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Sunday, November 13, 2005

german-flavored english

One of the most frustrating things I do is proofread texts written by youngish German academics with multiple advanced degrees in some branch or other of the Humanities - either written in English by the author, or translated into English by my husband, a youngish German academic with multiple advanced degrees in the Humanities. Wow, frustrating and highly specialized!

At the moment I'm blogging in order to avoid doing that very thing, because I'm almost halfway through a 16-page book review and it's driving me crazy. The same mistakes, every time. I think I'm getting worse at this with practice, not better. Because I've been married to a German for 11 years now, and I live in Germany, and half the time I think in German anyway, which probably means my own English is getting German-flavored. I bet if you asked any of my family, they'd ... well, they probably wouldn't admit it, unless you got them drunk, because they wouldn't want to seem disloyal. But I bet I'm putting my verbs at the end of the sentence at least half the time. I know I do that in Spanish, which is bad.

And I bet I'm letting my authors get away with murder by now (metaphorically speaking, of course). You know, you say (or read, or hear) something often enough, it starts to sound normal. I don't think the work I'm doing is good enough anymore.

Am I getting worse at this, or just more critical? Or have I simply managed to stall on the book review long enough that I can now legitimately go to bed? Bingo!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

You think in German now? I can't even think clearly in English....