German words vs Wisconsin place names #richardarmitage

About three people will find this funny, but I learned how to use the voiceover of my iMovie, so there’s that … also, I’m not making any especial effort about pronunciation, just sort of chatting along. Ah, well.

~ by Servetus on September 14, 2016.

61 Responses to “German words vs Wisconsin place names #richardarmitage”

  1. You should be doing radio.

    • I vehemently agree.

      • Me too. Your voice is somehow soothing. It reminds me of a woman on the radio I listened to years ago – she would read poetry in between the music selections.

      • so — Wisconsin place names or German words? You definitely have a dog in this fight 🙂

        • Living in Canada with our share of native and French place names I think I could wrap my tongue around the Wisconsin place names once I hear them a few times, the German, however, not in a million years.

  2. I don’t know if you recall this, but SO did radio for 10 years. If he can do it, you can. : D

  3. You’re all very sweet!

  4. I loved this video. There is something about your voice, and manner of speaking which are completely not what I would have expected. It is quite soothing, yet at the same time you made the material seem just a tiny bit funny. Radio could be a great fit for your next chapter. Something on the lines of NPR, or a local show where you could still be teaching in a way. At the very least, please keep doing little videos for us. BTW, CT also has a Berlin, and it is pronounced the same way as Wisconsin’s.

    • I think that pattern with Berlin was pretty broad. I was looking up the number of communities named Berlin in the US — there are a lot of them.

  5. OK that one is easy, German words of course. It reminds me of when I was in basic for the Army Wisconsin Guards and the one girl from Texas who said I talked funny, what was neat was her trying to say Wisconsin. I can think of a lot of places in Wisconsin that people have no idea how to say. Reminds me of my married name which maybe 1% of the people I meet ever say right, they say it as it sounds and it’s not like that.

  6. lol Say ‘Speckschneckchen’ or ‘Puddingpulverabfüllsaal’ after a bottle of wine….thanks for the vid, this is hilarious!!!

    • You were one of the three people I thought might laugh at this. I challenge you to record yourself saying “Ebbelwoi.” Just for fun. Before or after a few glasses 🙂

      My German got better after one drink, but worse after two or more 🙂

      • First you joke on twitter and then you end up in a hilarous blogpost 😂 That’s the way it is……
        Wir waren gerne behilflich 😊

        • You were the second person I thought might laugh 🙂

          • Voll ins Schwarze getroffen. Übrigens hat das Wort “Speckschnecksche” auch noch eine andere Bedeutung (=Dickerchen). Bestenfalls liebevoll, aber doch hart die Beleidigung streifend 😁

            • I think Armitage is not at huge risk. It comes off badly if you insult someone but mispronounce the insult 🙂

              • Stimmt. Man sollte immer auch bei Beleidigungen die größtmögliche Sorgfalt walten lassen.

                • I was reading a really funny thread on a discussion forum a few days ago when I was thinking about the “verdammt” question. It was started by an American who wanted to insult some German coworkers in the most brutal way possible. She wrote in for advice about how to do it. She wanted to say something like “Fickt euch” originally, but the discussion pointed out that that would sound odd in German. They tried to point out to her that appropriate insults are highly contextual, but she wasn’t having it. She setlled on “Sie sind alle verdammte Arschlöcher” and someone pointed out that you don’t typically insult someone with formal address. The discussion went on for pages. In the end, she’d have saved time just swearing at them in English, which they would have understood anyway.

                  • Klassischer Fall von “etwas zerreden”. Hätte sie einfach gesagt: “ihr bescheuerten Arschgesichter”, das passt immer und dann wäre die Angelegenheit vom Tisch gewesen. Hätte sie mal hier gefragt 😎

      • What can I say but: I like to laugh 😉
        Oh my, I feared someone would suggest that sooner or later….. lol

  7. Hehe, nice comparison. Damn, it seems I missed a great conversation on Twitter yesterday 😉
    As a German I of course find the Wisconsin words much harder to pronounce – especially the native American ones. It looks to me as if it is the intonation that really poses the biggest difficulty in them, and as a non-native speaker that is what always trips me up (not the actual sounds so much). The intonation was also what I found interesting about the place name ‘Berlin’ in Wisconsin, because you seem to put the stress on the first syllable, which we don’t do when it comes to the German capital.
    Those long German words are a hoot – but they are, like you said, mostly artificial and created for the purpose of correct descriptions within a bureaucratic, legal setting. Mind you, there are some hilarious examples from RL that are still very long. ‘Straßenbahnhaltestelle’ is the prime example.
    ‘Geröntgt’ is an absolute bummer, even for Germans. But again – an artificial word of sorts, as it is derived of the name of the inventor of the x-ray, Dr. Wilhelm Röntgen.
    BTW, I think it is most often the really simple German words that prove difficult for non-native speakers. I tend to take a impish delight in making English-speakers repeat the word ‘schnüffeln’. The ü Umlaut trips them up, and the L in ‘eln’ always seems to be turned into an R. I’m sure you can pronounce it properly.

    • Mir begegnen immer mal wieder Leute, die zum “Sychologen” gehen. Vielleicht auf der Suche nach dem P?
      Auch anderes bringt die Leute an ihre Grenzen: Immobiliar wird zu Immobilar. Mir knirscht das dann immer in den Ohren 😆 Manche Wörter haben offensichtlich deutlich zu viele Vokale….

    • Guylty, please train me to say it next time we meet. What does it mean, by the way?

    • I can tell you why it might be happening to an American; I’m guessing it has to do with issues about tongue placement for “l”. If I were saying my usual American “l” I’d put my tongue behind my teeth and slide it between them (or just put it between my teeth). If I did that with “schnüffeln,” I’d be pronouncing the “l” wrong. When I say the word in Germany, for that “l” I put my tongue well behind my teeth, on or almost on the alveolar ridge. I’m not accustomed to that consonant, and if I add to that the “e” vowel, for which I have to widen my mouth more than I would in English, it’s hard to articulate the percussion of the “l” very much. The result is that it sounds like the vowel is coming from somewhere else, possibly the back of my throat (a uvular noise). If it’s any consolation, Americans have a similar problem with the palatalized “l” in Russian (something I learned in my abortive single semester of Russian in college).

      • Yes, I think the German L requires the tongue quite flat against the roof of your mouth, hardly touching the teeth at all, whereas an American L seems to be much further forward. And it is hard to overcome the muscle memory of creating those sounds. Hence my English Ls are not quite right, either…

    • One that my German teacher in college spent a lot of time on is “Streichholzschachtelchen.”

      • That is a nice one indeed, especially because it has the CH in two different variations in it. It gets easier if you turn the A into an Ä and all CHs become palatal fricatives.

  8. German words are harder, no contest! What a great video 😃 And like other commenters, you have a super voice 😀

    • i suspect most people in Wisconsin agree. Although I was musing this morning about what must have happened when the Germans got here (after 1848) and encountered the Indian names.

  9. Wow! You have such a nice voice! Very pleasant to my ears 😉 (I’m very sensitive to voices) You should do radio. And since I’m studying German, German words are easier than Wisconsin ones 😉

  10. I found the place names much easier than the German words! having lived primarily in Ohio and Indiana, Native American place names are more familiar to me. there is also a Berlin in Ohio, they want the emphasis to be on that first syllable so that it almost sounds like you’re rolling the ending. here in Indiana we have Versailles, which the locals pronounce as Ver-say-lees. I always mess it up b/c I forget & say it the french way.

  11. You have such a mello mid-western accent, which I love. Lord help me when I ever try to pronounce German with a Pittsburgh accent. it is extremely hard. I have had to do and re-do with sis-in-law who is German.

    • Well, one reason the Midwestern accent is this way is that it was settled primarily by northern Europeans / Scandinavians — we got our vowels from them. More pronounced in Minnesota. But I’m sure you’re fine with your Pittsburgh, too 🙂

  12. Danke, dass du mich heute Nacht noch zum Grinsen gebracht hast. Das war bitter nötig, auch wenn ich mich erst jetzt dazu aufrapple, es dir auch mitzuteilen. Ich war zu platt. 😉

    Was den Ebbelwoi angeht: Du sagst das insgesamt fünfmal, und ich finde Nr. 3 und 4 sehr, sehr gut getroffen. 🙂

    • platt or Plattdeutsch? 🙂

      Thanks for the evaluation. People used to play jokes about Hessisch for me all the time, and my first reaction was always, I can’t tell what it’s funny until I can tell what they are saying. It’s really hard to imitate.

  13. Fabulous video and I concur, your voice is lovely. I wonder if your lectures were soothing once upon a time? =) It’s always fascinated me how certain voices just lend themselves to recording or radio, while others (like mine) would be a real headache for the listeners. I did have Green Bay right in my head, and Pottawatamie (we have a county in OK spelled and pronounced the same way) but I fear I never knew Wisconsin started with a “wuh”! I love stuff like this. Reminds me of a small town which was about 30 minutes from our house when we first moved to Oklahoma. The locals would say something like “Ya’ll need to run down to My-am-uh and try that buffalo burger!” and when we finally did, we were startled to read the sign of the town was “Miami, OK”!

    • Soothing or soporific? 🙂 It may be good to sound soothing when you lecture mostly about religious warfare and mass destruction.

      OK would probably be another possibility for people who could hold their own here, as there are so many native names there. I find these things fascinating, too. When I moved to my first “real” job in Rolla, Missouri, I learned that the town had been founded by people from NC, which was the only thing that explained how it was pronounced.

  14. The vid is really good! the Wisconsin words are much harder to pronounce. For me it was also interesting how do you have pronounced the french names.
    Re Streichholzschächtelchen, I think a lot of people has difficulties with ch and sch. For french people it is very hard to say Kirche and Kirsche. Also Speckschnittchen. My children are bilingual german\french and I let them try to repeat the words. How funny!

    • Aha, a French speaker. Yes, we really chew our way through those names. Although our French phase is far in the past now (ended in 1763; I had to look up the date of the French and Indian War). Most of the French who lived here then were missionaries or fur traders and not that many stayed when the soldiers withdrew. They survive more as place names than anything else — oh, and everyone learns about the jolly voyageurs in school, lol. When I was a kid I was fascinated by the Butte des Morts story.

  15. I finally got a chance to listen to this, and wanted to say that you did an amazing job.

  16. Ha. Whenever I visit Wisconsin my friends there jokingly make me say ‘Wisconsin’ to see if I’m still a local or not.

  17. LOL! This was fun! And so lovely to hear your voice too!
    A little addition: when I think of long German words, the one that springs to my mind is “Eisenbahn-knotenpunkt-hin-und-her-schieber-angestelter”

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