WORLD OF TEXT

ZEH GERMANS ARE COMINK!

Posted on: 14. April 2009

The heading might be a bit misleading – we Germans are not in fact, going anywhere. Except for vacations, of course. If you are a native speaker of English, you probably heard someone from here or some other country butcher your language ruthlessly, either through mispronounciation, bad grammar, or similar problems. You make fun of us for it, too – zeh for the, k instead of g, w instead of v. A „Jawohl!“ thrown in for a quick Nazi joke.

But mostly, you have it right – Germans that have learned English at school never develop the necessary mindset to speak English at a higher degree of skill to mask these most telling signs of a non-native speaker. Sounds like the /θ/ or /ð/ do not exist in the German language – we have to substitute them with /t/, /s/ or /z/ (due to them being the nearest consonants to the /ð/ or /θ/) if we do not learn to pronounce the sound. Words that end with an -ing usually are pronounced in such a way that the /g/ at the end is dropped, or hardly pronounced. Due to the fact that the whole verb construction regarding -ing is also new to Germans, they usually emphasize the -ing to show that they know the proper grammar – if the German is confident in his English he still might overemphasize the /g/ due to the simple nature that the ’silent‘ /g/ is not very common in German (or in fact, in place of a silent /g/, we sometimes use the German allophone [ç], which again shifts the word’s emphasis onto the last syllable).

I hope I gave some insight into the difficulties of German native speakers and their accents in English, for further reading I would suggest a good book on the subject – no link today!

-Moritz

2 Antworten to "ZEH GERMANS ARE COMINK!"

[I’m sorry, I used signs which were converted to html, so my first comment is gibberish. Here’s my second try:]

Due to the fact that the whole verb construction regarding -ing is also new to Germans, they usually emphasize the -ing to show that they know the proper grammar – if the German is confident in his English he still might overemphasize the /g/ due to the simple nature that the ’silent’ /g/ is not very common in German

It might be true that people emphasize the ending – but they do not pronounce the written „g“ seperately (that’s what you suggest, isn’t it?). „ng“ occurs frequently in German and is always pronounced the same, namely [ŋ]: Hang, Gesang, fangen, lang, eng, … so there’s no reason to pronounce it otherwise in English.
It’s more of a problem that there sometimes IS a /g/ sound in English and we omit it – i.e. finger should be pronounced [fiŋ.gər], but Germans say [fiŋər].
I hope you don’t mind my intervention😉
Kristin.

Hey, I don’t mind at all! And I see where you are coming from, and I seem to have written it up poorly – the g is not to be seen seperately, what I meant was that the whole -ing construction as a whole is more stressed. As to the comment on the etymology of Ostern, you got me there – my research wasn’t as thorough as it could have been, but then, if I were to write perfect articles, no one would be able to comment them and point out the (obvious) mistake, could they?

edit: I forgot to mention – the K in COMINK was exaggerated to emphasize my argument (also, because for some reason I find capitalized, stereotypical sentences funny)- it does not represent how Germans speak English

Thanks for your corrections and clarifications!

P.S.: I took the liberty of deleting your garbled comment. If you feel it should be preserved for the afterlife, I can still restore it.

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