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Modern Fort Wayne politicians have no sense of humor

2011-02-08 22:09:46.647729+00 by Dan Lyke 13 comments

Fort Wayne Indiana is looking to name a community center. The front-runner in the online poll is to name it after Fort Wayne's longest serving Mayor, one Harry Baals.

... The former mayor pronounced his last name "balls." His descendants have since changed it to "bales."

These are presumably the same sorts of descendents who pronounce "Boehner" as "Baner".

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-14 02:09:58.81486+00 by: andylyke

@Dan apropos accents, one of my college instructors, from Berlin, said that in visiting the Islands off the northern German coast he had to resort to English to communicate with the locals. Also - My boss in Berlin described Bayerisch (Bavarian dialect) as "Eine Halzkrankheit" (a throat disease). The nice thing about the diversity of dialects is that anywhere in Germany other than the vicinity of Hannover I could pass for native.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-12 03:32:21.940695+00 by: ebradway

I pretty much get a diverse exposure. My labmate is from Stuttgart and is very quiet spoken to begin with. Another grew up in East Germany (was 11 when the wall came down). His "ich" is much "ickier". Yet another is Swiss and, well, that's an entirely different story.

What was key was how staunch the teacher was about her pronunciation when there is a huge variety. And they all seem to understand each other. Well, maybe not the Swiss...

I was talking to a guy in London about accents. He noted how the variation in accents in Great Britain was even greater than what we experience in the US. He was from the North and said he can barely understand people from the south. Despite that, he never met an American he couldn't understand (there English, anyhow).

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-11 22:37:43.326321+00 by: Dan Lyke

Eric, one of the things that struck me is how diverse German accents can be. Northern German doesn't "sh" the "s"s, and can sound very English-like (Kinda like the difference between Southern and Northern U.S....). Regional thing on the "ich", perhaps?

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-11 16:50:16.214469+00 by: ebradway

Andy: Your college prof had a much better ear than mine. My prof wanted a much harder 'ch' sound, which I've learned from friends just ain't right.

But I take solace in knowing:

  1. If I can understand my Taiwanese and Chinese friends through their accents, I can get away with slaughtering German pronunciation and even totally leaving out der/das/die (the bane of German students - what do you mean it's 'die Krawatte' and 'der Rock'?).
  2. Most Germans understand more English than I do German, so it's a wash. In fact, most of my German friends chose to speak English even amongst themselves if there's an American around. Makes it really hard to practice.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-11 12:22:35.258591+00 by: andylyke [edit history]

Dan: Try "Häagen-Dazs" or "Frusen Glädjé" The nice thing about marketing in the linguistically brain dead USA is that you can put an umlaut anywhere and folks will buy it.

Edit: Whoops! Just looked up Frusen Glädjé Seems (according to the prestigious Wikipedia) that the it was good Swedish apart from the accent egu

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-11 12:16:22.673223+00 by: andylyke [edit history]

Eric: My college prof used "human" now say "ihuman" (with short i) ...

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-10 23:18:18.152622+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

Andy: That's a much better explanation for ö than my college German teacher gave. She also had her own take on 'Ich' that she beat us over the head with. None of my German friends say Ich that way.

Another parallel in my and Dan's life: I was born in Bitburg (Air Force brat). I moved to the States when I was 3 and the locals in Bitburg liked to practice their English around my family. So I never developed proper German pronunciation.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-10 18:06:19.870865+00 by: Dan Lyke


One of my Waldorf German teachers later commented on my accent, though by now I've probably lost that. I've definitely lost most of the vocabulary I learned in that time.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-10 16:04:43.514849+00 by: other_todd

We in high school German class found that doing things like that was a highly amusing activity.

I didn't know you were born in Frankfurt! Army baby?

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-10 15:54:46.802219+00 by: Dan Lyke

I should note that growing up outside of the mainstream culture, I got some interesting looks from high school classmates the first time I tried to pronounce the name of the metal band "Mötley Crüe".

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-10 14:04:25.229068+00 by: andylyke

If anybody cares: pronounce "burner" then back off the "r" portion just a little bit. Leave some little bit of "r" in it, and you'll be close.

The guy still doesn't leave me with a boehner in any case.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-09 06:13:29.676824+00 by: Dan Lyke

Having been born in Frankfurt and gone to a Waldorf school I can actually pronounce a passable ö, which, yes, doesn't sound like bone, but "baner" still seems a stretch.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-02-09 04:04:21.494581+00 by: other_todd

Not to be pedantic but if you're pronouncing Boehner the way it is in German, "Baner," while not right, is about 80% closer to right than "Boner." If you try for a sound halfway between "Baner" and "Booner" then you get even closer. Blame the Germans. The o-umlaut and the u-umlaut are a pain in the ass. (The a-umlaut, on the other hand, is as easy as pie.)