Sunday, January 15, 2006

German according to Geoff

The teaching year is back in full-swing for me, and I am deeply indebted to my brother-in-law for a great story I've been able to tell all my classes to demonstrate that we English speakers can have just as much fun with German as my students do with English.

The important part of the story is that my brother-in-law's name is Geoff - with a G. On his first day visiting me here in Germany, as we strolled through the streets of Bad Wimpfen, he shouted from a few shops ahead that "They have Geoff-net here too!" My sister concurred that they'd seen Geoff-net signs at the airport too - "It must be some kind of network or internet site, right?" Geoff thought he was quite famous and quickly snapped a photo of the sign.

I couldn't imagine what they were talking about, until I caught up with him and saw what his camera was aimed at. Blissfully ignoring the umlaut (two dots) and not thinking to use a hard G sound, "Geoff-net" had been created from the ever-present German word meaning "Open" - "Geƶffnet". I laughed and laughed and we spent the rest of the holiday photographing Geoff with "his" sign, like this shot below at a Viennese park. Sorry, Geoff, but thank you so much!

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