This question might sound odd but before you dub me odd let me show you what I have found. Some German words sound very Chinese indeed: “Zeitung” (newspaper), “Umleitung” (a kind of diversion or re-routing in heavy traffic or during costruction works on the motorway which you find on a daily basis in Germany) or “Heizung” (heating). All of these words and many more have something in common with Mao-Tse-Tung. In addition the German pronunciation of the letter (z) doesn’t sound Germanic either. “Zeitung” is pronounced [Tsei-tung] which is more Chinese than German. The German (s) is often pronounced like the English (z) which makes the sound of some English words in German cause heavy earache if not incurable disease. Thus the word software is pronounced [zoftver].

When I first encountered the German word Aula (a kind of assembly hall) I thought it is a kind of Abdullah. But then I met real Abdullah’s like Schegulla or the name of the German CDU politician Puff-Allah which was very embarrassing for how can you make a word from Puff (brothel) and Allah? This is downright blasphemy. I wonder why no Mullah has issued a Fatwa (an Islamic decree) against him so far. Once a German came to me triumphantly and claimed he spoke Arabic. When I asked him to say something in Arabic he said “Alle mal lachen” a kind of imperative literally meaning: Everybody laugh once. It sounded very Arabic indeed.

Often the sound [ch] is thought to be very Arabic but have you ever mouthed some nice German words abundant with this sound? Dach, Fach, Schach, Sach, Lach……the list is long indeed. By the way a German can better pronounce the Scottish word “Loch” in Loch Ness than the English. Still I believe German is one of the most natural and powerful languages, much sexier than French and above all leaves room for linguistic acrobatics.

Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim
Bremen – Germany