Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ich glaube, daß diese Regel dumm ist.

Now I will rant about German. In English, things evolve. In English, eventually we'll just give up on people ever figuring out that "irregardless" is not a word and just let them use it. Stuff shifts, the language evolves, whatevah.

In other languages, they have Rules. Germany has recently done away with my favorite letter: ß. It's called the "es-tsett" and makes basically the same sound as "ss." Actually, it's still in a lot of words, but a few years ago The Authorities declared that the word "daß" - one of my favorite words, partly because it is super fun to write the ß and partly because it wreaks grammatical havoc on any sentence in which it appears - is now to be written "dass." This is lame and stupid.

Our teacher explained this the other day (after I had written "da
ß" several times in an essay) and I was like, well, ok, but if I *like* the ß, can I use it anyway? (I think this makes me the grammar equivalent of a crotchety old man - goldurn newfangled ways, can't make ME do it.) And he was like, "....not really." Actually, he answered with one of my new favorite German words: "Jein." It's what you get when you stick "ja" and "nein" together.

But, I mean, cmon. I only learned German 12 years ago. It's not like I'm trying to speak classical Greek in Athens.



grrrbear said...

I totally agree. I learned about it when I was learning German for my trip last fall and Rosetta Stone didn't use the ß either, so I had to figure it out once I got there.

I've also heard that Spanish language experts have also begun phasing out the "rr" and "ll" as separate letters. Sheesh, it's like we're Americanizing other languages now? Where does it stop!?

towwas said...

Yeah, they had to reprint all the textbooks. Maybe it's all some big scam by the textbook publishers - every 30 years or so they're like, ha ha ha, now we use the ß! Now we don't! Suckers!!!

erin*carly said...

that's nuts! what are they going to do with all the classical music written with the ß? the songs we're singing in 18th Street have it, and it took be a while to remember the pronunciation rules [for someone who has never spoken nor read German in her life asides from music]. now it's changing? oy vey.

WestOfRome said...

jein I like but but favourite word in german is for dealing with negatives+positives is "doch". used to affirm the the positive is true when a question is asked in the negative:

Q: Du wei[insert S-set here]t das Wort 'jein' nicht?
(you don't know the word 'jein'?)
A: Doch.
(I am all over Jein)