Standard German Transcription

class

LING 310 at TWU

Date
2007-2-14
tags

Paper, Lingustics

Introduction

Standard German is one of the larger languages of the world. According to the Ethnologue [RG2005], Standard German had 95,392,978 speakers in 1990 and German 101 [G1994] reports it as being more than 120 million people. Most of these people (75 million) reside in Germany. Standard German is the official language of Germany, Liechtenstein, and Austria; in addition to the multilingual nations of Switzerland and Luxembourg where it shares that status. The ISO 639-3 code for Standard German is 'deu'. Standard German is also one of the official languages of the European Union [EU2007].

From a diachronic perspective, German descended from the following family line: Indo-European, Germanic, West, High German, German, Middle German, East Middle German [RG2005]. Historically, there were a large number of German dialects throughout Western-Central Europe. These dialects were mutually intelligible with adjacent ones, but not with their further removed neighbors.

At some point, several of these dialects were affected by the High German consonant shift. These dialects were classified as High German. The dialects that did not follow the consonant shift became known as Low German. Standard German grew out of High German, while Dutch, for example, came from Low German.

During the 20th century, an increase in communication has caused many of these dialects to dwindle or disappear. Moreover, nationalism and political autonomy have caused a diverge between dialects from different nations, such as Dutch and the Low German [G1994].

Standard German has much in common with Dutch and other languages from the German family. It also has a smaller resemblance to English and French (Ethnologue reports the lexical similarity of English 1 and French with German as 60% and 29%, respectively).

The demography of the language varies from country to country; however, Germany contains the most German speakers by far. According to the Central Intelligence Agency [C2007], Germany has a literacy rate of 99% for both male and female. The country is predominately Christian (Protestant and Roman Catholic) with a significant number of unaffiliated or 'other' religious commitments.

image of map

Map of Standard German usage (source missing)

Transcription

(In this assignment were were tasked to transcribe certain phrases in the target language and then make recommendations on how speakers of that language may improve their pronunciation of English.)

Hi, how are you today?

Transcription

ˈhalo

βi

ˈgeiʦ

di

ˈhʌite

Gloss

Hi,

as

goes

you

today?

My name is (removed for privacy) and I come from Karlsruhe in Germany. What's your name?

Transcription

ˈheize

und

coˈme

aus

ˈkarlsoi

ɪn

ˈdoiʧlʌnt

ve

hais

Gloss

I

called

and

I

come

from

Karlsruhe

in

Germany.

What

called

you?

I would like to learn more about German and your country.

Transcription

ˈfʷʊɾe

ˈgeɾne

meiɾ

ˈlann̩

ˈøbe

doiʧ

und

aux

ˈøbe

dain

lantʰ

Gloss

I

would

like

more

learn

about

German

and

also

about

your

country

Could you please tell me where the bathroom is?

Transcription

ˈkœndʌst

mɪr

ˈbɪdə

ˈsagn̩

wu

di

tʌˈlɛte

ist

Gloss

Could

you

me

please

say

where

the

toilette

is?

I cannot understand or speak German, could you help me?

Transcription

ɪç

kan

kein

doiʧ

ˈbrɛʃn̩

ˈoidɚ

faʃtein̩

ˈkʊnts̩t

du

ˈhɛlfn̩

Gloss

I

can

not

German

speak

or

understand,

could

you

me

help?

Thanks for helping me learn about your language.

Transcription

ˈdaːnke

dʌs

du

mir

hœvs

ˈdainɛ

ˈʃpɾakɛ

stu

ˈlɚnʌn

Gloss

Thanks,

that

you

me

help,

your

speak

to

learn.

Recommendations for English Pronunciation

  • In all of the sentences, make sound, especially vowels, further back in the mouth. Move the tongue further back.

  • In sentence 1, voiced alveolar approximants should be more rhotacized. Try bunching up the touch when making [ɹ] sounds.

  • The first vowel in the word “name” should be a diphthong: [ei] not [e]. It may help to think of the words as being spelt “nayme”.

  • The schwa vowel is slightly higher (the mouth is more closed). For example the “man” in “German” is pronounced [mәn], not [mʌn].

  • In English, the [l] sound is more pronounced. Touch the tip of the tongue to the alveolar ridge.

Footnotes

1

Merely looking at the language's lexicon may be misleading, however, as German and English contain some significant grammatical differences. Inflection, declension, use of gender, and long compound words are some features were German differs from English. Mark Twain's essay, The Awful German Language, provides some examples (and humor) for the inquisitive reader.

References

RG2005(1,2)
Raymond Gordon. 2005. Ethnologue report for language code:deu. (retrieved 2007-2-12).
EU2007
2007. Languages in the EU : German. (retrieved 2007-2-13).
G1994(1,2)
1994. German 101. (retrieved 2007-2-10).
C2007
2007. CIA - The World Factbook – Germany. (retrieved 2007-2-13).