat tails flying.

    • You don’t see many adults with helmets biking in Berlin, so it’s not just a strategy to let you see more of his face (as opposed to Margaret’s anachronistic bonnet in N&S, which was all about making sure you could see her face). Honestly I never felt unsafe without a helmet in Germany. In the U.S., however …. I like to bike but I don’t own a bike anymore because I almost never feel safe.

      • Sounds as though Berlin drivers are responsible and considerate. 🙂

        • The figure I read recently is that a fifth of Berliners commute primarily by bike … which doesn’t mean there aren’t problematic car drivers, I suppose. But it’s a huge contrast to here.

  11. He seems to be doing very well on the American accents. Ah yes Aluminum foil and Tin foil both are known here. I would have to asks sis-in- law reg German accent, she teaches & is full German, I was learning and stopped. Reg: those long magnificent legs..yep.must agree with Jane, those thighs have mesmerized me not only the length but the muscles..gah.

    • yeah. Really the best we’ve seen them since Guy, I think. Thorin got me out of the habit of looking for his legs.

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