German expressions in recent Trek novels

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Cut, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Are you sure...?

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=scheisskopf

    I will not post the definition...

    And there are certainly no broad-shouldered tall Austrian guys...
    (Google images has some nice shots, btw for anyone interested ;) )
     
  2. Cut

    Cut Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yes, I am sure of it, it is not a german word.

    What you found is the word made up in order to literally translate the term 'Shit head'.
     
  3. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    what's Arnold Schwarzenegger? a midget?
     
  4. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I read the description too. The insult is a word-for-word translation in English too.

    captcalhoun- its a trick, its all been camera angles all along... :p
     
  5. Una McCormack

    Una McCormack Writer Red Shirt

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    :) Austin and Cherie fan; Rachel on the night. Your guy's showdance was terrific though!

    (Looks round guiltily - are we even remotely on-topic?!)
     
  6. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nein!
     
  7. Una McCormack

    Una McCormack Writer Red Shirt

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    Danke!
     
  8. Cut

    Cut Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Bitte :)
     
  9. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    Austin and Cherie were good, but Tom's enthusiasm was what made me enjoy his dances more... like the show dance...

    enschuligung...ich habe der topic gelosten.

    (i know that's not even remotely right...)
     
  10. Cut

    Cut Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Nice try, Captain. It was close enouhg to get across what you wanted to say. Something I wouldn't have been able to pull off using italian :)

    Try figureing out this one:

    "Frohes Neues Jahr!" :bolian:
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Ahh, overcorrection. Always have to watch out for those exceptions. I'm sure I've come across the reverse -- expecting a British English word to be spelled according to a "British" pattern but learning it's actually spelled the same way Americans spell it. I can't remember what word that was, though.

    It may not be accepted in German dictionaries today, but if it exists today as slang, who's to say it won't be standard German 150 years from now? Every word was made up by somebody sometime.
     
  12. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    Yes, there are many German comedians. The guy in my avatar is one of them.

    Yeah, he's incredibly successful but he's not funny at all... ;)

    That's probably true. I once tried to translate one of my favourite comedy movies (Der Wixxer, from which my avatar pic is taken) into English and it sounded very heavy-handed. I have no idea why it doesn't translate well. Part of the problem is the fact that comedy is largely based on playing with words and that's hard or even impossible to translate. Then again, it works the other way if time and dilligence is spent on the translation. Monty Python is funny in German, too, and I love the German version of the MST3K movie. So maybe we have a weird sense of humour. Also, the Wikipedia site isn't representative of modern german comedy at all...

    Well, yes, but it isn't slang, at least not in Germany. The word was added in 2004 but I've never heard the word and it seems the other Germans and Austrians in the thread haven't either.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When this came up before, I recall seeing comments from some German posters who had heard it. Maybe it's not currently widespread in Germany, but we live in a global age, and that's only going to increase in the future. And languages pick up terms and usages from other languages all the time. There's no reason why this couldn't be an accepted German expression 150 years in the future.
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    And it's kind of impressive that anything Trek-ish is acknowledging that any Human language other than English will exist in 150 years.
     
  15. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    Do you know in which thread it came up? I'd be interested in that.
    Yes, it could be in use in the future but it's also possible that it wouldn't be. It's also very likely that English would be quite different by that time, yet everyone speaks in current English. Which is good. I think it's silly if Sci Fi novels, films or series try to make up futuristic words.
    It's much more likely that David Mack looked for a German swear word, maybe even looked at the Urban Dictionary and thus came up with the word. I've seen much worse cases of weird (or even broken) German in fiction so it's no big deal to me.

    Why would you think that? Foreign human languages were referenced a few times in canonical Trek. In one TOS episode Uhura is spoken to in Suaheli and then there's Data's reference to the "archaic" language French. There are probably many more references to other human languages but these are two I came up with from the top of my head.
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Trek has often been very English-biased, in my opinion. We've only rarely be given the impression that any language other than English is still spoken on Earth by the time of the Federation. Your French bit is a prime example -- why would the French language be considered archaic unless English has somehow come to replace it? The presence of French characters played by actors with an English accents just re-enforces the impression that non-English languages simply do not exist anymore. For all that Trek goes out of its way to have ethnic diversity, we rarely see any Earth Human characters who have any non-American accents other than the British. Chekov is the only one I can think of, in point of fact.
     
  17. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Seems just like another word-for-word insult as occurs in many languages.
    It doesn't have to be an original German expression from 500 years ago to make the point. In fact... I'm happier knowing that it didn't TBH.
    And I'm German.
     
  18. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    Yes, Sci, that's true but that's because the actors are for the most part North Americans with a few British thrown in (and one Greek). Also, anglosaxon surnames are overrepresented but I guess that's to be expected by writers who come from that culture. We're all centered on our own culture and it will show in our fiction unless we go out of our way to change that. I also suspect Data's line about French was a joking dig at the French but it does indeed imply that French has gone out of style although Picard still seems to speak it (he says "Merde." on several occasions). However, that's pretty much the only time a current human language is implied to be dying.
    As for the characters speaking English: In-universe, they have Universal Translators (I think it's pretty clear that the aliens don't actually speak English). In real life Trek is an American show so it's made in a way to be comprehensible to its viewers, hence English as language spoken by everyone.

    To round off the "scheisskopf" discussion (it should be spelled Scheißkopf, though), I think I found the post you were thinking of, Christopher:

    http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?p=2198371&postcount=259

    I, too, googled it and apparently it's either used as a name (probably as a reference to the character Scheisskopf from Catch-22) or it's two words (scheiß Kopf) in a text, which means stupid head as in "I tried to take a picture of it but his stupid head got in the way". On the first 10 pages of results it was used as an insult 4 or 5 times. (And most of the authors of these insults seemed to struggle with basic grammar ;))
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What's proper grammar today usually started out as bad grammar or mistakes once upon a time. In English, "presently" used to mean "immediately," i.e. in the present, but some people started misusing it to mean "fairly soon," and that misuse outcompeted the original usage until it became the one and only correct definition of the word. Evolution in action.

    And then there's "ampersand," the word for the "&" symbol. That word arose as a mistake. The "&" was once considered an extra letter of the alphabet, and students were taught it as "...W, X, Y, Z, and, per se, 'and'." And the students hearing this often misheard "and, per se, 'and'" as "ampersand." So what started out as an error became a proper word, because enough people used it long enough and because it was a useful coinage.
     
  20. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There's also O'Brien, whose accent wasn't strong (at least, not by the standards of Scotty or Chekov), but still detectable.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009