Monday, September 13, 2010

Do not throw petrol on the barbecue

This can happen if you get to close to a Solarium. It looks like Barry had it on full blast. Or maybe he threw petrol on the barbecue. 
I have been loafing for the last few days and have not been in a mood to blog. But Merisi (who else!) has prodded me into life again. 
I had my head examined Friday and the results will be sent to Dr Mordor next week. I just cannot wait for his gloomy prognosis. 
I also saw the Skin Specialist and she pronounced me free from the problems that beset so many Australians who spend too much time in the sun.
In my case when I was young I lived next to a beach and spent every spare moment in the sun. It was fun at the time but crazy stuff as I know now.
The Skin Specialist says that she deal with people in Austria who have surgery for Melanomas. They ask her ‘when can I go back to the Solarium?’
There is some weird belief here that you cannot get cancer in a Solarium.
This information is probably provided by the same people who encourage young people to smoke. 
Every time I have an excruciating language experience in Vienna I lose heart and think that I will never be able to Speak German properly. 
I had one of these last week at Spar when I was asked a simple question - but one I had not been asked before - and simply did not know the verb. 
The young man knew NO English so we reached an impasse and he handed me a slice of ham. I realized some days later that he was asking me if I wanted to taste the ham. I just had not encountered that verb before. 
There are far too many German words and many of them are much too long. I gave up the thought long ago that I would be fluent in German and am just happy to have enough to struggle by when I encounter people who do not speak English. 
I cannot imagine how the German language developed in the manner it did - and suppose there were committees involved.  
But I can just imagine the German ‘Department of Impossible German Words’ where they took something reasonably straight forward in English and turned it in a dog’s breakfast. 
One of the (many) problems is that the word order changes depending upon how you start the sentence and what words you use in it. For example - you can say ‘because’ a number of different ways.
If you say it one way then the verb goes in a (sort of) logical position. If you say it another way the verbs is relegated to the back of the sentence - no matter how long the sentence is. Sort of like segregation. 
With this type of behavior - and the excruciating separable verbs - it is a wonder that anyone at all can speak German unless they were born into it. 
But there are not one or two rules - there are hundreds. Its as if the language was designed by those deranged people who decided to invade Iraq. There is no coherent plan, it is a shemozzle, a shambles - and ends in a thumping catastrophe for unwitting users.  
These language machinations are such bizarre concepts that I have given up all though of using verbs correctly and am happy enough just to get them into the sentence somewhere - and people seem to understand me.
Sure they look at me with some pity - but I my ambitions are limited - you know - like buying meat or getting shoes repaired. 
But I keep on struggling along and still do a couple of hours every week. 
The ultimate authority on the Awful German Language and its idiosyncrasies is Mark Twain - and this is worthwhile and hilarious reading.
Compared to German - French is  a complete doddle -  although lack of use has meant that I have lost  a lot of the fluency I once had. But I can still understand French TV and Radio - and read French newspapers - and  I know will never be able to do that in German.
I have told Cate that wherever we go next it must be somewhere where they speak English, French or German.
I simply refuse to learn a completely new language - and especially something like Turkish where they have umlauts, small birds on top of letters and tails on the bottom of letters.
Umlauts are bad enough - small birds and tails are another thing all together. 


  1. I was fluent in German as a child. Now most of the language has gone dormant and is buried deep. Sad.

    Czech was always a difficult language for me (I lived there for a bit); my tongue could just not reproduce the Slavic sounds correctly. Thankfully I was living in a town close to the Austrian border and could usually get by with my terrible Czech and choppy German.

    And that photo: holy crap.

  2. Hahaha, I'm experimenting with tanning now so I DON'T end up doing that to myself at my competition in three weeks. Super scary. Maybe not quite as scary as learning German, but pretty scary.

  3. the picture - whoaaaaaa. scares the hell out of me!

    was good to read your thoughts on the german language. i couldn't agree more. its like they made it difficult just for the hell of it! i kept coming home from class and going, but WHY?!

  4. German - and solariums - make no sense.