Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sie kommt! Sie kommt! Sie kommt!

One of my favorite arias is 'O zittre nicht', given by die Königin der Nacht (Queen of the Night) in Mozart's opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

I tried finding a translation for it on the net, but couldn't find an exact one. So, as an exercise in German to English translation (and in using a dictionary) I thought I'd give it a go.

I took the libretto from Wikipedia here. As I said, it's just for fun, so don't come suing me if you are laughed off the stage at the New York Met if I've got it wrong.

O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn!
Premiered Vienna, 30 th September 1791
Music by Mozart
Words by Emanuel Schikaneder
Poorly translated by Andie Gilmour

O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn! - O tremble not, my beloved son!
Du bist unschuldig, weise, fromm; - you are innocent, wise, devout;
Ein Jüngling so wie du - a lad such as you
vermag am besten
Dies tiefgebeugte
Mutterherz zu trösten. - is the best thing capable of consoling this deeply saddened mother's heart.
Zum Leiden bin ich auserkoren, - I have been doomed to suffer
Denn meine Tochter fehlet mir; - for my daughter has left me
Durch sie ging all mein Glück verloren, - through her all my happiness has dissapeared
Ein Bösewicht entfloh mit ihr. - a villain has fled with her.
Noch seh' ich sie zittern - still I see her trembling
Mit bangem Erschüttern, - with fearful shaking
Ihr ängstliches Beben, - her anxious quaking,
Ihr schüchternes Streben. - her timid striving.
Ich musste sie mir rauben sehen, - I had to see her stolen from me.
Ach, helft! ach helft! war alles, was sie sprach. - Oh help me! Oh help me! was all she said.
Allein vergebens war ihr Flehen, - her pleading was for nothing and she was on her own
Denn meine Hilfe war zu schwach. - for my help was too feeble.
Du, du, du wirst sie zu befreien gehen, - you, you, you will go to liberate her,
Du wirst der Tochter Retter sein. - you will be (my) daughter's rescuer.
Und werd' ich dich als Sieger sehen, - and should I see you as a winner,
So sei sie dann auf ewig dein. - so shall she be eternally yours.
There's a good performance of this by Natalie Dessay on YouTube (follow this link) where you can have it in French too!

Next time, Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen! ('Hell's vengeance boils in my heart')

Monday, 12 November 2007

We have an Offer on the House!

Tentative celebrations, but yes, we have an offer on the house!

Many a slip twixt cup and lip and all that, but the couple who are putting in the offer really seemed to click with the house, the way we did when we first saw it all those years ago.

Let's hope it all goes smoothly, and we'll be soon in Berlin. Realistically, probably not in time for Sylvester 2008 as planned, but surely not much later.

A cautionary tale: A colleague at work was emigrating with her family to a new life in New Zealand last week. So I was surprised to have an email from her yesterday, still at work. I asked her what had gone wrong, and she said that they had moved out of their house on Thursday as planned, ready for the buyers to occupy on Saturday, and for her and her family to fly to the antipodes. But disaster! The buyers pulled out of the contract on Friday, just like that. And with our wonderful English Land and Property laws, there was nothing my friend could do. Well, her husband and eldest son have flown to New Zealand, leaving her here with her youngest son and a house to sell again.

That, of course WILL NOT happen to us!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Back to Basics

Having completed the advanced German Open University course Auftakt, the obvious follow-on is . . . to go back and do the beginners' course Rundblick, natürlich.

And that's not just because I still don't know what 'Auftakt' actually means ('anacrusis', apparantly: 'One or more unstressed syllables at the beginning of a line of verse, before the reckoning of the normal meter begins.' Damn these arty types running the OU!).

I am taking it:
  • to keep in practice and to finally get my head around the accusative and the dative and
  • to try for the OU Certificate in German, which will be something to add to my CV (Lebenslauf) and show potential German employers. Never mind that they'll then ask me a question in German and I'll go, errr, wie bitte?
What would be really embarrassing would be if I went on to fail this Beginners' course. Not that I know if I've passed the advanced course yet; hopefully the results will be revealed on 14th December. It seems a bit daft that I have to get the Certificate in German by going back and completing the easier part of the course, but those are the rules.

In preparation for the first tutorial (14th Nov), or for a job interview, I shall revise these following phrases (with alternatives);

Guten Tag! Ich heiße Herr Gilmour.
Der Name ist Gilmour, Andie Gilmour. Mit der Lizenz zum Töten, oder wenigstens Neugestaltung Ihrer Website.
Ich wohne in Tansley, das ist ein kleines Dorf in Derbyshire, England.
Ich langweilen mich zu Tode auf der Rückseite der Welt! Hilf mir raus hier!
Ich arbeite für den Rat, als der Verantwortlicher für die Website.
Ich bin ein Web-Sklave!
Ich bin nicht verheiratet, aber ich habe eine Partnerin von vielen Jahren.
Ich bin nicht auf den gesamten religiösen, wirtschaftlichen, feudalen System gehören.
Wir haben vier schöne Katzen.
Kinder sind immer laut ärgerlich Bälger. Katzen sind süß und flauschig.
And finally, a few phrases gut zu wissen:
  • Ich weiß es nicht - I don't know.
  • Ich verstehe das nicht - I don't understand.
  • Wie bitte? - eh?
  • Wiederholen Sie bitte? - come again?
  • Ich kann nicht ein Wort verstehen - I can't understand a word.
  • Nein, ich habe nicht alle - no, I didn't quite get all of that.
  • Es tut mir leid, ich bin Ahnungslos - I'm sorry, I haven't a clue.
  • Was zum Teufel hast du sagen? - What the heck did you say?!
  • Letzten Endes, das ist mir ganz egal - at the end of the day, I couldn't really care less.
  • Ich kann seine Sprache nicht vertragen - I can't bear this language.
  • egal welche - whatever.
  • Es ist mir scheißegal - I couldn't give a sh*t!
  • Schon in Ordnung, immer mit der Ruhe! - Alright already, don't get yourself worked up!
  • Sprechen Sie Englisch? - Do you speak normal?