Englisch lernen mit Boris
Nr. 698 – vom 16. Dezember 2019
In meiner letzten Kolumne habe ich leichtsinnigerweise gestanden, dass ich gelegentlich auch mit englischer Zunge herum zu stammeln versuche. Mein derzeitiger English teacher heißt Mister Johnson – ja, genau der. Im Gegensatz zu Mister Trump, der noch nicht einmal über den Wortschatz einer Micky Maus verfügt, ist Mister Johnson geradezu ein genialer Sprachschöpfer. Ständig bringt er mir neue Begriffe bei. Zum Beispiel fertigte er, der Meister des Brexit-Blablabla, alle Einwände seiner Gegner mit der Bemerkung ab: „Pifflepafflewifflewaffle“.
Locker übersetzt: ein geschwätziges Geschwafel. Sie bemerken hoffentlich, wie sehr ich mich bemühe bei der Eindeutschung seiner Alliterationen. (So bezeichnet man ein Sprachspiel mit den gleichklingenden Anfängen bei benachbarten Wörtern; wenn Sie diesen Begriff übrigens bei Yahoo fremdgoogeln, empfiehlt Ihnen gleich der zweite Eintrag einen „Privaten Alkoholentzug mit nachhaltiger Kurzzeittherapie“, gewissermaßen eine lallende, wenn nicht sogar lallologische Lalliteration.)
Knapp und all-literarisch auch die ständige Johnson-Beschwörung im Wahlkampf: No more dither and delay. Also: kein Zaudern und Zögern mehr. Oder: kein Zittern und Zagen. Nur noch: Zoffen und Zocken.
Und noch so ein Boris-Satz: „For the Brexit I bend over forwards!“ Soll heißen: Er beugt sich weit nach vorne … zurück. Genauer gesagt: Zurücklehnen kann er sich tatsächlich nach dieser Wahl, aber von Vorbeugung in Sachen Brexit-Misere ist nichts zu merken.
Bei der Labour-Führung herrscht derweil Kader-Stimmung nach der berauschenden Niederlage. Klar, die konnte man nur im Suff ertragen, auch wenn das stark an die Leber geht. Nach dem Labour-Desaster ging’s folgerichtig zur Leber-Party, wo das proletarische Rot schnell einen Blaustich bekommt. Kein Wunder: Erstrahlt doch fast das ganze Land im Tory-Blau. Johnson war mit seiner Invasion bis tief ins hinterste Nordschlummerland vorgedrungen. Nur der Hadrianswall kurz vor Schottland hat ihn stoppen können. Ansonsten – mission accomplished: Get Labour done!
Jeremy Colbyn labo(u)riert an dem Wahlergebnis auf seine Weise herum: Eigentlich habe seine Partei thematisch gewonnen, schreibt er im „Observer“. Nur keiner weiß genau, bei welchem Thema.
Anfang des Jahres müssen er und seine Mannen sich wohl endgültig auf die roten Socken machen. All diesen Anglo-Socks verordnete Johnson noch in der Wahlnacht: „Put the socks in!“ Eine Maul-Stopferei im Namen von Freiheit and democracy!
So lernt man als fleißiger Boris-Schüler immer was dazu.
Allerdings hatte ich schon vorher eine English lesson gehabt ohne Johnson. Der tolle Schauspieler Hugh Grant wurde regelrecht fickerig bei dem Gedanken an den kommenden totalitären Johnsonismus. Er twitterte über die Zukunft seiner Kinder und über die Freiheit, für die sein Großvater in zwei Kriegen gekämpft hatte. Dann schrieb er direkt an Johnsons Adresse: „Fuck off you over-promoted rubber bath toy.“
Eine abgefuckte Beschimpfung im feinsten Understatement: You over-promoted rubber bath toy. Diese Aussage mit der total überschätzten Bade-Ente hätte auch Loriot und seinem Herrn Müller-Lüdenscheidt gewiß gefallen. Unvergessen der Marine-Befehl: „Sie lassen jetzt sofort die Ente zu Wasser!“
Und nachdem der Mister Johnson-Lügenschieter schon so viele Zeitungsenten durch den Ärmelkanal hat schwimmen lassen, macht nun eine Gummi-Ente mehr oder weniger auch nichts mehr aus in der britischen Badewanne.
Bleibt nur der Abgesang: „Rule Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!“
The strange Story of Man and Woman –
Today I would like to give you a short impression of my kind of humor, that I use to present on stage and in my books. I'll leave out now the current politics. I don't want to spoil the evening more than necessary with this never-ending Brexit horror. It’s hard enough for you to stand my weird and bizarre thoughts.
In my performances and books I am particularly concerned with the language, the German language, to which I try to listen as if it would be a foreign language for me – so like a child hears the words and the grammar, the way of speaking for the first time and tries to understand all that und often misunderstands it. And I’m always interested in the apparent misunderstandings. Because they reveal sometimes long forgotten meanings that are hidden behind our daily use of the language. A serious and at the same time funny and laughable game with terms and their meanings. My method is to trace the words and to bring up the mostly unspoken subtext – also in the speeches of politicians. To a certain extent, I turn the word around in their mouths. In a poem by Bertolt Brecht it says:
„Let us praise doubt.
I advise you, greet with joy and respect
those who test your word like a bad penny.“
And I turn the penny round and round until the penny drops in the audience. Afterwards, when my performance is over, I take a broom and sweep the fallen pennies together. Mostly a meagre extra income.
Even it is difficult to translate such language-based play on words from German into English, I'll try to give you an example by bringing up the very strange story of man and woman which is also a revealing linguistic history.
The women – at least those whom I know better – vigorously insist on their independence. Unfortunately, however, the term „woman“ cannot be understood as independent.
Do you remember what Mister Armstrong said when he stepped on the moon fifty years ago? He said this was a „giant leap for mankind“. Mankind – it is noticeable at least for me that in the English language the human society only exists in the masculine form „man“. There is no womankind. That would also be nonsensical because the English woman comes from the old English wifman – and that is literally: a wife-man, a she-man. A linguistic hermaphrodite.
The woman is therefore a sub-species that owes its existence to the male ruler of the patriarchal universe. Let’s praise the lord.
By the way the lord was in old English the hlaford, literally the one who shared out the bread, in old English the lhaf, today the loaf.
And the lady was in old English the hlæfdige. That means she had to knead the loafs for the lord.
You see, at that time, the relationship between a lord and a lady was not a question of love, but a question of loaf. Without bread nothing happened in bed. So bed and breakfast was invented.
In the German language we have the same linguistic dependence of woman. The woman translated into German is „die Frau“. The Frau was called frouwe by the old Germans. And frouwe is led from the old Germanic fro, and the fro was again the Lord, the Master.
The Fro – that is quite literally: der Frühe. This means in English: the early one. Therefore you have so many Earls in England. And that is no joke, it’s the absolutely correct etymological derivation.
The Early One is the one who was there before, who is the older one, the one with the older rights. The older one was in old English the Sir, imported by the Normans, and originates highly probably from the old French seigneur.
The seigneur is translated into today’s English the senior, the old one, or in other languages il signore, el señor, the monsignor, the monsieur, in German der Herr with the same original meaning. And as the older one he is the ruler who gives the orders.
At least that's how it was when the world was still halfway okay for us men, before we ourselves became an oppressed minority. Today we have to fight to save the last remnants of our privileges as masculine human beings. The adjective human, by the way, derives from Latin homo – and that again is a man, an Italian uomo, a Spanish hombre, a French homme. „A masculine human being“ is actually saying the same thing twice over.
Well, once we have been the lords of creation, the master in our own world.
The Master is usually more important than all the others around him. More or greater is in Latin magis. Therefore we have the Latin magister which becomes the French maitre, the German Meister, the English Master and later the Mister.
In my English etymological dictionary you can read and I quote now: Beginning with the middle of the 14th century the master was defined as the „owner of a living creature“.
This living creature usually is called a woman.
And the organization in which this owner keeps his creature is called family. Family in turn is derived from the Latin expression familiares. In Roman law familiares meant the community of slaves and serfs that belonged to the pater familiae, to the slave-holding family father. And the woman was a part of this slave-community, trapped and imprisoned in the smallest cell of society (as the family is defined). For the prison governor, her marital commander-in-chief she was his „famula“, literally his servant with body and soul (I suppose more with the body). Perhaps every woman should afford a Latin dictionary before the wedding.
I hope, that I don’t bore you too much with that linguistic excursion, but with this digging for the roots of words I wanted to show that not only the early bird catches the worm but also the early man snatches the woman – in order to submit her under his rule, under his supremacy.
And as everyone knows the first, the earliest human on earth was a man – this is confirmed by a research report which I found by chance on the bedside table of a hotel room. A fellow writer of mine wrote it down, a certain Moses. The title of the book is: The Old Testament. It then became a bestseller worldwide, which was quite astonishing, because it was published long before Christmas business.
That reminds me of one of my favorite jokes, that a jewish friend told me.
It starts a bit sadly. An old rabbi had killed himself. God takes him to heaven to ask him why the so pious and God-fearing rabbi had snuffed himself out. The old man begins to lament and moan: „O Lord, great injustice has befallen me. My son has converted to Christianity.“ Says God: „This has also happened to me.“ The rabbi asks: „And what have you done?“ Says God: „I made immediately a new testament.“
But back to the old Moses' report: You may know this story that an ancient divine lord – let’s call him Jehovah – sat somewhere in the midst of eternity. And such an eternity can drag on and drag on endlessly. It must be rather boring. Therefore I don’t agree with Woody Allen, wo once said, that he has nothing against eternal life, but he would prefer it to take place before his death. Well, he should have asked the eternal Mr. Jehova.
Out of boredom, sitting there on the the banks of the Euphrat, he played with his hands in the wet sand. He messed around with sand and water, mixed it up and kneaded around a little with this modeling material. And this is how a human prototype was created. An ancient method of creation: He had made a clay form, which he then let dry in the sun. That method he had learnt centuries before, when he had taken part in an alternative pottery course – not in Tuscany but in ancient Babylon. Long before the biblical Genesis there was a myth of creation, the Gilgamesh epic. And in it you find the patented proof that it was a woman, the goddess Aruru, who potted together the first human being. Of course, the patriarchal god Jehovah had to fight against such matriarchal perversity – quite understandable because it would be unnatural, if a woman had anything to do with the fact that a human being is born.
And so the divine Father secretly copied the work of the Babylonian Mother-goddess. He then later acted as if that had been his original idea, his divine intuition. Yes, I'm sorry if I expose him here as a plagiariser. After all, he was lucky at least he did not have a doctorate. That would have led to an academic scandal. He would have been kicked out of any theology faculty.
Anyway, he hadn't saved on material in this human pottery. He looks at the result and states: „Hurray! A boy!“
That was relatively easy to find out, because there is an old epistemology that every student of a midwife learns on the first day:
„If there is a staff,
it’s a boy sure enough.“
That's probably why every Catholic bishop had such a stick with him at birth, which later erected into a shepherd's staff. But he is not allowed to bring it in. Well, it's really a pity, when you stand all alone with your staff.
In ancient Greece the staff was called szeptron: It was originally a wooden stick, a bit thicker at the top (I don't want to elaborate that), which the ruler carried in front of him at state ceremonies: the erect sceptre of power as a symbol of male supremacy.
Actually there is no reason to make a big thing out of the little thing, which Adam brought with him. It wouldn’t be worth any further consideration if this biological thing about him had not become the social thing-in-itself (sorry, Mr. Kant, for my possible wrong explanation of your philosophical idea). Everyone knows that masculinity is attached to this thingy. That is why women do not have such a thing. And therefore every macho is firmly convinced: Because the woman has no thing, she actually is no-thing – without a man, who has some-thing. And therefore it would have been unthinkable if God had created Eve first.
The paradisiac home birth of Eve is strange enough anyway. First a rib was surgically removed from Adam. So she becomes Adams Eve. That is not really the history of evolution, but the story of Eve-olution. And when Adam sees this bone-made being for the first time, he exclaims with astonishment: „This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man.”
Flesh from my flesh – I particularly like this part. I’m not really a believing person, but I am grateful to Mister Jehova that the woman was not a vegetarian creation.
A woman, a wifman – as I said, a linguistic hermaphrodit. With which I want nothing against hermaphrodites to have said. Today sex determination has become a little more complicated in order to exclude discrimination of people of different sexes. However, this sometimes leads to confusion, as in the case of the little boy, who asks his Father: „Daddy, what is this actually? A transvestite.“ And the father answers: „Go to the kitchen and ask your mother. He knows that.“
To be continued!.