Thursday, July 01, 2010


The Study of German

Charles G. Leland, To a Friend Studying German, from The Breitmann Ballads, new ed. (London: Trübner & Co., 1889), pp. 55-57 (motto and notes omitted):
Vill'st dou learn die Deutsche Sprache?
  Denn set it on your card,
Dat all the nouns have shenders,
  Und de shenders all are hard.
Dere ish also dings called pronoms,
  Vitch id's shoost ash vell to know;
Boot ach! de verbs or time-words—
  Dey'll work you bitter woe.

Will'st dou learn de Deutsche Sprache?
  Denn you allatag moost go
To sinfonies, sonatas,
  Or an oratorio.
Vhen you dinks you knows 'pout musik,
  More ash any other man,
Be sure de soul of Deutschland
  Into your soul ish ran.

Will'st dou learn de Deutsche Sprache?
  Dou moost eat apout a peck
A week, of stinging sauerkraut,
  Und sefen pfoundts of speck.
Mit Gott knows vot in vinegar,
  Und deuce knows vot in rum:
Dis ish de only cerdain vay
  To make de accents coom.

Will'st dou learn de Deutsche Sprache?
  Brepare dein soul to shtand
Soosh sendences ash ne'er vas heardt
  In any oder land.
Till dou canst make parentheses
  Intwisted—ohne zahl—
Dann wirst du erst Deutschfertig seyn,
  For a languashe ideál.

Will'st dou learn de Deutsche Sprache?
  Du must mitout an fear
Trink afery tay an gallon dry,
  Of foamin Sherman bier.
Und de more you trinks, pe certain,
  More Deutsch you'll surely pe;
For Gambrinus ish de Emperor
  Of de whole of Germany.

Will'st dou learn de Deutsche Sprache?
  Be sholly, brav, und treu,
For dat veller ish kein Deutscher
  Who ish not a sholly poy.
Find out vot means Gemüthlichkeit,
  Und do it mitout fail,
In Sang und Klang dein Lebenlang,
  A brick—ganz kreuzfidél.

Will'st dou learn de Deutsche Sprache?
  If a shendleman dou art,
Denn shtrike right indo Deutschland,
  Und get a schveetes heart.
From Schwabenland or Sachsen
  Vhere now dis writer pees;
Und de bretty girls all wachsen
  Shoost like aepples on de drees.

Boot if dou bee'st a laty,
  Denn on de oder hand,
Take a blonde moustachioed lofer
  In de vine green Sherman land.
Und if you shoost kit married
  (Vood mit vood soon makes a vire),
You'll learn to sprechen Deutsch mein kind,
  Ash fast ash you tesire.
Related post: The German Language.

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