Für wie lange bleiben Sie in Deutschland?

Published February 28, 2013 by Sandee

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I love hearing people speak German.  One day I followed some German tourists.  I didn’t even know what they were saying.  I don’t speak German.  Perhaps they were saying, “Why is the schwarze lady following us?”  They looked like nice people.  They were tall.  The guttural precision and command of the language makes me…amorous. I’ve seen Run Lola Run a few times in German.

I asked German bloggers if they could translate “How long will you be in Germany?”  I want a character in my short story to say it.  These are different translations from the nice German bloggers:

“Für wie lange bleibst Du in Deutschland?”

“Für wie lange bleiben Sie in Deutschland?”

“Wie lange bleibst du in Deutschland?”

During my translation quest, I discovered a couple of friends speak the language.  One spoke German to me yesterday.  It made my eyes roll into the back of my head.  Another friend who speaks German said my pronunciation of the sentence was good and that maybe I was German in another life.  He’s an artist — sometimes they say things like that.

Rammstein had a popular song on the radio called Du Hast.  There’s a song on the cd called Spiel Mit Mir.  Sure it’s about incest between siblings, which I don’t believe in, unless you’re trying to keep your royal blood intact.  Those Germans – so severe, so kinky — ha!  The singer beefs up that “command” thing in this song for a dramatic, menacing effect.  It sounds like he’s hawking up phlegm, and I hate when people actually do that, but to punctuate a sentence — yes.  Here, check it out:

Und, I had sausage this morning, which is very German.

52 comments on “Für wie lange bleiben Sie in Deutschland?

  • My brother took German in high school, but I can’t remember him actually speaking it in the house. I’ve never thought of German as a language I would swoon over, but that’s the beauty of you. Every time I leave this place I think , “huh, never thought of it like that.” That’s why I keep coming back.

  • Well, now I know who to get to take my place when my mother asks me to accompany her on one of her trips to Germany when she goes to visit her long-lost relatives. She’s done this a few times, and has taken a language immersion course and as a result speaks German quite well. She tells me I should go with her. But then she tells me about how so many family members live in the same house (were we’d be staying), and that it’s such a fun closeness. As if this doesn’t frighten an introvert enough, she throws in a warning that some of them don’t wear deodorant. Yeah, maybe next time, Mom. But in the meantime, I know a blogger who’d love to go…

  • Sandee, my parents lived in Germany and loved living there. They said the people of the village were so nice. And though, I don’t think of German as a romance language with all those guttural noises you mention, but it’s still cool. Remember that song 99 Luft Balloons? Probably not your cup of tea, but it was a German band if memory serves me (which it doesn’t always). I just wrote a post today about how New York has so many different languages and dialects — it’s so nice to hear them all and step out of your own little world sometimes, huh? 🙂

    • That’s right, I do recall you saying you had some German blood. I know I’m probably not in a high percentage — people who get turned on by hearing the language. New York does have a variety of cultures. My next door neighbor may she rest in piece, was German and the woman living on the other side of me last year was from Iran and spoke Persian!

  • I took German in college. I loved it even though I have no memory of it now! Haha! There’s a delicious German restaurant near me, Fritzl’s. I always feel like such a Nazi when I eat there because it’s decorated from that time period. I try not to think about it as I wolf down my chicken schnitzel. Lol!

    • I’m cautious with the underground German music — the music above is well-known and sells commercially, but when listening to lesser known music, if I really love it — I research it to make sure I’m not supporting Nazis. At the same time, I said something that I realized might be considered prejudicial and ignorant to my friend who lived there. I said, there are a lot of nice German people. When I came home I realized what that sounded like. While that country may have a stain of evil, the entire country shouldn’t be judged, still today because of that — but needless to say, as a black girl, I’m very aware of the mentality behind the theories and stay guarded.

      • I would never have thought that of you. I guess once you know someone, i feel like i know your heart, Sandee, you shouldn’t have to censor yourself. The only mistake that can be made is from someone who doesn’t know you. It’s a good topic, I think. Do we live free and express ourselves without censoring or do we speak with caution and worry that we might offend or be misunderstood. I probably fall somewhere Inbetween.

        • I love your comment — and it’s in line with what you spoke of earlier in your post. As someone who writes, I’m always trying to find that perfect balance that allows you to speak the dark corners of your mind without being offensive — it’s an art for sure. I try to stay on top of my attempts to censor myself. I remind myself that it would be cheating myself and anyone else who reads what I’ve written.

  • Okay I am so mad at wordpress because it never sends me your post updates. I was just thinking about you and was hoping everything was all good in your hood!
    But back to this post: I think you need to go to Germany, and enjoy the sounds… record them, and play them any time you need it. Instant awesomeness!

      • Why not? Actually I have a photo album of pictures I’ve found in the streets. It’s like having a really weird extended family… Also, I make up stories for what they are doing in the pictures. Why are they holding garbage bags and a $20 bill… well only I know 🙂
        That was probably too weird to share, but I am a weird girl.

  • I took some German in college, although I remember very little of it. I do, however, remember one phrase from a text that just tickled me for some reason. It was supposed to be a teacher telling the student to speak up in class: “Sprechen sie lauter, bitte!” or “Speak you louder, please.” I also love that the words for please and thank you are the same, “bitte.”

  • Sandee,
    My son is half German, from his mother side. And doesn’t speak it.
    But. He does know all the names of the Clone Troopers.
    Le Clown

    • Thanks again for helping me and getting Karina to translate that sentence! It’s been fun during this quest for translation to see all the people with German ancestry and the couple of friends I have who speak German. I love the sound of the language so much that hearing the names of the Clone Troopers would even be enough to send me into euphoria.

  • Can’t believe I missed this post. I want to learn German too! My father’s family is of German heritage but we lost the language a long time ago. His ancestors came to Colombia in the late 1800’s and settled in the region where my father was born. So many things that I always thought quintessential Colombian I learned here in Canada that they are just German, isn’t that funny?

    I’m actually dark when compared to my cousins

    • Through this post and through my quest for translation, I’ve discovered all the different people in my blogging community and on facebook with German heritage — so cool.

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