Some of you must have read The Dig novelization by Alan Dean Foster, right? Well, then you know that he used some German in his book. Am I the only one who is bothered by the way he used the language? I have heard no one complaining, and yet I find the whole matter really ridiculous. I have studied German for only three years, and yet even I could spot many mistakes!
"Ludger Brink, Commander Low. It is a true pleasure. Wie gehts? (...) But then, it is not their approval that we seek, nicht wahr? (...) Warum? Why?"
(p. 29 - 30)
Firstly, it's supposed to be "wie geht'
s". Secondly, why is Brink speaking German? He never did that in the game and he definitely knows enough English to say those things in it. He's a scientist, for crying out loud! He's making a fool of himself this way. Think about it. Would you go to Germany and say "Excuse me, wo kann ich Frau Steiner finden?" or "Es ist sehr gut, right?" Didn't think so. It would be a different matter if Brink couldn't say those things in English, but he can. Therefore he should use English. Sadly there are many times when he switches to German for the most common words (I suspect that Mr. Foster can't actually speak German and wrote the novelization with a dictionary in his right hand).
"Spirits, Maggie? Ghosts? Ubermenschen?"
It's "Übermenschen"! Just because the umlaut doesn't exist in English doesn't excuse you from writing it. Also, according to my dictionary it's not a word for ghosts. I asked
several native Germans about it and they confirmed it. "Übermenschen" is a word for super humans.
Maggie replies to this by saying that she doesn't know any German. There is another reason to why it's so illogical that Brink switches to it from time to time. Why bother when no one will understand him? Also, isn't Maggie supposed to be an expert in foreign languages? That's one of the reasons they took her on the mission! German is a very known language, millions and millions of people speak it in Europe. I find it very difficult to believe that Maggie can't speak even a word of it. Don't you?
"Verdampt! I was sure I saw something."
According to my loyal dictionary, "verdampt" is not a word. I think Foster is aiming for "verdammt" which means pretty much the same as cursed. Therefore I give up the theory about him and a dictionary.
"We are trapped here and... vas ist mit ihnen los? What's the matter with you?"
It's actually "was". How is it possible to misspell such a common word? I can't say whether the actual sentence is right or not, the grammar goes beyond my skills. Something inside me tells me that it should me "ihnem", but I am not sure at all.
"Ya!" Brink's befuddlement turned to defiance.
I... don't... believe... it. Everyone, I repeat, everyone who uses German in any form should be able to spell "ja" correctly. Come on! It's one of the most common basic words, the first one I learned when I started studying. This is an insult to the German language and everyone who speaks it.
"Ich... verstehen. I understand, Commander. Do what you have to do."
Big news! German doesn't work like English. You can't just pick a verb in your dictionary and put it in a sentence. You have to make sure you are using the right form of it. Therefore, this should actually be "Ich verstehe".
"I am not surprised. These crystals are allgegenvartig. They can do anything."
I was informed
that it should be "allgegenwärtig". Is it that difficult to check it?
I have absolutely no idea why these mistakes were left in the book. Where are the editors? Why do they get paid? Doesn't anyone check these things? Did they think the public is too stupid to realize these?
Now, I am not saying that making mistakes with grammar is bad. Not at all. Everyone makes them, even when using their first language. However, when I pay for a professionally published book written by a professional author, I expect it to be as good as possible. These ridiculous mistakes disturbed my reading and I actually had to stop after the "Ya!" exclamation. It stood in the text like a cow with three heads and threw me off the story. Not good.
If I made any mistakes correcting the fanboy!German or if I missed something important, feel free to correct me.
*Edited for some spelling errors*