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Germans have a really
hard time saying ´squirrel´

The Week, by Arika Okrent

Original Article

Posted By:MissMolly, 6/2/2014 4:55:33 AM

A few years ago, Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson pointed out that the best way to expose a German spy would be to ask them to say the word "squirrel," because "no German, no matter how well they speak English, can say ´squirrel.´" So naturally, someone tested the premise and made a video of it. Here is that video (by Tamara Lenz) of 10 Germans trying to way the "squirrel." But don´t feel bad, Germans! While we laugh, most of the world is cringing in sympathy with you. This word is nearly impossible to get right for anyone who isn´t

Comments:
Sure it´s a bit silly, but aren´t you ready to read a story that doesn´t contain the words Bowe, AWOL, Hillary or impeachment?

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: PChristopher, 6/2/2014 5:27:34 AM     (No. 9869808)

As in "Moose und Schkvirrel"?

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Wetenschapper, 6/2/2014 6:16:16 AM     (No. 9869821)

Though I´ve lived in a Dutch-speaking area of Belgium for 25 years, I still struggle with their word for peas, "erwtjes", and the past participle of almost any verb that begins with the trilled Dutch "r" (e.g., "gereconstrueerd", reconstructed). I suppose every language must have a few words that non-native speakers find diabolically unpronounceable.

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R-G6-LC
  


 
Reply 3 - Posted by: uno, 6/2/2014 6:46:55 AM     (No. 9869838)

Ask a Dane to say "refrigerator".
Ask an American to say anything Danish!

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Reply 4 - Posted by: StormCnter, 6/2/2014 6:51:18 AM     (No. 9869843)

My Chinese granddaughter, adopted as an infant, had to work with a speech therapist to correctly pronounce L and R. Why do the Chinese have trouble with those consonants?

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Reply 5 - Posted by: Patchy Groundfog, 6/2/2014 7:08:25 AM     (No. 9869852)

They actually didn´t do badly and this video also belies the ´Germans have no sense of humor´ cliche.

The videomaker says ´einmal´ to the participants - literally ´one time´ but idiomatically ´repeat it´ or ´once more.´

Would Americans be able to say ´eigentlich?´

And how many of them would reply ´¿Que?´

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Patchy Groundfog, 6/2/2014 7:10:02 AM     (No. 9869853)

Rare 2nd post: I missed the Canadians below on the page which addresses my point.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: texaspast, 6/2/2014 7:40:52 AM     (No. 9869875)

Texas pronunciation: ´skwurl´.

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R-TA-Wide
  


 
Reply 8 - Posted by: TunnelRat, 6/2/2014 7:46:45 AM     (No. 9869884)

That´s not just Texas, #7; that´s ´Merican.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: Sanspeur, 6/2/2014 8:12:28 AM     (No. 9869906)

Obvious political insert here.. Ask the current prezzy to say it.".

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Reply 10 - Posted by: FLCracker, 6/2/2014 8:39:36 AM     (No. 9869934)

Okay, English-speakers.

Here´s the German word for "squirrel." Let´s see if you can do any better.

Eichhoernchen

(Except that the "oe" should be a "o" with an umlaut over it. Round your mouth for an "o" and say an "e.")

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Reply 11 - Posted by: mickturn, 6/2/2014 10:25:27 AM     (No. 9870063)

Easterners (Mass) have lots of trouble with R´s as well...earl wells and Pakk YOUr Caa etc...

Orientals can´t say R, it´s not in their language or vernacular...

So what´s the big deal, Politicians can´t say Honest. They all choke at the word!

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Reply 12 - Posted by: saguni, 6/2/2014 11:24:27 AM     (No. 9870135)

My son was in a class that exchanged students with a sister-city in Japan, we attended a party with several students, and someone started the girls saying "How much wood..."

how much ooood ooood a oooodchuck chuck...

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Reply 13 - Posted by: TheMom, 6/2/2014 6:05:24 PM     (No. 9870631)

Britons say ´squiddle´. I know because my sis in law is from Wimbledon.


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