(This is an updated and revised version of a previous post of mine, “Phonological Features of ‘German English’”.)
There is one thing that always upsets me a little when I watch an American TV show or movie: the representation of the English spoken by a “German” and the “German” spoken by an American. The latter problem can be solved very easily in that instead of hiring an American actor who speaks some German, you can simply get a real German. There must be some of them in all of Hollywood, right?
The first problem requires a lot more effort because Hollywood doesn’t really seem to know what a German speaking English with a noticeable accent actually sounds like. However, rather than discussing all the weird features that are placed in a German’s mouth on television or the big screen, I would like to give an overview of what a German speaking accented English might actually sound like.
Please note that there are huge differences among Germans speaking English, which means that while some speakers might only have a slight accent, others have a fairly thick accent. And as always, an extremely tiny percentage manages to speak accent-free English whereas another minority might not even be understood by a native speaker.
If you’re interested in the features of “German English”, just go on reading.
For today’s guest post, I’m proud to welcome Kameron Hurley, whose new epic fantasy novelThe Mirror Empire is (deservedly) making all kinds of waves.
Aside from The Mirror Empire, she is also the author of the award- winning God’s War Trilogy, comprising the books God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture. She has won the Hugo Award, Kitschy Award, and Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best…
You can tell a lot about someone by the type of music they listen to. Hit shuffle on your ipod, phone, itunes, media player etc. and write down the first 20 songs, then pass this on to 10 people. One rule: no skipping!
Tagged by lehdenlaulu. Well, kind of. ;P I’m using my Spotify playlist, so if curious you can find every song there.
1. Panik - Keiner merkt es
2. Faunts - M4 Part 2 (<3)
3. ABBA - Does your Mother know
4. ABBA - Knowing Me, knowing You
5. Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
6. Nena - Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann
7. Panik - Morgencafé
8. Mumford & Sons - Dust Bowl Dance
9. Herbert Grönemeyer - Mensch
10. The Proclaimers - I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
11. Imagine Dragons - Radioactive
12. Darren Korb feat. Ashley Barrett - We All Become
But the moment we re-imagine the world as a buzzing hive of individuals with a variety of genders and complicated sexes and unique, passionate narratives that have yet to be told – it makes them harder to ignore. They are no longer, “women and cattle and slaves” but active players in their own stories.
Yesterday I read a really shiny feminist essay, about the erasure of women from history (which I have no idea how I missed until now, but is one of the Hugo nominated blog entries). It was pretty amazing, until I got to a bit where it erased trans women. So I emailed the author, pointing out the bit, and the problems with it. And by the next day I had a response from her unreservedly agreeing it was wrong, and with a rephrase which explicitly includes trans women and also non-binary people. My faith in humanity is rather boosted at the moment.
(Note: It’s already updated on the article, but won’t be on the ebooks for few days.)
“In einem kleinen Dorf wohnte einst ein Mädchen mit dem Namen Barbara. Barbara war in der ganzen Gegend für ihren ausgezeichneten Rhabarberkuchen bekannt.
Weil jeder so gerne Barbara’s Rhabarberkuchen aß, nannte man sie Rhabarberbarbara. Rhabarberbarbara merkte bald, dass sie mit ihrem Rhabarberkuchen Geld verdienen könnte. Daher eröffnete sie eine Bar: Die Rhabarberbarbarabar.
Natürlich gab es in der Rhabarberbarbarabar bald Stammkunden. Die bekanntesten unter Ihnen, drei Barbaren, kamen so oft in die Rhabarberbarbarabar um von Rhabarberbarbaras Rhabarberkuchen zu essen, dass man sie kurz die Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbaren nannte.
Die Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbaren hatten wunderschöne, dichte Bärte. Wenn die Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbaren ihren Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbart pflegten gingen sie zum Barbier.
Der einzige Barbier der einen Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbart bearbeiten konnte, wollte das natürlich betonen und nannte sich Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbartbarbier.
Nach dem Stutzen des Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbarts geht der Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbartbarbier meist mit den Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbaren in die Rhabarberbarbarabar um mit den Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbaren von Rhabarberbarbaras herrlichem Rhabarberkuchen zu essen.”—
The Mercy Thompson series is a very popular Urban Fantasy series written by Patricia Briggs. When we first met Mercy, she was a fiercely independent female mechanic who had the ability to shift into a coyote. Over the course of eight books, readers have gotten to know Mercy, her friends and the world which Briggs has created quite well. For the most part, the Mercy Thompson series has been interesting to read but like any other book in this genre, it has not been without its share of problems. It would be far too easy to dismiss gender as an issue in the this series because the protagonist is a woman and the author is also female. One would think that at least in this area, a reader could consume an unproblematic story but that is not the case - and we should be wary of assuming strong depictions of women (or any marginalised person) just because of the author. Despite all of the good qualities in this series, gender representation is an ongoing issue.
Most blatantly, other women simply are not present - or not present to any great degree. Mercy lives in a very male world. Obviously, as a straight woman, her love interest is Adam and Adam dominates much of her life, but even outside of Adam most of the people around her are men. She worked with Zee and then Tad - both male. Her main contact with the vampires has been with Stefan - male. Back when she lived with the Marrock, the main contacts she had where with him and his son, Samuel and, to a lesser extent, Charles. Her closest friends - Warren and Kyle - are both men. Most of the pack members are men - and, in common with many other series - for some reason women just don’t turn into werewolves very often. She has a somewhat fraught - and definitely low contact - relationship with her mother.
There are very few women in Mercy’s life - and the only one with anything resembling a close relationship with her is Jessee, Adam’s daughter and, of course, a teenager not a peer.
This lack of female equals is already very much an element of this trope - but what women she does meet are usually antagonists. The few female members of the pack are very hostile to Mercy - Honey being the only one starting to thaw towards her in the latest book. Marsilia, the vampire head of the local Seethe, has certainly clashed with Mercy pretty viciously. Mercy even clashed with the Marrock’s wife when she lived in the Aspen Creek Pack (apparently more so than with the Marrock himself). Even her relationship with her mother is fraught and difficult and contains, at best, a kind of understanding contempt of her mother and she appreciates the distance between them.
Any women Mercy seems to build any kind of a respectful, peer relationship with - or has the potential to - are brief appearances, usually confined to one book; while her female enemies are much more prominent.
This comes to a head in the latest book, Night Broken with Adam’s ex-wife who is almost comically awful to Mercy. Because a woman fleeing from a murderous stalker who has beaten her and destroyed her life really has time to play petty “catty” games? Apparently so! This frankly ridiculous caricature of spiteful womanhood, in turn, is presented as an extremely weak justification for Mercy herself sharpening her claws for a truly cringeworthy take down of a battered woman seeking refuge. By the end of the book, the conflict was almost comic in its awfulness, with Mercy wanting to send Christie back to her abuser and Christie wanting Mercy to die on her hospital bed.
But the paucity and problems with other women in the series are not the only problematic elements of this book when it comes to female representation; we have to consider her relationship to Adam.
When Mercy first met Adam, she had been forced out of her home by the Marrok - Bran. She was determined to live independently and resented the idea that Adam moved next to her to watch over her. She chafed at the very idea of needing a guardian because she was very independent. In response Mercy did things like moving a broken down car in Adam’s line of sight because he hated to look at it from his bedroom window. Any way that she could be an irritant, Mercy jumped on it.
When the relationship began to develop between Mercy and Adam her agency began to significantly diminish. Suddenly Mercy moved from being fiercely independent to an object that needed to be protected and controlled. It began quite simply with Adam referring to Mercy as “his”, which is not endearing and speaks of ownership or possession. Dominance issues repeatedly occur in interactions between Adam and Mercy which invariably cause Mercy to do things like lower her eyes, make her posture submissive and even deliberately consider what she is saying for fear that she might upset the mighty alpha. Of course it’s all justified by the fact that Adam is the alpha of the pack (a classic case of Explained by the Woo-woo). Accepting it on this basis ignores the way in which gender plays into this interaction. Sure, all wolves must show submission to Adam but no one is put in their place more consistently than Mercy. Even at the onset of their relationship when lovers are more apt to be kind, Adam is quick to apply pressure. He declares his love for Mercy in Iron Kissed and Mercy is told that her refusal to declare instant true love for Adam was endangering the stability of the pack. Yeah, no pressure, really.