Twain Speech In Broken German

A humorous Mark Twain Speech In Broken German is from The Awful German Language section of his book A Tramp Abroad. [1880]

Advanced learners of German will be able to read this speech,

And native German speakers who know some English can read it,

But BEGINNERS will NOT be able to read it.

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TWAIN SPEECH IN BROKEN GERMAN

A little learning makes the whole world kin.--Proverbs xxxii, 7.

A FOURTH OF JULY ORATION IN THE GERMAN TONGUE, DELIVERED AT A BANQUET OF THE ANGLO-AMERICAN CLUB OF STUDENTS BY THE AUTHOR

Gentlemen: Since I arrived, a month ago, in this old wonderland, this vast garden of Germany, my English tongue has so often proved a useless piece of baggage to me, and so troublesome to carry around, in a country where they haven't the checking system for luggage, that I finally set to work, and learned the German language.

Also! Es freut mich dass dies so ist, denn es muss, in ein haupts:achlich degree, h:oflich sein, dass man auf ein occasion like this, sein Rede in die Sprache des Landes worin he boards, aussprechen soll. Daf:ur habe ich, aus reinische Verlegenheit--no, Vergangenheit--no, I mean Hoflichkeit--aus reinishe Hoflichkeit habe ich resolved to tackle this business in the German language, um Gottes willen! Also! Sie müssen so freundlich sein, und verzeih mich die interlarding von ein oder zwei Englischer Worte, hie und da, denn ich finde dass die deutsche is not a very copious language, and so when you've really got anything to say, you've got to draw on a language that can stand the strain.

Wenn haber man kann nicht meinem Rede Verstehen, so werde ich ihm sp:ater dasselbe :ubersetz, wenn er solche Dienst verlangen wollen haben werden sollen sein h:atte. (I don't know what wollen haben werden sollen sein hätte means, but I notice they always put it at the end of a German sentence--merely for general literary gorgeousness, I suppose.)

This is a great and justly honored day--a day which is worthy of the veneration in which it is held by the true patriots of all climes and nationalities--a day which offers a fruitful theme for thought and speech; und meinem Freunde--no, meinEN FreundEN--meinES FreundES--well, take your choice, they're all the same price; I don't know which one is right--also! ich habe gehabt haben worden gewesen sein, as Goethe says in his Paradise Lost--ich--ich--that is to say--ich--but let us change cars.

Also! Die Anblich so viele Grossbrittanischer und Amerikanischer hier zusammengetroffen in Bruderliche concord, ist zwar a welcome and inspiriting spectacle. And what has moved you to it? Can the terse German tongue rise to the expression of this impulse? Is it Freundschaftsbezeigungenstadtverordneten- versammlungenfamilieneigenth:umlichkeiten?

Nein, o nein! This is a crisp and noble word, but it fails to pierce the marrow of the impulse which has gathered this friendly meeting and produced diese Anblick--eine Anblich welche ist gut zu sehen--gut für die Augen in a foreign land and a far country--eine Anblick solche als in die gew:ohnliche Heidelberger phrase nennt man ein "schönes Aussicht!" Ja, freilich natürlich wahrscheinlich ebensowohl!

Also! Die Aussicht auf dem Konigsstuhl mehr gr:osser ist, aber geistlische sprechend nicht so schön, lob' Gott! Because sie sind hier zusammengetroffen, in Bruderlichem concord, ein grossen Tag zu feirn, whose high benefits were not for one land and one locality, but have conferred a measure of good upon all lands that know liberty today, and love it. Hundert Jahre vor¨ber, waren die Engländer und die Amerikaner Feinde; aber heut sind sie herzlichen Freunde, Gott sei Dank!

May this good-fellowship endure; may these banners here blended in amity so remain; may they never any more wave over opposing hosts, or be stained with blood which was kindred, is kindred, and always will be kindred, until a line drawn upon a map shall be able to say: "THIS bars the ancestral blood from flowing in the veins of the descendant!"

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