Deutsche Sprechen

I’m still rusty in the writing department but at least The Man has been rescued from London 2014.  Thanks to Servetus for her expert help.



The Man tried not to fidget in the low-back, short-seated chair.  No, think in German. Chair, sessel.

He’d folded himself as gracefully as possible but still felt all jutting knees and elbows.  His bum had gone numb and an earlier wiggle told him the chair’s fabric was every bit as itchy as he feared.   He longed to jump up and shake his arse.  That might make this interview junket more interesting.   An image of him dancing to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Out sprang to mind.  A smirk tugged at his lips.  Arse.  He knew this one: arsch

His earpiece fell silent.  The interviewer on the small television just out of camera range smiled with an air of expectancy.  The Man blinked.  Oi!  What had the journalist been asking… a synopsis of his new spy series…yes!  Ja!

“The show is about a CIA operative who is sent to the Berlin bureau…”  Yes, he hadn’t missed a beat and he’d been practicing his German to boot.

A few more questions and the face on the screen changed again.  The stage manager cued him again.  He began his spiel again. To promote the series,  his PR people had scheduled twelve interviews back to back in rapid succession.    Which one was this?  He’d lost count.   Hmm, count!  Eins, zwei, drei! 

To be honest,  the press junkets weren’t all that bad.  He’d learned variations of the same answers so that each interview seemed fresh.  He knew what the questions would be; nothing could really surprise him.  It was a small price to pay to stay a successful actor.  He had to promote his work. There was only one downside actually -the boredom. What was German for boredom?   It was hard to not drift off- Wait, what was that?

“…tall for a dwarf role. How tall are you?”

Okay, maybe there was another downside: inane questions about his work.  If he had a pound for every time he’d been asked that he could retire now. 

“I’m six feet three and three-quarter in my stocking feet.”  He smiled.  Last interview he said six feet two and half.  No worries.  Keeping it fresh.

“…trained in a circus.  Is that true?”

The Man sighed.  Clearly this would haunt him the rest of his days.  Couldn’t he just say he slept with the elephants and swept horse shit?  Scheisse.  Yes, he would. 

“Yes, I did it to get my actor’s equity card.”   Nah, he couldn’t do it. 

The interviewers switched again.  Ah, the last one.  Who was this one?  Ah, Gretchen with an accent. Not American.  Definitely European.  Maybe German?  This might be interesting.

“So your career began in a circus?”

Maybe not.   Hmm, speaking of German,  he’d been conjugating verbs on his own all summer.  Recalling them could help with the boredom.  Let’s see… to say is sagen. Ich sage, du sagst, es sagt.  To love: lieben. liebe, liebst, liebt.  To live: wohnen.  Wohne, wohnst wohnt.  To get something: besorgen. besorge, besorgst, besorgt.  Didn’t his colleagues on set teach him some phrases too?   Ich konnte es…. her?…ihm…no, ihr ….not…nicht…besorgen.   I couldn’t get it for her.  His friends had seemed particularly proud of his pronunciation.

“Yes!  Ich konnte es ihr nicht besorgen!”

His earpiece fell silent.  He blinked.   Uh oh, he didn’t just -. 

On the small screen, Gretchen smiled wryly.  Her eyes twinkled.  “I see.” 

He mentally kicked himself and smiled.  “I’m so sorry; my mind wandered.  I’ve been practicing my German.  Getting ready to start filming for the second series.” 

She pursed her lips.  “Love scenes maybe?”

His froze.  Why? What did I just say?”

“What do you think you said?”

He swallowed.  “I couldn’t get it for her.”

She broke into a full grin.  Well, yes. But I was asking you about a girlfriend, maybe?  So it could also mean, “I couldn’t get it up for her.”

Oh shit, I’m going to kill them.   What were his PR people going to say about this, especially after the whole social media/mobile thing?

“But don’t worry.  It made an interesting interview.  Auf Wiedersehen, Mein Liebster.”

The screen went black.

The Man slumped.  Well, they could edit that out later.  At least it wasn’t live.

Was it?


28 thoughts on “Deutsche Sprechen

  1. Judi!!!!!!! I can’t even tell you how delighted I am to see an update on ‘The Man’. And involving my mother tongue, no less. Where did you EVER find out the meaning of that term? *lol* Really well done, and I have to say, I would give half of my photo book collection to hear ‘another man’ advertantly or inadvertantly stumble over dubious German phrases *grins*. Appeal to the writers of a certain show: Please give us some German language ‘dirty talk’ in season 2 *sniggers*.
    Anyway, good to see that ‘The Man’ has survived your writing block. Maybe he is the topic to get the rust off? If you want to try out, you’ll certainly have a grateful audience ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • So glad you liked it Guylty! Strangely, after I finished I didn’t like it. Hated it. Was sure everybody else would too. So I’m RELIEVED over your reaction. (And thanks to Serv for helping me with the dubious phrases.

      Yeah, felt a bit guilty leaving him stranded in 2014. And I do like thinking of awful situations for him. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • You didn’t like it??? What’s not to like? You are right back in The Man’s head, and with a fabulous punchline, as usual. I am very glad that you felt he had to be rescued. I am hoping for more.
        Ha, and I should’ve known that Serv had a language supervisor role in this ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well done to the both of you.

        • Well, when I’m trying to be funny, I’m not sure I’m succeeding or not. The feeling was compounded by the fact it was 12:30AM in the morning. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Hooray! I am so glad to see that The Man is alive and well! You’ve captured the mood so well… and it’s so funny! Thank you!

  3. Yay! The Man returns! And in awesome form, as *ahem* dedicated as ever to immersing himself in his work. Loved it! โค And as Guylty suggested, you have a grateful audience waiting.

    • Thanks Zan. What would we do without his dedication for trouble? The character might be getting a little long in the tooth for this but I just can’t help myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. My work here is done!

    (I’ve said so many bizarre things myself. German is not easy. And then meanings change over time, and I’d read a lot of sixteenth century texts — suffice it to say, “das Weib” is no longer a polite word. So I have a lot of sympathy for The Man. Hilarious, though!)

    • Thanks so much for you help Serv. I know zip about German other than good morning. There’s no way I would have been able to figure it out without you. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Wow, it never occurred to me that reading old texts might trip you up. Yikes!

      • Check your email, though ๐Ÿ™‚

        Yeah, the 16th c. was not good for me at the beginning, when I had to speak. For instance, another mistake I made quite a few times before someone told me: “saufen” in the 16th c. meant “to drown,” whereas nowadays it’s a vulgar expression for drinking (too much), and “drown” is “ersaufen.” But I’ve heard parallel stories from several people who study ancient languages — your word choice is inevitably influenced by the older version of Greek or Hebrew.

        • As a total ignoramus, German looks more difficult to learn than, say Spanish (or maybe that’s because I kept wanting to translate words like “es” into Spanish. ๐Ÿ˜€

        • hehehe, yes, the 16th century is unreliable, I would say. Can happen to anyone, though. I remember using the word “tenement” in the meaning of “flats/apartments” for a while until a friend took me aside and told me that it was not an appropriate description for the type of places me and my friends lived in…

          • I think the issue, though, is the automatic cognate that’s become rude (tenement is a word that no one uses anymore, and you could be seen as sarcastic for applying it to a friend’s apartment, but it’s not rude to say it, whereas “wie geht es ihrem Weib?” makes jaws drop — do not ask me how I know this). There are a fair number of words like this in German that have to do with women, interestingly — like Mieze — but most of them are not cognates. I think the cognate problem is generally worse in Spanish, though (think: “embarazada” or “mama / mamรก”).

  5. Pingback: The Man is back #richardarmitage | Me + Richard Armitage

  6. Judi, you know!!! I love The Man!! On the top of it all he now starts to think in German…. Yeah, what is he to do when he sits through all this endless dรฉjร -vus and then starts having ideas…You make him be a great chap! ๐Ÿ™‚

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