German expressions in recent Trek novels

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

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, thanks for pointing that out -- my own cultural bias; in my head, for some reason, when I was going through the main characters, I categorized O'Brien and Bashir together as Brits, simply because they're both from the same series of islands! My bad.
     
  2. GodThingFormerly

    GodThingFormerly A Different Kind of Asshole

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    I believe Geologist Jäger spoke with what was supposed to be a German accent in The Squire of Gothos.

    TGT
     
  3. Baerbel Haddrell

    Baerbel Haddrell Commodore Commodore

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    I think it makes a lot of sense that English is the dominant language in Starfleet. It is very wide spread today and compared to other languages relatively easy to learn. Well, and of course, Star Trek was born in America and it makes more sense to tell the audience that the main language Starfleet has is English instead of, for example, Spanish or even an alien language like Vulcan.

    Nevertheless, although I see the need for a common “business” language there is no reason why languages like French and German aren`t spoken within the family environment, for example. Just relying on the universial translator is not a good idea. I agree that it is necessary for people joining Starfleet who don`t speak English that they should learn the language. Getting at least a basic education in other main languages is a good idea, too. At least the former must be the case or people like Chekov and O`Brien wouldn`t be shown with accents. A universial translator wouldn`t leave accents behind and people wouldn`t have foreign accents if such languages aren`t used any more.

    No, we don`t know how the use of a language will change because language is a living thing that develops. But I know that Germans, for example, will never use the ridiculous Marvel English (as I call it), also not in a few hundred years! There is no reason to think that “Scheisskopf” will become a German swear word. Germans also won`t say that it rains cats and dogs one day.

    Yes, strictly speaking “Scheisskopf” is not the correct spelling. “Baerbel” is not the correct spelling either. But my keyboard here in Britain hasn`t got the correct keys and although I know that there are ways around it, to substitute the extra letters in German language like that is acceptable practise.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There's no reason to think a guy in Montana will invent faster-than-light drive 52 years from now either, or that aliens on other worlds look like humans with bits of rubber on their heads. Indeed, there's abundant reason not to think those things. So I don't understand this objection. Fiction is not limited to things that we can prove will happen. It's about things that are possible, and sometimes even things that are impossible. So it's really, really strange to get so preoccupied with the supposed improbability of a single neologism, when there are far, far more absurd things that have to be taken for granted when reading Trek fiction.
     
  5. Count Zero

    Count Zero Watching Moderator

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    But those other absurd things are integral parts of Trek and a good chunk of Sci Fi in general. And I don't see us getting preoccupied that much. It was just pointed out as a case of weird/broken German. And that's what it is, plain and simple. No retconning is necessary in this case and as I said, there are worse cases out there.
    I guess, what Bärbel wanted to say is that the examples she used would violate our feel for language. I believe we're all aware of the fact that languages change. That much is evident when reading Goethe which is still done in school today. Still, even though he occasionally uses grammar that sounds weird to us today it doesn't sound as wrong as some of the "denglish". (Some English expressions have better chances than others, though. For example we now rather use "Sinn machen" (from "to make sense") than the original version "Sinn haben/ergeben")
     
  6. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    Given this conversation, it seems clear to me that it is now our duty, as Trek fans, to bring "Scheisskopf" into the German and international vernacular, and to use it as often as possible, in any context possible. So, come on, you Scheisskopfs, who's with me?
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^^Yeah... we need to make up for our failure to get a book called Chicago Mobs of the Twenties published in 1992. And to launch the Nomad probe and four more Voyager probes.
     
  8. Count Zero

    Count Zero Watching Moderator

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    And we have to compensate for the Eugenics Wars that didn't happen and the generational space ships we didn't launch...
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^^I think we can skip the first one, thanks...
     
  10. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    :( Well, okay... but the World War we have in 44 years is going to really have to kick ass to make up for it...
     
  11. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The plural would be Scheißköpfe. :p
     
  12. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    Amsha Bashir and Fleet Admiral Shanthi are the first two that come to my mind...
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    So we have a grand total of how many non-British-accented or non-American-accented Human characters so far...?
     
  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If he had an accent, I didn't notice it. If not for his name, I would never have guessed he was German.

    Me, I would love it if we had Trek characters with New York or Boston accents. Imagine...a captain whose catch phrase isn't "Make it so" or "Engage" but rather "Wicked pissah". :lol:

    Or perhaps one with a Philly accent. He could go up to the food replicator and order a cheesesteak, 'provo widdout'. ;)
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, there's Khan... a Sikh with a Mexican accent. :wtf:
     
  16. GodThingFormerly

    GodThingFormerly A Different Kind of Asshole

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    Not even when Trelane broke into a Prussian march while addressing Jäger (after noting DeSalle's French ancestry)? :p

    TGT
     
  17. Cut

    Cut Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    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.[/quote]

    I happend to have seen "The Last Outpost" just yesterday and I seem to remember that Data (at least in the German version) used the word 'obscure', eveidently showing that French was extremely out of date on earth.

    But you just could take seriously the feeling for a language from a native speaker when he/she says that a (in this case a 'german') word isn't used in the right way, or maybe being not even an word used in general german speech at all. You can than argue on for a long time why it's okay and perfectly good to include that word in that way, or could just conciede the point to those people who simply might know their spoken language better than an (online) dictionary or a Star Trek fiction author does.

    What would be the problem just letting this argument go or maybe even for Mr. Mack to step up and say: "Well, I thought it sounded cool when I included it, but from what I have heard I might have been a bit off using that word like it was, though."?

    Why do you have to defend the use of a not even nice word like 'scheisskopf' not even used by yourself but by your collegue David Mack in that manner? If the use of a 'foreign' word can't even convience a native speaker of that language, the use simply is off and the thought behind the use of it has simply failed.

    It is of no real interest what is written in any dictionary or online databank.
     
  18. Count Zero

    Count Zero Watching Moderator

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    I don't think it's a big enough issue for David Mack to have to step up and defend himself. This sort of thing happens pretty often and not just to German. The German words in the English sentences yanked me out of the story, anyway, because no one would speak like that. Given the differences in intonation and speech melody between English and German it's nearly impossible to speak like that. Also, it could be quite disastrous in a critical situation that requires a quick reaction if people just randomly used words from their native tongue. If I was Cpt. Hernandez I'd order Graylock to speak proper English.
     
  19. Baerbel Haddrell

    Baerbel Haddrell Commodore Commodore

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    The universial translator tends to be forgetful when it is about non-English swear words and sometimes time and distance but I wondered for a moment after reading this why this remarkable piece of technology was unable to turn this messy version of English into the proper one.

    Then I realised that these scenes took place in the past. I am not sure when exactly the universial translator was developed in Enterprise but it seems it was less sophisticated than in "present day" Star Trek.

    Yes, there is a difference between native non-English speakers talking to themselves as shown in Stargate Atlantis in Czech and having a conversation during a crisis situation. And even then, as I said, this pick and mix version of English with German (or any other language) is not only unrealistic, it is annoying.
     
  20. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan "Down with this sort of thing!" Premium Member

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    Proper English? You mean he should talk in the Queens English and sound like he has a silver spoon inserted into his mouth? If so, you're having a giraffe right? There is no such thing as Proper English, as already stated, English is different around the world, there are subtle differences as already stated in previous posts. Hell, English is different around Great Britain itself for example, in Australia a thong is a form of footwear but in England and I believe America it is a form of underwear, As for spunk, in England it means a form of bodily fluid yet in Australia it means that person is fysty and forthright so If Greylock wants to say a word or two in his own native language, then so be it, what he says is far more dipolamtic than what is roughly translates to into English.

    Saying that, English has assimilated terms from other European languages throughout time so who is actually to say that Scheisskopf has not gone the same way?

    The UT was a work in progress throughout Enterprise and by Demons/Terra Prime it seemed pretty reliable.

    You are aware that if a person does not speak English (for example) as his or her first language, it times of stress they will more than likely revert to their mother tongue so it is realistic and as for annoying, I find the arrogance that English should be spoken by one and all very annoying!

    One of the reasons I love Firefly is the combination of both Manderine (?) and English in the 'Verse because as the world gets smaller, I wouldn't be surprised if the major languages merge into one creating a basic human language.

    I just had a quick look on wikipedia and on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_by_speakers English (in its varied forms) is the third most spoken language in the world and not as some assume the most spoken.