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Pending - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Pending
The latest excavation is a letter I started writing to my former host brother Markus during the first days of my second semester at UC Berkeley, back in 1988. Annalee decided to join in:
Tagchen Marküsle:

Ich hoffe, daß du meinen Brief bekommen hast. Ich hoffe auch, daß mein Brief an deine Eltern angekommen ist. Ich weiß, daß der getippte Brief ein bißchen komisch aussieht. Als ich nach Berkeley zurückgeflogen bin, hatte ich ihn noch nicht gedruckt. Das hat meine Mutter machen müssen, und sie hat vergessen, das umlautdruckende Program an zuwenden. Auf jeden Fall ergibt der Brief keinen Sinn, denn ich habe vergessen, den englischen Brief über unser Universitätssystem beizulegen. Den muß ich immer noch wegschicken. Wie du schon erfahren hast, habe ich ein Problem mit Briefen. Ich schreibe Briefe, ohne sie zu schicken. Ich muß
The second half of the letter is in Annalee's handwriting:
[Hallo Markus. Ich heiße Annalee, und ich bin Charles Freundin. Ich schreibe Deutsch sehr schlecht, aber Charles hilft mir. Du hast ihn gefragt, was wir am Wochenend machen, und ich werde Dich erzählen. Wir gehen oft ins Kino, weil ich Filme gern haben -- Charles auch, aber nur ein bischel. Wir gehen mit Freunden aus -- unsere Freunden sind merkwerdig. Übrigens, ich studiere Englisch bei Berkeley. Now you understand why my German is bad!

P.S. Charles hat mir viel von dir erzählt. Du bist echt Berühmt!
My last complete sentence, "Ich schreibe Briefe, ohne sie zu schicken," is deliciously ironic. I should point out, however, that this blog represents an attempt to make up for all those letters never sent. Of course, there's also irony in sending letters to no one, isn't there?

My favorite part of this abortive letter, though, is Annalee' s portion. It's amazing how clearly her voice comes through to me now in her not-very-good German. It's not her current voice, but her voice back then, age 18. There aren't too many people who remember that voice. I'm not sure Annalee herself wants to remember it. But I remember it fondly.

Tags: ,
Mode: flinty
Muse: Almost Midnight - Die Monitr Batss - Youth Controllers

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Comments
masoo From: masoo Date: March 20th, 2004 04:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Google translation of the German, for those of us who don't read the original:
Tagchen Markuesle: I hope that you mean letter got. I hope also that my letter to your parents arrived. I know that the tapped letter looks amusing a little. When I flew back to Berkeley, I had not printed him yet. That had to make my nut/mother, and she forgot, which umlaut-printing Program turns on. In any case one does not result in the letter a sense, because I forgot to attach to English letter over our university system. I must away-send that still. As you already experienced, I have a problem with letters. I write letters, without sending it. I must
And then:
Hello Markus. I am called Annalee, and I am Charles friend. I write German very badly, but Charles helps me. You asked it, what we to week-end make, and I will tell you. We often go into the cinema, because I films gladly have -- Charles also, but only bischel. We go out with friends -- our friends are merkwerdig. By the way, I study English with Berkeley. Now you and-purchased why my is bath for German! P.S. Charles told me much of you. You are genuinly famous!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 20th, 2004 05:10 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Transnations

God, I can't believe how good these computer programs have gotten. Why bother learning English?
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: March 21st, 2004 03:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Transnations

Yes yes--that's rather frightening. I still think I prefer my made-up translations of the German. But that might just be a control thing on my part (not wanting to have evidence of being beaten out by the machine is only part of it). Or it might be that I just like the excuse to privilege rhythm and sound over syntax.

Incidentally: Did I ever tell you about the time I had to do a "homophonic translation" for poetry workshop? I don't think I picked the German one--Portuguese or Italian or something. Anyway, translate from your pronunciation of the foreign language associatively into English. That was the project. I'll send it to you if you like. It's almost as surreal as the one from when I got picked to thread together a room full of people's attempts at automatic writing into a single poet-less piece.
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