Howling

@dawnald (84124)
Shingle Springs, California
January 7, 2010 6:34pm CST
It was a real puzzle. When we bought our West Hills house, my father-in-law was still around and helping out. Some of the help we got from him was even helpful. Well, OK, most of it was. He did a few things we asked him not to, and in one case we had to do a little damage control, but for the most part he really helped a lot. That house was a fixer upper too. The bushes and grass in the yards were long dead, the fences were damaged, the sprinklers were pretty much not connected, and there was a thick bank of ivy with a lot of debris in it. There were old bikes, toys, booze bottles, many weird things. He hired some day laborers to rip out the dead plants, rip out the ivy, pull out all the debris, etc. Then he came and talked to us about hiring a company to do the "howling". Well, Richard and I looked at each other really funny. Now you must understand, my father-in-law was German, had never formally studied English, learned English from printed matter and got his pronunciation by pronouncing the English words as if they were German. It made for some interesting and funny times trying to interpret. For example, the words rug, rack, rock, rake and a few others that I can't recall right now, sounded exactly the same, and it was like a little puzzle putting them into context and figuring out which was the right one. But we could always do it. Until howling... So we looked at each other funny and asked him for an explanation. Well you see, there was all this debris and we needed somebody to howl it away. Yep, hauling. Au in German is pronounced like ow in English. How (hau?) we laughed. That is the first and last time I ever recall that even Richard couldn't understand what he was saying. Which reminds me of the times on television that I have seen them put English subtitles for people who are already speaking in English (with accents). What's up with that?
6 people like this
15 responses
@jb78000 (15178)
8 Jan 10
you got trainspotting with subtitles didn't you? did you think it was necessary?
3 people like this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
No, haven't seen that one. Is it good? There was one documentary from Australia and another from India...
1 person likes this
@jb78000 (15178)
8 Jan 10
it is about heroin addicts in edinburgh. but amazingly actually is not bad. it is the film where ewan mcgregor became famous.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
maybe I'll put it on the Netflix list...
@Chevee (5915)
• United States
8 Jan 10
..Wow, you had me going on that one. *Howling* I had no idea what he wanted done. I thought it had something to do with an animal (dog). I had a stray dog that tried to take up here and this dog would howl every time he heard a siren. He (the dog) had to leave here with that noise. I don't live far from the local ambulance, police, and fire department. I am very pleased to know you guys found out exactly what he meant.
3 people like this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Ah, well it wouldn't be good to give away the story too early! :-) Actually I could write one titled Howling II about my mother. Maybe I will...
1 person likes this
@Orea15 (281)
• United States
8 Jan 10
I admit it! There are times when my husband and I hear someone from some part of the British Isles speaking on the TV and just look at each other wondering what it was they just said. Who was it that said something about two nations separated by a common language?
2 people like this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Yep. Every so often somebody from the other side of the pond will throw a word at me and I have to go look it up.
1 person likes this
@Orea15 (281)
• United States
8 Jan 10
Yes, I keep having to look up Swedes. I can never remember which root vegetable that is! Turnips? Rutabaga?
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
I've never even heard that one!
@royal52gens (5379)
• United States
8 Jan 10
That is what I am going to be doing soon. I am going to be howling stuff from Arizona to Michigan. Your father sounds like he would be a lot of fun to hang out with. At least he tried to learn the language. My grandmother would use actual German words and then we had to translate them. My other grandmother would say entire sentences in French and we had to translate that.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
That is quite a howl. And a pretty major change in the terrain too. I didn't grow up with any relatives who spoke foreign languages, but my mom did. Her grandmother spoke German only and my mom didn't understand her.
• United States
18 Jan 10
My grandmother was Spanish. She learned English, but spoke with an accent. My mother, whom I think is very cruel, made fun of her own mother until she stopped speaking English and went back to Spanish. I thought that was very mean of my mother. I loved my grandmother's accent :). She had her own words for some things. For example, they weren't crumbs; they were "crumbles." As in, "Oh, Yason, Yason (my brother, Jason :D ) you're making crumbles on the floor!"
• United States
8 Jan 10
Hehehe..that is too funny Dawnald. Subtitles would definitely be nice in some situations. I remember one of my friends mother was from England and she would often say things like your father in law and I would often look to my friend for her to clarify...it was weird at time though to because I would often find myself talking like her and her accent after visiting with them for awhile. I remember the word that I would always find the most funny is when someone would fart my friends mother would call it a "shitzey" so I would often hear her mother say in her English(England) accent "Holly, do you have the shitzeys" It was always so funny.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
I find myself speaking a wee bit of the southern after being around my mom's relatives for a while. :-)
• United States
8 Jan 10
Hehe..my mother in laws boyfriend is from Wisconsin and when we were out there the past two summer and he is always telling me how I have an accent when I say wisconsin now of course I myself thinks that he has the accent. But I think some of the words that he uses are really neat like what I call a red light he calls a stop and go light and then what I call a water fountain he calls a bubbler. I guess it is all in where you live as to whether one thinks you have an accent or not.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
everybody but me has an accent
@p1kef1sh (45645)
8 Jan 10
LOL. I once had a long conversation with an elderly Irishman and didn't comprehend a word that he said. In the UK apart from the national differences in accent (Scotland, Ireland and Wales) we also have a myriad of regional accents. There is a very popular soap opera on TV called "Coronation St" which is set in the North west of England close to Manchester. Most of the time most people can understand what is being said - but on occasion a local piece of phraseology comes in and I have to think for a second about what was being said. So how non-indigenous Brits fare I don't know, hence the need for subtitles. Now oim a little loppity so oim orf fer me jaw-bit. Aive nealded an my snack'll be ready.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Um yeah sure, I understood all of that. But subtitles would have been helpful.
@p1kef1sh (45645)
8 Jan 10
I'm a little weak so I'm going to have my break. I've warmed the oven and my snack will be ready. Obvious really - if you come from Wiltshire!
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
OK I got that you were having a snack, I guess that's better than nothing!
@ANTIQUELADY (36492)
• United States
8 Jan 10
Your fil sounds like he would have been alot of fun to be around. know y'all miss him.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Yep, that man sure did love a good argument.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36492)
• United States
8 Jan 10
sOME PEOPLE DO. mY GRANDSON LIKES TO PICK & ARGUE WITH ME. hE;S FUN, sOMETIMES GROWN UPS AREN'T,LOL.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
good arguments, not mean ones, can be fun sometimes...
• United States
10 Jan 10
according to people i know,i'm one of those people who need subtitles. and i'm a native speaker.they seem to understand me after awhile though once they get used to me.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jan 10
Huh? Could you provide subtitles next time?
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jan 10
gurgleflurb (okie dokie).
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17635)
• Singapore
8 Jan 10
Hehe...that's cute, really. Might prove to form a close bonding, depending on how one looks at it. If you ask me, I'd say use the hand signals.. and smile and laugh often.
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
hand signals hahaha Hard as his English was to understand, his German was harder - Saxon accent...
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17635)
• Singapore
9 Jan 10
Wow... Hmmmmmp.. then just smile and nod and giggle.. LOL.. Alright, bad advice..
@gabs8513 (48803)
• United Kingdom
10 Jan 10
Lol Dawn I know a few People that always get confused with that and others to In German most things are pronounced as written where in English it isn't and that will get confusing for People who learn the Language and some never get the grip of it
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jan 10
He never did, but at least he was a constant source of entertainment! :-)
@suzzy3 (8401)
10 Jan 10
Your father -in-law sounds like a real diamond.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jan 10
he was, yep!
@tayd88 (205)
• Malaysia
8 Jan 10
hi dawnald, Your father-in-law are pretty funny and one very helpful gentlemen.I guess this are the learning stage for him on English language as well as for both of you(in translation of course).Do treasure the moment and have a great moment. I hope my father-in-law will come to do some "howling " at my house's surrounding and fixed the water pipes as well.... david tay
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
He'd been in the US almost 30 years at that point, so I don't think there was much hope of his English improving any...
@PeacefulWmn9 (10425)
• United States
8 Jan 10
What a great story. As to the English sub-titles to "translate" accents, if they are as heavy and hard to understand as many of the phone people I get when call certain places, I can see the need for that! LOL Karen
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
I didn't have any trouble understanding the ones that I saw with subtitles, but I can see how some people would have, especially non native speakers of English.
@Hatley (149272)
• Garden Grove, California
8 Jan 10
hi dawnald wow I could have used your translating skill with german back a few months when this american german lady was trying to tell me how to reset my monitor and my router,it came out blaht he blaht, with the thblat then unblabt it then blath the blaht the bglant on the routlater, all I knew was that I was to unplug one of the wires on the modem thenreplug it but there were three wires on the modem and the router, and she said all that over but still with the same pronunciation so I had no idea what she really said. so I asked them to send a cable man to reset it and he was a tad unhappy, he griped this is a computer problem,well I got unhappy too and told him yes the lady tried to trouble shoot me through it but I did not understand german. he laughed then and said she means well but she still hasnt got all her English words to sound like English. I needed subtitles for sure. the cable guy did show me what to do then my son made it more simple yet.turn off the computer.wait a minute, then unplug the skiniest wire on the monitor. good luck on the howling, I mean hauling,he he he.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Ach ja, I could have helped.
@Wizzywig (7860)
8 Jan 10
Hardly surprising that people make mistakes with English pronunciation when you consider that "ghoti" could be pronounced as "fish" gh as in enou-GH o as in w-O-men ti as in infla-TI-on (yes, I know we can all write swear words using the same formula now ) Sean Bean should be either Shawn Bawn or Seen Been
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84124)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Yep I remember the ghoti thing. I was explaining it to my daughter after the blank stare she gave me when I told her we had duffnuts (doughnuts). lol