Monday, November 30, 2009

the knights who say Ni

In German the easiest way to ask a question is to make a statement and then say 'oder?' with a rising inflection at the end of your sentence, so you effectively say 'you like meat, or?' It's kind of the equivalent of the 'don't you'/'weren't you' negation that is commonly used in English.
I can cope with this 'oder' malarkey, it's simple, easy and inoffensive.

What I absolutely hate is the use of the 'ne?' at the end of a sentence, meant as a kind of querying grunt.

Oder is at least a proper word, ne is merely a couple of letters strung together, I'm not even sure what the second letter should be, if there was a vowel that was a mix of a 'u' and an 'e' then it would be that, but even in German where they've managed to extend the alphabet by 4 letters with sneaky use of the umlaut and a squiggle (ä, ü, ö, ß) there is no letter I can think of that is the written equivalent of the sound.

What's more I can't hear the 'ne' anymore without being reminded of the Monty Python sketch 'the knights who say Ni' (that's Simon's fault entirely!)

I had initially thought it was sloppy language use - kind of like hearing people in England say 'uh?' in that dimwitted way but it's not. It's in common use throughout the age groups and educational levels, I still hate it and refuse to succumb.

I shall not say ne.

Never, never, never!

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