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Thread: Greatest German ever ?

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Greatest German ever ?

    BBC NEWS : 'German' Mozart upsets Austrians

    Austrians have voiced their upset over a shortlist for a "best Germans" TV show that includes the Salzburg-born composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    A spokeswoman from the Austrian embassy in London told BBC News Online said that Mozart was neither German or Austrian as he came from Salzburg when it was its own city state, but that Austria now claimed him as "Austrian".
    Other disputed candidates in the ZDF-made show include the composer Joseph Haydn, who was born in Vienna, and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.
    ZDF said there was always likely to be some controversy because Germany's borders had changed so often, and producers were having difficulties suggesting some candidates born outside of Germany's present-day borders.
    Very well said. They should have called the poll "greatest German-speaker", so as to include those born outside present day Germany (especially Poland and Austria).

    Some of the undisputedly-German candidates include the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, scientist Albert Einstein, writer Gunter Grass, tennis player Boris Becker and the supermodel Claudia Schiffer.
    My foot 'undisputedly-German' ! Beethoven is from Dutch-Belgian and Austrian descent, though he was born in Bonn, Germany. His family name is Dutch. That's because of this "Europeanness" that his 9th symphony was chosen as the EU's national anthem (among other reasons).

    Einstein was a Jew born in Switzerland who later moved to the US and was naturalised American. How German is that ? At least his mother-tongue was German.
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    Unswerving bicyclist thomas's Avatar
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    Just read about that survey. Believe me, here in Austria people are already sharpening their knives!



    Haydn, Freud: definitely Austrians. Beethoven: welp, at least he composed most of his pieces in Austria. There are a few personalities being "claimed" by two or more countries. Take for instance Franz Kafka who was born in Prague during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, but who wrote mostly in German. Both, Czechs and Austrians, call him one of their greatest sons, lol. However, the situation looks entirely different as far as Hitler is concerned...


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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    However, the situation looks entirely different as far as Hitler is concerned...
    Yes, of course...

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    Regular Member kuchi's Avatar
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    sadly, the country i live in would not consider liliuokalani as a candidate for a great american in the U.S. even though her country (islands) was annexed shortly after, the same would go for geronimo and pocahontas. well, at least by conservatives that is. the show should retract their statement and say "greatest men and women of gaelic decent".
    -wisdom is being able to entertain an idea without accepting it-

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    Junior Member mudball's Avatar
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    i dont think that most dutch people would consider beethoven dutch or belgian. At least i wouldnt....maybe his name is dutch or belgian like but that doesnt make him a dutch or belgian person........as for the rest is concerned i dunno quite the history between the boundries of a country and those people asscoiated in that time.

    actually i should know this cause i had this a long time at high school but things like that i forget easily.

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    i don't like german people very much.. they keep expecting me to know german, just cuz i'm a swede.. they can't just speak english like normal people.. they're like the french, except the german language is fouler! "RAUS NICHT HAST DU SHTRUDEL GEBACHT UND LEDERHOSEN HEIL!!" ugly language..

    and they dub over arnold... ARNOLD!!! how do you get away with sacrilege like that?
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    Traveler of eternity dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedMac
    they're like the french, except the german language is fouler!
    EXCUSE ME but What do you mean by "they're like the french" ?????
    One of the most adventurous things left for us is to go to bed. For no one can lay a hand on our dreams....

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    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedMac
    i don't like german people very much.. they keep expecting me to know german, just cuz i'm a swede.. they can't just speak english like normal people.. they're like the french, except the german language is fouler! "RAUS NICHT HAST DU SHTRUDEL GEBACHT UND LEDERHOSEN HEIL!!" ugly language..

    and they dub over arnold... ARNOLD!!! how do you get away with sacrilege like that?
    Dub over Arnold? You mean Schwarzenegger? Well, he dubs himself, shouldn't make much of a difference then.

    I don't know how many Germans you met, but can't be too many, at least not younger ones. English is compulsory subject in pretty much all secondary schools, so it should be possible to have at least basic conversation with most Germans up to the age of 40 or even 50.
    Well, maybe not, if somebody shows such an attitude as you do, they might not be willing to make the effort of talking English to you.

    If you live in Germany you should learn German, anyway. If these Germans live in Sweden they should learn Swedish (not English). If you talk about tourists, well, that's a whole topic of its own.

    Ugly language? Hmm, Swedish & German are closely related, lots of similar sounds, even expressions. Can't be that bad then, except, of course, you think of your own language as ugly as well.

    BTW, what did you want to say with your "German" sentence? Makes no sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    BTW, what did you want to say with your "German" sentence? Makes no sense.
    I was wondering the same thing ^^
    Beside if you don't make an effort I think it's normal people don't make one too...
    Anyway here in France English is an obligation in 95% of the schools so almost any teen from 12 to 25 should be able to speak it more or less correctly (Unless it's you who can't express yourself clearly enough)

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    right, ok, off to 'splainin then ^_^

    first of all, everything i say should be taken with a grain of salt.. hell, take the whole saltstone.. I've been known to blow things out of proportion..

    *breathes in*

    second, here's the explanation:
    when i was in france there were 2 nice guys and the rest looked at me like i was retarded because i didn't know any french... busdrivers treated me like shit and so on.. didn't give me a great impression of the french..

    sweden is a germanic language, and i can understand alot from drawing logical conclusions, but saying they're almost the same is like saying french and latin are the same.. let's face it, they're not. In my ears german is what the orcs should be talking >_<.. (swedish is an ok language and we pronounce many things alot like the japanese.. english is fantastic, you can express just about anything, it's just so versatile. japanese is very nice and french sounds great... but german.. german sounds like a bowel-movement...)

    German people "know" english, but they insist on not using it as soon as they get a chance.. so if a swede doesn't know german, they get a bit like the french i mentioned earlier.. I've been to germany MANY times (you most probably know of the swedes shopping-runs to Germany, bossel...), but only on vacations...

    me, i'm part english, my english is good enough =D

    third: that sentence means nothing.. it's just jibberish. just random german words..

    fourth: you don't dub over arnold! arnold is god!
    the point i was trying to make there was that they dub over ALL their movies.. basically everything is in german in germany.. and let's face it.. Hollywood has taught more people english (or atleast american-english) than any english teacher ever will... that's not true in Germany tho, so usually their english is pretty much terrible =/ (there are of course exceptions, bossel, but be honest, how many of your friends even TRY to speak english without it sounding like a variation of german?).. those exceptions are usually the germans you meet on non-german boards and such...)

    /eeend

    (I mean no offence to anyone, and anyone is free to swing shots on sweden or swedish or me as a person.. i talk alot but i have very little to say.. so to speak)

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    Traveler of eternity dreamer's Avatar
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    You know, when you go in another country the less you can do is learn some basic vocabulary, especially when you're going to some crappy old villages. You said the busdriver treated you like sh... but have you wondered why?
    If you were standing here making him lose his time it's normal that he treated you like this.
    Think about it. You say you can deduce the meaning of some german snetences since it looks like swedish but how would you feel if some german people came in your country and used german with you?
    People tend to use the language they know the most and that's just the same in every country.
    By the way french inheritated a lot from latin this is why it's so similar.
    Anyway German and swedish are really alike so to my mind saying that german sounds like a bowel-movement means that swedish too...
    Beside if you don't like German you shouldn't go to germany -_-
    There's lot of other places where you can go on vacation even if it's for shopping. They have good stuff in cali, london or even hong kong if you have the guts to move a lil bit further ^^
    (btw I don't understand the word bossel)

    As for arnold I've nothing to say about him since I dun like what he's doing and as it is said: everyone has his own tastes...
    However It's easy for you to say that other countries people talk with an accent. However English is just a foreign language in most of the countries and it's normal that teens don't use it to communicate when they can use their native language.

    To my mind when you go to another country it's YOU who must make an effort and try to communicate with the other in their native language as much as possible. Otherwise just go to english-speaking countries...

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    but as you said earlier, they DO learn english in school, so why shouldnt we be able to communicate in this universal language? that's sort of why it's taught outside of england O_o and yes, i know french is derived from latin.. just like swedish is derived from a germanic language, and so is german...

    i can see how the two would sound the same to you, so you might think my language sounds silly too... i just don't =P

    besides, it's not like the german tourists make any effort to learn a single swedish word when they're here.. i've had german people ask directions in german here in sweden.. kind of annoys me..

    bossel is the name of the german dude up there *points* the frog!

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    Traveler of eternity dreamer's Avatar
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    Lol yeah they're learning english but are you using your history or biology knowledges outside school? ^^
    Anyway I've never learned swedish, and i'm only a beginner in german so I think it's normal both sound similar to me
    As for the german tourists...well I guess I'll give you the point here
    I'd answer in swedish at your place

    Btw : gomenasaiii bossel >.<

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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer
    Lol yeah they're learning english but are you using your history or biology knowledges outside school? ^^
    i'll send that back to you with another question ;)

    do you stop using your math skills just because you enter another country?

    if i needed my history skills in another country, i'd most probably use it there...

    ah well, we're not really getting anywhere, so i'll just go ahead and agree with whatever you say next... frenchie

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    Traveler of eternity dreamer's Avatar
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    Each country has its math program Oo
    So the math level is different everywhere

    Lol actually i'm just a resident in France ^^
    I'm not french myself

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    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedMac
    first of all, everything i say should be taken with a grain of salt.. hell, take the whole saltstone.. I've been known to blow things out of proportion..
    I think, the grain will do for now.


    sweden is a germanic language, and i can understand alot from drawing logical conclusions, but saying they're almost the same is like saying french and latin are the same.. let's face it, they're not. In my ears german is what the orcs should be talking >_<.. (swedish is an ok language and we pronounce many things alot like the japanese.. english is fantastic, you can express just about anything, it's just so versatile. japanese is very nice and french sounds great... but german.. german sounds like a bowel-movement...)
    German & Swedish are closely related. I wouldn't (& didn't) say they're almost the same, though, English & esp. Dutch are much closer to German. These are West-Germanic while Swedish is North-Germanic. I'm not too familiar with North Germanic languages, but if I hear them on radio or TV, the sounds & their structure appears very similar to German.

    English is a bit smoother (hmm, if that is the right expression) than other Germanic languages, hence songs in English generally sound a bit better. I wouldn't call it more versatile. Every major living language has a similar versatility.


    German people "know" english, but they insist on not using it as soon as they get a chance.. so if a swede doesn't know german, they get a bit like the french i mentioned earlier.. I've been to germany MANY times (you most probably know of the swedes shopping-runs to Germany, bossel...), but only on vacations...
    A heavy drinker then? I know that a lot of Scandinavians come to Germany to buy booze. But the question of course is, where did you go? The former GDR is a place where English is not as widespread as in the West. Not to mention that a lot of East Germans seem to have some kind of inferiority complex which they need to take out on someone (IE usually foreigners). In the West it should be fairly easy to find people who talk English, esp. in the cities.


    fourth: you don't dub over arnold! arnold is god!
    the point i was trying to make there was that they dub over ALL their movies.. basically everything is in german in germany.. and let's face it.. Hollywood has taught more people english (or atleast american-english) than any english teacher ever will... that's not true in Germany tho, so usually their english is pretty much terrible =/ (there are of course exceptions, bossel, but be honest, how many of your friends even TRY to speak english without it sounding like a variation of german?).. those exceptions are usually the germans you meet on non-german boards and such...)
    The dubbing of movies/shows/etc. is a 2-edged sword, but I think, the positive sides prevail. I had the advantage of living near the Dutch border, where I could get Dutch TV. They broadcast mostly the original with subtitles (which helped me a bit in learning Dutch). Therefore I was able to compare the dubbed & original versions. There are idioms, expressions & specialties most Germans just wouldn't get with their school English. Having to read the subtitles distracts too much, IMO. Hence for the big public it's quite alright to have dubbed versions.

    The spoken English doesn't change so much through listening but through practicing. The German accent in most young people is not so heavy, anyway. Those above 30, esp. without any practice, can have a horrible pronunciation. (Not as horrible as that of some Japanese I had on the phone, though. Once I wasn't even able to understand one single word & that was someone in the export department of a huge Japanese company.)

    I've seen some English TV shows where Germans are depicted with a heavy accent, but I never came across anybody with anything like that. Well, once I saw an Austrian (scientist, I think) on TV, who came close. But else...

    About German tourists...
    As I said, a whole topic of its own. (& this post is long enough, anyway)

  17. #17
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamer
    (btw I don't understand the word bossel)
    Neither do I!
    Well, there is a sport that's called boßeln (bosseln, when the ß is not available), but pronounced differently. I just made up this name when I was a teenager (before I knew that there was this sport), since I didn't like my legal name. I stuck to it, at least online, eversince.



    To my mind when you go to another country it's YOU who must make an effort and try to communicate with the other in their native language as much as possible. Otherwise just go to english-speaking countries...
    True! You should be able to at least pronounce & understand some basic stuff with the help of a guidebook.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    English is a bit smoother (hmm, if that is the right expression) than other Germanic languages, hence songs in English generally sound a bit better. I wouldn't call it more versatile. Every major living language has a similar versatility.
    ..no i must disagree...

    look in an english dictionary and compare it to any other language.. (i've heard it comes second only to japanese ) the amount of words you can use to seperate something that in, for example, swedish only has one word is staggering..

    it's mostly because of the enormous amount of words borrowed from french and latin, but it doesnt matter, they're english now ^_^

    ---
    PS: a bit on the same topic: i got ripped a new one by a german today in Ragnarok Online.. some guy wanted help with something and asked in german.. so i said "excuse me? i don't quite understand you.. could you ask me in english instead?" and he got REALLY pissed and started cursing me out! luckily you can just walk away from people there =P.. wonder what THAT was all about? can't say i'd attribute that to german-ness though, not even the german are just outright retarded like that =P he probably would've gotten pissed even if he was finnish and the only guy talking finnish on the server...

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedMac
    look in an english dictionary and compare it to any other language.. (i've heard it comes second only to japanese ) the amount of words you can use to seperate something that in, for example, swedish only has one word is staggering..
    Just to dispell your apparent attraction to Japanese, English is by far the richest language in term of vocabulary and also one of the most flexible (if not the most, but that's less objective as the number of words) in the world. English has 500.000 words or 2 million if you include technical term. That is much more than the average of European languages, with French having barely 70.000 words and German 120.000. Japanese is difficult to classify, because the language changed twice recently (Meiji and post WWII), so that younger Japanese wouldnt be able to understand Meiji-period (100 year-old) Japanese anymore. S if you consider words that are used in modern Japanese, it has probably a similar vocabulary to French. It is maybe more like German if you use old-fashioned term from Edo and Meiji period.

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    kewl, thanks for the info maci.. it was just something i had heard =P

    fact is, i got scared when i heard that jap was as(or even more so) flexible than english.. i've been learning english since i was 5 and i still only know every 6th word in the dictionary... having to do that again, starting at 22 was a scary thought to say the least...

    Now i'm confiden't my japanese classes will amount to something good ^_^ can't wait to get started....

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    Regular Member noyhauser's Avatar
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    Structurally yes Japanese is an easier language to learn, it makes more intuitive sense than english. You would be able to pick up japanese to speak faster than english or a romantic language... IMO. However the amount of characters that the Japanese language it makes it far far more difficult to learn than any other language, with the exception of maybe Chinese.

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    Regular Member noyhauser's Avatar
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    Oh... I'd pick either Martin Luther or Otto Von Bismarck. Without Bismarck there wouldn't be a germany.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noyhauser
    Oh... I'd pick either Martin Luther or Otto Von Bismarck. Without Bismarck there wouldn't be a germany.
    The winner was Adenauer, 2nd was Luther, 3rd came Marx. Bismarck was 9th, just behind Gutenberg.

    I didn't vote, because you really can't say that one person had such an importance. History is made by many people, but usually coincidence plays a major role.


    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedMac
    ..no i must disagree...

    look in an english dictionary and compare it to any other language.. (i've heard it comes second only to japanese ) the amount of words you can use to seperate something that in, for example, swedish only has one word is staggering..
    I see. When you said "english is fantastic, you can express just about anything, it's just so versatile.", I thought more in the direction of adaptability or usability. All living languages have the ability to adapt to new circumstances & form new words or word formations.
    The sheer number of words doesn't say very much, though it seems (see below) that English has more words than most other languages. Since there are a lot of redundancies & words not commonly used anymore, it's hard to estimate versatility on these grounds.

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    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    English has 500.000 words or 2 million if you include technical term. That is much more than the average of European languages, with French having barely 70.000 words and German 120.000.
    It seems generally agreed that English has the most words in the world, though I doubt that the difference is as great as given here.
    The problem with all this is, what you can count as a word, how "word" is defined. Defined as "basic morpheme", estimations go to around 5000 (plus loanwords) for German. Do you count active vocabulary only or passive vocabulary, the 1st is maybe a few thousand while the latter is estimated between 12,000 & 100,000. Do you count inflected words? Do you count words or meanings? When are loanwords part of the language, should they be counted at all? Do you count what's in a dictionary, then which dictionary to go for?

    Here's a small list of German dictionaries:
    Duden, 1. Auflage (1880): 27000
    Duden, 22. Auflage (2000): 120000
    Wahrig, 7. Auflage (2000): 250000
    Grimmsches Wörterbuch (1838–1961): 350000
    Mackensen (1977): 170000
    Wahrig in sechs Bänden (1980–1984): 220000
    Duden in zehn Bänden (1999): 200000

    for comparison:
    Webster's Collegiate (1993): 160000
    Webster's Third (1961): 450000
    Oxford English Dictionary (1989): 290500

    As you see, all vary widely, not only the German ones. Interesting to note that Wahrig in six books has less words counted than the Wahrig 2000 in one book.

    The project to build an electronic database with a "complete" German vocabulary (full forms, with inflected words et al.) based on factual usage is at 5 million words at the moment. By far not finished.

    All what was written above is probably similar in all major living languages.

    The dictionary list is taken from
    http://faql.de/sonstiges.html#wortschatz
    It's German, but I think you can understand German, so it should be interesting for you, Maciamo.

    A similar text on the futility of counting words, in English:
    http://www.sls.lib.il.us/reference/p.../language.html

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    Junior Member Pray's Avatar
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    I don't see what this topic is about.
    Offending German and French?
    Oh well, have fun.
    *tries to speak "understandable" english just for twisted mac*

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