Making mistakes in German (Raed Saleh, Erasmus students in Austria)

1. Raed Saleh is a German SPD politician, who was born in the West Bank (Westjordanland) but grew up in Germany. He is a potential next mayor of Berlin, but it seems a large number of journalists believe his German is too bad. An article in taz, Ein dubioses Hörproblem (with a video clip so you can hear Saleh speaking), disagreed: it analysed the transcript of a TV interview and counted up the errors made by Saleh and the two interviewers. I wouldn’t say Saleh has a foreign accent, but some say he has, and it appears that he can’t be mentioned without the word ‘migrant’ being used, and more errors are heard in his German than are there.

As some of the commenters rightly say, if he does speak excellent German it still doesn’t qualify him to be the mayor of Berlin!

(Via Sprachlog)

2. Linz University has an (Upper) Austrian – German – English dictionary to help visiting Erasmus students (Zur besseren Verständigung zwischen (ober)österreichischen Studenten und Erasmus-Studenten).
The entries are marked as rural (L: ländlicher Raum), urban (S: städtischer Raum) and urban/Viennese (W: wienerisch/städtisch), and also as positive, negative and neutral, though these terms are not explained in English. Red marks language that should not be used.
It seems to refer to spoken language. The English looks fine, although defeated by Leberkäs (‘a type of meat popular in Austria’). And I feel some of the vocabulary is chosen because it’s funny, although it’s probably rare (Beamtenforelle, Holzpyjama – and how often in Linz do they talk about a schöne Leich nowadays?). It’s not all Austrian (den Löffel abgeben) and some is just pronunciation/spelling (moanen: meinen).

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