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     Table of Contents Chapter 2 2.2 German does not always sound the same

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Chapter 2: How does German sound?

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  2.2 German does not always sound the same

How something sounds, tastes or smells depend also on the condition the thing is in this particular moment. Sometimes one might feel like having an apple and sometimes not. And on top of this all apples taste different. German sounds differently depending on who is talking, a child, a man, a woman, depending on the type of text and so on. Let's have some examples.


   German spoken by kids
a kid says in ...  
German: ene dene dippe dene dippe dene dalia ebbe bebe bembio bio bio puff  
  English: ene dene dippe dene dippe dene dalia ebbe bebe bembio bio bio puff  

Ok, we admit that this was not German. It is more like a universal language. Something that an English child pronounces is probably quite the same a German or any other child would pronounce.

But now a real German example:

   The song of joy (by Friedrich Schiller*)
a) sung by a girl b) sung by a man c) recited by a woman
 

The text is the beginning of the famous Song of Joy (Freude schöner Götterfunken). This song forms part of the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven and was adopted as the hymn of the European Union in 1986.

Freude schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium
wir betreten feuertrunken himmlische dein Heiligtum
deine Zauber binden wieder
was die Mode streng geteilt
alle Menschen werden Brüder
wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt
Joy, Oh ! divine scintillation
Sparkling from Elysium,
With a cheerful animation
Goddess, to thy shrine we come.
These our nations once divided
Now your magic spells unite,
Where your wing does beat around them
Brotherhood and love delight.

* Friedrich Schiller (1759 - 1805), together with Goethe the greatest German poet.

Another great poet of the German mother tongue is Rainer Maria Rilke.

Und du wartest, erwartest das Eine,
das dein Leben unendlich vermehrt;
das Mächtige, Ungemeine,
das Erwachen der Steine,
Tiefen, dir zugekehrt.
Es dämmern im Bücherständer
die Bände in Gold und Braun;
und du denkst an durchfahrene Länder,
an Bilder, an die Gewänder
wiederverlorener Fraun.

Und da weißt du auf einmal: das war es.
Du erhebst dich, und vor dir steht
eines vergangenen Jahres
Angst und Gestalt und Gebet
You wait, expect the one,
that enriches you life endlessly
the powerful, the mighty
the wakening of the stones
depths towards yourself
in the book shelf
the tomes in golden and brown doze
you think of lands you crossed
of pictures, of robes of
long lost women

And suddenly you know: that was it
you stand up and in front of you
stands the fear, the form and the prayer
of the last year.

This is our last example and we hope that we have given you the understanding that sometimes even German sounds beautiful. With this poem we would like to close the introductory chapter. Like all the poems of Rilke (1875-1926) this one is full of philosophical ideas on the one side and little nothings on the other. But in principle it expresses something we all know, the never-ending search for something special.

Und du erwartest, erwartest das Eine
das dein Leben unendlich vermehrt,
das Mächtige, Ungemeine,
das Erwachen der Steine,
Tiefen dir zugekehrt.


If we stop searching we stop to live and the content people hopefully have found the beauty of this world

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