On Languages

How good is your English?
Na, wie steht`s mit eurem Englisch?

Good English, well spoken and well written, will open more doors than a college degree. Bad English will slam doors you didn’t even know existed.

Gutes Englisch in Sprache und Schrift öffnet mehr Türen als ein College-Abschluss. Schlechtes Englisch verschließt einem Türen, von denen man nicht einmal etwas ahnte.

William Raspberry (Washington Post Columnist) – what a sweet name😉

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Zuerst einmal, wir, die liebklugen Buchfeen Siri und Selma, sind keine native speakers und unsere liebe Dina und Masterchen auch nicht. Aber wir lieben Englisch🙂 , wobei unser English häufig zum Denglisch oder BSE (Bad Simple English) verkommt. Sorry. Wir geben uns ja Mühe, aber habt ihr schon bemerkt, wenn man eine Fremdsprache spricht, wird man zu einer anderen Person. “Das hängt mit dem anderen Denken zusammen“, erklärte uns Masterchen. “Sprache ist der Ausdruck von Wahrnehmung und Denken und so verwundert es nicht, dass die pragmatischen Engländer den Positivismus begründeten, der kurz und knapp etwas ausdrückt. Englisch ist ideal, um Betriebsanleitungen zu schreiben – naja. Die deutsche Sprache hat dagegen diesen Idealisten Hegel hervorgebracht, der sein dialektisches Denken in komplexen syntaktischen Strukturen darlegt, die im Englischen höfliches Kopfnicken des Unverständnisses hervorrufen würden” und so weiter und so fort … Aber Eines haben wir uns hinter die Ohren geschrieben: Gutes English ist meist kurz und knapp – aber oft vieldeutig und individuell. Das steht im Gegensatz zu Hegel, der in seinen sprachphilosophischen Schrift schrieb, dass dem Philosophen das Individuelle “nichts angehe“.

You may have noticed that we, Siri and Selma, your dear and wise Bookfayries, are not native speakers, neither are our beloved Dina nor our Master. But we absolutely adore the English language🙂, although our English often degenerates to Germanisms or BSE ( Bad Simple English). Sorry! We really try hard, but you surely have already noticed when speaking a foreign language, you will change, becoming another person. ” This is because the other way of thinking“, explained our Master teacherlike. “Language is an expression of perception and thought. So it is hardly surprising that the pragmatic English “invented” Positivism, which is short and concise. This makes English the ideal language for user manuals – well … The German language produced the Idealist Hegel, who explains his dialectical thinking in highly complex syntactic structures, which would cause a polite nod of incomprehension in English” … and so on and so forth … However, we learned that good English is usually short and to the point – but at the same time often ambiguous and individual. This side was of little interest to Hegel, who wrote in his philosophocial works about language “for the philosopher the individual is of no concern “.

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The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

Das Problem mit der Verteidigung der reinen englischen Sprache liegt darin begründet, dass Englisch so rein wie eine Weihnachtskrippenhure [schöner Ausdruck!] ist. Wir übernehmen nicht nur Worte, sondern Englisch überwältig andere Sprachen und filzt ihre Taschen nach neuem Vokabular

James D. Nicoll,  “The King’s English”

Zur reinen englischen Sprache hier ein feines Beispiel eines von Gott erleuchteten Bloggers, der einem Erfolg – welchen wohl? – verspricht, falls man ihm folgt:
If u r a hurry man then note down u r  vulnerable to loose easily what u have got or earned
Soviel zum reinen Englisch – vom unenglischen Amerikanisch, in dem der Bostoner sein “cah pahks” und das verlorene r südwestwärts wandert, weswegen der Texaner sein car “warshed” (stimmt doch, lieber Pit?), wollen wir erst gar nicht reden. Mir, der liebklugen Siri, fiel Shakespeare dazu ein, der freilich wie Goethe immer ein leidlich passendes Zitat bereithält: “Here will be an old abusing of God’s patience and the King’s English.

For the pure English language: Here is a fine example of an deeply Christian blogger, who promises his followers success – hmmmmm:
If u r a hurry man then note down u r  vulnerable to loose easily what u have got or earned”
So much for pure English – we will not even mention the un-English American, where his Bostoner “pahks” his “cah” and the lost r’s migrate southwest, causing a Texan to “warsh” his car (isn`t that right, dear Pit!). I, the dear and clever Siri, have to quote Shakespeare immediately (as Shakespeare like Goethe is always handy for fairly appropriate quotes):  “Here will be an old abusing of God’s patience and the King’s English.

Aber es ist längst nicht nur die Sprache an sich (langue), inhaltstragend ist auch, wie sie gesprochen wird (parole). Masterchen erzählte uns öfters – das liegt an seinem Alter, da erzählt man schon `mal etwas mehrmals😉 – wie sehr es ihn verwunderte, dass wenn er mit Karen, einer englischen Freundin, Leute traf, die mit “Hallo!” grüßten, sie sofort wusste, welcher Schicht der Grüßende angehörte. Und es kommt noch besser, wir waren ganz zu Beginn, als wir in England ankamen, mit Masterchen bei einer erschreckend vornehmen Gesellschaft eingeladen. Unser Masterchen stets etwas steif um Höflichkeit bemüht, fragte den Hausherren, der näselnd ihn begrüßte, ob er erkältet sei. Naja, das sollte freundlich klingen – ging aber (fast) voll daneben. Im Raum wurde es totenstill bis auf das Ticken der antiken Standuhr. Wir wussten gar nicht, was los war, bis der Hausherr schallend lachte, worauf die folgsamen Gäste ebenfalls zu lachen begannen und man Masterchen unter Männern zum Whisky aufklärte, dass man so in der Oberschicht “intoniere”.

However, it’s not only the language itself that`s transmitting the content, but also the way is being put across. Our Master told us several times – this is due to his age that he is telling stories several times😉 – how astonished he was when Karen, an English friend, immediately knew which social class people belonged to just by hearing the word “Hello!” This gets even better, at the very beginning soon after our arrival in England, our Master was invited to a shockingly upper-class dinner party. Our Master made an effort to be very polite and questioned his host, who spoke funnily through his nose, whether he had caught a cold. Although he meant to be utterly polite it did come across as the opposite. Suddenly the large room went dead silent except for the ticking of the antique grandfather clock. We Bookfayries did not know what was happening until our host erupted into loud laughter and so he was joined by his obedient guests. Later, while enjoying a single malt in the library with other men (men only, of course!), it was explained to him that it is quite usual for English Upper Class to talk in this way. Well, this UCE intonation (upper class English intonation) sounds quite funny for German speaking fairies😉 – but our Master told us not to laugh.

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Masterchen zitiert Ralph Wiggum von den Simpsons: “Me fail English? That unpossible!
Master quoting Simpsons: “Me fail English? That unpossible!
Siri antwortet mit Bill Bryson: “English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin — a language with which it has precious little in common.
Siri answers quoting Bill Bryson: “English grammar is so complex and confusing for the one very simple reason that its rules and terminology are based on Latin — a language with which it has precious little in common.
Und so war auch dies erklärt.
And so this was explained.

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Auf dem hervorragenden England-Blog von Peggy diskutierten Peggy, Martina und wir über die Beziehungen zwischen Deutsch und Englisch. Der Duden veröffentlichte nämlich dieses Jahr, dass seit einiger Zeit mehr deutsche Wörter ins Englische übernommen werden als umgekehrt, was wir von unserer Sprachumgebung bestätigen können. Es handelt sich speziell um Wörter aus der Philosophie und viele Begriffe aus der Romantik – ja auch der Engländer kennt die “Wanderlust”, das “Leitmotiv” und selbst den “Ersatz” und war er in Gresham`s oder Eton auch “die blaue Blume der Romantik”. Dass Deutsch hoch im Kurs steht, nutzen Porsche und Audi, dessen Vorsprung durch Technik jeder Engländer durch die Werbung kennt. Der Porsche-Konzern, den die Leser der Zeitschrift Deutsche Sprachwelt  zum “Sprachwahrer des Jahres” wählten, erklärte dazu, dass sich zumindest in der innerbetrieblichen Kommunikation schlechtes Deutsch besser als gutes Englisch bewähre. Genauer könnt ihr das hier nachlesen. Da schlägt gleich Dinas Herz höher, die eine heiße Verehrerin der deutschen Sprache ist, sie will von Masterchen stets korrigiert werden, aber hallo! …
Englisch, das müssen wir Buchfeen neidlos zugeben, liegt allerdings voll im modernen Trend  zur Sprachverkürzung. Immer ist das Deutsche länger als seine englische Übersetzung (seht ihr auch hier), die damit der Tendenz der modernen Medien entgegenkommt. Wir Buchfeen erkühnen uns zu behaupten, dass somit Englisch wie gemacht für die Kommunikation in unserem Zeitalter der Beschleunigung ist. Wir wollen mit unseren Beiträgen jedoch entschleunigen …

Peggy, Martina and Masterchen discussed the relations between German and English on the excellent bilingual England Blog by Peggy a couple of days ago. The Duden (the highest authority for the German language) published this year, that for some time more German words are taken over into English than vice versa, which we can confirm from our surroundings. These are specifically words from philosophy and many terms from the Romantics – yes, the Englishman knows the “wanderlust”, the “leitmotiv” and even the “ersatz” and if he was at Gresham `s or Eton he even knows “die blaue blume der romantik”. The fact that German is at a premium is used by Audi and Porsche. Every Englishmen knows “Vorsprung durch Technik” from the Audi advertisement. The Porsche company was voted by the readers of “Deutsche Sprachwelt” (German Language World) as the best custodian of the German language. And we were amazed that the Porsche management found out that bad German stands the test of understanding better than good English – at least in the internal communication. Dina`s heart will beat faster reading this, as she is a great admirer of the German language.
But we have to admit, English is following the modern trend towards shortening language, a trend especially obvious in modern Social Media. A German text is always longer than its English translation (as you see here). We presume that English is thus made ​​for the communication in our age of acceleration. But we want to slow down with our posts …

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Michel Foulcault, den Masterchen sehr liebt, obwohl er im Wahn endete (Foucault, nicht Masterchen ;-)), meinte, jede Sprache drücke auch eine bestimmte Art der Machtausübung aus. Spiegelt es sich in der Sprache wider, dass England früh demokratisch wurde und Deutschland den Faschismus hervorbrachte, wobei allerdings die Engländer im Burenkrieg … naja … Uns fällt auf, dass in England die Machtausübung meistens höflich bis geradezu charmant geschieht, ja, grundsätzlich wird im Englischen nicht an Höflichkeitsformen und Konjunktiven gespart, da kann man als Deutscher nur vor Neid erblassen. Der “Genius der Volksart bedingt die Sprache” schrieb Herder in seiner Sprachphilosophie, in der er übrigens Shakespeare hoch lobt – was jedoch zu seiner Zeit modisch war.

Michel Foucault, who is very much liked by our Master although he ended in the madhouse (Foucault – not our Master ;-)), wrote that each language always expresses a certain exercise of power. Is it reflected in the English language that England looks back to a long time of democracy and Germany brought forth fascism, although the British in the Boer War … well … We noticed that exercising power often happens in England politely to downright charming. Yes, do not save on politeness and conjunctivae in English! “The genius of the folk`s style conditions the language” wrote Herder in his philosophy of language in which he praises Shakespeare – but this was downright fashionable in his time.

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Kurz und gut, uns gefällt am Englischen besonders seine Zweideutigkeit. Hier im Dorf gab`s eine beliebte Barfrau, der es gelang quasi zwei Diskurse zugleich zu sprechen. Einmal die Unverbindlichkeiten im Plauderstil witzig vorgebracht und zugleich drückte sie mit diesen Worten für den Eingeweihten eine intime Betrachtung des Gesprächpartners aus. Unser Masterchen fand das überhaupt nicht ungewöhnlich, ihn erinnert diese Fähigkeit des doppelzüngigen Diskurses an die Dichtung der Sufis, die über die Einheit mit Gott und zugleich über sinnliche Begierden berichtet, man kann z.B. Nizami so oder so verstehen – wie die englische Barfrau.

We like English particularly for its ambiguity. A popular barmaid in one of our pubs manages to speak two discourses at the same time: On one level a funny chat and at the same time she expresses with these same words the intimate view of the conversation partner to another listener. Our Masterchen found this not at all unusual, it reminds him of the duplicitous discourse of the poetry of the Sufis who wrote about the unity with God and at the same time about carnal desires, you can understand this or that  – as the English barmaid.

Englisch schreit danach, anders verstanden zu werden
English asks for being understood
differently

Siri

Zuguterletzt noch diese englische Eigenschaft in Zitaten zu reden. Eco hätte hier seine Freude, fast jeder englische Diskurs weist, ganz postmodern, intertextuelle Elemente auf. Im ganz normalen Plaudern mit meinem Nachbarn in meiner Straße sprechen Shakespeare, Dickens und selbst Kinderbuchautoren mit. Das gehobene Englisch ist mit so mit literarischen Anspielungen gespickt, dass, würde man dies im Deutschen nachahmen, wie Angeberdeutsch klingen würde. Und so drawing on our fine command of the English language, we say nothing more und lassen George Orwell das Schlusswort:

Last but not least about the English way to speak in quotes: Umberto Eco would love that almost every English discourse is quite postmodern with all its inter-textual elements. In normal chatting with the neighbours in my lane Shakespeare, Dickens and even children’s book authors are talking too. The better the English the more it is peppered with literary allusions and quotes. In German it would sound like showing-off-speaking. And so, drawing on our fine command of the English language, we say nothing more and let George Orwell the final word:

To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.

Englisch zu zu schreiben und zu sprechen, ist keine Wissenschaft sondern eine Kunst. Wer auch immer in Englisch schreibt, wird mit jeden Satz kämpfen. Er wird gegen Unbestimmtheit, gegen Unklarheit, gegen die Verführung der dekorativen Adjektive, gegen Lateinisches und Griechisches, gegen überstrapazierte Wendungen und tote Metaphern kämpfen, die die Sprache verstopfen.

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Also tschüss denn … ach nee, schnell noch einen wichtigen Rat für Deutsche von mir, der liebklugen Selma:
In Gesprächen stets übertrieben untertreiben

Bye for now … but wait! An important hint from me, Selma Bookfayrie, for all the Germans going to the UK: You never go wrong with understatement in England!

Bis nächstes Mal
Love

Siri und Selma🙂🙂 und überhaupt … die Fabulous Four

© for all texts and photos by Hanne Siebers, Bonn/Germany, and Klausbernd Vollmar, Cley next the Sea/England, 2013

255 thoughts

  1. Liebe Hanne, liebe Buchfeen,

    ich habe hier im schwarzen Wald mit vielen EngländerInnen zu tun, was meinem Sprachschatz zugute kam- aber eins wurde auch sehr schnell klar, sie verstehen unseren Humor nicht immer und wir ihren … manches Mal schaute ich in verlegene Gesichter, ich beherrsche nämlich diese höfliche Form nicht immer und überall und schon gar nicht, wenn ich mich ärgere. Dies wiederum stieß bei einer Engländerin dann doch oft auf Unverständnis …

    meine Versuche meine Texte im Blog auch ins Englische zu übersetzen zeigte mir nun, dass es wahrlich anders ist in einer fremden Sprache zu reden, denn zu schreiben … trotz alle dem macht es mir Spaß und manchmal finde ich es sogar einfacher etwas im Englischen auszudrücken und nicht nur wegen dem kürzerem Weg😉

    have a nice time
    herzlichst Ulli

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    • Guten Morgen, liebe Ulli,

      ja, dieser vielzitierte englische Humor … Wenn ein Engländer einen Witz macht – und er versucht meistens witzig zu sein -, dann bleibt sein Gesicht völlig straight. Kein Lächeln verzieht seinen Mund und er spricht gleich weiter, ohne eine Lachpause einzulegen. Manchmal denke ich, je ernster das Gesicht eines Engländers, desto witziger war`s, was er sagte.
      Ich habe auch einige Gebiete, in denen ich besser Englisch als Deutsch rede. Das hängt natürlich mit meiner Lebenssituation zusammen, z.B. alle DIY Sachen (also Basteln, Reparieren etc.) kann ich besser in Englisch ausdrücken als in Deutsch, da ich in Deutschland kein Haus besaß und ein Bibliotheks- und Seminarhocker war.
      Da ich meistens in Englisch lese, fällt mir das Schreiben weniger schwer, naja, und small talk kommt mir leicht von den Lippen, da man da in England weitgehend Textbausteine benutzt. Auch der Ablauf ist klar: Es beginnt mit dem Wetter, dann die Frage, was man so gemacht hat und dann geht`s je nachdem, wie der andere antwortet, munter weiter oder man verabschiedet sich freundlich.

      Eine wunderschöne Vorweihnachtszeit wünschen der Weisen vom Berg
      die Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

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    • Liebe Ulli,

      zuerst, wir finden dein Englisch sehr gut, hut ab! Mit deiner bilingualen Vorstellung von “Gamuppels Sternenreise” waren wir “very Impressed”, indeed.
      Weiter unten, bei Lagottocattleya, habe ich eine sehr anschauliche Tabelle eingefügt. Was sagt der Engländer, was meint er damit und wie wird er/es oft (mis)verstanden…

      Ich hoffe, ihr habt die Hochzeit gut überstanden und feiert jetzt immer noch, mit einem fröhlichen und besinnlichen Advent, etwas nach.

      Hurra, ich habe die Arbeit für dieses Jahr gerade beendet!🙂 Das werden wir am Dina-Donnerstag gebührend in Cley feiern.

      Dir und Deine eine schöne Zeit, Du Liebe
      Sei herzlich gegrüßt und umarmt
      Hanne

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  2. One contemporary writer that examines how American English has changed and is changing is John McWhorter, see his ‘Our magnificent bastard tongue’ – Bill Bryson is also great on this subject. A number of other authors inhabit my bookshelves…. I love the history of English. I love the possibilities that English allows a writer in spite of its simple grammar and linearity .
    Thanks for this post ! Vera

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    • Thanks, dear Vera, for commenting.
      Funny that you mention Bill Bryson. He lives nor far from where I am living. I love his books.
      Your magnificent bastard tongue is here in rural Norfolk seen as a foreign language. An American Lady ordered in the local pub some water pronouncing water in a broad American way. The smiling barman answered in the finest Queen`s English: “Sorry, my dear, but I am afraid we don`t have this ‘water’ (pronounced in her way).”
      I don`t know much about the difference between American and English, although I lived for years in Montreal and Vermont. But in both places the French influence is quite strong and, of course, in Canada most of the people I met spoke un-American because they are Canadians and don`t want to be taken for USAmericans.
      I wish you a happy Weekend
      Klausbernd
      Greetings from the Fabulous Four

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    • Well, there was snobbery in that remark. And in my opinion it was rude as well, especially coming form a service person.
      The Queen’s’ English sounds very stuffy and even ridiculous when heard on this side of the waTer… but people here do not put down those who happen to speak it. …Sorry, I had to say that…
      English is an acquired language for me. I am quite aware of the differences in these two forms of English but I try to refrain from believing that one is BETTER than the other.

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    • Of course, the barman’s reply that was naughty – but don’t you exspect a barman to be at least a little bit naughty? He was liked because of being naughty.
      And some snobbery adds to the eccentricity, doesn’t it? We like it in literary figures like Hercule Poirrot or Sherlock Holmes.
      When I am invited to dinner parties to my neighbours or they come around – all intellectual upper middle class, Eton, Oxbridge etc. – they always make fun about some landowners here speaking with this upper-class intonation. For them it sounds “ridicolous” for me only funny. Maybe they joke about it because their parents used to talk like this? It’s not a question of better or worse it`s a question of the social function and ethics. If it is important for you to show everybody immediately which class you are then it’s fine, if you have different social ideals it isn’t.
      Thanks for the dispute – I like controversies, I have to admit😉
      Klausbernd

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    • Thanks for the dispute from me as well– I like controversies too. I enjoy blogging because everyone can communicate their opinion. I admire Opinionators who speak up as long as they present THEIR point of view without any critical finger-pointing at the rest of us. What would we be without our preferences?

      What I really like about blogging; I learn so much, it’s highly educating and great fun! Not only preparing our own posts, but reading all the good posts from so many amazingly talented people all around the world. I have found a few dear mentors out there and I feel deeply grateful for all the help and support that you so generously offer. THANK YOU ALL!🙂

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    • @ Vera,
      I had a look into “Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English” von John McWhorter. Thank you so much for introducing this fine work by the famous professor of linguist, this sounds most interesting.

      To paraphrase John McWhorter: Normal people are interested in words while linguists are interested in grammar.
      In Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, John McWhorter calls this everyday, normal-person view of the English language “the vanilla version” of the history of English. In this version Germanic tribes invaded England, pushed the Celts to the fringes of the British Isles, and eventually Old English (Beowulf) became Middle English (Chaucer) became Modern English (Shakespeare), with infusions of Latin and Norman French after the Conquest in 1066. In the vanilla version, English lost its case endings on its own and became the most gramatically simple Germanic language.

      I’ve put in on my list to get in England. Like you, what I love the most about the English language: the possibilities that English allows me as a foreigner to express myself. Sometimes I’m at lack for words in Norwegian, but English still offers so many ways and wonderful words to make myself clear.

      As far as The Queen’s English and The American English are concerned; I agree totally with you.
      Should I ever choose the wrong establishment and a service person would treat myself or anyone in my company in a rude manner like this, I’d no problem to report this to the management. This has happened to me in Germany as well as in England. I’d leave immediately. I’m not amused and definitely not impressed with snobbism like this. English is an acquired language for me as well as for you and the influence of many stays across the water is obvious. This is my English and that’s fine with me, I refuse to let go. Siri and Selma think I’m stubborn, but I tell them to go and wash their mouth if they get too cheeky.🙂
      Being DIFFERENT is one thing, being BETTER is beside the point. “We are british, we are different” – this is a slogan just as “Typical for Norfolk”; it’s outmost important to be different. That’s one of the reasons why I love England.🙂

      Thanks for your kind comment, Vera. Have a lovely Sunday!
      Dina

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    • Dear Readers of Dina’s Blog
      I must admit, I prefer to read an article where the author speaks out openly what he thinks. If we try to be correct all the time (and we’ll never be 100% correct anyway), you kill all the fun! I know why I and thousands and thousands of viewer enjoy the eccentric H. Poirot played by David Suchet.
      I love German, it’s a beautiful language – although I have to exclude “Sächsich” and I know that a lot of my friends in Germany don’t like it either. If possible, I do my best to avoid the language border.🙂
      Thanks for this great reading and the many, long and very interesting comments. Not to forget the fine photos!
      Best regards from Denmark
      Markus

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    • Hi, dear Markus,
      do you know, when our dear Master gets his eccentric moments we call that “he is poiroting”.
      Our Master taught us to speak out what we think, “but always be aware that there are many ways to see something.”
      Have a GREAT relaxing happy Christmas time with many presents, food and drink
      All the best to you in Denmark
      (by the way, Danish Vikings ruled Norfolk quite well and founded the cities like Norwich, Kings Lynn and, of course, where we live, the dear Bookfayries🙂🙂 in the bookshelves No.3 and 4. near all the Scandinavian literature – our Master loves Jorn Riel and Saabye Christensen)
      Best regards
      Siri and Selma
      Greetings from our Master who is cleaning the terrace
      Our beloved Dina is busy packing

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  3. Some interesting observations on English and German – I definitely agree with “wenn man eine Fremdsprache spricht, wird man zu einer anderen Person” . Isn’t it a way of “fittting in” too? A conscious attempt to be accepted? I find I make more statements in German than English, as in the English language so many sentences end with a tag question “don’t you? isn’t it?, haven’t we?” etc etc! I also find I can’t be as funny in the German language as puns on words rarely work. Thank you for getting me thinking about this and I wish all (fabulous) four of you a great weekend!

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    • Dear Cathy,
      how are you today?
      That`s an interesting point you made: You change into another person speaking another language because you want to fit in his or her culture. I never thought about this before and I don`t know if I agree. It seems much more to me that`s the other way of thinking which make me change. I always understood it like this: I identify with my way of thinking and if I change it I, as whole person, change as well. But I suppose you are right too, especially if one lives in a foreign country.
      You make more statements in German than in English. Well, the English tend to disguise their statements😉
      I express myself more in a Romantic way in German, using more moody descriptions and talking in much longer sentences. I would say, in German my Anima – as my female side – is more present whereas in English I hear my Animus – my male side – talking straight to the point.
      Well, and those questions at the end in English … There is an equivalent in German as well “findest du nicht?”
      We wish you a happy weeekend
      the Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

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  4. A very amusing and informative article, illustrated by some super sharp photos too! It is always interesting to me, to see how others view England, and the English language. I have studied both the language, and the literature, since my early schooldays, and I am often none the wiser for that. It has a complexity muddied by the inclusion and acceptance of so many words from other languages; Latin, French, Italian, some German, with newer ones arriving daily. (We all know what Sushi is nowadays…) Then there are the Viking place names, as well as the Welsh, Gaelic, and Breton influences too. It is impossible to say that it bears any resemblance to what may have been spoken prior to the Norman Conquest, or indeed as recently as the 17th Century.
    Of course, as I am English, and can enjoy my language spoken back to me in almost any country in the world, I am both grateful, and lucky. This is undoubtedly the influence of the Americans, at least in modern times, although their insistence on spelling so much incorrectly can be galling.
    Great post as usual, and very enjoyable reading.
    Regards as always, from Beetley, Pete.

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    • Dear Pete,
      thank you for your kind comment🙂
      If we look at the literature of both languages then German and English are much more alike. You only need to look at a novel f.e. of Julian Barnes to find complex syntactical structures there as in German. If we go back in the history of literature both languages are even more alike, lets take “The Canterbury Tales”: You will find a lot of parallels to the German literature and expressions of the same time.
      Well, but there is this difference between written and spoken language where, I suppose, the differences are clearer. Siri and Selma looked more at the differences between English and German, nevertheless both languages have a similar Germanic sub-structure (Chomsky) and both are influenced by Latin as well. In AHD (Althochdeutsch – Old High German, about 700 to 1000 AD) Germans and English people could understand each other without problems, well, to read the “Beowulf” is easy for a German person having learned AHD.
      But on the other hand living in England now for such a while I see more the differences, especially in the way of thinking. And there I agree with Siri and Selma, there is quite a difference.
      We wish you a relaxing weekend
      the Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

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  5. I’m fascinated that you like English for its ambiguity. While the Brits tend to be polite (as you said), Americans are (mostly) forthright. No tippy toeing or delicacy. My fellow countryfolk have lost that Old World ethical standard. On the other hand the blend of cultures has made us who we are, and developed our language in its own direction. Now every language has global influences. Recently, I was discussing this subject with a British historian. Great post, really enjoyed it.

    Like

    • Dear Sally,
      you are so right, the Brits – at least of my surrounding – are very polite and always subtle. Maybe that`s because we are more or less consciously proud of our old history. Actually we are a mixture of languages too, of Greek, Latin and different Germanic languages. English and German are blends of older languages whereas American is more a blend of modern languages and with the heritage of the oild languages an ethical standard was transported. This would be my Explanation – but I am not a specialist. I studied Germanic languages and don`t know much about the history of your language. It`s a pity – when studied lingistics in the sixties it was absolutely out to look at America – except we all admired Noam Chomsky (for his political engagement as well).
      Thanks for your inspiring comment and have a happy weekend
      The Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

  6. Ah those Bookfayries are very clever little people. I enjoyed this discussion of the English language and as beetleypete says our English language is definitely muddied and muddled by all those invasions (including the Vikings). As someone who studied Latin at school I can see where a lot of words derive, but find it most useful in the garden🙂
    We English are fortunate that the rest of the world has taken English on board as the preferred second language, but it makes it awfully difficult for us to know which language to study as OUR second language. Mandarin anyone?
    Jude xx

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    • Hi, dear Jude,
      yeah, it`s a pity, when they voted in the early American states for a language German lost by one (!) vote against English. Well, so you are the lucky ones and we others we have to learn hard getting English into our heads and across our lips. We wish some compassion, please!
      When I attended school in Germany we had to learn Latin and a little bit of Old Greek and English and we could choose as additional languages between Russion and Spanish – but nobody was choosing those languages because that meant extra time and work.
      By the way I had to study 9 years of Latin because after 6 years (that was the MUST) my mark was desastrous (the worst one). But in my time when you wanted to study philosophy, languages and literature, medicine, biology and arts you had to have a paper that was called “Großes Latinum” (well, a qualification in Latin). With such a bad mark after 6 years I didn`t get it and so I went on. After 9 years my mark was right and I got this bloomin paper. Nowadays I see how much it helps to have learned Latin. In beginning when I just had moved to Norfolk I quite often had difficulties finding the right word. If I used the Latin word ponounced in the English way there was always somebody who understood it and quite often there existed at least a similar word – going back to this Latin word – in English.
      The Fabulous Four wish you a happy weekend
      Klausbernd🙂

      Like

    • Thanks for this KB, we certainly were the lucky ones, I didn’t know that! And I admire you greatly for 9 years of studying Latin. And for your command of the English language – all four of you🙂
      Jude xx

      Like

  7. Wonderful post on one of my favorite topics. I am such a different person when I think/speak/write in German, that I’m hoping one to spend some significant time writing in German (not translating), but thinking and composing in German–just to see what comes out.

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    • Dear Tracy,
      I share your feeling, only the other way round. It took me quite a while not to translate any more, what`s deadly, of course, but to think in English when I am writing or speaking in your language. And I noticed that`s the point not to translate into English but to become English to speak and write a good English. Maybe that`s only possible if one moves into the other country for quite a time to learn its language.
      Anyway, I wish you to get deeper and deeper into my dear language – actually I should have written in German😉
      Enjoy the weekend
      The Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

    • Hallo, Klausbernd,

      Weil ich nicht genug Möglichkeiten finde, deutsch zu lesen, freue ich mich immer, wenn ich “Briefe” auf deutsch bekomme. Auf deutsch zu sprechen geht bei mir immer noch ganz gut, aber die Sprache zu schreiben habe ich nie richtig gelernt oder geübt. Ich wohnte nur ein Jahr in Hamburg (als Austauschschülerin), und habe sprechen und verstehen ziemlich schnell gelernt, weil die Sprache mir einfach so sehr herrlich (witzig!) und bildlich vorkam. Ich bin ein glücklicher Mensch, wenn ich auf deutsch denke…

      Ich glaube auch, man lernt auf einer anderen Sprache zu denken, nur wenn man für längere Zeit mitten drin in der Sprache lebt. Das habe ich allerdings in den spät 70-ern gemacht, und habe natürlich das Sprachgefühl etwas verloren.

      Grüße aus New England,
      Tracy

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    • Liebe Tracy,
      das ist aber eine Überraschung! Dein Deutsch ist doch einwandfrei, Siri und Selma meinen: “Super!”
      Es ist witzig, bei mir war es genau umgekehrt wie bei dir: Ich lebte mehrere Jahre in Vermont (als ich in Montreal arbeitete) und zog dann kurz nach Hamburg, bevor ich mich in Norfolk niederließ.
      Ich sprach einst als kleines Kind fließend Schwedisch, aber da ich es seit Ewigekeiten nicht mehr benutzte, spreche ich fast nichts mehr, ganz zu schweigen vom Schreiben. Du hast wohl recht, man muss in der Sprache leben oder zumindest einen Austausch in der Sprache haben, um sich in ihr zu Hause zu fühlen – deswegen antworte ich in Deutsch😉 Man braucht dieses von dir zitierte Sprachgefühl. Ich fühle oft, dass ich etwas falsch ausgedrückt, weiß es aber nicht besser zu tun.
      Liebe Grüße und eine gemütliche Vor-Weihnachtszeit wünsche ich dir
      Klausbernd
      und alle Fabulous Four, of course!

      Like

    • Einwandfrei? Dann habe ich doch in den letzten paar Jahren etwas gelernt. Ich denke immer, dass ich mich nicht ernsthaft genug bemühe, die Sprach besser zu lernen, weil alles was ich mache ist für mich nur Spaß (auf deutsch blogs lesen, Skype chats mit Bekannten in Deutschland, ab und zu Zeitschriften und Bücher lesen).

      Und Vermont? Ich wohnte Jahrelang in New Hampshire und war häufig in Burlington, Montreal und Sherbrooke. Wir kennen also die gleich Landschaften!

      Eine nette Vor-Weihnachtsziet wünschen wir (das heisst mein Mann und ich) euch allen auch.

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  8. Had i not known otherwise, I would say you Bookfayries were native English speakers..So, this is such an enjoyable article! With humour and interesting facts and fantasy you guide us through adventures with your master … and your lovely pictures – thank you so much! I will borrow George Orwells words to show my students (they will most certainly agree…) and I will take it into my heart that someone can love English for its ambiguity. (My students will certainly NOT agree…) I wish you all a very pleasant and peaceful weekend.

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    • Hi, dear Lagottocattleya,

      well, the ambiguity is fun, isn`t it? It provides me as a writer with additional dimensions on the level of the word or an expression. I am able to write/speak a text and a subtext at the same time (actually quite postmodern). In German you would need additional words – mostly adjectives – to get the same effect. And not to forget the ambiguity has always an ironic or funny touch. We came from a posh party the other day and Dina`s comment: “Wasn`t it a nice party”. Great! how the word “nice” was used with its connotation boring and dull. Even as a German I see how you can play – and you do so, indeed – with your language much better than we German speaking folks. That`s a very positive side of English. We have the tradition of our great philosophers like Kant, Hegel and Herder f.e. who wanted to explain the world in every detail, they wanted to build theories and systems. Of corse, every ambiguity had to be erased in such a thinking which has its influence on the German way of seeing the world still. Maybe that`s the reason for “German Efficiency”😉

      We wish you a very relaxing happy weekend as well
      The Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

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    • Dear Leya,

      when we go for a walk in Cley and Blakeney and meet (distant) friends and neighbours, we quite often hear “you must come for dinner one night”. If this is not followed up with “when do you have time” etc, it’s not an invitation, just a way of being polite. I find all this expressions amusing.🙂

      Hier is a short list, highly recommended:

      What they say, is not what they mean

      Like

    • That`s what I always tell acquaintance. I`m always very confused, when they call to visit me. I always think *You don`t have got any manners by accepting this at face value.* It is a very precarious position.

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    • This list made me laugh, a lot! As an Englishman I am very familiar with all of these phrases and, when I stop to think about it, your translation of their meaning/usage is very accurate. It’s refreshing to get a ‘foreigner’s’ perspective.

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  9. “Sobre las lenguas” es un buen artículo. Si usted tiene inconvenientes entre la lengua alemana y la inglesa, para mi se agrega el problema para leer este blog y traducirlo al español. El inglés se ha establecido como un lengua internacional. Yo solamente tengo “una llovizna de inglés” que me permite leer y escribir un poco. Generalmente todo debo traducirlo – Gracias a Dios existen los traductores online – de todos modos estos traductores no son exactos, a veces traducen incoherencias 😦
    A cerca de la pureza de los idiomas , esto es algo cada vez más difícil de sostener. El intercambio cultural hace que muchas palabras y frases emigren de un idioma a otro constantemente.
    Saludos.

    “On languages​​’ is a good article. If you have problems between German and English, for me the problem is added to read this blog and translate it into Spanish. English has established itself as an international language. I only have “a drizzle English” that allows me to read and write a little. Usually I translate everything – Thank God there are online translators – translators anyway these are not exact, sometimes translated incoherencies: (
    About the purity of the language, this is something increasingly difficult to sustain. The cultural exchange makes many words and phrases migrate from one language to another constantly.
    Greetings.

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    • Dear Walter,
      thanks for your answer🙂
      You wouldn’t believe it, but I once lived in a country – with a language I never mastered – with a relatively pure language. Well, it’s Finland. Although Finland was first Swedish then Russian it has kept it`s language pure. I give you two examples: “University” and “cigarette” are in most of the languages similar words, not so in Finish. I was so amazed about this that I still remember these words “ylyopisto” and “savukeite” -or quite similar😉 Maybe some Finish Folks is reading this as well and can correct. Anyway the Finish language could probably provide its structure pretty pure because Finish is an own laguage family (together with old Hungarian) and as a full agglutineering language it has NO similarities to any other European language. Maybe that linguistic isolation helps. By the way in the 19th century philosophers of languages got the crazy idea to find out what the most beautiful language is. In the finals was Finish and Italian. You wouldn`t believe it, Finish won. That immediately caused a revolt amomg the opera singers as they had to sing in the most beautiful language but they all fought furiously against Finish and did stick to Italian – and won.
      Another pretty pure language is Icelandic because of splendid isolation. Icelandic is the only language that hasn`t changed much since the early Middle Ages. The Edda by Snorri is understood by every Icelandic kid of today.
      But, of course, you are right, in Central Europe and America every language is a mixture (about other languages I don`t know). I suppose this mixture makes a language changing all the time, well, it makes it alive.
      A happy weekend
      The Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

  10. As a native German who emigrated to the US as a college student and whose English is now significantly better than her German mother tongue – this was an interesting essay. What struck me over the last 5 to 10 years, when I visited Germany was just how many English or American words have infiltrated the German language, especially all those computer related words. What’s funny, though, is that seemingly English words have no meaning to English speakers. What in the world is a “handy” – it sounds English but really means cell phone. When I told a German visitor (here in the US) that I was going to the mailbox to pick up my mail, she was puzzled because, to her, “mail” means e-mail. She couldn’t figure out why I would want to leave my house to get my mail!
    Young German people, especially, seem to really like English cuss words, even those who don’t speak a lot of English!
    To me, German words and sentences become longer and longer as the years go by and I always second-guess myself. I used to be an excellent speller in German but now, forget it. It is very frustrating to write German on my computer key board as there are no umlaute and no sharp ‘s’…. All those really long German words with endless syllables become tongue twisters and I run out of breath before finishing them. And, as much as I try to avoid it, I can’t help speaking German with an American accent, at least for the first 3 or 4 days. After that, things ease up a bit, even my tongue becomes loser.
    Humor is definitely very different (can’t talk much about the British here). My American husband always enjoys when he hears me laugh while we are watching a movie, for example. He can never predict what will be funny to me. Often, the movie scenes he thinks are funny make me frown or yawn.
    German dialect is very funny to me. Last time I was in Germany, I found this tiny little book, “Lilliput Badisch” (a mini dictionary for a South Western German dialect that I grew up with). Just reading it makes me crack up. And how could I possible translate words like “rumwurschdle” or “rumzaggere?!” Even if I find an English word that sort of explains the meaning, it can never get the tone, the cultural association, the embedded memories of my growing up.
    I once watched an American movie where the language of an African American street kid was translated into German, but High German. Watching that movie in Germany was creepy and felt so wrong because it just didn’t get the finer contextual and cultural points of language.
    But what pleasure when you recognize a word in a foreign language. While in the Ukraine, I was listening to the Russian-speaking taxi driver and the one word I could understand was “Butterbrot” which I assumed from the context of the conversation meant a “sandwich”. I was so excited to tell my American colleague that I had heard that word but, to her, it was a non-event resulting in a blank stare….

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    • Dear Beauty along the road – I love that name😉
      although I live in English speaking countries for more than 30 years I reacted the other way round. Maybe that has to do with my work – I was a specialist for mediavel illuminated manuscripts and literature and philosophy of that time (Karolingische Zeit) and later an author writing in German (my English Editions are professional translations) I always worked in a German speaking surrounding and I soon found out, guess what? Well, in England a slight German accent is not only sexy but associated with “intellectual”. And as I like this combination, being the sexy intellectual, I, more subconsciously, stick to my German ways. And none of my neighbours minds, they like it and make me cultivating it as a kind of dear eccentricity😉
      As you mention the long words, well, an English friend of mine he loved this German way of combining word to endless monsters.
      At breakfast I usually listen to Classic FM or BBC 3, both kind of more decent radio stations, and I am amazed they talk about the “Leitmotiv”, the “Angst” and “Enge” and, as I said, I heard “Die blaue Blume der Romantik”, “Entfremdung”, “Über-Ich”, “Ich” and so on.
      That`s the difference between England with European traditions and the US with a kind of lack of long traditions. Even if England has its problems being European but it is. I suppose the US is drifting away from Europe more and more – not on the surface that much, but f.e. I am in a filmclub in the village here and we do not show Hollywood films and nearly no American films. I see a movement away from the American influence in European culture – its seen as entertainment for the unprevileged.
      I am quite happy that Europe and the US are going their own ways (well, well even Germany can`t afford another bancrupt country like the US ;-)). The two laguages English and American documenting two different traditions and lifestyles.
      Have a happy Adventswochenend🙂
      The Fab Four
      Klausbernd

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    • Vielen Dank, Klausbernd, for your long and interesting response. When I was in graduate school in the US, one of my professors told me that my (slight) German accent came across as very “brainy.”
      Unfortunately, the larger American culture doesn’t really embrace ‘brainy’ and ‘intellectual’, so I often miss a deep and thorough exchange of ideas. Interestingly, though, people of my parents’ generation here (born in the 30s), if they are college educated, are often very much interested in that intellectual exchange and can sustain long conversations. So I have a number of substitute mamas here (including a magnificent Jewish woman who is my mother’s age).
      The younger crowd seems to be more attention deficit disordered and cannot hang in there long enough to go deep it seems….the results of growing up with texting, Facebook, and Twitter – the shorter, the better.. Of course, there are always a few exceptions and I am very grateful when I come across those people.
      Sometimes, I notice a very real chasm between the younger and older generations here in the US, which I have never noticed elsewhere to the same extent. That, also, interferes with a deep exchange of ideas.
      I just started reading Meister Eckhart’s writing – does he figure anywhere in your own research?

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    • Yes, Meister Eckhart fell in my field of philosophy. It`s the High Middle Ages with those mystics speaking in astonishing pictures, metaphors from a world that believed in many other worlds we can experience. Meister Eckhart is still read in Germany, I suppose, because his philosophy is interested in every day life.
      I belong to the older generation, your parent`s generation, and at big meals that were kind of traditional in the village people started discussing art, philosophy and always history in England – but there is still the old taboo no political talk and nor about religion neither. I live in a kind of old people`s home – my neighbour thought to rename our lane in “Stairways to Haven” – well, I am one of the youngest here and I am in my sixties. Maybe it was that influence of the world wide student revolution, that was made by my generation, which taught us talking and then we had the right age for the hippie movement too – this were all highly communicative movements with a certain ethics. And maybe that makes my generation interested in exchange of ideas still. You can notice this at this blog here: Our readers really communicate (THANK YOU ALL!), most of them are beyond 35, the younger ones have other social media like facebook. There exist already two different languages … different communcation styles … etc. But maybe that`s the communication of tomorrow?
      Enjoy the evening or whatever time is at your’s
      Klausbernd

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    • Language(s) and communication styles are constantly changing and expanding and borrowing from each other. I remember listening to a series of audio books on the development of the human language, from the surmised first language to the various branches existing now. It is fascinating to me how certain languages persist that no longer seem to have anything in common with any other language (the Basque language, for ex. or the very few languages sprinkled thru Southern Africa that incorporate click sound and the fact that the Aboriginal language contains a few click sounds as well but only under certain strictly specified circumstances. I guess human beings and the cultures we create is just an ongoing saga….

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    • Dear Beauty😉,

      evolution of languages it`s an interesting field. There are those languages with a slow evolution like Icelandic, but since the Edda of Snorri a lot of successful authors came from Iceland – nowadays a lot of criminal writers. On the other hand we have those fast evolving languages like English and German. My first idea was that those languages are more alive – but when read Bjarni Bjarnason (temporary Icelandic novelist) that doesn`t feel right.
      My second thought: Social geography is the the important factor – all these countries with a fast evolution of their languages have a big influx of people from other language families. And as they mix the languages are mixing too. You can study history analysing the direction in which languages change, it reflects the cultural exchange.
      Unfortunately I don’t know anything about African languages. What I am writing about is what I notice in Germanic languages.
      Finnish, like the languages with click sounds, doesn`t have anything in common with any other language. Do you have any idea why?
      For the Finnish language I see polital reasons: In Finland for a long time the official language was Swedish, afterwards Russian. To stick to their own language and keep it “pure” was a way of resistance against the Swedish and Russian occupation.

      Greetings from sunny coast of Norfolk, quite warm today
      Klausbernd

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    • I am in a filmclub in the village here and we do not show Hollywood films and nearly no American films. I see a movement away from the American influence in European culture – its seen as entertainment for the unprevileged.

      If they do not see them, they can´t mention how complex American series can be. Watching *The Shield* can only make sense, if you are willing to see all 5 series. (Indeed, the series is sometimes quite brutal.)
      In *Dexter* (based on the novels by Jeff Lindsay) Robert Hare is cited and the second series deals with the difference between male and female pychopathy.

      It is not a very intelligent behaviour to sort things out, that you do not know. I guess, you have to try it, before you decide. I prefer getting burned, but then I know it is not my way.

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    • Well, well, I wrote, we don`t show them in our film club. Of course, we have seen many American films, especially me, because they are interesting for symbolism. But why are you so excited about an ignoring of American films? We produce so many brillant films in Europe (I am sure you don`t know) and we, as Europeans, are more interested in those. One has to be judgemental because one has to choose the cultural influence one likes. There is too much around to see anyhow. We are not in the 18th c. anymore when you could be informed on every field. You have to specialise, even in watching films😉
      Greetings from the Norfolk coast
      Klausbernd

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    • Like most Germans *Europe* and *European* has become a four-letter-word to me.

      Europe and brilliant movies…good joke. The German film industry only produces worthless comedies and dramas about the Second World War and former Erstern Germany.
      The French one is too artifical.

      But why are you so excited about an ignoring of American films?

      – Because it is small-minded. I am glad not being in a film club telling me what to see and not to see.

      We are not in the 18th c. anymore when you could be informed on every field. You have to specialise, even in watching films😉

      – I do not have to have profound knowlegde about anything. I do not need it, primary these academic kind of knowledge.

      I need to know about the mechanism of biology of a horse and not about European directors.

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    • Sorry? Do you see pejorative thinking somewhere?
      Anyway – or should I say “wrong subject!” – isn`t your discourse about German film sub-pejorative?
      But never mind. Only interesting because we talked about judgements in some comments above: Isn’t that a perfect example for a judgement? Every writer tends to write about himself, doesn’t he?
      Okay, that`s it for today
      Klausbernd

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    • isn`t your discourse about German film sub-pejorative?

      – No, it is based on knowing German movies. I guess I know German movies much better than you do – I could watch them evay day, but nobody under the age of 60 wants to. Everybody including me has got the opinion, that they are movies für old people.

      No wonder, the average age of German TV programms is 66 – younger people watch DVDs or do something else.

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    • Part of my family were film producers and I have several German friends who are producers and they send me intersting German films regularly. But I finish this string now, it’s too much away from the main topic: Languages – although there would be much to write about the grammar of pictures and their semantics in modern film. Don`t you fancy to write a guest article about it?
      Kb

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    • And because part of your family were film producers you think you know automatically much about films? Well, then I should know very much about computers, but i do not.

      although there would be much to write about the grammar of pictures and their semantics in modern film. Don`t you fancy to write a guest article about it?

      – I am really sorry, but I am not one of the people sitting in the corner and thinking. It is more the practical way of living and thinking.

      I prefer enoying arts and do not want cut them into into pieces anymore like I did studying art history.

      I don’t have to stand for being arrogant and phrasemonger *these movies are für the underprivileged *.and boasting for what I know. Which is a very inadequate and -said as a layman – narcissistic behaviour.

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    • Aiaiai @ Nomadenseele.
      so weit hätten die Buchfeen es nicht mit mir treiben können. Niemals, das hätte ich nicht geduldet. Unter 6 Augen hätten die eine Predigt über gute, konstruktive kritik von mir gehört. Diese Art der kommunikation schließt Türen und öffnet nicht.
      Marcelo schreibt weiter unten so treffend; “a smile kan open doors”. Versuch es damit! Die Buchfeen hätten an dieser Stelle eine Woche “Smilearbeit” von mir bekommen!🙂🙂
      Ich möchte Spaß und Freude am Bloggen haben und ich erkläre den Thread hiermit beendet. Ich hoffe, du bist einverstanden. Wir wollen hier über Sprachen diskutieren.
      Dina

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    • …and I loved the juxtaposition of the serious discussion with the whimsical photos! …
      Me too!🙂 Especially the one with Siri and Selma in the LV bag!🙂

      This is wunderbar schön, meine liebe Dina, finally you have people facing your camera and your loving eye.
      I know how you earlier often complained about friends and family turning the back on you, not at all happy to see your camera lens.
      Hehehe🙂
      Hugs and kisses to all four of you!
      Tone og gutta xx

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  11. What a delightful story about your upperclass English host who had a “cold.” !! We are still laughing. By the way, Kuno (our parrot) is speaking English as I write this: “Dawg,” he says, in Brooklyn-ese. “Whatcha doin’?” in perfect ‘merican. “He-llooo…” in Jean’s voice. He is a tape-recorder with feathers! In some way, he is our very own Siri and Selma.
    BTW, love the new contemporary look of your co-blog! Blog on.🙂

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    • Thank you very, very much,
      great such a parrot, greetings to Kuno🙂
      I have to admit, I still have my problems with this upper-class sound. It makes me laugh but I show a smile and the speaker sees it as friendly. But actually it’s not the Intonation only it’s how loud they speak as well. Sorry, but I know that from small people on the continent being afraid to be not seen.
      Have a relaxing evening
      the Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

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    • Hello, Fab Four🙂 So the upper-class “sound” is also loud? This surprises us… thought we Yanks had the market cornered on honking and braying (for much the same reason you offer here, ahaha)! We 2geeks are actually quite demure… Kuno, on the other hand, is not! Have a relaxing evening as well. Snowy day here in New York…we chose the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD broadcast of “Falstaff” over kayaking. You?

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    • Kuno sounds like a lot of fun!🙂

      In Florida, whenever we go to the beach, I always look up at the condo on the third floor, hoping to see the parrot on the balcony. If he’s out, I run over and beg him to talk. “Sugar, pleeeeeaseee….” No way. He gives me a look like “Are you stupid, or what? I decide when…and only if I’m in the mood!”
      Then, half an hour later, he starts… Imitating the various cell phone ringing tunes. He’s soooo good!🙂 The sun worshippers on the beach, almost asleep, start a frantic search for their cell phones. Sugar continues imitating the answering machine and various calls, I loooove his performance. Tape-recorder with feathers is great! Hahaha.

      Big kiss and a gentle pat for Kuno from
      Dina x
      Tell me something, is a parrot cuddly, like enjoying personal contact?

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    • Yes, your friend Sugar sounds quite typical! LOL. We dashed for our phones as well, until we realized it was just Kuno… the way we can tell the difference: Kuno is slightly LOUDER than the actual phone. I’m always changing “alert” sounds because he learns them! BTW, are you familiar with the fascinating Avian Language Experiment, aka, ALEX, the African Grey parrot (unfortunately, the late parrot) of Dr. Irene Pepperberg? His cognitive abilities–and speech–were the equivalent of a 5-year-old child. See NOVA episode below; and DVD documentary trailer below that. (Oh, and in answer to your question about contact… Kuno likes to have his head scratched, not as cuddly as a dog or cat however. He prefers to be near us, sitting on our shoulders, esp. when Jean plays the piano!) Enjoy.🙂

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    • WOW, I’m totally, utterly impressed!! Such amazing birds, so intelligent! I’d never heard of Alex before.
      Thank you so much for this great films, you made my day.🙂 I really enjoyed this.
      Have a wonderful Sunday.
      Love, Dina

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    • What a stunning parrot! I enjoyed the films very much, thank you! Is the parrot = lot of work ? To keep clean and tidy, I mean? Is Kuno loud? Friends of mine have a parrot and they have serious problems with their neighbors, sad to say so.
      Best regards,
      Markus

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    • Hi, Markus. Tidy and clean are two words parrots do not know! We TRY to vacuum daily; we have an air filter in Kuno’s room for down and feathers. But these are human pursuits… Kuno’s are quite the contrary. After all, his role (biologically) is to make a BIG, BIG MESS so that seeds are distributed on the jungle floor… in our case, this is our living room floor. We can only adjust our own attitudes🙂 African Grays are not so noisy, actually… Kuno is like a TV set or small child, no worse. I am sorry to hear of your friends’ predicament, however. What type of parrot do they have? Hope they don’t live in a newly-constructed apartment building.

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    • I had to SMILE reading this! …”We can only adjust our own attitudes” Sure, that’s the right approach.🙂🙂
      Your Kuno sounds so adorable!
      My aunt had a small parrot, a lot smaller than Kuno, for years and years. Jacko was a beauty, but he didn’t talk..

      Like

  12. After travelling and living abroad for many years, our Dutch and English have both become…rubbish;0) And not even mentioning our French and German and Luxembourgs. Our Canadian sons are starting to make jokes about our slowly creeping in Southern drawl now. However it never became a problem to make friends, a career, enjoying literature, etc so we decided to happily stumble along. You discover so much more when you just ‘go with the flow’.When in rare occasions, people become a little snooty….ach, there missing out on a lot of fun by being too busy to look down there (conjested) nose ;0) Klem, umarmung, knuf, hug for this great post from Ohio!

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    • Dear Flora,
      I didn`t know that you live in Ohio now, I had you in my mind as living in the Netherlands. Anyway you are so right with “you just go with flow”!
      I see my German deterorating as well, that “bug” has crept in in special fields. My German speaking and writing about arts, literature, philosophy etc. is not infected, but those practical fields are very ill – gardening and DIY, especially there my German is vanishing, like in many other technical fields. But as my work is writing German texts, so this field is okay. Once a year a young lad, down-and-outy from Berlin, comes over helping me, from him I learn the German in-expressions – most of them I wouldn’t have understood without explanation.
      Hug, klem, Umarmung back to Ohio from the Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

    • Dear Fab Four. Ah yes, it is a little confusing but indeed we originate from The Netherlands, have lived in Canada ( our sons still do) and last year , we moved to Cincinnati. And we traveled and worked in quite a few places too: global citizens;0) I envy a little that you keep up so well with the written languages however since I only write about important nothings , ‘it passes quickly and sooner than it should’ as Mr. Bennett says ;0) Even the interpunction, use of capital letters etc is different in every language…ouch! Too much bother for me!
      But I do agree with your remark on the young lad, I work with children and have two racals of my own and my vocabulaire is quite diverse though probably full with spellings mistakes;0)

      ps Klausbernd, a little advise from a fashionista..keep the fantastic purse but loose the hat;0)

      Like

    • Dear Flora,
      first of all, thanks for your fashion advise🙂 Don`t you think I look that stupid in every day life?😉 Actually I was looking for that hat yesterday, I lost it – at leayst I can`t find it.
      I have the feeling I can express myself best in German. But I read the Duden-Newesletter (a newsletter for professional writers and journalist about the newest developments of the German language), see the German News and Dina, my Norwegian partner, and I we talk in German. That doesn`t help to feel at home in the English language.
      You mention the interpunction – I never know the correct place for a comma in English. But this seems to be quite hard even for Germans in German. Very rarely I did some editing for my publisher. One day I got a manuscript and the last page was filled commas with the comment of the author “help yourself to commas for the places I have forgotten to put one in”.
      Have an easy week
      Klausbernd

      Like

  13. I happen to be rather impressed by your command of English. When I lived in Miami, FL (about 10 years ago) I was able to communicate in Spanish, though not fluent. I’ve taught science to students who are learning English. It’s made me appreciative that I grew up with the language rather than having to learn it. Bless you for your efforts with a second language – particularly the mish-mash of English!

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    • Dear Heather,
      thank you very, very much! You are a darling seeing how much work it is to translate our texts in English. But I hope that our dear Bookfayries and I are speaking not a proper English has (maybe) a certain charme. Siri and I once had one of our translations corrected by a professional translator but that was not us anymore speaking. So the clever Bookfayries and I just write down our ideas in English as they come without thinking too long about grammar, spelling and other horrible traps. Well, as Flora wrote: we go with the flow …
      All the best from
      The Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

  14. loved this post. and especially the George Orwell quote ..
    I had only been thinking yesterday how many German words are part of the English language and quite untranslatable – like gemutlich, schadenfreude, kitsch, ersatz…
    I’ve probably spelt them wrong !. merry Christmas to you all in lovely Norfolk…

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    • Dear Valerie,
      congratulations! All the German words are spelled in the correct way.🙂
      If we not read from each other before The Fabulous Four wish you a merry Christmas – “with a lot of presents!”, add Siri and Selma🙂
      Greetings from sunny Norfolk
      Klausbernd

      Like

  15. I have been thinking a lot about language in recent months. My son is currently taking German language courses as part of his university studies. Before that we were enrolled in an Italian language course for a few years. I have great respect for anyone who embraces a new language for it opens doors to new ideas and possibilities. Most of all, it introduces diversity, a fresh way of communicating with others. We use language to benchmark social status and gauge the value of a human life. Language has imperfections, limitations and ambiguities. Even so, there is beauty and joy in the words and nuance. Language has power to heal, to uplift, to bring us together.

    This was a excellent post. As always, you have added to my understanding. Your photos, themes, etc are remarkable.

    “Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.” Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

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    • Dear Rebecca,
      thanks you for your comment.🙂 Hesse wrote this lines while he in therapy at C.G. Jung.
      I thought – and actually still think – about the beauty of a language. I have the slight feeling that ambiguity helps beauty – if one defines “beauty” of a language as its poetical abilities. And doesn`t the ambiguity of languages reflects the ambiguity of our perception, feeling and thinking?
      The secrets of languages … Siri wrote in her little fairy diary: “A language is like a gesture telling the one who knows everything.”
      With big Hugs from the Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

    • Can you imagine those therapy sessions!! I agree – ambiguity brings out the nuance, the subtleties of beauty. Thank you for your most excellent thoughts! Hugs winging their way back to the Fabulous Four!!!

      Like

    • Dear Thorsaurus,
      yes, indeed, the difference is amazing. If we would speak as we write people would take us either for teachers or a bit crazy😉
      But as a foreigner you don`t have such a gap between written und spoken language as you don`t know so many possibilities to express yourself.
      All the best and thanks
      Klausbernd🙂

      Like

  16. This great Dina. I got a kick out of hearing about my own language (Americanized-English, but not as bad as that guy who was too lazy to write out entire words). Especially how I write, with quotes (to make a point) and then I’ll use ‘asides’ like they do on stage, parenthesize something to make certain the reader knows it is my opinion.

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    • Dear gpcox,
      thanks for your comment🙂 The post was written by Siri and Selma with their Master’s help.
      We have to admit we don`t know that much about American English – it`s 40 years ago when our dear Master lived in Vermont (and New England – as the name already says – is different).
      The writing on your blog doesn`t seem to us very Americanized, not that we noticed. And you know, you are our Master`s history teacher😉
      Greetings from
      The Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

    • I am overwhelmed to hear I am your Master’s teacher when he has taught me so much. It’s been about that long since I’ve seen New England too; with being in HOT Florida for so long – I’d really enjoy seeing it again. You two behave now, this is a busy time of year for him and Dina.

      Like

    • Dann kann ich ja in Deutsch antworten. Du magst wohl Sprachen. Ich beneide stets die Menschen, die sich in vielen Sprachen ausdrücken können. Ich bin nicht ein Sprachgenie, oh dear😦
      Liebe Grüße
      Klausbernd

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    • Ich liebe Deutsch sehr, und im Gegensatz zu viele Französen, denke is, es ist eine schöne Sprache, wenn die Betonung nicht karikiert ist! Wenn Sie in Englisch schreiben können, ich bin sicher Sie können auch mit den gleichen Fähigkeiten sprechen! Ich bin sehr literarischen und mein “Geschenk” für Sprachen ist sicher ein großer Vorteil, sondern auch eine Leidenschaft!🙂

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  17. Bei Englisch fällt mir nur eines ein – easy to learn, hard to master. Wenn ich meine Spotlight-Hefte durchgehe, dann fällt mir immer wieder auf, welche Feinheiten ich alles nicht beherrsche.
    Durch Zufall habe ich den Unterschied zwischen whence und where gelernt.

    Wahrscheinlich lernt man Englisch nur richtig vor Ort. Ich würde mir dann eine Zeit vornehmen und wenn ich die sicher beherrschte, eben die nächste.

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  18. Interesting article. Personally , I don’t think though that by speaking an other language i become a different person, Would be very confusing when one speaks more languages , me think. My English is a mix from British and American , Dutch is my native language , however it always has been influenced by other languages from the day i was born.

    Happy Holiday seasons to all!
    Francina

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    • Ich kan mich noch genau an meiner ersten Stunde Deutschunterricht in der Schule in Norwegen erinnern. Der Lehrer meinte, Deutsch als Fremdsprache zu lernen wäre völlig anders als Englisch. Die mathematisch Begabten hätten es einfacher, Deutsch zu lernen…
      Ach ja, da tröstet mich die Geschichte des schwedischen Mathemathiklehrers Stavros Louca: Dieser hat es geschafft, eine ganze Schulklasse (nicht nur wenige “Begabte” für Mathe) mindestens um 2 Zensuren zu verbessern. Mit der richtigen Methode und einem begabten Lehrer ist also viel zu schaffen.

      Like

    • Warum hast du dich für Deutsch entschieden und warum bist du dann in Deutschland arbeiten gegangen?
      Ich kann mir einfach nicht vorstellen, dass sich jemand freiwillig in diesem Land aufhält, der nicht komplett verzweifelt ist.

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    • @ Nomadenseele,
      jetzt bin ich in Norfolk angekommen, habe eine Netzverbindung und kann auf deine Frage eingehen.
      Deutsch als Fremdsprache stand an zweiter Stelle als ich Abitur machte. Ich habe es nicht gewählt, es war Pflicht! Wie auch Französisch. Heute hat man sicherlich mehr Wahlfreiheit. Als ich zur Schule in Norwegen ging, haben alle Deutsch gelernt. Ab dem vierten Schuljahr lernten wir Englisch und ab dem 7. Schuljahr kam Deutsch dazu. Ich fand’s toll.🙂
      Nach dem Abitur bin ich nach Cambridge gegangen und hatte vor, nach meinem Studium in Norwegen nach England zurückzukehren. Die Liebe brachte mich nach D. Wegen der Arbeit wäre ich besser in Norwegen geblieben.🙂
      Ganz liebe Grüße mit den besten Wünschen für Weihnachten und das Neue Jahr von uns Vier
      Dina

      Like

    • So ähnlich habe ich mir das mit der Arbeit schon gedacht, die Bezahlung ist in Norwegen doch sicherlich besser als in Deutschland.

      Deutsch als Pflichtsprache? – Puh. Mit welcher Begründung war das denn in Norwegen so?

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    • Dear Francina,
      aren`t we all a blend of different cultures and a mixture of different personalities? That makes us to be us and be interesting, I suppose.
      When we change from talking/writing in one language to another then we change personalities – only while we are speaking/writing (actually in writing not as much as in talking).
      Happy Holiday seasons to you as well
      the Fabilous Four
      Klausbernd

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    • Nope, Melanie – that’s my bag!🙂🙂
      You’ll see Monsieur K. on several photos carrying this and other bags of mine, but that’s only because he’s my very personal carrybag.🙂
      Love, Dina

      Like

  19. ACHTUNG, ACHTUNG!
    Wichtige Durchsage von Siri und Selma
    Wenn wir mit Masterchen über Englisch schrieben, dann schrieben wir nicht über diejenigen, die auf schlechten Staatsschulen eine eingebildete Ausbildung erlitten, sondern eher über jene, die auf public schools eine ausgebildete Einbildung mitbekamen😉 You see!
    LG
    die liebklugen Buchfeen Siri und Selma

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  20. Dear Dina, Klausbernd and our beloved Bookfayries Siri and Selma
    what a take off for your joint blog! I’m sure you’re very relieved and most happy now. Excellent reading with lovely photos, who can ask for more.
    Ha en god helg! Happy weekend to the fabulous four from Nürnberg – I’m on the road, that’s why I have to keep it short.
    Big hug!
    Per Magnus

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    • Takk skal du ha, Per Magnus.
      Ja, det er med litt lettelse at vi ser pä denne reaksjonen! Dette var en test, kan man si…
      God reise videre, du og dine. Hvor skal dere feire julen i är – Weimar eller i Tromsö?
      Stor förjuleklem fra oss fire!
      Dina x

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    • Dear Per Magnus,
      THANKS!
      Have a great time in Nürnberg. It said to have one of the finest Christmas markets in Germany. You have to eat a Bratwurst there!
      With a big HUG from Cley
      Klausbernd

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  21. Hallo Ihr Fabulous Four, da habt Ihr einen feinen und wie immer sehr Interessenten Post geschrieben. Vieles kommt mir bekannt vor. Auch ich spreche besseres Gardening und DIY Englisch als Deutsch, weil ich mich erst hier mit den Themen befasst habe. Und die sprachliche und auch kulturelle Ablehnung des Konkreten hat uns bei Verhandlungen mit Handwerkern schon einige Nerven gekostet. Am Ende ging zum Glück immer alles gut aus. Ganz liebe Grüße aus Greenwich, Peggy

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  22. Liebe Peggy, good evening,

    habt ihr in Greenwich auch schon wieder Sturm. Hier bläst es einem nach windstill sonnigem Tag die Haare vom Kopf. Sooo gemütlich drinnen.

    Du hast wohl recht, über Verhandlungen mit Handwerkern könnte auch ich ganze Bücher unterhaltsam füllen. Aber bei mir ging ebenfalls alles bestens. Handwerker bekommen mir gegenüber immer gleich etwas Väterliches, it helps😉
    Ich wünsche dir eine wunderbare Adventswoche, wow, und in etwa einer Woche ist ja schon Christmas. Am Donnerstag kommt Dina und dann wird erst einmal das gemütliche Faulenzen gepflegt. Ich überlege noch, ob ich einen Weihnachtsbaum kaufe, ein wenig Weihnachtsdeko drapierte ich schon.
    Alles Liebe dir und deiner Familie.
    Bis dann
    Klausbernd
    Siri und Selma sind gaaaaar nicht ansprechbar, in Weihnachtsbasteleien vertieft – immer noch! Ich bin gespannt. Da stehen schon die berühmten Boxes in der nordwestlichen Zimmerecke – viele!🙂 “GEHEIM! Wer da guckt, wird BLIND!” stellte Selma Kleinfeinfee ein Plakat auf. Ich guckte und brauche jetzt eine Brille😉

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    • Lieber Klausbernd, hier ist es stürmisch und regnerisch. Wir haben dieses Jahr die Weihnachtsdeko auf dem Dachboden gelassen, denn wir fahren in ein paar Tagen nach Deutschland. Ich hoffe, es klappt noch mit den Winterreifen. Das ist uns zu spät eingefallen, aber übermorgen sollen sie gewechselt werden. Ich hoffe, das Wetter bleibt uns hold für die Autofahrt. Ganz liebe Grüße an Euch und ein paar gemütliche Tage, Peggy.

      Like

    • Liebe Peggy,
      dann wünsche ich eine schöne Deutschlandreise und bestes Fahrwetter. Fahrt ihr auch Harwich – Hoek van Holland? Ich bin nie Dover – Calais gefahren, da Dover viel zu weit entfernt liegt für mich im Vergleich zu Harwich, wo ich in knapp 2 Std. bin.
      Eine wunderschöne Zeit dir und deiner Familie
      Klausbernd
      und, of course!, from all of The Fabulous Fous

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    • Lieber Klausbernd, wir fahren durch den Tunnel. Wir fahren nur etwas über eine Stunde nach Folkstone und die Über- bzw. in diesem Fall Unterfahrt geht viel schneller, nur gute 30 Minuten. Der Zug ist auch flexibler. Auf dem Rückweg, wenn wir mit viel Zeitpuffer fahren, können wir meistens auch einen deutlich früheren Zug nehmen, wenn wir früher dort sind. Liebe Grüße, Peggy

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    • Liebe Peggy,

      bist du mit dem Zug mal nach Hause gefahren? Nicht nur durch den Tunnel, sondern die ganz Strecke?
      Ich würde das gerne mal ausprobieren. Köln- Norwich mit dem Zug. Vor ein paar Wochen habe ich 12 Stunden gebraucht, von Tür zu Tür. Da kommt man zu nichts!🙂 Dabei dauert der Flug nur 70 Minuten. Immer weder aufstehen, hinsetzen, warten und nochmals warten, die Schlepperei…

      Auch von mir eine Gute Reise und schöne Weihnachtsferien in Deutschland.
      Dina

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    • Liebe Dina, ich finde Fliegen auch ziemlich nervig. Aber mit dem Zug bin ich bis jetzt noch nicht gefahren, nur mit dem Autozug durch den Tunnel. Ich habe mal gehört, dass eine Direktverbindung Berlin-London geplant ist. Wenn das zustande kommt, werde ich es definitiv probieren. Liebe Grüße, Peggy

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    • Glaube mir, das willst du nicht. Ich fahre eigentlich immer die Strecke Frankfurt-London mit dem Zug, weil ich keine Lust habe, mich in ein Flugzeug zu falten. Aber nach Norwich bin ich mit KLM geflogen, da ich dreimal hätte umsteigen müssen. Immer mit der Option den Anschluss zu verpassen.

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    • @ Nomadenseele,

      das ist toll, ganz prima, herzlichen Dank! Endlich jemand der sich auskennt, da habe ich gleich viele Fragen (sorry, der Link ist korrekt, aber die DBB ist zurzeit überlastet und ich kann nur 2x weiterklicken, deswegen sehe ich die Uhrzeiten und die Preise nicht)

      Mit welchem Zug fährst du nach London. DBB oder der Eurostar?
      Musst du in Brüssel umsteigen?
      Wieviel kostet das? Viel mehr als ein Flugticket, oder?

      Was du ansprichst, mit 4x Umsteigen, ist immer ein wichtiger Aspekt. Ich habe ein einziges mal versucht nach Hause (Norwegen) mit dem Zug zu fahren, das war eine Katastrophe. Kein Anschluß hat geklappt, nie wieder!

      Wenn du mit KLM nach Norwich fliegst, musst du dann umsteigen irgendwo? Hast du eine Zwischenlandung in Oslo oder Amsterdam oder … Von Köln/Bonn aus ist einen Flug nach Norwch richtig teuer, zu teuer und umständlich für mich. Hast du ein paar gute Tipps für mich?:-)
      Bin gespannt!
      Liebe Grüße
      Dina

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    • Auskennen ist zuviel gesagt…ich war einmal da, um mir die Stadt anzusehen.

      Wenn du mit KLM nach Norwich fliegst, musst du dann umsteigen irgendwo?

      – Nein, ich bin von Frankfurt aus nach Amsterdam geflogen, es gibt wohl noch eine Route über London. Soweit ich weiß, fliegt auch Air France Norwich an. Die Kosten schwanken stark, es lohnt sich sehr im Netz zu suchen, ich habe 280 Euro bezahlt, teilweise habe ich Flüge für 400 Euro gesehen.

      Ich hatte auch eine ganz komische Route über eine britische Miniairline ausfindig gemacht, die irgendwo in einen Regionalflughafen von Frankfurt aus anfliegt und dann hätte ich mit dem Zug weiter gemusst. Der Zug fährt von Nottinghill nach Norwich, wenn dir das etwas sagt.

      ______

      Mit welchem Zug fährst du nach London. DBB oder der Eurostar?
      Musst du in Brüssel umsteigen?
      Wieviel kostet das? Viel mehr als ein Flugticket, oder?

      – Ich fahre mit dem ICE nach Brüssel und von dort aus mit dem Eurostar. Kosten: ca. 70 Euro. Es gibt auch eine Route, die über Paris führt. Ab 2016 wird es einfacher, dann dauert die Fahrt Frankfurt – London nur noch 5 Stunden, weil die DB dann den Tunnel benutzen darf.

      Alle Preise einfache Fahrt.

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    • Toll – hab herzlichen Dank! Hmmmm…. man muss sich wirklich eine weile damit beschäftigen. Der Preis ist deutlich höher als Germanwings Bn/Köln- London (komfortabler Direktflug, 70 Minuten). Nach Norwich geht’s nur mit Umsteigen und will man den Preis auf unter 200€ drücken, muss man Wartezeiten von 3-15 Std. (! – bei einige Flügen werden sogar 30 Stunden angegeben) in Kauf nehmen.
      Ich habe jetzt viele verschiedene Daten in drei Monaten ausprobiert (März- April 2014) und habe leider keine “entlastende” Flüge gefunden. Aber; ich weiß, dass es möglich ist und jetzt weiß ich auch wo ich demnächst suchen kann. Nochmals vielen Dank!🙂

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    • Ich hatte mir extra ein Datum ausgesucht, an dem es nur 3 Stunden sind. Noch einmal würde ich die Tour nicht auf mich nehmen, vor allem, weil die die Stadt ja jetzt gesehen habe.

      Oder es mit flybe (?) und dem Provinzflughafen probieren.

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    • Guten Morgen, ihr Lieben.
      heute zum Tode von Ronnie Biggs, unseren Räuber-Held in England, kurz zum Reisen nach Norwich: Da KLM den Norwich International Airport betreibt, muss man bei jedem Flug über Amsterdam fliegen. Fliegt man morgens wo immer auch hin auf dem Kontinent sind die Anschlüsse prima, aber dafür beim Rückflug schlecht, das ist richtig, man muss Stunden in Amsterdam auf den Anschlussflug warten.
      Seit einer oder zwei Wochen, hörte ich im Radio, kann man mit dem ICE von Frankfurt/M. nach London fahren, dann von London nach Norwich.
      Ich fahre mit meinen liebklugen Buchfeen am liebsten mit dem Auto und nehme die Nachtfähre Harwich – Hoek van Holland.
      Liebe Grüße vom sonnig milden Norfolk, aber für heute Abend ist Sturm angesagt, aber “nur so ein kleiner Sturm, das ist ja langweilig” meinen Siri und Selma
      Klausbernd🙂

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    • Mit dem Zug reisen hat 2 entscheidene Vorteile:

      1.) Platz, ab einer Körpergröße von 1.80 wird es im Flugzeug selbst am Notausgang (sofern man den Sitz bekommt) unangenehm.
      und
      2.) Man kann aussteigen und andere Städte unsicher machen.

      Dass man mit dem ICE jetzt von Frankfurt direkt nach London fahren kann, ist super. Der Flughafenbus hält direkt vor meiner Haustüre und die ICEs halten in aller Regel am Flughafen nich einmal.

      @Dina
      Warum besorgst du dir nicht einen großen Wanderrucksack, der ist bequemer zum Tragen als ein Koffer? Ich hätte meine Kleidung ohnehin schon so aufgeteilt zwischen den verschiedenen Wohnorten, damit es nicht mehr viel zum Tragen gäbe. Das ist zwar erst einmal teuerer in der Anschaffung, aber dafür nutzt die Kleidung sich nicht so schnell ab.
      Dann brauchst du nur noch einen normalen Rucksack für Zahnbürste, Schlafteddy ect. und brauchst außer dem Handgepäck an Bord gar nichts mehr. Was wiederum eine Zeitersparnis ist.

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    • Ich weiß nicht, was ich da gesehen habe, ich dachte, ich hätte auch mal einen Flug über London gesehen. Wahrscheinlich bringe ich etwas durcheinander.

      Naja, im Grunde auch egal, zumindest für mich😉

      Like

    • Dear John,
      sorry, but I just had to laugh, the presenter in Classic FM just said “… the shepards are guarding their socks tonight …” well, the flogs produce the wool for the socks😉
      Thank you very, very much for your kind commenary.
      Greetings from
      The Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

  23. Guten Morgen, ihr lieben vier!
    Ich kämpfe auch immer wieder mit der englischen Sprache und habe so euren Artikel mit großer Freude gelesen….
    Es ist eine schöne Eigenschaft in Zitaten zu sprechen….
    Da habe ich doch gleich mal eine Frage….. Eco beschreibt irgendwo sehr humorig den Bibliothekar, der seine Bücher eigentlich auf keinen Fall ausleihen möchte – Ich hört das Zitat unlängst an der Uni und würde es gerne noch einmal nachlesen.
    Habt ihr eine Ahnung, wo ich es finde?
    Eine schöne Woche wünscht euch Susanne

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    • Guten morgen nach Berlin! Hmmm… ich habe ein paar Eco Zitate, Susanne, könnte es vielleicht dieses sein:

      A book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements and clumsy hands. so the librarian protects the books not only against mankind but also against nature and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion.

      Nach meinem Zahnarztbesuch schaue ich weiter! Ich liebe es in meine Zitatensammlung zu blättern.

      Liebe Grüße und bis gleich
      Hanne

      Like

    • Liebe Hanne,
      das geht mir auch so…. ich bin ja auch so ein Zitate Schauer….
      Im Moment bin ich im Einweihung-Weihnachts-Studium Streß ….
      Ich kämpfe gerade mit mir, ob ich Philosophie heute ausfallen lasse….
      Mein email Account läuft einfach über….
      Liebe Grüße sendet dir, die du wahrscheinlich schon auf dem Weg nach Norfolk bist,
      Susanne

      Like

  24. Danke für diesen sehr interessanten Beitrag. Ja, das liebe Englisch. Lang, lang ist’s her, dass ich es in der Schule hatte. Dabei wurde die Grammatik sträflich vernachlässigt, da sich mein Lehrer hauptsächlich auf Vokabelnpauken spezialisiert hatte.😉 Darum “kämpfe” ich immer mit dieser Sprache. Aber ich bin froh, dass sie so viele Türen öffnet.
    Liebe Grüße og ha en kjempefin uke, kjære alle.

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  25. Unser Englisch-Lehrer war auch eine Katastrophe. Er hatte ein schlecht sitzendes Gebiss, das er während des Unterrichts bisweilen herausnahm und aufs Pult legte. Er sprach nie ein Wort Englisch, wohl weil dann sein Gebiss beim englischen th herausgeflogen wäre – so vermuteten wir Schüler. Mir ist es ziemlich peinlich, ich habe die längste Zeit meines Lebens in englischsprachiger Umgebung gelebt und dafür ist mein Englisch quite poor. Dieser Englischlehrer sagte zu meinem Abitur, er hoffe, dass ich nie Englisch sprechen müsste. Aber was mich beruhigte, die Jahre, die ich an der McGill University in Montreal lehrte, besuchte ich öfters die Vorlesungen des berühmten Bruno Bettelheim. Er meinte Englisch zu sprechen, aber im Hörsaal saßen fast nur welche, die Deutsch oder Jiddisch verstanden, denn ohne diese Kenntnis war das Bettelheim-Englisch unverständlich. Das soll uns doch ein Trost sein. Bettelheim, mit dem ich mal darüber sprach, schien das gar nicht zu stören.
    Liebe Grüße
    Klausbernd

    Like

  26. Wonderful post. I always took to heart the statement that English is the most difficult foreign language to learn. It became evident to me realistically when we visited and moved to Costa Rica. Even those who spoke English there knew a completely technical and limited version. We have to remember this when communicating. Many slangs or shortcut expressions fall to the ground-dead, or worse yet, are taken out of context and misunderstood. Thank goodness the Cost Rican people are very honest and mostly without offense. Of course, living a large portion of my adult life in or near Texas, I can also tell you there are similar challenges with Spanish. Imagine me, at 25, working in a fast food restaurant on the border of Mexico where we have our menu in both languages. Some items do not even exist in Mexico so a word as closely related is used. A ver well dressed, well educated couple from deep within the interior of Mexico who spoke true Spanish literally terrorized me one morning due to the fact that we had put the word Salsicha on the menu, which is to her meant Chorizo; but we didn’t serve Chorizo. We had our American sausage instead. This was never a problem for our regular customers, but you see the dilemma. We are in process of learning a more complete Spanish for when we return to Costa Rica, for that version is a bit different yet when it comes to everyday language and their own slangs. I must tell you that the thing I love about German is that I can read it and most often get the gist of what the content is even though I do not speak the language. I am certain this is indeed due to the fact that so many English words come from German origins. Thank you for your post. It is appalling to me what is becoming of the English language i this country. Every day when we read online or even books which are poorly edited I am sickened at heart. It is not that I am perfectionist, but simply that if a person cares not for correct speech, then what else are they lax about? There have become so many cracks in our system due to apathy that I often worry about the future of American society. Intelligence is not encouraged on the internet at large or on the flat screen televisions that adorn our living rooms. Sadly, too many are leaving their children’s educations to these methods. I love to read but find myself more and more returning to the classics simply because of their content and how they are written. Happy week to you! Wonderful photos as well!

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    • Thank you very much for your your elaborate comment. I am always amazed how many people living abroad. A lot of our readers are expatriats.
      I experienced this problem with slang and special meanings as well in Norfolk. But never ever met someone who minded.
      I read a lot of English literature – classics (I just re-read “The Great Gatsby”) and contemporary authors – and that gave me a feeling for a decent English style. But that doesn`t mean, that I am able to write and speak like a style which perfects fits the situation. Subtleties are the problem. As you mentioned: to catch the gist of what it said and how to answer …
      To the same words and their different meaning in different languages: Years ago I ran into a problem with the German word “Ethnologie” – you wouldn`t believe it, ist means “anthropology” in German, whereas the German word “Anthropolgy” means – did you guess it? – well, ethnology. And there exist lots of words with differenct meanings in English and American: f.e. bookshop and bookstore …
      Interesting was a meeting of European and American physicist at the Cern/Geneva. An American scientist explained certain problems with string theory and described something (I don`t understand) “like you peel an orange”. The European physicists disagreed. I took them quite a while to find out that it was a problem of the semantics of the expression “peeling an orange”. You peel differently in Europe and America!
      All the best🙂
      Have a great pre-Chistmas time
      Klausbernd

      Like

  27. As a non native English speaker, I agree completely… In my day to day activities, interacting with other non native speakers, it can sometimes be quite a challenge to eliminate all chances of misunderstandings…🙂

    Like

  28. Hej allihopa, vorgestern schrieb ich einen feinen Text zum Thema – und: flutsch, weil michzwo wohl genau zur selben Zeit hochlud. Also es ging ungefähr so: Yeah, jag är hemma här. Thanks so lot for this thinking and writing. Bevor ich etwas sage, versuche ich mir immer ganz sicher zu sein in Sprache und deren Ausdruck. Take time everywhere. En dag börjar så här är en god dag……… Allen eine weitere besinnliche Adventszeit. Und den “fabulösen Vier” eine gute Weihnachtszeit.

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    • Da freuen sich die “Fabulösen Vier” (mit großem F bitte!😉 ) aber sehr und senden “gaaaaaaaaaaaanz, gaaaaaaaaanz liebe Grüße und die besten Wünsche” für eine weihnachtliche Zeit zurück. Mach’s dir rundum gemütlich.
      Beim Schreiben überlegt sich Masterchen auch immer vorher, was er wie ausdrücken möchte. Beim Reden zumindest sind wir spontaner und plaudern oft einfach los. Jedoch wenn wir in Englisch spontan losschreiben oder reden, wissen wir nie genau, wo uns das hinbringen wird. Uns beschleicht dann jenes Gefühl, dass die Sprache uns spricht und nicht wir die Sprache.
      Ha en fin jul
      KLEM
      The Fabulous Four , ganz fabulös
      Kb

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    • Yeah, så blir det lite norska oxå. Jag känner samma och önskar att ha det bra för alla alla de dagar som finns på den här jorden. Ich weiss auch immer nicht genau wo mich meine Worte hinbringen. Selbst im Deutschen. I like sailing with my wordfinding. I like more sailing not alone. Klem Ruth

      Like

  29. Thank goodness I don’t have to learn English. I was a teacher of English once upon a time and know how difficult it can be.

    Love those awesome shots – especially the hat.

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  30. What a fascinating post! It is really interesting to get a non-native English-speaker perspective on our odd and very diverse language. You mention somewhere that native Brits can detect one another’s class by the mere utterance of a ‘Hello’ but it really goes much deeper than this. Or should I say that class is a very complex thing in the UK. Once I found myself in the company of a dozen very posh elderly Brits on a boat cruise – I was definitely the sole representative of the hoi polloi in this instance. Although complete strangers to one another, within half an hour of upper class chit-chat they had each firmly determined their own place in the pecking order, this achieved through mutual knowledge of the expensive schools they had attended, their relative importance as former captains of industry and no doubt, some discrete subtleties of vowel sounds. They were all very happy in the knowledge that each of them belonged near the top of the tree although this considerable collective social self esteem would have easily been trumped by the arrival of an old Etonian or a minor royal in their presence.
    English-English is nuanced by all sorts of other factors – class, education, age, political outlook. Regional accents have an important part to play too – some are considered more acceptable than others. Although you can have a strong Scottish or northern accent and still come across as astute, knowledgable and well-educated it is harder to do the same with, say, a Brummie accent. I should know – I still have the ghost of the West Midlands in my speech despite not having lived there for 40 years. Not that I am ashamed of it, of course.
    It has much to do with vowel sounds. The very posh Simon Sebag Montefiore in his recent TV series on Byzantium keeps referring to ‘the Tarks’ when what he really means is ‘the Turks’. Ironically, the common Brummie pronounciation of this same word gets it spot on. That is not the point though – to demonstrate that you are the recipient of an expensive education it is necessary to mispronounce certain vowels in a very precise way.

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    • Thank you so much for your view as a native English speaker!🙂
      As a foreigner the English class system is ununderstable, I suppose. It`s strange, isn`t it, that a country with such a long democratic tradition kept to its class differences and the people from the top of this pyramid seem to be proud of it. But as a foreigner I don`t fit into this class system anyhow – like in India, I am classless. That helps a lot! I have to say the other side of the coin is that I never ever felt any animosity because I speak a “funny English”. The otherness is accepted, no problem, no discrimination.
      You are living not far from us. We will come to Norwich in January maybe we`ll meet for a tea or whatsoever.
      Have a great and happy Christmas time
      Klausbernd
      and, of course, Siri and Selma send their love too🙂🙂

      Like

    • Yes please do contact me when you come to Norwich in January, Klausbernd. It would be good to meet over a tea or whatsoever. You can contact me by email : lemit (at) btinternet (dot) com. For now, et me wish you, Dina and the faeries, Merry Christmas. Laurence

      Like

    • Dear Laurence,
      just a quick reply before I go to Norwich to pick up Dina from the airport-bus.
      We will contact you when we are in Norwich again and we will send a mail before, of course. If you are around at the coast, plase, call in, my email adress: mail (at) kbvollmar (dot) de.
      Looking foreward meeting you🙂
      Klausbernd and Dina, Siri and Selma🙂🙂🙂🙂

      Like

  31. Okay, I had a very very hard time reading all of this…I couldn’t quit staring at the GORGEOUS doors and take my eyes off of them to concentrate what you all were saying. LOL!! And that aqua purse…LORDY be still my heart. I guess once a photographer never a reader…smile. You are such an inspiration with your words to all of us. I know I have said this before…but seriously…write a novel my friend!!

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    • 🙂🙂 Thank you soooo much for your kind words, Laurie! They put a jumbo smile on our faces this morning. The bookfayries Siri & Selma are all excited and find your comment most rewarding! They have gone for a morning flight through the tiny village, I’m sure they’ll say thank you personally when they’re back. I can’t tell you how long it takes. It all depends on whom they meet. They can be quite talkative, you see.

      Big hug to you and say hello the most gorgeous Little Man.
      Happy Holidays!
      Dina xx

      (The two doors are from Dublin (first one) and Weimar)

      Like

    • Thanks!
      Siri and Selma are writing the texts with the help of their dear Master. And you would`t believe it, our dear Master`s two novels are already published – but in German only, sorry. Our beloved Master was a professional writer who published many, many books – with our help, of course.
      All the best to you and thank you very much for your kind comment
      Siri and Selma🙂🙂

      Like

    • well, that`s yoga for those little grey cells …
      For Siri’s and Selma’s grey cells writing it as well, as they told me🙂🙂 here they are for wishing you a happy holiday season
      what I do too
      Klausbernd🙂

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  32. I love the opening photo, Dina. Where is that?
    Great quotes and lots of smiles, especially at your interpretative list- it’s spot on (er…close 🙂 ).
    Have a happy time in Norfolk!

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    • Thank you so much, Jo. The list is fine, isn’t it?
      The opening photo is taken in Dublin last year. It’s the main entrance to the outstanding National Library of Ireland (Die Irische Nationalbibliothek). A magnificent building, the reading room is a gem! They had a wonderful exhibition on William B. Yeats in the basement, one of the best I’ve ever seen.
      The second photo is from D-Weimar and the following ones are from Harrogate, England.
      I’m almost packed and ready to go…🙂
      Happy Holidays to you and yours, Jo!
      Dina x

      Like

  33. A wonderful post. Last summer I visited a particularly plush hotel in a small corner of Cornwall and heard the posh upper crust accent you refer to in your post, something I had not heard for a very long time. My first reaction was that it was ridiculous but then I also felt some resentment. The upper classes in England are not self-made. They achieved their wealth through pillage and plunder. Their descendants may not have directly committed these crimes but they indirectly benefited from them. There is never an excuse for rudeness, but feeling some resentment…maybe.

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    • Thank you very, very much for your commentary🙂
      I fully agree with you and Siri and Selma as well. In a way people speaking this upper crust accent tell everybody immediately “I am better than the rest” but don`t finish their sentence with “because my family was ruthless”.
      What a coincident, we write about robbery today when the British robber hero died – I am just listening to classic FM and was amazed he was the first topic in the news – and how much time he got in the news, wow!
      I wish you a relaxing Christmas season and all the best
      Klausbernd
      Siri and Selma say “Thank you, merry Christmas” and all that … 🙂🙂

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  34. Such an interesting post! I’m a native English speaker – but American English, so don’t have any authority from the British English point of view. (And the few German words that stayed with me after my time in Berlin in the early 80’s don’t give me ANY standing there!)

    But from the point of view of learning Norwegian … I found that my English writing style changed a bit when I was first learning it – shorter sentences, more direct written thoughts. But now that I’m (a little) more comfortable with Norwegian, and have been writing again in my blog, my longer and more “flowing” English written voice has come back to me.

    I enjoyed reading this post … and the photos were spectacular as always! Klem fra Bergen!

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    • Dear Cindi,
      for me it was similar when I started to live in a British English speaking surrounding: My sentences became shorter and the order of words in the sentences started to change. My editors always made jokes about my English influenced style – and changed it. I suppose it`s imprtant for every expat like us to stick to one main language you feel at home with, otherwise you end up not speaking any language well.
      I wish you a happy Christmas time and thank you for commenting
      Klausbernd
      “A great holiday season!”, Siri and Selma are shouting from the kitchen🙂🙂

      Like

    • I find reading about others’ experiences with different languages so interesting! I had a recent “comment conversation” with an American Expat near Dusseldorf about how our thought process and speaking style changes. Reading of how your writing style also changed, as mine did, adds depth to the conversation …. but yours was much more noticeable with your career!🙂

      Happy holidays to you and Dina, and of course to Siri and Selma!

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    • Dear Cindi,

      as I worked life long with and about the German language – as a kind of means of production – it had its disadvantages, of course, but there seem to be quite some advantages as well as many well-known authors live abroad and even write in the foreign language. Nabokov f.e. wrote “Lolita” after living in the US and has learned English there for not more three years, if I remember it right, anyway for very short.
      I notice that my German is getting more and more bookish as I read more German than I speak it. This is not necessary a disadvantage because you reflect your style much more and you become aware of subtleties of your native language you woldn`t have noticed otherwise.

      The problem is really that you end up not speaking any language really well. Well, but I think as long as you can express what you want to and you are understood that`s fine. All the rest is a question of style. And maybe all these expats worlwide create new languages which are blends of the different influences (Nabokov`s “Lolita” reflects this in its style with all those subtle reference to Russian, German, French, Italian etc.) One could see that as creativity.

      All the best🙂
      from
      Klausbernd and his funny Bookfayries Siri and Selma, who, by the way, speak bookfairyish to each other🙂🙂

      Like

  35. Wonderful photos, great illustrations, love it. You’re indeed very good with your camera, Dina!

    Love this subject, but sometimes it is difficult to express the deepest feelings
    and philosophical opinions in a second language. That’s my problem sometimes…

    British English is a very polite language and messing with the label, – you get the door in your face!
    Norwegians speak English in a very rude way. Norwegian is not a typical polite language and if one speaks English in the Norwegian way, you may see the door in your face a lot of times. In other parts of the world English are spoken with their local pronounces and words, – and courtesy is not that prominent.

    To write English can be a challenge for many, including the English.
    It is not always written “phonetically correct”.
    I remember this example from my studies.
    How can the word “fish” be spelled phonetically correct?
    Like this: “ghoti” gh= gh in enough, o= o in women, and ti= ti in nation.
    (Was this G.B. Shaw in Pygmalion/My Fair Lady?)

    Dette ville ha blitt mye bedre skrevet og uttrykt om jeg hadde brukt morsmålet mitt.
    Har spes. utdannelse som NOA lærer, dvs “norsk som andrespråk”.
    Min jobb er å lære norsk til folk som ikke har norsk som morsmål…
    og et nytt språk innebærer så mange ting en må ha med og som
    de med morsmålet har fått inn mrd morsmelka…

    Ønsker dere flotte, rolige dager inn mot julehøytida!

    Like

    • Hej Hans,

      may I tell you a funny story the other way round?
      Before I started my lecture tours and talk-shows in Germany I had to visit my agent in Berlin for a couple of days until, as she said, “your German becomes German again.” The problem was if you express something so polite in German as you would do it in English it sounds over the top and very elitist. But I was used to it and so I had my German to become straight again.

      You are a teacher of Norwegian for not native speakers. I learned Swedish and that was for me as a German native speaker quite easy, actually the easiest language I came across. And as I see with Dina Norwegian and Swedish are very much the same – sorry, for me as a foreigner.

      A great jule tida for you as well and ha en fin dag
      Klausbernd🙂

      Like

  36. Oh I enjoyed this very much Klaus! We in India are a very confused lot when it comes to the English language. We started out with the very ‘propah’ tongue our colonial masters left us, but the obsession with all things American and the onslaught of American TV shows is giving birth to a hybrid that is neither here nor there! And then there is Hinglish!!😀
    PS: Coveting that bag Dina! Phenomenal photos as always.

    Like

    • Dear Madhu,
      your comment reminds me on a funny story. A German friend of mine learned English in India. Later, back in Germany, he met some Indian folks in a pub in Hamburg. Of course, he spoke with his strong Indian accent – he knew not better – what caused a big fight. A table and chairs broken and a nose .. really … You know why? The Indian people thought he was imitating them and ironising their English. By the way, he never spoke English again, he is learning French now.
      Hinglish is great, I never heard that expression before.
      In my generation you find a tendency to avoid American culture, most of it reaching Europe is trash – and that`s in England as well as in Germany. But having the biggest spending power helps. On the so called higher levels of entertainment and culture we are rather conservative. A series of the filmed Dicken`s, Austen`s, Goethe`s novels, about Freud and Jung sells. Well, I don`t want to be too judgemental, but most of the American culture reaching Europa is entertainment for people who are not interested in culture. Well, there some exceptions like John Irving …

      And here Siri and Selma are writing! Do you know, our Master has been to India in his Hippie-Phase – he even reached Poona and Auroville, he came back half dead … I am pretty sure that you hated those Hippies, but our Master was not on a search for enlightenment, he went because it was in, oh dear!

      Oh dear, Siri and Selma … they don’t know to keep secrets …
      All the best and greetings from the North Norfolk coast
      Klausbernd

      Like

  37. Ich finde, dass alles, was Sie geschrieben haben, ist wahr. Es ist auf jeden Fall ein sehr interessantes Erlebnis, eine neue Sprache zu lernen und zu verwenden, vor allem, wenn man in einem anderen Land wohnt. Was ich wirklich interessant in diesem Post finde ist dieser Satz: “wenn man eine Fremdsprache spricht, wird man zu einer anderen Person.” Das stimmt! Wenn ich auf Deutsch spreche, bin ich anders. Mein Humor ist anders zusammen mit dem Sprachstil und Ton. Meine Schwägerin hat mir das eigentlich gesagt, als wir zusammen in Amerika mit meiner Familie letztes Jahr waren. Sie meinte, “du bist lustiger auf Englisch!” haha. Naja, man kennt sich besser aus in seiner eigenen Sprache und kann mit der Sprache “spielen” und daraus was neues erstellen/entwickeln. Ich habe seit Januar in Deutschland gewohnt und lerne langsam die Umgangssprache der deutschen Sprache usw. Es dauert wirklich lange bis man sich wohl in einer fremden Sprache fühlt.

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  38. You can say the same thing about Italian too. To say something in Italian takes much longer than in English. I like the English language for its directness. Do I find it fascinating??? The most enchanting language in the world is French in my opinion. That’s way I’m struggling to learn a few words …🙂

    Like

    • Good evening, dear Flora,

      it`s quite a wind outside again but rather mild. Tomorrow Dina will come and then we will have a Great time until Feb.🙂

      Unfortunately I don`t know French. Once I had the best opportunity by having had a French speaking girl friend in Montreal. She wanted to teach me French. Guess what? We split and I knew that French isn`t my language. Oh dear, shame on me. But my humble excuse but I understand nearly all Scandinavian languages. As farther north as more ascetic those languages becomes, no embroidery, short and no secret. The secret is not impressed, it stays inside as long as you don`t read Scandivian crime stories. There it becomes obvious in their trademark: brutality.
      There are a lot of English expressions that are more to point – and often funny as well – as the German equivalent would be (the other way round as well).
      Italian is not that foreign to me as I read Latin. My first association always is: Opera – on stage as in everyday life. And therefore I like it – it`s communication on and with many channels.
      Have a great holiday season
      Merry Christmas to you and all your family
      HUGS
      The Fabulous Four
      Kb

      Like

  39. Dina and Klausbernd, first I wanted to tell you that I love the new combined blog. Second, I really enjoyed this post so much! I speak American English but I was a language major so I studied Spanish and German, and I taught French and studied and lived in France for a while. I always found German to be much easier for me because I felt it was more similar to English. It’s very sad that today’s environment pushes people to write and speak in shorthand – language just isn’t getting enough focus any more, here in the states at least. I loved being in China this year and trying to learn a language so completely strange and foreign to me. I actually started to pick it up toward the end of our month of travel altho my memory isn’t what it once was. In any case, keep up the great work!

    Like

    • Dear Tina,

      I agree with you that unfortunately languages including your mother tongue are not in focus in schools anymore – for quite a while. Nowadays we see the effect f.e. even in decent newspapers you find mistakes in every article. And that`s in England as well as in Germany.
      Well, 5 languages you read, wow, and I struggle with one foreign language only. I am impressed. For me to learn a language is very hard work, oh dear. And I noticed when I try to learn a new language I seem to loose the other one. I was fluently in Swedish but when I learned English I lost my Swedish more and more.

      All the best to you.
      Enjoy the holiday season, merry Christmas and all the best for the new year
      The Fabulous Four
      Klausbernd

      Like

  40. I noticed that Germans that went to work abroad for a couple of years generally continue to mix English in with their German upon return home. They refuse to go back to using a lot of German words when what they want to say can be expressed in just a few English ones. Of course, with the globalization, their colleagues can not only understand their ‘Genglish’, but they actively participate in this practice. Chances are they, too, have worked abroad at some point in time or they are used to communicating with their company’s subsidiaries abroad via telephone or teleconference on a daily basis. Thus the German language is greatly influenced by this steady, daily influx of English.

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    • Dear Andelieya,
      I notice this as well, speaking German I mix it with some expressions which are more to point and often shorter as the German equivalent. But I do it the other way round as well. In a way one forms a kind of personal language which is a blend of two languages sometimes even more.
      On the other hand living in England but writing in German most of the time I keep my German clear of unnecessary English influences – nevertheless English structures sneak in unnoticed f.e. in the order of words in the sentences.
      To a certain extent all of the much spoken languages are a blend of many languages.
      I live in the a village where a lot of Cambridged people live and I hear in this scene a lot of German words in their English.
      Have a happy holiday season, all the best to you
      The Fabulous Four
      Kb

      Like

  41. Just a few 100 years ago ( see how I shortened hundred🙂 ) people lived existences in terms of a few mile radius. Things have changed so much in the last 100 years that I think English became the universal language by default, due to its being the economic power for a bit and in the right timeframe. What will happen in the next 100 years; God only knows! I’m sure all languages are evolving at a much more rapid rate due to the internet. That, in my opinion, will be the catalyst for rapid change in many areas ; some good, some bad. I took Spanish for many years and traditional Spanish (Castellano) and colloquial Spanish can be quite different therefore learning a language can be daunting, period. I think it is a struggle for many people, UNLESS you learn it when quite young when the brain is so supple!

    On another note, I have your blog in my regular (Feedly) reader but I am not getting the posts delivered. I am not sure why! I will add you back on the WP reader and hopefully, that will fix things. I have to check my other WP blogs that are in the Feedly reader now….
    Have a wonderful holiday!

    Like

    • Dear ArtiZenImages,
      I don`t think that God knows so much how languages are developing the linguists know better😉
      Linguist see the tendency of long surviving languages that they are able to integrate influences from other languages. As more they can integrate as longer they survive. The exception are languages spoken in isolated areas like Icelandic and Inuktitut.
      I learned Swedish when I was a child and it was easy – it just happened. But other languages, I learned later, have been hard work to learn. I still have the feeling sometimes that English speaks me but I don`t speak English.
      Sorry, I don`t have any idea why you don`t get a notice delivered from my blog. I would just delete this function and activate it again. I hope this will help.
      All the best and thanks for commenting
      Klausbernd🙂
      The Fabulous Four wishing you a great cozy relaxing holiday season with your family

      Like

  42. Pingback: Nuthouse Support Center 05 | Nuthouse Pretty Girl

    • Hallo hallo, dear AuAu,
      GREAT! We Bokkfayries feel honoured and are very happy. We immediately fly over to you and have a look. THANK YOU!
      We wish you a relaxing happy holiday season and MANY presents😉
      Siri and Selma🙂🙂

      Like

  43. Bin etwas in Eile. die Sprache der Vögel finde ich schön, und die Sprache der Musik! ..und natürlich Meeresrauschen und wenn man die Muschel ans Ohr hält…..ansonsten würde ich gerne Hawaiianisch und Japanisch verstehen, Chinesisch ist ja viel zu schwierig!
    Ist es nicht toll, dass man sich auf Englisch fast überall auf der Welt verständigen kann?!
    Ich wäre für einen Refresherkurs fällig, nebenan bei Barbarossa im Lernstudio?!
    Ich glaube fast Weihnachten hat schon angefangen: Ich bekam eine Kristalltänzerin zum Aufhängen, mit einem Gedicht von Salah Naoura, Kroatische Plätzchen, wie sie meine Oma backt in einem Buchkasten, eine weiße Oma im Einmachglas, einen Pina Bausch Kalender, den 400sten Kerzenständer, gaaaanz viel lecker Honig…und und und….
    Amazing grace!
    Wunderschönes Weihnachten euch allen in Cley und tausendundein Dank für eure Worte, in welcher Sprache auch immer!
    Pia

    Like

    • Liebe Pia,
      huch, wir sind in träger Feierlaune, naja, doch gar nicht so träge. Stelle dir vor, ich bekam ein iPad von der lieben Dina zu Weihnachten geschenkt und nun habe ich es für mich eingerichtet. SUPER. Sonst brennt das Feuer im Kamin und nicht der Baum und abends sehen wir “Downton Abbey” zu bublig perligen Drinks – wie im Himmel nur besser, da wir keine Hallelujas singen müssen.
      Uns geht`s gut. Ich hoffe, dir geht`s auch vom besten und die Kiddies sind munter und fröhlich.
      Auch dir ganz lieben Dank für deine erfrischenden Kommentare, die besonders Siri und Selma sooooo lieben.
      Also, mach’s gut
      Ganz liebe Grüße von uns, die Kleinfeinfeen hängen flügellahm von Essen und Trinken im Sessel, Dina ist mit ihrem iPad zugange und ich schreibe dir emsig, hör aber jetzt auf – tschüss
      Klausbernd
      The Fabulous Four🙂🙂🙂🙂

      Like

  44. Oh wow, despite being awfully late to the party due to the usual end of year craze at work, what a courageous and as usual thought-provoking post.
    I am not quite sure where to begin, but I will try to keep my comment short – or at least not excessively long!😉
    1. I think that the opening quote (which in my view is very true) applies to pretty much any language in the world, not only English. Especially in formal contexts, being able to speak or anyway express themselves correctly and eloquently undoubtedly has immense value.
    2. Personally, I think a distinction should be made as to which vocabulary or expressions to use based on context. Formal speaking/writing in my view is appropriate in academic or formal circumstances, but oftentimes sounds awfully pompous and “dusty” in colloquial circumstances and even sometimes in a work environment, where I think language should be adapted to the person you are speaking to, not to sound condescending and classist.
    3. I think the ’60ies and the ’70ies have brought us the refreshing gift of a more relaxed, informal society which I personally very much welcome.
    4. Despite every effort to the contrary, language (every language) is alive and will endlessly evolve over time: words become obsolete, new words get created. It is totally fine with me: I much rather deal with something that is alive and dynamically change than with a monolith that has always been there that way and will always be, impenetrable to change. Change is living, immobilism in my view is death.
    5. I do not get all this bashing of American English as opposed to British English. Due to obvious historical reasons, the Brits exported their own language to several countries around the world that they… visited or to which English speaking people emigrated. When later on England went back to be just England, it is only natural that the language they “left behind” evolved its own way not only in the US, but also in Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India just to name a few places. So, ultimately who cares if some say colour and others prefer color? As the song goes, “tomayto”, tomato, right?
    6. Compared for instance with Italian, which is oftentimes complex and if you will convoluted, with an abundant use of subordinated sentences, I personally find English refreshing in its being short and to the point. I do not think it is simplistic, I think it forces you to break down your complex thoughts into smaller bits and organize them logically into shorter sentences, which in my view facilitate comprehension of even complex concepts by a larger group of people. I think English has the real potential for being the language of (or for?…) the masses instead of just the “enlightened elites”, which is something that I find very appealing.
    Oh well, eventually I wrote too much as usual! Anyway, these are just my 2 (American) cents😉
    Happy Holidays to you all, dear Fabulous Four!
    Stefano

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    • Dear Stefano,
      thank you so much to take the efford answering to this post. Meanwhile we had Christmas, it was great and we are lazy sitting in front of the fire – no, not the tree is burning but the fire in the fireplace – and I am thinking how to answer your comment. I have got the same feeling we could get ourselves in an endlesse but nevertheless very differentiated interesting discours – but …
      First of all, dear Stefano, the reflection of class differentiation in the language is much stronger in England than it is in Germany, Norway or the Netherlands. F.e. we don`t have an equivalent of an school accent like Eton (in a way non-verbal and verbal) and I cannot make out class differentiations within the middle class and above. Of course, this reflects a much tighter class structure in England than in most of the central European countries. On the other hand you are right, every language reflects to a certain degree class differentiation but the degree matters.
      Don`t understand me wrong, I am not all against schools for the elite, if that is defined by intellectual ability. But I think it is not really social to create an elitist verbal and non-verbal communication made for excluding the others.
      You are right with your second point: language always depends on the social surroundings in which it is used. Dina, Siri, Selma and me we speak a German together which is quite different from the language I used while I was working at the university or in interviews. And like all families we have our special family words no one else would understand (because of the influence of Siri’s and Selma’s Fairyish). When we are blogging we write – at least in German – in a mixture of a mildly naiv style in a more or less Standard High German. If it`s not Standard High German it has it`s function to build humor, irony etc.
      Well, dear Stefano, the 60th and 70th produced in Germany quite a strict code. During the student revolt you did need to know your Marxist`s vocabulary to understand and be taken seriously. Then we changed the code – structuralism was in and linguistic categories and structural thinking coint the language. Okay, I am aware of talking about languages of the intellectual middle class. But you can see how these languages – actually “language” is not the right word here, it`s rather a slang – after while will be copied by other groups too.
      It`s a linguistc fact: languages which are alive don`t die out.
      I find it rather interesting how a language can split into two forms drifting apart like English and American (and all the other “Englishes”). I don`t mind but an USAmerican accent, but it can get you in unconfortable situations as I experienced it with friends. There are a quite some prejudices triggert.
      To your last point I would think it depends what you want to use your language for. I like those long sentences which often build up a special mood, talking in metaphores and pictures and slow you down reading – making you dreaming … If I have to explain how you can start my outboard engine then it`s ideal with a language structure like English. Short sentences is, of course, as well a sign of a foreigner speaking. But if someone uses complex sentence structures and he or she is not good handling this language, which can be his or her mother tongue, then he or she ends up in an ununderstandable muddle.
      Oh my dear friend, I suppose that`s enough for the holiday season. Thank you very much for your inspiring comment.
      Now I go back to eating and drinking …
      Lots of Love and a big Hug
      Klausbernd
      and all the rest from the Fabulous Four
      Enjoy your new hairy being – a dog?

      Like

  45. I sent a link to this post to my oldest son who is fascinated by languages — he loves finding those commonalities and roots between different languages, and has a real knack for figuring out the pattern of each language and learning them from books, apps, online websites, etc. The photos were a lively addition to an interesting read!

    Like

    • Hi, dear Kat,
      thank you very much for sending your son this link🙂
      Our Master likes languages very much as well, but not to learn them, he hates that, but to study their structure and finding connections.
      We had such a Great Christmas, well, actually we still have Christmas, lots of sweets, other fine foods, drinks and soooo many gifts🙂 And therefore bye, bye
      LOL
      A great new year to you
      wishing
      Siri and Selma
      Dina and Klausbernd

      Like

  46. A very Happy New Year to you all!!

    I have not looked at the English language as being entirely bastardized but rather look at language as a living thing which simply morphs over time according to changing attitudes and usage. There are times when I lament the loss of language of earlier times which I find more lush and poetic. Today’s writing seems to favor crisp!! I like adjectives. I would not mind if English were a bit more uniform or consistent in grammar rules though. I always laughed at the statement that “The only rule to which there is no exception is the rule that states…there is an exception to every rule.”

    However, all said, I admire the language usage on your blogs and find the writing interesting and coherent. Look forward to another great year of fun, provocative and educational posts!!

    Like

    • Dear Judy
      what a fine gravatar you choose🙂
      A very Happy New Year to you as well.

      I see it as you do, language is a living being but sometime it`s usage moves against my taste and sometimes it inspires. I like the use of adjectives as well and a slow language with long sentences. I know that`s against the Zeitgeist. But so what?
      I like your sentence about the only rule that there is none. You make me feel much better with my funny English.

      Thanks for your comment
      All the best
      Klausbernd

      Like

  47. I like your Australian hat. I live in America, and the English language is common here. When I was a little kid it was hard understanding it, but I have come grown accustomed to it as my second language. My first language is Spanish.

    Like

    • Thank you, dear Raul,
      Siri, Selma and me we live in two languages as well: German and English
      Dina lives in three languages: German, Norwegian, English
      Sometimes it is really exciting to see what one language can express what the other cannot.
      All the best
      Kb

      Like

  48. I have no idea why or how but I grew up with this passion for languages, it’s in my blood. My family’s average financial situation couldn’t help me get tutorials or go to language centers where I can learn and practice the languages so I decided I should start learning on my own. I’ve started learning English by the end of 2011, then moved to writing and blogging. I know i’m still way behind fluency but I’m still trying and working hard alone, nobody’s helping me speak or practice, even though, i’m not giving up under any circumstances. Besides, I promised a friend of mine who’s a native American speaker that i’ll speak better than him one day, and it’s very soon!!! Thank you so much for the lovely post and quotes as well as the facts about English and other languages, I’m going to share this to my FB page, it’s worth reading over and over again.🙂

    Like

    • Dear Ahmed,
      oh dear, we thought we had answered you before. Sorry!
      Your English is quite perfect I suppose, at least as a non-native speaker. I have no problems reading and understandig it. Congratiulations for such a short time, three years only, learning English by yourself. I noticed there is a limit in what I can reach just by myself. If I want to go beyond it I have to practise speaking with native speakers. Actually blogging is a fine field of practising, isn’t it?!
      All the best and have a happy week
      the Fab Four of Cley
      and SORRY once again …

      Like

  49. I came back to read this again, after quite some time.
    Just today, I heard someone define giddy as “happy”, not as “dizzy from twirling”. It seems that most assume incorrect word usage will be understood as meant, not as used. I believe that only a small minority perceive this type of miscommunication, so strive for clarity.
    Thank you for your continuing clarity, in whichever language you write.

    Like

    • Dear Robert,
      thank you very much for your kind words🙂
      We agree that a correct use of language has its aim in a clear understanding. As non-native speakers of English we always have to struggle to find the exact words or expressions. And we become aware of what it tells about us all these words and expressions we like.
      All the best and we wish you a happy week to come
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

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