The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320


June 15, 2007

Language

Recently in France, I saw a Simpsons DVD box and thought there was something wrong about it without being able to tell what it was.

The Simpsons in French

In the end, I brought it down to something as minor as the missing "s" at the end of "Simpsons", which is not at all incorrect, but simply what would happen if you translated "The Simpsons" into French.

Then briefly afterwards, I realized that the German version of the box would look even stranger, possibly even disturbing, to native speakers of English.

The Simpsons in German

Posted by Horst on June 15, 2007 06:45 PM to creatures great & small | Tell-a-friend
Comments
Jann said on June 16, 2007 07:56 PM:

An interesting point; but then if they look at the second line they should be able to figure it out.

Christian said on June 16, 2007 08:22 PM:

"The Simpsons" did, of course, already play with this possible misinterpretation of the German word "die" in the episode "Cape Feare" when Sideshow Bob, to disprove accussations that it was his intention to kill Bart Simpson, explains that his message "Die Bart Die" was merely a German expression meaning "The Bart, The". A die-hard fan would therefore most certainly be informed about this matter and not misinterpret the dvd box title. ;-)

Jann said on June 16, 2007 09:43 PM:

I keep finding out things that make me think I've missed a lot by not being a fan of "The Simpsons."

Horst said on June 17, 2007 02:34 AM:

It's only the word "komplette" that gives it away. The rest of the text on the box is remarkably English for a German edition.

nora said on June 17, 2007 08:20 PM:

so maybe that's why my daughter, on the rare occasions of her speaking german, refuses to use any other article than "das".
and what's the word for tv season anyway? Staffel?

dieter said on June 18, 2007 10:02 AM:

@nora, yes it is. That kind of knowledge, however, rapidly sinks into oblivion. Therefore, as a German native speaker, I am most irritated by the second line, since it implies that you can create German sentences by using German grammar and one single German word (ok, with the article, it is two, but I guess you get my point). The third line is not irritating but simply sad...

Jann said on June 18, 2007 10:17 AM:

I have noticed that since I last studied German in college thirty years ago, there seems to be a discouragingly large number of English words incorporated into the German language. I say "discouragingly" partly because, when I see one of these words, I never know if it's pronounced the way it would be in German or the English way.

Bettina said on June 18, 2007 10:37 AM:

Above all, it's nice you're back. Hope you will continue.

nora said on June 20, 2007 05:43 PM:

we have recently subscribed to dish network, because they have three german stations, one is called prosiebensateinswelt, which says it all. honestly, modern pop cilture german cracks me up. echt!
anyway, they've added germankinoplus, with some real gems like fassbinder movies, oops, films, and 'tatort' on infinite loop. sweet!

Horst said on June 21, 2007 11:29 AM:

Prosiebensateinswelt sounds positively dangerous. So does an infinite "Tatort" loop, although I guess that it would have a somewhat exotic appeal to US viewers.

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