German expressions in recent Trek novels

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

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, a thong can be either in American English. The word simply means a strip of leather or something similar, so it can be used by synecdoche to refer to a garment including a thong, whether a sandal held on the foot by thongs or a bikini bottom held on the body by thongs or strings.

    But what Americans call a garter belt, the British call suspenders; what Americans call suspenders, the British call braces; and what Americans call braces, the British call a mouth-brace. Meanwhile, what the British call trousers, Americans call pants, and what the British call pants, Americans call panties. So if an American man walks into a British clothing store and asks to buy pants and suspenders, people will look at him funny.


    Except Firefly/Serenity was very unrealistic about that. It wouldn't be modern English interspersed with modern Chinese. It would be a single language that was a creole of both. Of course, that wouldn't have been comprehensible to most modern-day viewers.


    As a native language, yes. But according to another column on the chart, if you include people who speak it as a second or other language, it's in the #2 slot, probably first if you include people with a partial knowledge.
     
  2. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    :wtf: What exactly prompted your outrage, Dimesdan?
    In any multinational organisation you need a common language which everyone can speak and understand. Starfleet crews often find themselves in critical situations where it could prove fatal if crew members aren't understood correctly or give information in a language not everyone understands. Now, the few words Graylock uses when speaking to Hernandez might be easily comprehensible to native speakers of English. It's mostly ja and nein, but what if Graylock was Hungarian? Then Hernandez wouldn't be able to figure out whether he meant to say yes and no and in a critical situation a few seconds of confusion can make all the difference between life and death. When on duty, crew members should speak the same language, in this case it would be Starfleet English. That's what I meant by "proper English". Off duty, crew members can talk in any language or mix of languages they want to, of course.

    By the way, it's funny you should accuse Bärbel and me, who aren't native English speakers, of some sort of jingoism concerning English. :lol:
     
  3. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Fine, I'm convinced. I will never again have a character in one of my stories use any non-English word or phrase, unless it's in an alien language. Because, as this thread proves, it's just not worth the effort. ;)
     
  4. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    Just wait until the Klingons start up a thread about how you misused Qapla' and why petaQ isn't good enough for you to use as an insult so you had to make up new ones... ;)
     
  5. Dimesdan

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

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    Thanks for sorting that Christopher, I wasn't entirely sure if in America a thong actually meant what I thought it did and it's always nice to learn something new.

    Yes it would, I was actually meaning (and should have said) was that in Out of Gas the emergency announcement was in both English and Manderine which even though happens on signs and the like, I rather liked.

    A few years ago I wrote an essay on the concept of the global village and as the internet and other forms of communication becomes more intertwined a merging of the languages would begin, with so many recognised languages spoken in the EU, when it becomes the USE I wouldn't be surprised if they merge into one.

    As a native language, yes. But according to another column on the chart, if you include people who speak it as a second or other language, it's in the #2 slot, probably first if you include people with a partial knowledge.[/quote]

    Possibly, but I'm not sure, English is used around the world and in certain sectors it is a form of basic language, but it being the most widely spoken if not the most dominant language in the world is a bit hard to swallow.

    I didn't mean to come across as outraged, miffed possibly, but not outraged.

    I whole heartedly agree, but I'm sure as Captain Hernandez was the captain of a Multi national crew, she would be aware of certain words from each language, but yes, a basic Earth/Starfleet/Federation language would be less problomatic.
    I'm glad I brought a smile to your face then.

    Why not throw in as many as possible and have a little glossary of terms at the back like in the Terok Nor novels?
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I didn't say anything about dominance, merely ubiquity. As you stated, it's nowhere near the most widely spoken first language in the world. But it's known and used to a greater or lesser extent by more people than probably any other language. There's abundant historical reason for that, seeing as how the British Empire ruled much of the world and economically dominated most of the rest for quite a while, and how America took over a lot of that cultural and political influence from WWII on. Aside from that, Hollywood has been the world's leading source of live-action entertainment for decades, though it's rivalled by Bollywood. English is the primary language of the Internet, which is probably increasing its modern influence. It's also the global lingua franca of science, engineering, and space travel, so it's likely to retain its prominence as humanity moves into space.

    I'm not saying this is innately right or due to some kind of superiority of the language or manifest destiny; but it's the way history has unfolded in the modern epoch. Maybe 500 years from now Hindi or Mandarin will be the global lingua franca. For now, it's English. (Heck, the global lingua franca 500 years from now may well be a blend of English, Hindi, and Mandarin.)
     
  7. Cut

    Cut Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Mr. Mack, I am sorry, that was really not the intention of this thread. I stated at the very beginning that I liked that you included some german bits and pieces. I just dislike the use of a german swear word that well, isn't one. That's all. I am sure you can understand that ;)
     
  8. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If it's in the same sentence, probably unrealistic, except for characters struggling to remember rarely used words in a second language. But switching back and forth on a sentence by sentence level? I hear it all the time here in Ottawa, where there are a lot of French/English bilingual people (and French/English/Arabic trilingual people, etc). It seems to be easier to switch language tracks than to translate, so you'll hear a conversation going on in French for a bit, then someone says something like, "et puis elle m'a dit, 'You can't take that dog on the bus,' and I said, 'Oh yes I can'" and the conversation carries on in English for a while.

    (For that matter, I remember my father once having a hell of a time trying to translate for some unilingual anglos and francos. He could understand both, but he kept jumping tracks, so at first he repeated in the same language what someone had just said, not being conscious of which language he was actually speaking. Being able to speak two languages and being able to translate quickly between languages in a conversation are very different skills.)
     
  9. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    That's quite interesting, Steve Roby. However, in the novels it's German and English words mixed in one sentence and they're simple words like yes and no. They were used to show that Graylock's native language is German, I guess.

    I sympathise with your father. I sort of learned English intuitively and whenever I have to translate for my parents I struggle for the right words in German. And sometimes I can't remember if I heard something in English or German.

    It's not unrealistic that people would use swear words of their own language. I've done that, too. German has plenty of great, strong swear words (and they're not censored in the media) so there's no need to make them up. :)

    ("Wichser" (wanker) is very popular and would probably be similiar to shithead in terms of severity. You can even make it look more futuristic by spelling it "Wixxer", which is a misspelling from the movie of the same name (where this was the villain's name and used as an excuse to say the word pretty often without actually meaning it) replacing the correct spelling at the moment.)
     
  10. Baerbel Haddrell

    Baerbel Haddrell Commodore Commodore

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    I am glad to see a smiley here :)

    No, if used in the right context, I even like seeing non-English words like German, French or Spanish (or something else). I just prefer a more realistic use than shown in Destiny and Kobayashi Maru.

    I started to learn English in Germany at school and continually built and expanded my knowledge first by starting to read Marvel comics in the original as a young teenager and later adding English novels, mostly media tie-ins. I went to a language school and later I learned more English just by living here and using the language continuously.

    Nevertheless, I never lost my ability to speak and read German. When my family in Germany phones or visits me, I have no trouble to switch back and forth.

    I noticed that I still mainly think in German and it happens when I am really concentrating on something that I talk to myself in German. And recently I had a frustrated short German outburst at the computer when it refused to behave.

    But I am careful not to swear in German when my daughter is around. When she was three I swore "Scheisse" when I lost a text and didn`t notice her standing nearby. She started singing the word over and over again, which was funny but I am glad that she seems to have forgotten the word again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  11. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    But "Scheiße" is a pretty tame swear word. People say it all the time, even some of my teachers and professors. I believe swear words are a valid expression of emotions. That's why I think censoring them is silly.
     
  12. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If after this you do not instead have multiple characters in multiple stories doing this with many words in several languages, I will be very disappointed in you...
    :evil:
     
  13. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    According to some online translators, the German word for "Stygian" is "Stygisch". I mention this for no particular reason except to speculate that it would seem like an appropriate word to use in a made-up curse...

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  14. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    I'll back up Steve Roby on how often this happens in Canada...

    The common occurrence of franglais in Canadian speech (and my own use of "Portuglish" when speaking to my family on a regular basis :)) are why I never found this sort of back-and-forth odd.

    I can also understand how difficult it would be in print to distinguish between native English speakers and excellent non-native English speakers (if you want to indicate that distinction between characters) without using this sort of device.
     
  15. Baerbel Haddrell

    Baerbel Haddrell Commodore Commodore

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    I agree with you but I noticed that there are mentality differences in general between Germans and the British. In my daughter`s school teachers most definitely don`t like any form of swearing and therefore I have to keep reminding her to be careful with her language especially at school.
     
  16. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Trent, you owe me a cup of coffee and a paper towel................................
     
  17. Mike Farley

    Mike Farley Commodore Commodore

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    Just use made up words that no-one can argue about. Next time a massive alien fleet drops out of warp in front of the Enterprise Picard should shout "Frak me!"
     
  18. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    no, Stomm!

    or Drokk!

    or FUNT!
     
  19. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    ^ Oh yeah? Well, FUNT YOU TOO!!!!!
     
  20. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    stomm you, motherfunter!