Thursday, May 26, 2016

I'm northern all around

When I was in Bulgaria, we stopped by the Bolyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We were let in and joined a group who were taking a tour. It was the last part of the tour so we listened in a bit to the guide, who is Bulgarian and spoke German.* I understood most of what she was saying but my vocabulary regarding frescoes and holy events is limited.

After the tour, I asked her (in German) if there was an English tour since my friend A is newer at learning German. The guide didn't speak English but told us we could buy tickets to a tour in English and one of her colleagues would take us. Oops. I didn't realize that we inadvertently crashed someone else's tour, but to be fair, the attendant waved us in.

I finished up the short chat with the guide and she asked me if I came from northern Germany. That really threw me for a loop and I stammered that I live in southwestern Germany** and am American. Later, I was wondering why she'd think that I lived in northern Germany, of all places. Then I smiled as it dawned on me: I (mostly, when I get the pronunciation right) speak Hochdeutsch and that's associated with the north. Success! It's a double success because I come from the northern part of the US and speak English with what is considered a standard dialect. Yay for the north, standard dialects, and the cold!**


*The German-understanding people taking the tour were an interesting group themselves: some Austrians, an American, a Serbian, some Dutch, and someone from South Asia.

**I'm very careful to always say southwestern Germany and not southern Germany, because a) it's more accurate; and b) saying southern Germany has a bit of a connotation. Usually people think of Bayern. For whatever reason, I've become fond of "my" Pfalz and want to be clear that I'm not living in Bayern. There is no Tracht here, my friends, except for that being worn by Americans who are trying to be super German. Or whatever it is we/they are trying to do. Of course, the Pfalz also features a dialect that is unintelligible to many Germans living outside of the area, but dat wine tho! (to mix some American slang into the mix)

***Yes, I'm a weirdo and like cold weather.

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