Everybody loves Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, right? No? You’re saying your English teachers thought nothing worthwhile has been written outside of the U.S. and Britain since the ancient Greeks?
That’s a shame, but it’s not uncommon.
Of course, this explains why Goethe’s name inspires so many asinine mispronunciations. I understand that foreign names can be difficult for folks whose life experience has rarely taken them beyond the English language, but you have to wonder if some people need glasses or a brain transplant. With that in mind, let’s look at some common errors involving our friendly German literary giant:
Girtha: Do you see an “R” in Goethe? Of course not. Girtha is more like “Bertha’s hips have a lot of girtha.” I’m not trying to be sexist; Goethe’s hips lacked girtha:
Go eathy: I’ll go eathy on you too, Mr. Lisp.
Geetha: This sounds like a female geezer. Goethe may have been a geezer at some point, but female is kind of a stretch.
And if he were Thai, Goethe’s name would be spelled as เกอเธ่. I could forgive an English speaker for not pronouncing that correctly.
Here’s the correct pronunciation:
Yeah, I know that wasn’t fair; you have to pronounce an ö to get the name right. Fortunately, no one is policing my blog… unless Vladimir Putin is angry about that gay-themed rainbow image I did of him over the weekend.
Blogger’s Note: If you’re lucky, I’ll be able to field comments on this post. If I’m lucky, I still have electricity right now. Goethe is not so lucky because he’s dead.