Friday, March 22, 2013

Debunking Language Stereotypes: German

Having covered the language stereotypes of English, French and Italian, today we are turning our attention to German.

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.
Much like French and Italian, German does not feature our beloved /θ/ (as in think and thing). As a result, English words that feature this phoneme are usually approximated by less-experienced native German speakers when they attempt to speak English. The sounds of the letters "z" and "s" are often used as their approximates.

Another stumbling block for speakers of the language is the letter "w". In German, this is pronounced much like the letter "v" in English, much to the ridicule of German speakers the world over.

It's also incredibly natural for Germans to needlessly capitalise words when writing in English. However, most English speakers seem to have a blatant disregard for correct capitalisation, at least on the internet, so this can often go relatively unnoticed. This seemingly random capitalisation is actually due to the fact that every noun in the German language is capitalised. Obviously it's a very hard habit to break when learning another language!