Pronunciation of English words in German/Englische Wörter – deutsche Aussprache

John Wells has a blog entry on how English words are pronounced when they turn up in German texts. (Yesterday he had one on the Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch, which was too heavy for me).

It’s quite a puzzle. There was a sweet bar called Twix that was renamed Raider (pronounced rider) and then back to Twix. So when I wanted to buy one called Nuts I pronounced it noots, which met only ridicule. I went to a German course on Word for Windows, since when I have often muttered to myself Vörtt. Excel is pronounced on the first syllable.

Wells says the authors compare the German and English pronunciations of Buckingham Palace. I’m surprised they don’t give ‘ham’ rather than ‘gm’ for the pronunciation.

A famous example of the difficulty of th for Germans was a Loriot sketch with Evelyn Hamann:

Auf dem Landsitz North Cothelstone Hall von Lord und Lady Hesketh-Fortescue befinden sich außer dem jüngsten Sohn Meredith auch die Cousinen Priscilla und Gwyneth Molesworth aus den benachbarten Ortschaften Middle Fritham und Nether Addlethorpe, ferner ein Onkel von Lady Hesketh-Fortescue, der 79jährige Jasper Fetherstone, dessen Besitz Thrumpton Castle zur Zeit an Lord Molesworth-Houghton, einem Vetter von Priscilla und Gwyneth Molesworth, vermietet ist.

Here it is on Youtube.

7 thoughts on “Pronunciation of English words in German/Englische Wörter – deutsche Aussprache

  1. Cat and dog food brands “Whiskas” and “Pal” are pronounced as if they were German. I still remember when I finally realized that these are meaningful words in English – even if whiskers is spelled a little oddly. It was quite the revelation!

  2. It bugs me no end to hear (and say) *EX*cel and ac*CESS* all day when dealing with Germans. I have a hard time switching back to proper English pronunciation when dealing with my English-speaking colleagues.

    Und warum doch nicht “noots” wenn doch “Pitsa Hoot?” Das ist mir alles viel zu willk

    • “Pitsa Hoot” because Hut refers to a hat, which you can see in their company logo. (I genuinely believed that. It confused me a little, but that’s what I thought.)

  3. A sad but common story. Join the lost luggage brigade or army, Margaret.

    As Prince Charles once joked to an unamused luggage handler on a Royal Tour of London Heathrow, previously known as Thiefrow Airport: ‘Oh, you are one of those people who lose everyone’s luggage!’.

    For a cart ride, tell one of the Info. Desks that you are disabled or, better still, fly next time – if you need to – via the compact (

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