We’re Going to the Zoo!  A Look at the words with –OO in English.

runner

 

Our next tongue twister exercise deals with words with –OO in English. We rarely see words in German with –OO in there, but when one comes across them, they are different from the English counterparts. How different?

When we use the words BOOT and ZOO in German, the –OO has a long –O meaning, which is comparable to the likes of the English words: Coke, coal, and with the English equivalent to the word Boot, BOAT.

In English, the use of –OO has two different functions. The first function has to do with the short form. There, using the consonant endings of –D, -K and –T, the short form has the pronunciation of “ugh,” similar to the German words: Schön, Köln, and Kaputt.

Examples of words with the short form of –OO include: BOOK, COOK, FOOT and SHOOK.

The second function of the –OO consists of the long form, where the pronunciation has an “-Ooooh” sound in it. They sound similar to the German words: Universität and Schule but also some of the words in English, like Universal and Unicorn.  Apart from some words with the ending –T, long –OO words can be found when the consonants end in: b, f, l, m, n, p, se, plus endings with a consonant plus –e. This is in addition to words ending with just –OO, such as Zoo. Other examples of such words that exist include: Goose, Loon, Bloom, and poof.

Another hint of the different between the long and short forms can be found in the song “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins, which you can see below:

 

Now that you have seen the examples and understood the functions of the two forms of –OO words, let’s have a look at the Tongue Twister, which was filmed for you to use, watch and practice to your heart’s content. An e-copy of the tongue twister slides is available upon request. Just drop a line and you will receive one with no problems.

 

Have a shot at them and best of luck!

 

ff-new-logo1

Advertisements

With the Personnel, this is personal! A look at personal, personnel and persönlich.

Flags

ƒƒ FALSE FRIEND

Our next false friend looks at the word personal and its meaning in both languages. In terms of spelling is the word the same in both languages. However, the difference in meaning is something to pay attention to.

When we use the word personal in German, it means the same as Mitarbeiter and it describes the people working in a company or institution. When translated into English, we have the word personnel. It’s basically the same when using the root word person– a person who works for the company. Yet, the suffix ending is with –nel. The word staff is the synonym for this word.

The English word personal functions as an adjective, both alone as well as in combination with a noun. When we use the word alone, then it has to do with the private aspect- something that does not need to be made public unless it is deemed necessary. That means if person A has something personal with person B, then they have a problem that they need to first resolve between themselves before having another person intervene. And while private means the same as the German privat, the German equivalent for personal alone in this case is persönlich. And even when we have the word personal problem, when translated into German, it would be the same: persönliches Problem.

The tricky part is when we combine personal with another noun, for some of the word combinations are exactly the same in both languages. The reason: some of the words from English can be used in the German language as well. But the number is fewer than what can be found in German, using either the words persönlich, privat, or something similar.  You can find the examples in the first task below:

 

Activity 1. Determine if this word combination is possible (P) or impossible (I) in German. If I, translate the term into German.

  1. Personal Computer _________________________________
  2. Personal belongings _________________________________
  3. Personal assistant __________________________________
  4. Personal identification number ___________________________
  5. Personal data __________________________________
  6. Personal letter __________________________________
  7. Personal injury ___________________________________
  8. Personal debt ___________________________________

 

Activity 2. Translate the following German words into English. Hint: Most of these German words do not follow the persönlich or privat rule but when translated into English, they all start with personal.

  1. Tagebuch ______________________
  2. Distanzzone ______________________
  3. Kontaktanzeige ___________________
  4. Privatvermögen ___________________
  5. Terminplaner ____________________

 

Activity 3. Do the same thing but from English into German.

  1. Personal growth ___________________________
  2. Personal allowance ___________________________
  3. Personal quality ___________________________
  4. Personal comment ___________________________
  5. Personal appearance __________________________

 

Activity 4. Determine whether these translations are true friends or false friends. If false, correct them.

  1. Personal chemistry <-> persönliche Chemie
  2. Something personal <-> etw. Persönliches
  3. Personal opinion <-> persönliche Meinung
  4. Personal expereince <-> persönliche Erfahrung
  5. Personal hygiene <-> persönliche Hygiene

 

Raise Your Glasses in the Evening on Saturday- A look at the Prepositions of At/In/On for Time

champagne_flute_and_bottle
Taken on September 22, 2005 [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Prost! Cheers! Mazeltov! Salut! Zum Wohl!  Raise you glasses as you made it through the week. On a Friday night at 9:00pm, you and your friends are celebrating over wine before riding in the night going home.

Wait a minute! In the night? Why not at night?

Very simple: When you ride home in the night, you are riding home in darkness at night, whereas at night itself focuses on the time during the 24-hour day where between 8:00pm and 12:00am, the moon shines its very best. An even better way to describe the difference is a song produced for the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, describing the runner at night training in darkness in order to win the gold medal:

It is one of many deep secrets about the prepositions of time, using at, in and on. In each language, there is a different meaning of the three if we focus on the aspects of calendar, clock and the clicks of the timer. The best way to look at this is by looking at the picture below:

red_wine_glass
André Karwath aka Aka [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

Without reading further, where would you place the three prepositions in the wine glass?

wine glass time 2

The reason for the wine glass concept is very simple. With a few exceptions, wine glasses have an half-oval shape as a way of measuring the amount of wine poured into the glass.  That means as the wine glass is filled up, the amount of wine increases as the width of the glass widens. The narrower the glass, the less wine you have.

The wine glass represents the time frame where as the wine glass is filled to the top, the longer the given time period is allotted. That means at the bottom of the wine glass, where next to no drops are poured, that is where the preposition AT belongs to. AT here focuses on the exact time and moment of an event. Examples of how at is used is the following:

The train to Paris leaves at 7:45am from platform 5.

At Easter time, we have the egg hunt.

I’m not here at the moment

The Treaty of Armistice was signed at the 11th hour on November 11th.

It’s 11:00 at night. Do you know where your children are at?

 

When the wine glass is a third to a half full, then the width of the wine glass plus the amount of the wine is restricted. That is the same for the number of hours in a day, which is 24. Here, ON best fits the wine glass model for it is used to focus on a certain day or date, be it an exact date, holiday or even a day in the week, as seen in the examples below:

On Easter Sunday, we go to church.

I have an appointment on Monday.

She was born on 27 April, 1980.

 

When the wine glass is completely full, then so is the (sometimes) unlimited amount of wine, and in this case, time a person has. This is the meaning of IN in a sense of time. IN focuses on long periods of time. With the exception of certain periods in the day, like in the morning, afternoon and evening, IN has to do with long periods of time that is allowed to complete something. This can include months, weeks and years, but also seasons and other time periods where time keeps running whereever it wants to.  Some examples of how the preposition IN can be used include:

In the spring, we plant our crops.

We have tea time in the afternoon.

Who is making noise in the middle of the night?

Our conference will take place in October.

World War II ended in 1945. 

 

In the end, after reading the explanations, your wine glass in connection with time should look like this:

wine glass time

After looking at the review, do you have any questions? If not, let’s proceed to the exercises, shall we? 🙂

Activity 1.  Complete the sentences using the correct preposition of time (at/in/on)

  1. The concert takes place _____ 5:00pm ______ Sunday at the Church
  2. ______ May, we will fly to Thailand for three weeks.
  3. It’s 11:30 ______ night. Do you know where your children are?
  4. _______ Tuesday we have our important town hall meeting. It starts ______ 10:00am and will last two hours.
  5. Sherry was born _______ 23rd of May, 1977 ______ 3:00am at the hospital in Dublin.
  6. World War I ended ________ 11th of November ________ the year 1918________ 11:11 am.
  7. The building will be finished ________ the spring.
  8. _______ Easter, we have a family gathering at my grandmother’s place.
  9. _______ New Year’s Day we will be at some friends‘ to celebrate.
  10. The Christmas market starts _______ 5:00pm _______ the evening, and ends _______10:00 ______ night.

Activity 2. Why do we say these things? Explain.

  1. Why do we say 9:00 at night instead of in the night?
  2. Why do we say in the morning instead of at the morning?
  3. Why do we say in March instead of on March?
  4. Why do we say on Monday instead of at Monday?
  5. Why do we say both on the weekend and at the weekend?

 

Activity 3. The following sentences are incorrect. Change them to make sure they are right.

  1. The Open Night of Science will start at 8:00pm in the night.
  2. Stacy was born in January 23rd, 1967.
  3. The TV-series made its debut on 1988 and was cancelled at 1991.
  4. The bus comes every morning at 7:30 to pick up the children.
  5. In the weekend, there is a choir concert at the city convention center.
  6. In the moment, I’m preparing the exams.
  7. The meeting will take place on 6:45am at Thursday the 14th of September.
  8. At the winter time, we go skiing in the Alps.
  9. In Christmas, we sing carols.
  10. In my birthday, we will celebrate it at my place.

 

Activity 4. Complete each phrase with at, in, or on.

  1. ______ Saturday
  2. ______the afternoon
  3. ______ noon
  4. ______ Thanksgiving
  5. ______ 4:00pm
  6. ______ 1300 hours (military time)
  7. ______ the fifth day of Christmas (song)
  8. ______ this time
  9. _______ the weekend
  10. ______ night
  11. ______ midnight
  12. ______ the wee hours of the morning
  13. ______ 2:30 ______ the morning
  14. _______ breakfast
  15. _______ the time of Lent
  16. _______ Friday night
  17. ______ Friday
  18. ______ this second
  19. ______ the class period
  20. ______ this day.

 

ff-new-logo1

 

 

 

 

Help! My Woman is Becoming a Baby! A Look at Become and Bekommen.

Benedictus 1

ƒƒ FALSE FRIEND

Glauchau (Saxony), GermanyPolice in Saxony are getting a great laugh over a traffic incident on the Motorway A4 in the direction of Frankfurt (Main). Shortly before pulling off the route at Glauchau-Ost, police pulled over an Austrian couple, whose wife was in the process of giving birth. The officer, originating from Russia but having lived in the state of Saxony for 13 years, cracked up when she saw that the woman in the car on the passenger side was in the process of giving birth, but her husband responded to her claim of him speeding:

“HELP! My woman is becoming a baby!”

Before going further, look at the sentence and ask yourself why this is wrong. Did you find the difference?

If not then here’s a hint: The officer can speak Russian and English both like a native speaker. Now can you make the difference?

 

DEFINITION:

If still not, then let’s have a look at the word become.  Become has a similarity to the German bekommen just because of the spelling with a couple minor exceptions: in German, it’s replacing the C with K and adding another M.  Sadly though, the meaning of the two are clearly NOT different.  Here’s the simplest explanation to clear this up:

BEKOMMEN means a person is receiving something, whether it is a gift, message, etc. The English equivalents to the German word include: get, have, receive, secure, earn (money), gain, collect, take (from someone), introduce and welcome (someone new to the group or team), as well as accept (something from someone).

BECOME on the other hand means in German SEIN WERDEN, or something similar, as can be seen in the link. In other words, it has something to do with the person being something in terms of appearance, action and behavior. It can also have something to do with an object being something or forming something to make it different. In short, BECOME has to do with the LOOK.

 

FAZIT:

Keeping this in mind, let’s go back to the story: It did have a happy ending for the officer gave the driver a warning for going 25 kilometers per hour too fast and gave him a free ride to the hospital, which was on the opposite end of the city and required going through the city center. A happy ending for everyone and the family.  However, the Russian officer, who has two children of her own, gave him a lecture on English. You can imagine how it went:

Next time, it’s not woman but your wife. And it’s scientifically impossible for a grown adult to become a baby, let alone a woman. She’s getting a baby, or you can say She’s giving birth, She’s in labor or she’s having a baby. Got it?

He understood although from my own personal experiences, a person could technically become a baby if he/she throws a temper tantrum, especially over a bad grade on a test. But that’s a different story for a different time.

 

ACTIVITIES:

A. Determine whether these sentences are true or false. If false, please correct them.

  1. André will get a police officer after he’s done with the training next year.
  2. Jason will become his teeth pulled out next week.
  3. The basketball team got the win over Munich last night.
  4. I’ve become irritated over his constant absence from class.
  5. Jackie became an engagement ring from her long-time boyfriend Kalvin last week.
  6. They became married at a small church ceremony last Saturday.
  7. They’ve become a newlywed couple.
  8. Lindsay will become an award for her years’ experience at a ceremony next week.
  9. We’ve gotten more experienced in this game.
  10. How often per month do you get your weekly newspaper?

 

B. Complete each sentence using get or become. Please pay attention to the verb tenses

  1. Chris _______ in late to class today.
  2. The teacher __________ annoyed of his tardiness.
  3. Romy _________ 23 out of 45 on her test in math.
  4. Her parents __________ a notice of her failing grade from the school this morning.
  5. Ingo and Timmy ___________ detention (Nachsitzung in German) this afternoon because they were fighting.
  6. Principal Ingrid Younker____________ a superintendent of the school last week. She ___________ the post when Mike Kuntz retires at the end of the school year.
  7. The school _________ no coverage by the media. Nevertheless, it ____________ popular place for students to go to.
  8. The teacher ____________ tired and decided to go home.

 

C. Now translate the sentences in B. into German. Notice the difference between English and German in terms of the use of become and bekommen?

 

D. Translate the following sentences from German into English. Please note that there are some variants possible. Pay attention to the verb tenses as well.

  1. Der Angeklagte bekommt eine Freiheitsstrafe von drei Jahren und eine Bußgeld von 20,000 für seinen Tat.
  2. Patrick wurde als Chefkoch im Restaurant vor einem Jahr ernannt .
  3. Die Eltern haben die gute Nachricht von ihrer Tochter über ihre Geburt gestern.
  4. Mein Computer wird langsamer. Ich weiß nicht was mit ihm los ist!
  5. Hilfe! Meine Frau bekommt ein Kind und wir sind verfahren! Kann jemand uns helfen?

 

Author’s disclaimer: The story of the Russian police officer in Saxony is entirely fictitious; however the phrase “My woman is becoming a baby!” was actually said during an English oral test at a school in Germany.  The names of the students, the teachers involved, as well as the place and name of the school were omitted to protect their identities. Inquiries on these are not desired.

 

FF new logo

 

Genre of the Week: Vadder, Kutter, Sohn: A Family Comedy and Drama About Reunion and Restarting Life Locally

IMGP8304

There is an old saying that the late Paul Gruchow once wrote in his work “Grass Roots: The Universe of Home”: You go where the good people go. We make sure our people grow up in an environment where they can one day return. While half the graduating class of an average high school in a local town remain  to start their families, the other half move to greener pastures, whereas half of those people eventually make their way back home after years of making a living and realizing it was not for them.

And as a person sees in this latest German film “Vadder, Kutter, Sohn,” home is where the heart is, even if there are changes in the surroundings.  In this Genre of the Week drama, the focus is around the father, Knud Lühr (played by Axel Prahl), who fishes for crabs for a living, directs a rather dysfunctional choir that is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary of its founding, and is an avid gambler. He is rather well known to the locals of the village of Nienkoog, located in the Dithmarschen District in Schleswig-Holstein. One day, he encounters his lost son, with whom he had no contact for over a decade. Played by Jonas Nay, Lenny left with his mother for Hamburg, where he learns a trade as a barber/hair dresser and tries his luck in the business, only for him to lose everything, including his Apartment. Flat broke, he returns to his place of childhood, only to see many changes that he does not like at all and is eventually on a confrontation course with his father for his wrongdoings that made his life turn into a  mess in the end. Realizing that he was becoming very unlucky with his business and his choir, Knud tries to win back the love for Lenny, getting him reused to the life that he once had before leaving for Hamburg.

Two factors played a key role in bringing Lenny back to his original self. The first is the bango, which Knud sold while Lenny was gone. Deemed as his indentity and his “starting capital,” Lenny freaks out when he learns the news of the bango, is lukewarm when Knud wins the bango back through a game of poker, and after failing to resell the bango, warms up to it by playing the tunes he learned while growing up.  The other was a former classmate, Merle Getjens (played by Anna von Haebler), who is a local police officer that has a rural precinct and whose heart is in the healing process after her love-interest walked off to Kiel with another woman. Realizing that she and Lenny were on parallel paths, she awakens his interest as a hairdresser which later helps him rediscover himself and eventually reunite with his father and the people he once knew but left behind for “Nichts.”

To understand the film more carefully, you should have a look for yourself. Enjoy! 🙂

Link:

http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/Filme-im-Ersten/Vadder-Kutter-Sohn/Das-Erste/Video?bcastId=1933898&documentId=46658734

The song that is played throughout the film and is sung by Prahl and Nay can be found here:

http://www.daserste.de/unterhaltung/film/filme-im-ersten/videos/vadder-kutter-sohn-video-axel-prahl-musikvideo-song-100.html

Vadder, Knutter, Sohn is a film that combines comedy and drama, but also compares cultural and societal aspects, such as rural life in Dithmarschen versus city life in Hamburg, an established family versus lone wolves looking for love and a place to settle down, the have/have nots versus the has beens, the past life versus the present (including all the crises), and finally the is versus the should be. Each element is found in the characters, Knud, Lenny and Merle, leading to the quest to find the real Person, as Merle told Lenny after he kissed her in the hair dressing scene: “First find out who you are, then the rest will come after.” Eventually that came with not only the 100th anniversary concert but the elements that went along with it.

This leads me to a few questions for you to think about, let alone discuss:

  1. If you were like Lenny, would you return to your hometown, why or why not?
  2. What elements of your hometown do you miss? This includes the people in your life, places you visited as a child growing up, the food that you ate, extra-curricular groups you were in, and lastly, valuable assets you had (or even still have)?
  3. If you were to think about returning to your hometown, would these be the reason or are there other factors?
  4. If there was one element in your life that you did growing up, that you want to do again, what would that be?
  5. If there was one element in your life that you regret having done and would like to do again, what would that be and why?

These were the questions that the three characters faced during the film, but they are ones that you as the reader should answer at least two of them. Otherwise you must have had a very bad childhood. Having grown up in rural Minnesota, I had my places I used to go as a child, sports I used to do and music groups I was involved with, such as a barbershop quartet, madrigals, caroling, etc. And while I have already settled down permanently in Germany and closed the opportunity on moving back to the region, singing, especially in the barbershop quartet, and eating a “Wunder- bar”- an ice cream bar made with nuts that was homemade by a local (but now, non-existing) gas station would be the two I would not mind doing again.

What about you? What do you miss?

 

fast fact logo

There are two sets of parallels among the three actors/-resses in this film. Axel Prahl and Jonas Nay both come from Schleswig-Holstein, so you can tell by the use of dialect and slang in the film. Prahl originates from Eutin, located southeast of Kiel, whereas Nay was born in Lübeck, home for its marzipan, maritime district, Holsten Tower and historic bridges. Prahl and Anna von Haedler star in the beloved German mystery series Tatort, where the former is half of the “Dream Team” for the Münster series. He Plays Frank Thiel, whereas his counterpart, Dr. Karl-Friedrich Boerne is played by Jan-Josef Liefers (who is from Dresden). Despite coming from Göttingen in Lower Saxony, Anna von Haedler plays Sabine Trapp in the Tatort-Cologne series, assisting the detectives, Ballauf and Schenk. Neither of the two have crossed paths in a Tatort episode as of present.

flfi dithmarschen

Volkswagen: The Wagon of Vikings- Or Was It Vagen for Women? The Tongue Twister Guide to the V and W Words in English

www

Vince and Vance went with the Volkswagen Van west to Las Vegas. Vince is from Wiesbaden and Vance is from Wernersgrün. They both have fathers named Werner and they both enjoy Weizenbier (Wheat beer).

Looking at this sentence, how would you pronounce these words? Chances are, regardless of where you are coming from, you are pronouncing at least some of the words wrong. If you are a native speaker of English, chances are you are pronouncing the German words with a W when even though they start with a W, they sound like a V. This puts Wernersgrün, Werner, Weizenbier and Wiesbaden in the line of fire. Yet if you are a non-native speaker of English, be it German, Russian, Arabic, or eastern European, chances are that you are pronouncing the V-words like they are W. This is where Vince, Vance and Vegas fall into that unfortunate trap. Furthermore, especially in Germany, some words that start with W are pronounced with V. Apart from west and wheat in this example, other words that fall into the crossfire include wake, watch and wear.

To keep it straight, as well as short and to the point, the Vs and Ws are always mixed up! 😦  Aside from the TH-words, the VW words are one of the most difficult pronunciations in the English language for that particular reason. Another reason behind it is the way they are spoken, something where Ronnie in this video has an easy way to explain the difference between V and W words:

And while she views W-words as words spoken of a true kisser from the Czech Republic and V-words like a two-eared bunny rabbit saying “FUCK!” when spotted by a vulture, here’s another easy way to explain the difference between the VW words.

With the V-sound, it has a close relationship with the F-words, meaning air is constructed from the top part of the mouth. The difference between the F and V is the length as the V-words are longer and most of the time voiced consonants. The F-words are shorter and mostly voiceless.

As for the W-words, apart from forming that short O in the mouth and then widening it in length, one can refer to the Seven-Ws in terms of question form, meaning the Who, What, When, Where, Why, Which and How. With the exception of Who and whose (since the W there are silent), the rest follow this kissing Czech concept. This is also regardless of whether the W-words stand out alone or if a consonant is added to the W.

This takes us to the Tongue-Twister exercise featuring the uses of V and W words. Homemade by the author, it was divided up into the V-category, the W-category and the mixed category. If you can master the first two, then you should be able to master the third one easily. 🙂 A video is enclosed at the end of the article to provide you with reference on how they are pronounced in case you need assistance. 🙂

So without further ado, away with you in your Volkswagen and be vicious, vivacious and victorious with these examples! 😉  Good luck! 🙂

V-category:

V/F:

Vincent went to Fargo with Fred to visit his friend Vance, who owns a Volkswagen five-some conversion van. Fred is fat from feasting on fawn while Vincent is invincible for being Vice President of the Federation for the Advancement of Unforgivable Follies. Vince and Vance are Friends for forty-four years, while Fred is friends with Faye for fourteen fortnights.

 

V:

The Virgins value the Vikings.

The Vikings value the Vegans.

The Vegans value the Vegetarians.

The Vegetarians value the Viceroys.

The Viceroys value the Vocalists,

While the Vocalists avenged the Viceroys with Viagra.

 

W-Category:

W:

Where was Wally Worthington when we wanted him? Wally Worthington was one writer who won twenty wonderful awards for his work, while his wisdom we want, for Wally wants to whistle a wonderful, unwavering work with a whippoorwill.  But Wally Worthington will walk with a wild woman to Willy Wonker’s white and wealthy, western restaurant. Why? Wally and the wild woman want to eat a whoopee cushion.

 

TW:

Twelve twiddling twins tweeted Mark Twain on Twitter with twenty tweezers and with twelve twitches. The twisted twins tweeted that Twain twined twenty tunes about twinberries and twinflowers, twisting and twittering in a Twinkie. Twain twinkles a Twinkie in the Twilight and twists and twirls with the twins.

 

SW/W:

There was a Swiss doing Swan Lake wearing her Swatch Watch on her wrist. She swaddled in the water and met Katharina Witt, who swiped the Swatch Watch swished it into a weaved swivel with White Washington underwear. Where was Washington who wore white underwear? Underwater with Winona Ryder.

 

TW/SW/W:

Twelve twisted witches were swimming with the wind, when we witnessed twenty twisted wolves, who were witty wonders of the world. The wolves were weeping with wiseguys who wore woolen sweaters weaved by sweating workers twiddling with white whisks, swearing with white wisdom teeth, while the twelve twisted witches swirled with their sweethearts, switching their swords with words.

 

Mixed Category:

V/W:

Waking in Vegas, William walked to Vincent with a victorious whistle, wondering why Warren visited Vanessa while wrestling with Vegas Wally Vanderworth, the world wrestler with wonderful vicious wild faces which wants William to wail him one.

 

V/W:

Wayne Von Western ventured with Victoria Wallace with a Volkswagen Van with four wheels to western Washington. Wayne and Victoria were whistling various vivacious songs about a white Hoover vacuum cleaner with various vinyl vibrating hoses with wax which Viviane and the Women Vikings whacked with a vulture.

 

 

V/W:

Virginia with a wonderful voice, ventured with Vivi in a Volkswagen onto Venice with Winnie to voice their vengeance with world-renowned vocalists Vincent Wallingford who videotaped with Werner and Verne their voices for Weight Watchers.

 

V/W:

Victory was wonderful. Winning was victorious. Women were invincible. Vikings were whipped, while Vince and Vance vacated the white Woolworth and went with the Volkswagen to Vegas.

 

Here’s the video where you can listen to the tongue twisters, some of which even the author stumbled during the recording……. 😉

 

 

flfi heading wordpress 1

Blacksmithing Words with TH: Mr. Smith’s Guide in using TH-words in English

blacksmith

When I first came to Germany in 1999, one of the main struggles I saw and even witnessed myself in learning a foreign language was the way words were pronounced. In particular, words in English that have TH in them happen to be a struggle among Germans and other foreigners whose native language is not English. The classic example I can pull out straight away was the problem pronouncing my last name, Smith. Even though Smith is one of the top three most popular family names in the world (along with Johnson and Brown), non-native people had a lot of difficulties pronouncing my last name. Instead of Smith (where the tongue is nudged behind the lower teeth partially blocking air flow), my last name was pronounced as the following:

Smizzzz, Schmiet, Smit, Schmizz, Smis (like Swiss Miss) and Smif (like Smurf).  Funny, isn’t it. 😉  Furthermore, many insisted that my last name should be Schmidt instead of Smith.  Sorry to disappoint you, but we have a lot of Schmidt in the US and Canada, plus a beer bearing that name (which comes from my homestate of Minnesota) 🙂 :

To put it bluntly, the name is SMITH! Even more so because we have several words, whose ending is the same as my last name.

Words with TH are indeed the most difficult to pronounce in the English language- just like with the German CH, Z and all the vowels with the two dots on there. This has to do with the fact that we have two different types of TH pronunciation: the voiced (which sounds like a bee buzzing behind your teeth) and the voiceless, which produced a slight steaming sound with the tongue behind your teeth. A video below better explains how the voiced and voiceless TH’es work from a phonetical point of view:

Also important to note from a historian’s perspective that nearly every second word used during the Middle Ages had TH in there, but mostly at the beginning or end of each word, such as doth, hath, thou, cometh, etc. Many of these words over time have been transformed to the ones we use in our modern time, which meant the THes were dropped. Yet even though we’ll find our TH-words in one out of ten sentences, they are there for people to use, even though practicing can be a torture, which brings up this Tongue Twister activity.  Consisting of both the video and the sentences to practice, this activity will give you amples of opportunities to work with the TH-words so that you not only know how the TH-words are pronounced but also give you the confidence needed to say them properly.

You could say that producing TH-words is like blacksmithing: you work with it until you have the right form to use. 😉

It is highly recommended to watch the video to see how the TH-words are spoken before practicing. Yet how you implement them in class or practice them in groups or at home individually depends on you, the person who wants to handle this rather difficult part of English phonetics.

So enjoy and may the TH be with you. 🙂

 

Something in a thirty-acre thermal thicket of thorns and thistles thumped and thundered threatening the three-D thoughts of Matthew the thug- although, theatrically, it was only the thirteen-thousand thistles and thorns through the underneath of his thigh that the thirty-year old thug thought of that morning.

 

There was a mammoth with the name of Thurman, who thrives in Gotha, Thuringia. The sloth slithers through at three in the morning to slither to Thorn’s thermal threading company in Furth, threading thermalware for thirty thoughtless worthless months for thirty-three Euros a month. Through thirteen months and thirty days, this mammoth threads strings from moths and makes thermal underwear. Thurman is happy.

 

Three Catholic athletes bathe in clothes in a bathtub. The thirty-somethings thoroughly thought something that’s thick through their teeths. Through their theory they thought about thieves, thugs, theocrats and heart-throbbers that thrive through their three-thousand thirty-three throwaway thermos cloth, and loath thirty times a month.

 

Thou hath throweth thy health through thy wrath with thy thick thighbone. Theoretically cometh death onto thee though Beth Smith hath saveth thy life through warmth smooth hearth.

 

The South Path is thin. The North Thruway is thick. Through thousands of thinkers, sleuths, telepaths, sociopaths and youths, badmouthing and thrashing over vermouth for the umpteenth time, is the South Path thick and the North Thruway filthy.

 

Beth’s with Ruth. Theodore’s with Faith. They’re thinking ethics. They’re thinking theology. They’re thinking myths. They’re thinking with vermouth with a twist.

 

The Moth is on meth. The moth does math. The moth thaws myths and thus they’re through with this.

 

There are thousands Smiths on Earth. The twentieth blacksmith with the thirtieth locksmith with the fortieth gunsmith with the fiftieth silversmith with the sixtieth goldsmith with the seventieth tunesmith with the eightieth coppersmith with the ninetieth songsmith with the hundredth whitesmith. Smiths ends with z, while one smith has TH.

 

Author’s note: These tongue twister stories are homemade, by the way. 😉  Feel free to add more to this list if you have some more. 🙂

flefi-deutschland-logo