I really hope “Berlin Station” writer Olen Steinhauer will include bits of German into the script.
Richard’s Russian in Spooks sounded pretty good to me, but I was a little less convinced from his French in “The Impressionists” and in the Heyer audiobooks. So if he is to say some lines in German, maybe he should follow Mad’s example “… after a couple of beers I speak it pretty good” 😉
 

 
In any event I hope everyone has learned from probably the worst German movie line fail ever: Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in “Die Hard” when he commands “Schiess’ dem Fenster!”
 

 
To get this straight: you could say “Schiess dem Fenster in’s Glas” (Shoot into the window’s glass – which nobody would say ever), so the only correct alternatives are “Schiess auf das Fenster” or “Zerschiess’ das Fenster” or “Schiess das Fenster kaputt”. While in English noun articles are a/an or the, in German this is more complicated because the correct article depends on if the noun is male, female or neutral. So in German “a man / the man” would be “ein Mann / der Mann”, but “a woman / the woman” is “eine Frau / die Frau” and to finally return to Gruber’s shitty line “a window / the window” would be “ein Fenster / das Fenster”. To make it still more complicated, you’ll also have to decline the articles in German …
So a sentence in which you could use “dem” (dative) – and which makes sense – would go like this “Schiess’ dem Mann ins Bein” (“Shoot the guy’s leg”) and to completely mess with your brains out there, in case it’s a woman’s leg it would be “Schiess der Frau ins Bein”. 😉

An old German saying is: Mit Musik geht alles besser – Everything goes better with music. People who are stuttering when speaking are “cured” when singing and I found that it is easier to pronounce foreign words when trying to “parrot” singers. I’ve just started to re-new my piano skills from 30 years ago – and it was kind of creepy, that I instantly remembered tunes I’ve last played as a kid of 10 years.

So – for anyone who wants to get into a “German mood” here are samples from various German Bands who all sound very different and although actually nobody speaks like Till Lindemann from Rammstein, Jan Delay or Max Raabe in real life I’ve added them for “flavour” 😉
 
2Raumwohnung (meaning: 2roomflat) “36 Grad”
A wonderful “summer in the city” song à la “Buena Vista Social Club” – 36 degrees celsius are 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peter Fox “Fieber”
In Peter’s music there are lots of oriental sounds, which are really typical for Berlin Kreuzberg. “Meine Stadt hat Fieber” means “My city has a fever” so this is his take on summer in Berlin 😉

Lisa Bassenge “Nur fort”
Lisa is singing about leaving town together with her love head over heels and drinking tea with crocodiles. Saw her and her great Jazz Combo live 2 years ago – they’re really good.

Annett Louisan “Das Spiel”
This song is from a woman who likes to “put it about” – “ich will doch nur spielen” means “I only want to play” – so in the song she tries to apologize to her latest fling, because she realized too late, that for him their affair was dead serious, while she “only wanted to play”.

Die Ärzte (meaning: The Doctors) “Junge”
Die Ärzte were popular in the 80s and still have a huge following in Germany. This song is from concerned parents giving tips to their boy (“Junge”) how he should lead his live to please them. They are complaining about his friends and the music (referred to as “Lärm” which just means “noise”) he’s listening to and thus reducing him to a “walking dead” in the video 😉

Ideal “Blaue Augen”
A song about someone’s blue eyes “Doch deine blauen Augen machen mich so sentimental, so blaue Augen wenn du mich so anschaust wird mir alles andere egal, total egal.”
“Your blue eyes are making me sentimental, such blue eyes, when you’re looking at me I don’t care for anything else any more.”

Rammstein “Engel”
Rammstein are explaining here that it’s no fun to be an angel “They have to cling to stars to not fall from the skies … god knows I don’t want to be an angel”. Their live shows are famous for excellent pyrotechnics, this one is a really nice example.

Sportfreunde Stiller “Ein Kompliment”
This song is just a wonderful declaration of love: Ich wollte Dir nur mal eben sagen, dass Du das Grösste für mich bist. “I just wanted to tell you that you are the greatest for me.”

Die fantastischen Vier “MfG”
“Fanta 4” are a very successful german “fun” hip hop act. This is a song about the many abbreviations used in Germany “MfG” is used at the end of a letter meaning something like “Best regards”.

Jan Delay “Sie kann nicht tanzen”
Hilarious vid full of famous dance scenes. Jan is praising his new love’s looks but then there’s one problem: she can’t dance 😉

Rosenstolz (meaning Roses’pride) “Lass’ es Liebe sein”
“Leave everything behind, start from the beginning, because love is everything” … trivia: the couples making love in the video to this wonderful song are real, therefore it is banned in some countries, so you might have to agree that you are aware of “probably offensive content” before watching.

Max Raabe “Für Frauen ist das kein Problem”
In which Max admires women’s multitasking abilities 😉

31 comments

  1. Or he should say like Samu Haber: “Ich sprechen besser German als du finnisch schreiben!”
    Oh and if he’s here during December/Christmas – Drei Nüsse für Aschenbrödel 😉

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      1. It’s always the one and only winter-Christmas-film. And who does not love “Da könnt ihr warten bis ihr schwarz werdet, ihr Dummköpfe!” or the Prince dancing with “Klein-Röschen”.
        I watch it every year – the film, a cosy place on the Couch, tea and Cookies =)

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        1. 🙂 On what channel is it normally broadcast, do you know? We get ARD, ZDF, WDR, RTL+ here… I’m thinking it may be on ARD or WDR? I’ll keep a lookout around Christmastime…

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        2. Ah mostly ist on the big ones: ARD or ZDF, on the KiKa (Kinderkanals ZDF) for Sundays fairytale 12:00, and in the week around Christmas it’s nearly on every regional Channel: WDR, NDR etc. I guess the Season will start with the first Sunday in December =) But I am sure you can also stream it =)

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      1. Mostly it’s called a a co-production between the the GDRs DEFA and the Baranow-Studios, becaus they had german actors in the Support roles like the wicked Stepmother, King and Queen were part of the Theatre Company in Dresden – so Co-Production =) And in a documentary the director mentioned they shot in german/czech – so the czech actors had their keywords for speaking their lines.

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  2. Nice to have an update on German music! And you’re right, learning to pronounce words via mimicking songs is a great idea! Many of these songs I don’t know, I haven’t lived in Germany for a while…

    Another German song that I think is fun, and shows colloquial German language is the “Ich find’ Dich Scheisse” song by Tic Tac Toe. My kids also love that song. 🙂 And, like me, they like saying “Scheisse”. My favorite go-to German expletive is “Scheissdreck!” – not terribly shocking or anything but an easy word to throw out when something goes wrong. Told the kids not to say that in their first German class in school. 😉 Anyway, it’s not new but I really like this:

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  3. Brilliant. I have completely lost touch with German music. And I am really impressed with Mikkelsen – although I think many Danes learn German in school. His accent is fab (disregarding “Fader” :-D) – his accent is spot on.
    MFG was the first song that came into my mind when I read your headline in the WP reader.
    And now let’s get on to songs *about* Berlin. I am half-heartedly throwing U2’s Berlin album into the ring (Achtung Baby) although that’s not really about Berlin, but made in Berlin… Zoo Station?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In the two previous blog posts about singer Max Raabe and “Berlin – remembrance of things past” are videos who were shot in Berlin (Max Raabe and David Bowie) and the one from “Ideal” about life in 80s Berlin.
      I’ve only been to Berlin during the years with the “iron curtain” and then during the first years when the wall had fallen. I’d really like to go and see if & how it has changed since then.

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        1. You can’t see this in someone’s horoscope, in case somebody was wondering 😉 there have been lots of studies about it, maybe a pronounced uranian influence points to people who like to experiment. But I am perfectly straight despite a huge amount of uranian influences, so … 😉

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  4. … ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin …

    My recollection is that the native speakers of Russian mostly were not that impressed by Armitage’s Russian — not so much because of the sounds, but because he didn’t really know how to deliver the lines the way a Russian speaker would say them. We used to talk about this a lot while Spooks was still airing.

    re: music and pronunciation — my ex gave me a greatest hits of Die Prinzen CD sometime around 1999 and singing along with it really did wonders for my pronunciation (unanticipated side effect), except that he said, anyway, it’s not that surprising, they are all former Thomaner choirboys, they should know how to enunciate, but now you have your “sch” and “ch” sounds confused like a typical Saxon.

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    1. My fathers 2nd wife is from St. Petersburg and I have an adopted russian brother. But -shame on me – the only russian word I know and can pronounce decently is spasiba (thank you)… yeah well and Wodka 😉
      So I really can’t judge his russian, but: when he introduced himself as “Claude Monet” I was really giggling a bit, because it sounded rather like “Claude Monnaie” 😉
      But I’m far from perfect myself, so …
      Re: die Prinzen – LOL 🙂
      I think listening to Max Raabe is good for getting ch and sch right 😉

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  5. That’s a typical British pronunciation of “Monet” (with the emphasis on the first syllable, as opposed to the American one, which sounds more like the French one and puts the accent on the second), but I don’t think that any of the actors were trying for accuracy in that regard. They all just spoke in their English stage accents and threw in a French word here or there. However, French is the only language we know that he learned any of as a child.

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    1. Right. I just watched something on youtube where they showed Canadians German’s attempts to say “squirrel” … and they all had a good laugh, but then they in return were asked to say the German word for squirrel, which is “Eichhörnchen” … I think this is really difficult, because of the combination of the “ch” sound and the darn “Umlaut” … so most of them went: Eishhoenken? … *g* language is really fascinating.

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  6. The only accent I’m even remotely qualified to judge him on is his American accent, which seems to be improving. Practice makes perfect, and Berlin Station is yet another opportunity to practice. I really wish I could get a fellow American’s perspective who isn’t familiar with his heritage (I’m afraid everyone of my acquaintance who knows about RA also knows he’s British if they know me at all! LOL). I’d like to know if he fools them into thinking he’s a native American. As Andrew Lincoln and Hugh Dancy have done for me… my first exposure to each of them was in roles as Americans and I went for months thinking they were Americans. =)

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  7. Great post, fun to read and listen to! Danke!
    I love “Junge”, love Max Raabe and in a way the Rammstein video reminds me of “Metropolis”.
    David Bowie’s German “Heroes” are somehow toothless and slowmo compared to the original version. Lol. I quite like it nevertheless!
    I’d just add “Schrei nach Liebe” / Die Ärzte – as it appears to be the ultimate song for this year’s fall and the present mood:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np-3nZe12vw
    As for his language skills: I don’t really expect that much. His French sounds quite British to my ears, but I’d never blame him. Let’s see if we get to hear some German from Daniel Meyer!
    Until then I keep listening to Mads Mikkelsen’s perfect pronunciation trying to forget about Alan Rickman’s satirical attempt… 😱😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Schrei nach Liebe” is really a classic – have you seen https://twitter.com/AktionArschloxh on twitter? They’ve pushed the song back into the charts 😉
      I like all the songs I’ve listed – although I wouldn’t consider myself a Rammstein / Hard Rock or Metall fan I like some of their songs and videos. Watching “Du riechst so gut” reminded me instantly of Neil Jordan’s “The Company of Wolves” … and the film had actually inspired their video.
      I saw Alan Rickman in”Song of Lunch” together with Emma Thompson – he’s ordering italian food … I think it’s really hard for English people to get the pronunciation right … I couldn’t watch this really serious film without giggling and lots of “fremdschämen” … hearing him order a “Grappa” was really disastrous for my image of Mr Rickman 😛

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