(humor) Mark Twain takes apart "The Awful German Language"

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IMHO, this is one of Twain's funniest, and a classic. Print this one out and take it to the beach with ya...

The Awful German Language

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), June 28, 2000



You DO have a way with hitting topics when they're discussed in other avenues of life.

My youngest is finishing his high-school years in Illinois right now. He's moving into his 4th year of German. I E-mail him jokes in German almost daily so he can practice. I omit the translation on those E-mails. He had a hard time deciphering the one about Altzheimers. There were three reasons listed regarding benefits of Altzheimers. He couldn't decipher 1 and 3, which were identical: "You can hide your own Easter eggs."

A few weeks ago, he began complaining about his name. We call him Tor. He said, "Tor, in German means gate, goal, or fool. I hope you two didn't know German when you named me." I said, "Well, your name isn't REALLY Tor, it's TorSTEN." Next E-mail: "sten" just means EST in German, so now I'm foolEST.

He was the LAST of my kids that I thought would complain about his name, but I continued. "You're NOT German. You're of Scandinavian descent...Norwegian mother.....Swedish father. Scandinavians see Tor as 'God of Thunder.' Here's a link demonstrating how many children in the U.S. were born with your name: [results showed 0], DEMONSTRATING how popular your name IS in this country."

Sometimes I agree with Carol Burnett(sp?) who said that teens should be hooked up to a C.D. player when they turn 14, put into suspended animation and awakened when they're 20 or so.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), June 28, 2000.

From: Preparations, ` la Carte, by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

He did one of these to French, too.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), June 30, 2000.


Thanks for this so much! My wife speaks fluent German, having grown up there, and she couldn't see the humor. She tried to teach me, and for several months I grappled with this stuff before despairing. The cases (and therefore the declensions) were worse than memorizing the genders. At least I wasn't trying to learn Finnish (Suomi), with a somewhat different alphabet and SEVENTEEN cases.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), June 30, 2000.

I'm glad you guys liked this piece.


Funny stuff; and I agree with Burnett. In fact, I've already got the Yellow Pages out, open to "S", where in a minute I'll be running my finger down the page looking for Suspended Animation Services...


I didn't know he did a French bit. What's the title?


I laughed when I read that your wife couldn't find anything funny about it. But of course! It's all become a natural part of her.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), June 30, 2000.

From: Preparations, ` la Carte, by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

The Jumping Frog: In English, then in French, then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil, by Mark Twain

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), July 01, 2000.

Thanks, Dancr. I knew about the Jumping Frog, but I'd been only very marginally aware of this version. At first pass, it looks pretty cool.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), July 01, 2000.

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