Random DWJ discovery of the day

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Wed Mar 30 12:56:22 EST 2005


Colin said...

> German is not as orderly and predictable as you might think.
> 'ȁu' and 'eu' are pronounced identically, as are '-ig' and '-ich' in at 
> least some dialects; and 's' is pronounced differently if it precedes 't' 
> or 'p' in the same syllable (but not if they are in different syllables).

What was that square symbol meant to represent?  The only thing I can think 
of is that you were aiming for a u-umlaut - which is certainly *not* 
pronounced the same as "eu".  U-umlaut and "ue" *are* pronounced the same, 
but that's a particular spelling convention in German that says that if 
umlauts aren't feasible (e.g. on a non-German typewriter), the letter that 
should be umlauted is followed by an "e" instead.

While "ig" and "ich" can indeed be pronounced the same in some dialects, 
they are not the same in Hochdeutsch, which I consider to be the standard.

I can't think of any examples of the "s" phenomenon you mention - can you 
provide some?

> As for sticking words together: we do that increasingly in English, it's 
> just that we prefer to enhance legibility by leaving spaces between the 
> items (look at most newspaper headlines). It's not really a much different 
> process from German.

True, but German does it more, and has been doing it for longer, I think.

> I'm not sure quite what you mean about changes to word order, but if you 
> are right, it would seem to imply that you can get more subtle variations 
> in English, which might be a strength.

I'm not saying it isn't, in some cases.  But when you're writing technical 
documentation, for instance, last thing you want is subtle variations in 
meaning!

Dorian. 

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