OT - German (was: Random DWJ discovery of the day)

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Thu Mar 31 04:29:47 EST 2005


Another thought on Colin and Dorian's discussion:

> 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. 

Last year I worked for three months in a town called Buer, on the edge of the Ruhr region.  It was two months before I discovered that the locals didn't pronounce it /bür/ but /bu-er/

(Sorry.  I know that place names often don't follow the spelling rules of a language.  But it's worth mentioning.)

Philip.

PS I only managed the first couple of pages of "Teach yourself Irish", so I can't really comment on Irish spelling conventions.  But I think the Russians have a much easier system:

A consonant is soft (palatalised) if and only if it is followed by a soft vowel.

There are two silent vowels, one soft and one hard, that you can use to make the consonants do the right thing.  Unlike in Irish, these two vowels are always silent, which is a big help!



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