Friday, June 02, 2006

Katja und der Buchstabierwettbewerb

Mm, how do you like that weltschmerz, loser?

Mothers, teach your children German. That's what I thought this morning when I heard that a 13-year old New Jersey Girl won the National Spelling Bee on the word "ursprache". I'm a total spelling doofus, I have to reach for the dictionary every time I type "recommendation", but I can spell 'ursprache' standing on my head. It's a German word! From 'Sprache' meaning language and the prefix 'Ur' which I usually think of as 'origin' but I guess is better defined here as primal.

Then, I heard that Katharine Close beat out a 14-year old Canadian girl who misspelled "weltschmerz". I swear to you, I almost fell over onto the floor. Another German word! I don't know if the Canuck asked for a definition, but if she had and if she knew her Deutsch she would have been home free. The definition cited in the above article, "mental depression" is piss poor (come on, Yahoo News, put a little effort in). Of course we know that "weltschmerz" comes from the words 'Welt' meaning world and 'Schmerz' meaning pain. Weltschmerz is the unbearable burden you feel of taking on all the pain in the world. Or, as I like to sometimes think of it, 'Ow, all the worlds pain is depressing me.' Hell, I felt that way just yesterday!

The Spelling Bee champ took home $42,000 in cash and prizes so as far as I can tell that's Reason Number Two to learn German; Reason Number One to learn German is that someday you might have a cool job like mine, wherein you get to boss around charming young German Credit Analysts and make culturally sensitive statements like, "Bite me! You Germans don't know anything!"

Reason Number Three to learn German is .... actually, I can just come up with two reasons. Anyone else?

7 comments:

Lord of the Barnyard said...

it's too bad. the canadaian girl wih the funny cheeks was much cuter than the girl from jersey.
is winning the scripps spelling bee any better than winning a cup-stacking competition, excepting the 40K in scholarships? what a useless ability.

Cupcake said...

Also, why are Canadians competing in our National Spelling Bee?

Canadian children should have to spell against the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos. That's the only sensible solution.

Muk said...

You'd think that since WW2 the Germans would have a word for "the unbearable burden of causing all the pain the world."

Kidding, kidding!!!!!

Joshua said...

That was pretty good though.

Hey Cupcake, two things:

why are German words even in the National Spelling Bee?

Also, my German's moved in, but so far she hasn't done a single funny thing. What am I doing wrong? She doesn't like air conditioning, but that's more stupid that funny.

Cupcake said...

Hopefully, all of these confusing issues will be cleared up when English is made the official language of the United States.

Josh, you ask an excellent question, one that deserves to be answered in its own post. Until then, hold tight, unamusing Germans are nothing to laugh at (duh). Don't worry, we'll get through this together.

Joshua said...

Ok, thanks and help!

lebrookski said...

a 3rd reason to learn German