Sunday, April 29, 2007

Stört Ihnen das?

One of the many things I love about coming to Vienna is the difference in language between German German and Austrian German. Not only are there specific words, but sometimes they change grammar, too. Much like British English and American, really, divided by a common language. Eg

die Ecke (German German) ; der Eck (Austrian German) ; corner
die Sch**sse (GG); der Sch**ss (AG); sh*t
Ausverkauf (GG); Abverkauf (AG); sale
die Treppe; Stiege; stairs

Having said that, the German Germans, even educated ones, can be pretty rough on grammar, as I noticed in Berlin recently.

Today's saying (see headline) is cringingly, toothachingly, eyewateringly ungrammatical. It should be 'Stört Sie das?', using accusative rather than dative. It translates directly as 'Does it disturb to you?', and came out of the mouth of an extremely elegant and smart looking middle-aged lady in the similarly elegant Wiener Musikverein. I nearly wet myself! She was temporarily disabled due to an injured foot, which was sticking out of the wheelchair she was using, and might have been in someone's sightline (don't ask, and don't try to imagine it... takes too long to explain). Funnily, then the lady addressed then answered, 'Nein, ich übersehe es einfach' - which can be translated both as 'no, I'm simply going to look over it', as well as 'no, I'm simply going to overlook it'.