Thursday, 5 February 2009
Heard today: "Meine Puppes Haare müssen auch gebürstet!"
"Meine Puppes Haare" looks like a, more-or-less, morpheme-by-morpheme translation of "My doll's hair".
Standard German equivalents include "Meiner Puppe Haare", with proper genitive rather than clitic -s à l'anglaise (though that sounds old-fashioned and rather "creaky"); "die Haare meiner Puppe", with postponed genitive (though that also sounds a bit formal); and "die Haare von meiner Puppe", with "von" + dative, which is probably the most commonly-encountered possessive construction hereabouts.
(As for the omission of passive auxiliary, I've mentioned that before somewhere. I'm not sure where it comes from, or whether the difference between English auxiliary-participle word order in "must be(aux) brushed(ppl)" and German participle-auxiliary order in "müssen gebürstet(ppl) werden (aux)" is an influence.)
I wonder how I would fare if I were plunked down in Sweden for a while (say, half a year or more).
I understand a little Swedish, at least in writing, and I've been known to fake speaking/writing Swedish myself, but I have little formal knowledge—I just go by the bits and pieces I picked up (or half-remembered snippets thereof) and some educated guessed what the cognate of a German or English word might be. I wonder how quickly I'd acquire the language (with or without formal instruction).
And relatedly: I wonder how I'd do in Denmark or Norway, since for some reason, most of my exposure to "Scandinavian" has been to Swedish. (I presume Faeroese or Icelandic would be right out in terms of my being able to understand much of anything.)
(I wonder who requested those words... many of them look as if they came from a political text or something.)
After each recording, it's played back to you so you can choose whether to stick with it or try again, and I've found that my long /a:/ phoneme sounds different than the sound I thought I make :) Somehow more... back and rounded or something.
My short /a/ sounds as I expect, though, even though I read that in German, the two phonemes differ only in quantity, not in quality. (Unlike the other short-long vowel pairs, which differ in both.)