Croatian pronunciation / Peinlicher Aussprachefehler in der kroatischen Nationalhymne

Ananova reports that there was a pronunciation error in the singing of the Croatian national anthem before the England-Croatia match on Wednesday. Why was a British singer singing Croatian anyway?

The British singer who sang the Croatian anthem before last night’s match accidentally sang ‘My penis is a mountain’. …

The national anthem is written in old style Croatian, and there can be slightly different interpretations in English because it is a very lyrical language.

The line in which Henry slipped up should have been “mila kuda si planina” (You know my dear how we love your mountains).

But what he actually sang was “mila kura si planina” which means “Dear Penis, you are a Mountain” or “My Dear, my penis is a mountain”.

This does sound a bit fishy, like the story of Kennedy and the ‘jam doughnut’, destined to go down in the annals of rubbish talked about foreign languages. However, a number of Croats are referred to or quoted, and there was some giggling among Croats (however lyrical ‘old style Croatian’ is – one wonders exactly what is meant here: is it like Middle English or Old High German?). So perhaps it’s just a story to deflect attention from more depressing matters.

Comments referring to ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ may be deleted for boredom factor.

(Via Céline)

Statements I do not believe / Aussagen, die ich nicht glaube


I got this meme from Thomas Klotz, who got it from Larko.

1. Es sind nur 5 Seiten.

2. I am nice Russian girl that would like to chat with you.

3. Darf’s noch was sein, “junge Frau”?

4. Politiker tritt “aus Privatgründen” zurück.

5. One size fits all.

6. That looks good on you, madam.

7. Evolution, not revolution. (Steve McClaren)

I can find seven statements, but I don’t know who to pass it to. This meme is passed on to everyone who is interested!

Word of the year / Untiefen der deutschen Sprache

Some organizations look for the English word of the year.

In Germany, the search is for the Unwort (non-word) of the year. Bremer Sprachblog points out that people often suggest words that refer to phenomena they don’t like, for instance Kopftuchverbot (headscarf ban). The word itself is unexceptionable.

Last year’s expression (Wort can mean a single word or a phrase) was freiwillige Ausreise. If kraut means a German, then we foreigners must be Unkraut.

Looking at the list of words since 1991, it’s interesting that more than one of them has to do with foreigners.

The Bremer Sprachblog entry points out that Kopftuchverbot is recommended by Muslim organizations, but is rejected because it is a correct word referring to an Unding. But last year’s freiwillige Ausreise was exactly the same, except that it was not recommended by Muslims.

Dabei kommt mir eine Unidee. Die „Sprachkritische Aktion“ schränkt in ihrer Pressemeldung den Teilnehmerkreis stilsicher ein:

Vorschläge können von allen Deutschsprachigen im In- und Ausland gemacht werden.

Warum schließt man Muslime nicht einfach mit der Begründung aus, dass sie per Definition keine „Deutschsprachigen“ sind?

Paucity of coaches in Germany / Busse dürfen mit Bahn nicht konkurrieren

Die FTD berichtet, dass in Deutschland (Berlin ist eine Ausnahme) Fernbusse mit der Bahn nicht konkurrieren dürfen (§ 13 Personenbeförderungsgesetz)

Wenn die Lokführer der Bahn den Fernverkehr lahm legen, bieten Busse keine Ausweichmöglichkeiten. Ein uraltes Gesetz verhindert, dass Busunternehmer der Deutschen Bahn im Fernverkehr Konkurrenz machen.

The Financial Times Deutschland reports that an old statute prevents coaches competing with the railway on long-distance stretches. Berlin is the exception that proves the rule.

The provision dates from 1931, when income from the railways was needed to finance WWI reparations – so perhaps it’s all down to Versailles.

This explains the lack of a coach service from Erlangen to Fürth. This would be very welcome in the evening, when the trains are far apart. There comes a time when having another drink is a question of whether one wants to stay for an hour.

(Via Vorspeisenplatte)

Lost data / Regierung verliert Daten

Two computer discs holding the personal details of all families in the UK with a child under 16 have gone missing.

The Child Benefit data on them include name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number and, where relevant, bank details of 25m people.

(BBC news)

There is a video of the announcement in the House of Commons. Laughter when it was suggested that people should be careful about giving out their bank details when unexpectedly asked to do so on the phone or by email, and indignation when it was stated that the Data Protection Act had been breached.

Who needs Schäuble when you can get a government like this?

EU translator /EU-Übersetzerin in der FAZ

An article in the FAZ, Anderungsanträge per stiller Post (I would have expected per stille Post in the accusative – stille Post is Chinese whispers) by Philip Eppelsheim is about translation in the EU parliament. (It can be found in the online archives and bought for 1 euro – I got the paper)

Angela Wicharz-Lindner studied translation – Italian and French – at Heidelberg
joined the translation service in 1985
at first did (at least) one page an hour, eight pages a day, dictating, all kinds of topics
later did her own typing

The number of pages translated internally increased: it’s not clear whether each translator’s page output increased. Stille Post refers to the practice since the EU enlargements in 2004 and 2007 of translating everything first into English, French or German.

All documents are translated before the deadline, or at most one day later. Some deadlines are extended in advance. The external private translators produce more and are about one-third cheaper. The internal translators, however, review translations too and also do further training: Wicharz-Lindner has attended English classes and also learnt Spanish and Dutch. She refers to the time spent researching, originally in books or on the telephone, now on the Internet.

She agrees with the principle of language equality, but finds that in EU institutions there is an increasing inclination to use (sometimes bad) English, which started when Scandinavians joined the EU.

55 Prozent aller Ausgangstexte, die die Übersetzer erhalten, sind mittlerweile auf Englisch abgefasst. Abgeordnete riskierten schlechtes englisch, vermutet Wicharz-Lindner, um sich mit Weltgewandtheit zu profilieren. Die Ergebnisse lassen die Übersetzer dann oft verzweifeln. „Manchmal ist das ein reines Rätselraten“, sagt Wicharz-Lindner. Ihr wäre es lieber, ein Spanier würde sich seiner Muttersprache – dann aber korrekt – bedienen.

But now Frau Wicharz-Lindner has taken early retirement and is moving to Bonn.

Jetzt will sie mehr wirkliche Literatur übersetzen.

It appears from Google and that she has already translated some ‚real literature’.

Tidying up German law / Rechtsbereinigung

Rechtsbereinigung is the process of repealing statutes and provisions no longer used. A Rechtsbereinigungsgesetz (Repeal Act?) was passed in mid-October, repealing 200 statutes and statutory orders. Under the heading Eingeführt von den Nazis: Anwaltsmonopol, Kindergeld und olympischer Fackellauf, RP online mentions the legislation (not all repealed) introduced in the Third Reich.

Read on for details:

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