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tangomike
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14 Oct 2010, 7:59 pm

Hello fellow WP'ers! If you have time please watch this introductory video I made on youtube for feedback (havnt gotten much) Growing up in Hawaii, I havnt had many, if any, chances of using german with other people so I would love some feed back. Tips on pronunciation, grammar and word usage would be greatly appreciated!

I'm a college student studying sociology, history and psychology but I love to learn languages on the side on my own. It feels like a new and refreshing way of expressing myself which is something i struggle with. I learned some German as a kid from my grandmother who was a holocaust survivor and fled to Japan...so i learned just a smattering before she passed away and learned of my german heritage. Since i was 18 (im 20 now) ive taken interest in my heritage as a way of solidifying my identity, another thing i stuggle with, and studied german and japanese on my own- here is the result

thanks for your time!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0FcLYYZkts[/youtube]



FluffyDog
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26 Oct 2010, 4:04 pm

Hello tangomike!

I like your idea of learning German to get to know your family history better. (I think that is one aspect of what you are doing.)

You are doing quite well I think. I am a German native speaker and I had no difficulty understanding you in the video. *thumps up*

On little thing I noticed (that a lot of native English speakers do when they talk German) is your pronounciation of the letter "ch". (I know that technically those are two characters, but we Germans always treat them as a single letter, even to the extent that schoolbooks teach them separately from "c" and "h".)

Your "ch" sounds very hard, almost like a "k" (in "kill" or "count", for example). Germans will understand this, but they do not like this particular mistake. It upsets them more than somebody getting the umlauts wrong.

The correct way to pronounce a German "ch" is in most cases a soft exhalation that brushes your palate. You end up with a hissing sound like an angry cat. (In fact, the German word "fauchen" which descibes the cat's sound holds a nice example of the "ch"-sound.)

I do not know any English words that have this kind of sound in them or I would give you an example.

If you cannot form a correct "ch"-sound for some reason, it is better to go with a "sh" like in English "show" or "child" than with a "k"-sound. This will sound more "natural" to German native speakers.



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28 Oct 2010, 4:41 pm

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCrNZRJHK7o[/youtube]

If you speak words with S+consonant, it's sh, not s.


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FluffyDog
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29 Oct 2010, 11:58 am

Valoyossa got the pronounciation of the "ch"-sound absolutely right. This a good guide to go by if you are trying to improve on your "ch".

What he wrote below that video is more tuned towards the sound combinations of "sp" and "st". These also form units in our German-speaking minds. ("Sch" and our various double vowels are other examples.)

Yes, "sp" is unsually pronounced as "shp" and "st" as "sht", but many Germans (especially those living in Northern Germany) will not rise a fuss about that.

Our German "sch" is not pronounced like in English "school", but is indentical to "sh" as in "ship".

"ck" is just prounounced as a normal "k" sound as in "class" or "Korea", but it always indicates that the preceeding vowel is short.

"au" is much like the sound in the middle of English "vowel" and it is always a long sound.

German "ie" is just a long (English) "e" sound. Basically it is what you find in English "brief". ;-)

"ei" on the other hand is not pronounced like in American "neither", but like English "eye". This also always a long sound. "ai" can be treated as a variant of "ei", the pronounciation is virtually identical.

Then there is "eu", another long vowel. It is similar to the ending sound of "boy", but not to the English "eu" as in "neutral".

Want me to go on? Or have I scared you all away by now? :wink:



tangomike
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31 Oct 2010, 2:22 pm

Thanks everyone, I believe its important to learn about yourself as much as you can- it wil only serve to strengthen identity which is why I'm so interested in this. anyway

I think i've corrected my "ch", in stead of the hard 'ck' sound as in "take" I now say "ich" like I'm exhaling softly with my tongue touching the top of my mouth- as you said it sounds like hissing.

Since you guys understood what I was saying (assuming), have you guys heard of my grandmother's ordeal? it was about a Japanese ambassador named Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, my grandmothers fam included. i have no idea if anyone in Germany has heard of this, personally I think its an amazing story.

So judging from my level of German would I be able to get by in Germany? I'm trying to go there once I'm out of college and travel for a year if I have money.

Thanks for the tips guys, I appreciate it

FluffyDog wrote:
Hello tangomike!

I like your idea of learning German to get to know your family history better. (I think that is one aspect of what you are doing.) You are doing quite well I think. I am a German native speaker and I had no difficulty understanding you in the video. *thumps up*

On little thing I noticed (that a lot of native English speakers do when they talk German) is your pronounciation of the letter "ch". (I know that technically those are two characters, but we Germans always treat them as a single letter, even to the extent that schoolbooks teach them separately from "c" and "h".)

Your "ch" sounds very hard, almost like a "k" (in "kill" or "count", for example). Germans will understand this, but they do not like this particular mistake. It upsets them more than somebody getting the umlauts wrong.

The correct way to pronounce a German "ch" is in most cases a soft exhalation that brushes your palate. You end up with a hissing sound like an angry cat. (In fact, the German word "fauchen" which descibes the cat's sound holds a nice example of the "ch"-sound.)

I do not know any English words that have this kind of sound in them or I would give you an example.

If you cannot form a correct "ch"-sound for some reason, it is better to go with a "sh" like in English "show" or "child" than with a "k"-sound. This will sound more "natural" to German native speakers.



FluffyDog
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31 Oct 2010, 3:29 pm

Happy to have been of help with your pronounciation. :D

You will definitely be able to get by in Germany. Your German is good enough for that and in addition most Germans know at least a little English. English is taught as a compulsory subject in German schools and has been so for a while, so (in theory) every German aged 50 or younger ought to be able to at least help you find somebody who can speak English well enough to sort out whatever problems prove too big to be handled in German.

Just keep in mind that English and German share a lot of their linguistic history. Many English words have Germanic roots. So if you don't know a specific word in German, just try the English word. In many cases German people will be able to figure out what you are trying to say. If they do not recognize a given English word, try to find a shorter English word for the same thing. The general tendency is that short English words have Germanic roots, whereas longer English words have Romanic roots.

And if you absolutely can not get your point across, just use your hands to explain or draw a picture. Germans don't bite and most of us enjoy meeting people from other countries.

Just a little word of warning: many of the "typical" German things you may have heard of apply only to a small part of our population. Do not be surprised when we do not all eat sauerkraut every day nor wear lederhosen and dirndl. ;-)
In fact some Germans may be mildly affronted if you expect them to be "too" German, especially in the very large cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Cologne.

Are there any cities you plan to visit? I have done a nice bit of travelling around Germany myself and I might give you some hints as to what you should take a look at, even if it is not included in the average travelling guide.



tangomike
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05 Feb 2011, 11:53 pm

.a



Last edited by tangomike on 05 Feb 2011, 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tangomike
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05 Feb 2011, 11:55 pm

so between the basic English Germans learn in school and my rudimentary German we would be able to jerry rig somekind of understanding (jerry rig lol). Good to hear! I wish to visit Germany one day and have a beer at a beergartden with my schnitzels...thats not to say I even think German people are all like that. thats like saying all Americans are overly patriotic, love nascar and eat hamburgers all the time, or Japanese people always eat sushi. I hear Germans are actally nice compared to the British!



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07 Feb 2011, 3:06 pm

Honestly, TangoMike, you just sound like an American speaking German with an American accent to me. LOL. Most German speakers Ie know live abroad and are accustomd to hearing German spoken by non-native speakers, and for them, it seems to be much like us English speakers when we around people who speak English as as second language--we adjust quickly to the other person's way of pronouncing words even if they are a bit off, because we intuitively get what they are saying, as it's in our native language.

Pronunciation is always an ongoing learning process when learning any language. Repeated exposure is key so just try to listen to as much spoken German as you can, even if you can't understand what they are saying. Just try to absorb it naturally over time and through repeated exposure, rather than try to imitate it. There's a lady in my fleunt-level Gaelic class who "imitates" native Gaelic speakers, and it's just dreadful!! !

DW-TV has tons of stuff you can download and listen to for learning German--here's a couple of my favorite learners' series on DW-TV (you can download both the MP3 and the PDF to read along):

http://www.dw-world.de/sprachbar?maca=d ... 4-xml-mrss

http://www.dw-world.de/alltagsdeutsch?m ... 3-xml-mrss

Here's the main page at DW-TV for German learners, for other items they have, including their "slowly spoken news in German" feature (mit Text!):

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,12376,00.html



tangomike
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07 Feb 2011, 10:56 pm

thanks mercurial, yeah but i am what i am, just an american speaking german with an american accent lol. i havnt had much work with the german, but i studied grammer and context much closer than pronunciation. i hope the things i said were at least gramatically correct in the video