by Mark Twain. [This is Appendix D from Twain's book A Tramp Abroad. A Fourth of July oration in the German tongue, delivered at a banquet of the. Please find the full brochure “Mark Twain: The Awful German Language” now at echecs16.info (pdf). If you're only looking for the text of his speech. "The Awful German Language" is an essay by Mark Twain published as Appendix D in A .. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
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Project Gutenberg · 59, free ebooks · by Mark Twain. Die Abenteuer Tom Sawyers by Mark Twain. No cover available. Download. Febr. rev.3 (). “The German language is a dozen fragments of words flung into an 35 Mark Twain: Die Schrecken der Deutschen Sprache. Mark Twain: The Horrors of the German Language /. Die Schrecken der deutschen Sprache. Address to the Vienna Press Club, November 21, ,. Twain.
Background[ edit ] Twain made his first unsuccessful attempt to learn German in at age fifteen. He resumed his study 28 years later in preparation for a trip to Europe. Upon his arrival in Germany, the fruit of this recent scholarship was attested to in the advice of a friend: "Speak in German, Mark. Some of these people may understand English. Gunnar Magnusson describes the work as "Twain's most famous philological essay". This allows for an analysis in linguistic weight assigned to various typological and stylistic aspects of language which revolve around the difference between an analytic language like English with a language like German that is a synthetic language with some analytic characteristics.
It opens its Mouth to cry for Help; but if any Sound comes out of him, alas he is drowned by the raging of the Storm. German is not special in this manner, but, as the linguist Guy Deutscher observes, it was simply the language that Twain was learning at the time of the work. Many other languages contain some or all of the idiosyncrasies that Twain pokes fun at, including French, Russian, and Latin. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Mark Twain Encyclopedia. CS1 maint: Multiple names: The Awful German Language. Mark Twain. The Gilded Age: Is He Dead? Colonel Sellers Colonel Sellers as a Scientist. The Musical. Clemens father Orion Clemens brother. Jap Herron. Retrieved from " https: It is a bleak Day. Hear the Rain, how he pours, and the Hail, how he rattles; and see the Snow, how he drifts along, and of the Mud, how deep he is!
Ah the poor Fishwife, it is stuck fast in the Mire; it has dropped its Basket of Fishes; and its Hands have been cut by the Scales as it seized some of the falling Creatures; and one Scale has even got into its Eye, and it cannot get her out.
It opens its Mouth to cry for Help; but if any Sound comes out of him, alas he is drowned by the raging of the Storm. And now a Tomcat has got one of the Fishes and she will surely escape with him.
No, she bites off a Fin, she holds her in her Mouth -- will she swallow her? No, the Fishwife's brave Mother-dog deserts his Puppies and rescues the Fin -- which he eats, himself, as his Reward. O, horror, the Lightning has struck the Fish-basket; he sets him on Fire; see the Flame, how she licks the doomed Utensil with her red and angry Tongue; now she attacks the helpless Fishwife's Foot -- she burns him up, all but the big Toe, and even she is partly consumed; and still she spreads, still she waves her fiery Tongues; she attacks the Fishwife's Leg and destroys it; she attacks its Hand and destroys her also; she attacks the Fishwife's Leg and destroys her also; she attacks its Body and consumes him; she wreathes herself about its Heart and it is consumed; next about its Breast, and in a Moment she is a Cinder; now she reaches its Neck -- he goes; now its Chin -- it goes; now its Nose -- she goes.
In another Moment, except Help come, the Fishwife will be no more. Time presses -- is there none to succor and save?
Joy, joy, with flying Feet the she-Englishwoman comes! But alas, the generous she-Female is too late: where now is the fated Fishwife? It has ceased from its Sufferings, it has gone to a better Land; all that is left of it for its loved Ones to lament over, is this poor smoldering Ash-heap. Ah, woeful, woeful Ash-heap! Let us take him up tenderly, reverently, upon the lowly Shovel, and bear him to his long Rest, with the Prayer that when he rises again it will be a Realm where he will have one good square responsible Sex, and have it all to himself, instead of having a mangy lot of assorted Sexes scattered all over him in Spots.
There, now, the reader can see for himself that this pronoun business is a very awkward thing for the unaccustomed tongue.
I suppose that in all languages the similarities of look and sound between words which have no similarity in meaning are a fruitful source of perplexity to the foreigner. It is so in our tongue, and it is notably the case in the German. There are lots of such words and they are a great torment. To increase the difficulty there are words which seem to resemble each other, and yet do not; but they make just as much trouble as if they did. For instance, there is the word vermiethen to let, to lease, to hire ; and the word verheirathen another way of saying to marry.
I heard of an Englishman who knocked at a man's door in Heidelberg and proposed, in the best German he could command, to "verheirathen" that house. Then there are some words which mean one thing when you emphasize the first syllable, but mean something very different if you throw the emphasis on the last syllable.
For instance, there is a word which means a runaway, or the act of glancing through a book, according to the placing of the emphasis; and another word which signifies to associate with a man, or to avoid him, according to where you put the emphasis -- and you can generally depend on putting it in the wrong place and getting into trouble. There are some exceedingly useful words in this language. Schlag, for example; and Zug. There are three-quarters of a column of Schlags in the dictionary, and a column and a half of Zugs.
This is its simple and exact meaning -- that is to say, its restricted, its fettered meaning; but there are ways by which you can set it free, so that it can soar away, as on the wings of the morning, and never be at rest.
You can hang any word you please to its tail, and make it mean anything you want to. You can begin with Schlag-ader, which means artery, and you can hang on the whole dictionary, word by word, clear through the alphabet to Schlag-wasser, which means bilge-water -- and including Schlag-mutter, which means mother-in-law.
Just the same with Zug. One cannot overestimate the usefulness of Schlag and Zug. Armed just with these two, and the word also, what cannot the foreigner on German soil accomplish? The German word also is the equivalent of the English phrase "You know," and does not mean anything at all -- in talk, though it sometimes does in print.
Every time a German opens his mouth an also falls out; and every time he shuts it he bites one in two that was trying to get out. Now, the foreigner, equipped with these three noble words, is master of the situation.
Let him talk right along, fearlessly; let him pour his indifferent German forth, and when he lacks for a word, let him heave a Schlag into the vacuum; all the chances are that it fits it like a plug, but if it doesn't let him promptly heave a Zug after it; the two together can hardly fail to bung the hole; but if, by a miracle, they should fail, let him simply say also!
In Germany, when you load your conversational gun it is always best to throw in a Schlag or two and a Zug or two, because it doesn't make any difference how much the rest of the charge may scatter, you are bound to bag something with them. Then you blandly say also, and load up again. Nothing gives such an air of grace and elegance and unconstraint to a German or an English conversation as to scatter it full of "Also's" or "You knows.
The sad event has cast a gloom over the whole community. That paragraph furnishes a text for a few remarks about one of the most curious and notable features of my subject -- the length of German words. Some German words are so long that they have a perspective. Observe these examples: Freundschaftsbezeigungen. These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions. And they are not rare; one can open a German newspaper at any time and see them marching majestically across the page -- and if he has any imagination he can see the banners and hear the music, too.
Twain was in great demand as a featured speaker, performing solo humorous talks similar to modern stand-up comedy. In the late s, he spoke to the Savage Club in London and was elected an honorary member. He was told that only three men had been so honored, including the Prince of Wales , and he replied: In , Twain was honored at a banquet in Montreal , Canada where he made reference to securing a copyright.
The reason for the Toronto visits was to secure Canadian and British copyrights for his upcoming book Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ,   to which he had alluded in his Montreal visit.
The reason for the Ottawa visit had been to secure Canadian and British copyrights for Life on the Mississippi. Twain lived in his later years at 14 West 10th Street in Manhattan. Olivia's death in and Jean's on December 24, , deepened his gloom. In , Twain began his autobiography in the North American Review.
He was resistant initially, but he eventually admitted that four of the resulting images were the finest ones ever taken of him. Twain formed a club in for girls whom he viewed as surrogate granddaughters called the Angel Fish and Aquarium Club. The dozen or so members ranged in age from 10 to He exchanged letters with his "Angel Fish" girls and invited them to concerts and the theatre and to play games.
Twain wrote in that the club was his "life's chief delight". Oxford University awarded Twain an honorary doctorate in letters in Twain was born two weeks after Halley's Comet 's closest approach in ; he said in I came in with Halley's Comet in It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it.
It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: Twain's prediction was accurate; he died of a heart attack on April 21, , in Redding, Connecticut , one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.
Mark Twain gave pleasure — real intellectual enjoyment — to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come … His humor was American, but he was nearly as much appreciated by Englishmen and people of other countries as by his own countrymen. He has made an enduring part of American literature. The Langdon family plot is marked by a foot monument two fathoms, or "mark twain" placed there by his surviving daughter Clara.
He expressed a preference for cremation for example, in Life on the Mississippi , but he acknowledged that his surviving family would have the last word.
Twain began his career writing light, humorous verse, but he became a chronicler of the vanities, hypocrisies, and murderous acts of mankind. At mid-career, he combined rich humor, sturdy narrative, and social criticism in Huckleberry Finn. He was a master of rendering colloquial speech and helped to create and popularize a distinctive American literature built on American themes and language.
Many of his works have been suppressed at times for various reasons. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been repeatedly restricted in American high schools, not least for its frequent use of the word " nigger ", [ citation needed ] which was in common usage in the pre-Civil War period in which the novel was set. A complete bibliography of Twain's works is nearly impossible to compile because of the vast number of pieces he wrote often in obscure newspapers and his use of several different pen names.
Additionally, a large portion of his speeches and lectures have been lost or were not recorded; thus, the compilation of Twain's works is an ongoing process. Researchers rediscovered published material as recently as and Twain was writing for the Virginia City newspaper the Territorial Enterprise in when he met lawyer Tom Fitch , editor of the competing newspaper Virginia Daily Union and known as the "silver-tongued orator of the Pacific".
Clemens, your lecture was magnificent. It was eloquent, moving, sincere. Never in my entire life have I listened to such a magnificent piece of descriptive narration. It is a sin you must never commit again. You closed a most eloquent description, by which you had keyed your audience up to a pitch of the intensest interest, with a piece of atrocious anti-climax which nullified all the really fine effect you had produced. It was in these days that Twain became a writer of the Sagebrush School ; he was known later as its most famous member.
After a burst of popularity, the Sacramento Union commissioned him to write letters about his travel experiences. The first journey that he took for this job was to ride the steamer Ajax on its maiden voyage to the Sandwich Islands Hawaii. All the while, he was writing letters to the newspaper that were meant for publishing, chronicling his experiences with humor.
These letters proved to be the genesis to his work with the San Francisco Alta California newspaper, which designated him a traveling correspondent for a trip from San Francisco to New York City via the Panama isthmus.
In , he published his second piece of travel literature, Roughing It , as an account of his journey from Missouri to Nevada, his subsequent life in the American West , and his visit to Hawaii.
The book lampoons American and Western society in the same way that Innocents critiqued the various countries of Europe and the Middle East.
His next work was The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today , his first attempt at writing a novel. The book, written with his neighbor Charles Dudley Warner , is also his only collaboration. Twain's next work drew on his experiences on the Mississippi River. Old Times on the Mississippi was a series of sketches published in the Atlantic Monthly in featuring his disillusionment with Romanticism.
Twain's next major publication was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , which draws on his youth in Hannibal. The Prince and the Pauper was not as well received, despite a storyline that is common in film and literature today. The book tells the story of two boys born on the same day who are physically identical, acting as a social commentary as the prince and pauper switch places.
Twain had started Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which he consistently had problems completing  and had completed his travel book A Tramp Abroad , which describes his travels through central and southern Europe.
Twain's next major published work was the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , which confirmed him as a noteworthy American writer. Some have called it the first Great American Novel, and the book has become required reading in many schools throughout the United States. Huckleberry Finn was an offshoot from Tom Sawyer and had a more serious tone than its predecessor. Four hundred manuscript pages were written in mid, right after the publication of Tom Sawyer.
The last fifth of Huckleberry Finn is subject to much controversy. Some say that Twain experienced a "failure of nerve," as critic Leo Marx puts it. Ernest Hemingway once said of Huckleberry Finn:. If you read it, you must stop where the Nigger Jim is stolen from the boys. That is the real end.
The rest is just cheating. Near the completion of Huckleberry Finn , Twain wrote Life on the Mississippi , which is said to have heavily influenced the novel.
In it, he also explains that "Mark Twain" was the call made when the boat was in safe water, indicating a depth of two fathoms 12 feet or 3. Twain produced President Ulysses S. Grant 's Memoirs through his fledgling publishing house, Charles L. Webster, his nephew by marriage. This piece detailed his two-week stint in a Confederate militia during the Civil War.
A Connecticut Yankee showed the absurdities of political and social norms by setting them in the court of King Arthur. The book was started in December , then shelved a few months later until the summer of , and eventually finished in the spring of His next large-scale work was Pudd'nhead Wilson , which he wrote rapidly, as he was desperately trying to stave off bankruptcy.
From November 12 to December 14, , Twain wrote 60, words for the novel.
This novel also contains the tale of two boys born on the same day who switch positions in life, like The Prince and the Pauper. It was first published serially in Century Magazine and, when it was finally published in book form, Pudd'nhead Wilson appeared as the main title; however, the "subtitles" make the entire title read: Twain's next venture was a work of straight fiction that he called Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc and dedicated to his wife.
He had long said [ where? The book had been a dream of his since childhood, and he claimed that he had found a manuscript detailing the life of Joan of Arc when he was an adolescent.
His financial adviser Henry Huttleston Rogers quashed that idea and got Twain out of that business altogether, but the book was published nonetheless. To pay the bills and keep his business projects afloat, Twain had begun to write articles and commentary furiously, with diminishing returns, but it was not enough. He filed for bankruptcy in During this time of dire financial straits, he published several literary reviews in newspapers to help make ends meet.
He became an extremely outspoken critic of other authors and other critics; he suggested that, before praising Cooper's work, Thomas Lounsbury , Brander Matthews , and Wilkie Collins "ought to have read some of it".
George Eliot , Jane Austen , and Robert Louis Stevenson also fell under Twain's attack during this time period, beginning around and continuing until his death.
He places emphasis on concision, utility of word choice, and realism; he complains, for example, that Cooper's Deerslayer purports to be realistic but has several shortcomings. Ironically, several of his own works were later criticized for lack of continuity Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and organization Pudd'nhead Wilson. Twain's wife died in while the couple were staying at the Villa di Quarto in Florence.
After some time had passed he published some works that his wife, his de facto editor and censor throughout her married life, had looked down upon. The Mysterious Stranger is perhaps the best known, depicting various visits of Satan to earth. This particular work was not published in Twain's lifetime.
His manuscripts included three versions, written between and The resulting confusion led to extensive publication of a jumbled version, and only recently have the original versions become available as Twain wrote them. Twain's last work was his autobiography , which he dictated and thought would be most entertaining if he went off on whims and tangents in non-chronological order. Some archivists and compilers have rearranged the biography into a more conventional form, thereby eliminating some of Twain's humor and the flow of the book.
Twain's works have been subjected to censorship efforts. According to Stuart , "Leading these banning campaigns, generally, were religious organizations or individuals in positions of influence — not so much working librarians, who had been instilled with that American "library spirit" which honored intellectual freedom within bounds of course ".
Twain's views became more radical as he grew older. In a letter to friend and fellow writer William Dean Howells in he acknowledged that his views had changed and developed over his lifetime, referring to one of his favorite works:. And not a pale, characterless Sansculotte, but a Marat.
Before , Twain was an ardent imperialist. In the late s and early s, he spoke out strongly in favor of American interests in the Hawaiian Islands. In the New York Herald , October 16, , Twain describes his transformation and political awakening, in the context of the Philippine—American War , to anti-imperialism:. I wanted the American eagle to go screaming into the Pacific Why not spread its wings over the Philippines, I asked myself?
I said to myself, Here are a people who have suffered for three centuries. We can make them as free as ourselves, give them a government and country of their own, put a miniature of the American Constitution afloat in the Pacific, start a brand new republic to take its place among the free nations of the world. It seemed to me a great task to which we had addressed ourselves. But I have thought some more, since then, and I have read carefully the treaty of Paris [which ended the Spanish—American War ], and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines.
We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way.
And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land. During the Boxer rebellion , Twain said that "the Boxer is a patriot. He loves his country better than he does the countries of other people.
I wish him success. From , soon after his return from Europe, until his death in , Twain was vice-president of the American Anti-Imperialist League ,  which opposed the annexation of the Philippines by the United States and had "tens of thousands of members".
The Incident in the Philippines , posthumously published in , was in response to the Moro Crater Massacre , in which six hundred Moros were killed. Twain was critical of imperialism in other countries as well. In Following the Equator , Twain expresses "hatred and condemnation of imperialism of all stripes".
Reports of outrageous exploitation and grotesque abuses led to widespread international protest in the early s, arguably the first large-scale human rights movement. In the soliloquy, the King argues that bringing Christianity to the country outweighs a little starvation. Leopold's rubber gatherers were tortured, maimed and slaughtered until the movement forced Brussels to call a halt. During the Philippine—American War , Twain wrote a short pacifist story titled The War Prayer , which makes the point that humanism and Christianity's preaching of love are incompatible with the conduct of war.
It was submitted to Harper's Bazaar for publication, but on March 22, , the magazine rejected the story as "not quite suited to a woman's magazine ". Eight days later, Twain wrote to his friend Daniel Carter Beard , to whom he had read the story, "I don't think the prayer will be published in my time.
None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth. It was republished as campaigning material by Vietnam War protesters. Twain acknowledged that he had originally sympathized with the more moderate Girondins of the French Revolution and then shifted his sympathies to the more radical Sansculottes , indeed identifying himself as "a Marat " and writing that the Reign of Terror paled in comparison to the older terrors that preceded it.
I am said to be a revolutionist in my sympathies, by birth, by breeding and by principle. I am always on the side of the revolutionists, because there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. Twain was an adamant supporter of the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of slaves, even going so far as to say, " Lincoln 's Proclamation Twain's sympathetic views on race were not reflected in his early writings on American Indians.
Of them, Twain wrote in His heart is a cesspool of falsehood, of treachery, and of low and devilish instincts. With him, gratitude is an unknown emotion; and when one does him a kindness, it is safest to keep the face toward him, lest the reward be an arrow in the back. To accept of a favor from him is to assume a debt which you can never repay to his satisfaction, though you bankrupt yourself trying. The scum of the earth! Cooper thinks they are marvelous creatures for noticing, but he was almost always in error about his Indians.
There was seldom a sane one among them. Where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile. Twain was also a staunch supporter of women's rights and an active campaigner for women's suffrage. His " Votes for Women " speech, in which he pressed for the granting of voting rights to women, is considered one of the most famous in history. Helen Keller benefited from Twain's support as she pursued her college education and publishing despite her disabilities and financial limitations.
The two were friends for roughly 16 years.
Twain wrote glowingly about unions in the river boating industry in Life on the Mississippi , which was read in union halls decades later. Who are the oppressors?
The few: Who are the oppressed? The many: Twain was a Presbyterian. Twain generally avoided publishing his most controversial  opinions on religion in his lifetime, and they are known from essays and stories that were published later.
In the essay Three Statements of the Eighties in the s, Twain stated that he believed in an almighty God, but not in any messages, revelations , holy scriptures such as the Bible, Providence , or retribution in the afterlife.
He did state that "the goodness, the justice, and the mercy of God are manifested in His works", but also that " the universe is governed by strict and immutable laws ", which determine "small matters", such as who dies in a pestilence.
At other times, he conjectured sardonically that perhaps God had created the world with all its tortures for some purpose of His own, but was otherwise indifferent to humanity, which was too petty and insignificant to deserve His attention anyway.
In , Twain criticized the actions of the missionary Dr. William Scott Ament — because Ament and other missionaries had collected indemnities from Chinese subjects in the aftermath of the Boxer Uprising of Twain's response to hearing of Ament's methods was published in the North American Review in February After his death, Twain's family suppressed some of his work that was especially irreverent toward conventional religion, including Letters from the Earth , which was not published until his daughter Clara reversed her position in in response to Soviet propaganda about the withholding.
Little Bessie , a story ridiculing Christianity, was first published in the collection Mark Twain's Fables of Man. He raised money to build a Presbyterian Church in Nevada in Twain created a reverent portrayal of Joan of Arc , a subject over which he had obsessed for forty years, studied for a dozen years and spent two years writing about.
Those who knew Twain well late in life recount that he dwelt on the subject of the afterlife, his daughter Clara saying: Twain's frankest views on religion appeared in his final work Autobiography of Mark Twain , the publication of which started in November , years after his death.
In it, he said: There is one notable thing about our Christianity: Measured by our Christianity of to-day, bad as it is, hypocritical as it is, empty and hollow as it is, neither the Deity nor his Son is a Christian, nor qualified for that moderately high place. Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilled.
Twain was a Freemason. They also gave him a Book of Mormon. The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. Twain was opposed to the vivisection practices of his day. His objection was not on a scientific basis but rather an ethical one. He specifically cited the pain caused to the animal as his basis of his opposition: I am not interested to know whether Vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't.
The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further. Twain used different pen names before deciding on "Mark Twain". He signed humorous and imaginative sketches as "Josh" until Additionally, he used the pen name "Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass" for a series of humorous letters.
He maintained that his primary pen name came from his years working on Mississippi riverboats, where two fathoms, a depth indicating water safe for the passage of boat, was a measure on the sounding line. Twain is an archaic term for "two", as in "The veil of the temple was rent in twain.
Twain said that his famous pen name was not entirely his invention. In Life on the Mississippi , he wrote:. They related to the stage and condition of the river, and were accurate and valuable; At the time that the telegraph brought the news of his death, I was on the Pacific coast. Twain's story about his pen name has been questioned by some  with the suggestion that "mark twain" refers to a running bar tab that Twain would regularly incur while drinking at John Piper's saloon in Virginia City, Nevada.
Samuel Clemens himself responded to this suggestion by saying, "Mark Twain was the nom de plume of one Captain Isaiah Sellers, who used to write river news over it for the New Orleans Picayune.
He died in and as he could no longer need that signature, I laid violent hands upon it without asking permission of the proprietor's remains. That is the history of the nom de plume I bear.