Learn German

The demand for learning German has been rising steadily. A few weeks ago, I read an article about Spaniards queuing for nine hours to sign up for a German course in Madrid. Surely, Mark Twain would not have been one of them.

But how do you say blog in German? This and a few others terms were contemplated by Anna Sauerbrey in her article how-do-you-say-blog-in-german.html  in the NYTimes. If I did not throw in a few English words here and there such as mein Blog, I’d have to call this  mein digitales Netztagebuch. Or when talking about apps, they’d be called Anwendungen für mobile Endgeräte. 

Linguistic borrowing is also on the rise.

Recently, the Duden added 5.000 words to its latest edition, many of them originating from English.

I’ve set up the page Learn German just for fun. I like German words like Kummerspeck, Hungerturm and Schadenfreude.

Apostrophe Usage in German

In recent years I have noticed an increase in Germans using apostrophes in advertisement. I had always assumed this anglicized version of indicating the genitive case to be wrong. For example: Maria’s Buch instead of the proper form of Marias Buch.

This advertisement below, seen in the Oberurseler Woche from 10 Dec 09, prompted me to do more research.

The genitive case is not easy, not even for Germans.

The apostrophe -to be or not to be

Generally, an apostrophe marks the omission of a letter.

In the case of Rosis and Andis Büdchen, it should be a simple genitive case written without apostrophe. Only for names ending in s, such as in Lukas, the apostrophe finds a usage -> Lukas’ Kneipe.

But in the meantime, the German Duden also has accepted this anglicized genitive. Quote: To mark the genitive before a name, an apostrophe may be placed to indicate the plain form of the name. (Zur Kennzeichnung des Genitivs von Namen wird gelegentlich ein Apostroph gesetzt, um die Grundform eines Personennamens zu verdeutlichen),  listed example: “Andrea’s Blumenecke”. There we have it. Rosi and Andi either knew about this linguistic challenge before or they just got lucky with their spelling. In case you are wondering what a Büdchen is: it is the diminutive form of Bude (booth, joint, hangout).

It is worse to see the incorrect usage of the regular plural form. When weekends become weekend’s, my toes curl up. More about this language blunder in this post.

But zum mitnehmen is definitely wrong. Anytime a verb becomes a noun such as in: mitnehmen -> das Mitnehmen -> zum Mitnehmen, the verbal noun is capitalized.

Enough said about these lin’guistic’ hicc’ups for today.

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