My favourite English words, pt. 1

June 20, 2007 at 8:51 am | Posted in English, Word | 9 Comments
Tags: ,

Muzzle. It sounds so soft. Who’d have thought.

muzzle (ANIMAL)
noun [C]
the mouth and nose of an animal, especially a dog, or a covering put over this in order to prevent the animal from biting

I’d like to have this one as a handbag:



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  1. doch, how interesting – if he’s British, it must be tough for him to pronounce it the right way – like muzzle is difficult for me (the soft z). although I sympathize – in South arica I particularly liked the:

    ag, shame, man!

    _the g in ag pronounced like the ch in doch

    ask him how he likes ‘genau’

    Der Galgen
    Der Strick
    Das Beil
    Das Schafott
    Die Guillotine
    Die Mordwaffe

  2. btw, South Africa
    Although South Arica is a weird slip for a German.

    Oh, it’s about to rain!

  3. Definitely where I live (close to Lake Constance and the Swiss border) – the weather is either gorgeous or shitty, with nothing in between. Now its shitty, I suppose around noon it’s going to be gorgeous.

  4. Wow!! Me too… loved that one 🙂

  5. Hey Nova – the word or the view?

  6. The hard “ch” isn’t that difficult. The u/ü distinction is far worse.

    “Genau”… strongly reminds me of my polish ex, who used to say it in a high-pitched american-dumb-blonde voice, quite frequently. I completely forget why. “Schön” is another nice word. More flexible than the english equivalent.

    Coincidentally, just across the road from the university there’s a road called “Am Galgenberg” (“By the Gallows Hill”).

  7. I might have a trick for you – when I taught German in South Africa back in 1998, one students suggested that the ü be pronounced like the first sound in the diphthong in ‘food’ – and it’s true, but only if you know how south africans pronounce food…

  8. The only person I know of south african origin spoke english with no discernable foreign accent, but I know what you mean; the Irish do something similar to ü when they say “you”.

    The problem I have is not just pronunciation, tho – I can do a passable ü if I try – it’s that ü is just a variation on u, in english (see, e.g., south africans & irish), so it’s difficult to pick up on the difference. I just don’t notice which one other people are saying; I don’t always notice which one I’m saying…

  9. That’s right – certain sounds are not discernible for speakers of certain languages – think of the German attempts to say love and laugh. Also, the trick above doesn’t help explain the difference between füller and fühlen either – it’s a different sound, not just the difference between short and long vowel.

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