Daily Archives: June 18, 2018

Pronunciation tip: Riesling and Gewürztraminer

Summer is here, and the time is right for drinking white wines with German names. I’m not going to bother with Sylvaner or Müller-Thurgau because anyone who actually says those is usually close enough. But not everyone is sure how to say Riesling or Gewürztraminer. So I’ll give you the standard German way and the usual English way of pronouncing them.

What’s with the password protection? This

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scotagon

I am searching for a scotagon. I pull a book off my shelf. It’s in good condition for one dated 1907. The cover has gilt and relief: PEER GYNT and HENRIK IBSEN. I flip a bit, looking for something. Finally I find it, starting page 79:

(Peer Gynt höres at hugge og slå omkring sig med en stor gren).

Peer Gynt: Giv svar! Hvem er du?

En stemme i mörket: Mig selv.

Peer Gynt: Af vejen!

Stemmen: Gå udenom, Peer!

Is it not clear what that says? It may not be; when we struggle to understand a language we don’t know – which we all do at least once, as children, and many of us do again and again later in life – we are doing as Peer is doing, thrashing in the dark, wrestling to determine its shape. Hit something and see where the corners are, the angles we can grab onto. Peer is swinging and slashing with the branch of a tree. I’ll circumvent the learning process and give you a translation: Continue reading