Thursday, March 7, 2013

You say potato...I say crooked berry.

I am taking a German class from the adult enrichment program. Even though I've had lessons in the past year and this is a basics class, it's a nice refresher for me. What's really nice is that the teacher is from this area and has an extensive knowledge of it.

There is standard German, which is called Hochdeutsch, and it is what would be learned in school. That is the focus of the class. However, in the German language, there are regional dialects and varieties, just as there are in other languages. In this area, which is called Rhineland Pfalz, the Pfälzisch dialect is spoken. Our teacher is filling us in on some of the differences.

For example, the standard word for potato is Kartoffel. However, one of our classmates said her neighbor called it a "Grumbeer," and was confused. Our teacher told us that it's the local word for potato and it literally means "crooked berry." That's not bad, eh? However, most people would just call it a Kartoffel.

And, the poor Bavarians (those in Bavaria, which is the south of Germany): I've heard Germans from all over say that they can barely understand the folks from their because their regional accent is so strong.

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