Nancy, I agree with you; most people have never heard German,
particularly German in all its dialectical variations, spoken. The
German of the voices of the 3rd Reich are the most common source,
and they are frequently an affected Bavarian tough guy variation.
It might be equivalent in English to having a mild southern accent
and playing that up into a rough redneck drawl or having a NYC
Italian accent and overplaying it to sound like a mob thug.
The features you note in German are particularly acute in Austrian
rural accents. The "ch" sounds are a long held whisper between the
tongue and upper teeth, and the "l" and "r" are rolled long and deep
from the back of the throat. From what I understand it is an accent
that is often derided by native speakers of "Hoch Deutsch"; Yiddish
also has certain unique beauties about it; its cadences, to my ear,
are similar to current spoken Hebrew, while the sounds of the words
themselves are more clipped than most German speakers would
pronounce them. The Austrian variety sounds very soft and fluid, not
unlike the romance languages; Yiddish more staccato and hard edged,
but not harsh or guttural--it reminds me of Mexican Spanish as weird
as that sounds. I think it's the rising and falling rhythms of each that
I connect in my mind.
Nancy Gish wrote:
> I repeat: It can be very beautiful.
> Date sent: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 19:00:13 EST
> Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
> From: Kate Troy <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Hofgarten and the hyacint garden
> To: [log in to unmask]
> In a message dated 2/10/03 10:12:37 PM !!!First Boot!!!,
> [log in to unmask]
> > Sara Trevisan wrote:
> > >
> > > I, too, consider German as unpleasant sounding.
> > German sounds pretty good in The Magic Flute.
> The only time that I've ever heard German sounding even mildy acceptable
> to the ears was some time; it occurred at the end of a couple of tennis
> matches when Boris Becker accepted his trophy and check.