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I've just started Hotel World, a strange little novel (Booker Prize finalist, according to the sticker) about a dead hotel maid's post-mortem adventures. The writing reminds me of Jeannette Winterson, which is promising. Written on the Body is one of my favorites. I'm not sure what will eventually happen to this unfortunate ex-housekeeper -- so don't spoil it for me if you've read it -- but one way that she knows her ghostly time is winding down is that she's losing the words for things. Reading this on the train yesterday reminded me of a time when a similar problem plagued me. I was not dead, of course, but I was in Germany.

There were 24 of us Kalamazoo students in Münster, speaking sputtering Deutsch with our host families and teachers, and speaking the Teutonic equivalent of Spanglish to each other. After a while, I couldn't keep track of some words. Exchanging money for goods and services became "kaufing" -- "Can you kauf me a Fanta?" Verb conjugations in both English and German got totally fucked, with the prefix ge- added to everything in the past tense in either language. (The bike my host mother lent me was gestolen at the Bahnhof. I genapped on the train on the way to Munich.) It wasn't until I was back in America that I remembered the English word for the large building that travelers fly in and out of. In Germany, I kept calling it the plane station.

There's really no great point to this entry. So go take a look at the new, improved Exquisite Corpse. You'll be glad you did. Tschüß!

Replies: 1 Confession

Unlike the Spanglish that we here in Florida have grown to love, I have noticed that the Deutschlish do tend to throw a welcoming twist, therefore leaving sentences such as "They gedrove to the store" rather then "They fahrt to the store". Not always a bad thing.

chelle of the duck @ 02/07/2002 02:42 PM CST


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