Monday, October 14, 2013

This man has been causing English speakers issues

This statue in Frankfurt looks so innocent...until the English speaker tries to pronounce the person's name. The subject of this statue is Johann Wolfgang von Göthe, a very famous German author born in Frankfurt.

To English speakers, we usually hear his last name as "Gerta." However, there is no letter r in his name. My German teacher explained to me how the o with an umlaut becomes an r sound (at least to the ears of those whose first language is English). I still don't get it. It just "is" and we all must make peace with it!

Also, if a person is typing and doesn't have access to the umlaut on the keyboard, she can add an e after the letter. That also explains why Göthe's name is also written as Goethe.


  1. "That also explains why Göthe's name is also written as Goethe"
    Goethe is always written with an e after an o, never with an ö.

  2. I think it might be the more modern version? I have an older edition of Faust and it's Göthe on the book. But, fair enough. I zoomed in on the statue and he's Goethe on there.

  3. I have no idea. But I never read it with an ö before, not on old books or in school or on the net.