Reading German: A Course and Reference Grammar

By Waltraud Coles; Bill Dodd | Go to book overview

9

As texts get structurally more complicated it becomes difficult to give the translation in parallel lines. Therefore, for the following text, you will find the English version after the German original.

Start your reading of the text by marking all structurally important words and constructions you recognize, such as finite verbs, verb completions, relative pronouns, connectors, conjunctions, extended adjective phrases, etc. Also note all the words you already know the meaning of. They will give you clues to what the text might roughly say before looking at it in detail. Then compare the German text with the translation given below.


TEXT 9A

In seinem Artikel berichtet Professor Ammon, daβ sich Goethe zum Thema der Bedeutung der deutschen Sprache geäuβert haben soll, und zwar in einem Gespräch mit einem englischen ,,Ingenieuroffizier".

Dieser war nach Weimar gekommen, um Deutsch zu lernen, und er berichtete dem Dichter, ,,daβ jetzt fast kein junger Engländer von guter5 Familie ist, der nicht Deutsch lernte". Goethe hat sich darüber anscheinend nicht gewundert, denn er äuβert, ,,daβ [,] wenn einer jetzt das Deutsche gut versteht, er viele andere Sprachen entbehren kann", da ,,wir die vorzüglichsten Werke in guten deutschen Übersetzungen lesen können".10

Wenn auch die von Eckermann 1825 aufgezeichnete Äuβerung Goethes sich nicht dahingehend überbewerten läβt, als hätte Deutsch damals eine dem Französischen ebenbürtige internationale Rolle gespielt, so stimmt sie doch mit anderen Beobachtungen darin überein, daβ die Bedeutung von Deutsch als internationale Sprache im15 19. Jahrhundert allmählich zunahm.

Adapted from: Ulrich Ammon, "Die deutsche Sprache: Lingua Franca im Schatten von Englisch?", Deutschland, zeitschrift f00FCr Politik, Kultur, Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft, 1 (Feb. 94).

In his article Professor Ammon reports that Goethe is said to have made a remark on the topic of the importance of the German language, in fact in a conversation with an English 'engineering officer'.

The latter had come to Weimar to learn German and told the poet: 'that (there) is practically no young English gentleman [lit.: from a good family] who is not learning German'. Apparently this did not surprise Goethe, since he comments: 'If someone now understands German well, he can make do without many other languages', because 'the most excellent works are available [lit.: we can read] in good German translations'.

Although [lit.: Even if] Goethe's remark, recorded by Eckermann in 1825, should not be taken to mean [lit.: must not be given too much importance to the effect] that German at the time equalled French as an international language [lit.: played an international role equal to French], it provides further evidence [lit.: it agrees/tallies with other observations to the effect] that the importance of German as an international language was gradually increasing in the nineteenth century.

-65-

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Reading German: A Course and Reference Grammar
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Authors' Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • About This Book x
  • Part I - Reading Course 1
  • List of Chapter Topics 3
  • 1 9
  • 2 14
  • 3 22
  • 4 30
  • 5 38
  • 6 44
  • 7 51
  • 8 58
  • 9 65
  • 10 73
  • 11 80
  • 12 89
  • 13 94
  • 14 98
  • 15 104
  • 16 110
  • Key to Coursebook Exercises 117
  • Part II - Reference Section 131
  • List of Topics 133
  • Key to Further Exercises 321
  • Part IV - German-English Text Corpus 335
  • List of Texts 336
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