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Musical Discussions
Topic: I think it's the other way around

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Posted by Romy the Cat on 10-08-2009
With all heritage-inspired hate to German language in my youth (you need to be Russian to understand it) the older I become the more and more I am falling with love with German language and German expressionism. All my adult life   German composers and German writers were the very pinnacle of my interest and admiration. The German writing ironically is a reference to me in Russian language. For instance Thomas Mann’s “Joseph and His Brothers” was translated to Russian by Solomon K. Apt, and this translation to me an absolute reference of Russian prose. There is nothing in Russian literature even remotely close to the Mann’s translation!

So, the last few years I was thinking to learn some German, just to get some very basics. Of cause being adult a pragmatic 42 year old jerk I do not what to invest efforts and I would like to get it “easy”. Perhaps I need to pick a German girlfriend and get German by the “other” means.

Here is the case to point. Lately am listing frequently the Franz Schmidt’s oratorio “Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln”. It is Schmidt’s renderation of the Book of Revelations that in a way inspired my Thomas Mann with his “Doctor Faustus”. The Schmidt’s oratorio is beyond wonderful – it just gives some sub-conscious intellectuals relaxation – it almost like the drugs. How wonderful would it be if I spoke German and might appreciate all of it in original language! I wonder how much efforts would  it take to “get German”?

The Cat

Posted by jp on 10-09-2009
is difficult.  Ive been contemplating learning German for the last year or so for slightly different reasons but have not gone forward with it.  I guess Im waiting for that moment when I just feel the need to learn, weighing the pros and cons.  In any event, I looked into the Rosetta computer program...and friends of mine swear by it, but who knows.

Posted by Axel on 10-10-2009
Nun, das ganze scheint eine interessante Idee.
Well, that all seems an interesting Idea.

Ich muss allerdings zustimmen, das es nicht ganz leicht werden wird.
I have to agree that it will not turn out to be really that easy.

Ich hatte Englisch sprechende Kollegen und die fanden tatsächlich, Französisch wäre die einfacher zu lernende Sprache für sie.
I had some English speaking colleagues, and they found that French was the easier language to learn for them.

Now, there was a youngster that turned out to become a philosopher and he learned Latin apparently by just reading it loud, having no idea what texts meant...
Eventually it just all made sense --- mystical? magic? maybe.


Posted by el`Ol on 10-13-2009

Posted by Romy the Cat on 12-01-2011

The Cat

Posted by rowuk on 07-12-2012
I can only agree with your desire. I wish that I had started learning Russian for the same reasons you mention for German.

I am an American that has been living in Germany since 1975. It took a couple of years to be able to understand the deeper meaning of things - when I could spend time. Real time performances or lectures still require me to prepare.

The danger for you is the insistance of technical law and order in the German way of thinking. Many things are not as "free" as Mann, Kafka, Eichendorff would have preferred. Considering your love of Bruckner, maybe the Austrian dialect would be better. Vienna, Salzburg and Graz as well as Bruckners own Linz are wonderful places for inspiration.

Posted by N-set on 07-21-2012
Out of 6 languages that I speak German has been for me the most difficult to learn
(i inherited 3 slavic languages, otherwise they, or at least Russian, would occupy the
top). Spanish, at least basic, is a child play.
I spent 3.5yrs in the capital of Hoch Deutsch-Hannover, have a German degree,
 but still even in the peak moment
(loong gone) my German was...awful IMHO. I just could not crack it (possibly also due to
Eastern EU origins and some genetical repulsion).   What always helped me to break the ice
ist aber ein Bierschen ;-)! Prost!

Mit freundlichen Gruessen,

Posted by steverino on 11-12-2012
"Perhaps I need to pick a German girlfriend and get German by the “other” means."

I would think that it's more customary to  learn German (or fill in the blank language)  because one Wants a German girlfriend rather than the other way around. Certainly women think that guys want to learn a language because they are attracted to the women of that country.

As for reading the original vs the translation I think it makes a difference more for an appreciation of the artistry than the thought or meaning behind it. I  can read French and have actually translated some French poetry. The meaning is not hard to state, its just that the form or surface characteristics of a language suggest or facilitate certain ways of expressing a thought that don't work precisely that way in translation. I think dual language texts are a good way of presenting poetic translation for that reason. Translations of prose or non fiction are generally very good quality in my experience and don't really "lose" much.

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