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Hauksbee

pronounce "Richtofen"?

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'Been watching a lot of YouTube videos on WWI lately and folks seem divided on whether von Richtofen is pronounced with a hard 'ch' [Rik-tofen] or a soft 'ch' [Rish-tofen]. The former is to be expected of northern German, the latter of southern German.

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No, north or south Germans all pronounce it the same: with a soft "ch".

Which is NOT "risht" - there is no "s".

You Americans don't make that sound.

 

Just write "Richthofen" into GoogleTranslate on the ENGLISH side (left), and select GERMAN for the right side.

Then click on the SPEAKER symbol to hear how it is pronounced.

You can do the same with "Frankreich" (how we call France).

 

But you may find it hard to make that "ch" sound right yourself.

I found no English/American word, which has it.

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Olham to the rescue! Thanks, mate. [North and South pronounce it the same? That's a revelation. For years I've thought northern Germans spoke a more gutteral version, and the south spoke a softer version.]

Edited by Hauksbee

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Also note that there's an H right after Richt, so it's Richthofen, not Richtofen. The name is composed of two words, Richt and Hofen. I suppose the English translation would be something like "Court of Judgement."

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I suppose the English translation would be something like "Court of Judgement."

 

Court (or place) of execution rather, Hasse.

A "Richthof" is the outdoor place (a yard), where a punishment would be executed.

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Also note that there's an H right after Richt, so it's Richthofen, not Richtofen. The name is composed of two words, Richt and Hofen. I suppose the English translation would be something like "Court of Judgement."

Right. I have been dropping that second 'h'. Thanks Hasse.

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CAN Americans pronounce the German "ch" at all? YES, THEY CAN - if they really try hard enough!

 

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In Richthofen "ch" is pronounced like the "h" in "human", while the "h" in hofen is prononced like the "h" in hotel.

 

best is simply to look at youtube for some german documentaries about Richthofen. There one will hear the name pronounced correctly often enough.

 

I think I have never heard in any english documentary Richthofen to be pronounced correctly.

 

here is one german documentary. Although from the 70ies IMO it's one of the best I've seen so far.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB9svMx6JQY

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here is one german documentary. Although from the 70ies IMO it's one of the best I've seen so far.

Thanks Creaghorn. After listening, backing it up and re-listening, several times, it sounds to me like "rikt-hooven". Am I close?

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No. Watch the videos, Hauksbee!

I did. The one you posted had a lot of long, complex German words (none of which was 'Richthofen') with two people struggling to find the right pronunciation. I kept waiting for someone to intervene and say which person, if any, got it right. Then I watched Creaghorn's video. The phonetic approximation I posted was the best I could do. Since it involves a sound that does not occur in English, it's not surprising I got it wrong. Anyway, my question was answered: it's not pronounced 'risht-hofen'. I'll just have to get used to the fact that the true pronunciation will be forever beyond my grasp.

 

ps: What does "alte Schale" mean. I entered the words in several on-line translation sites and the  best I got was "old shell', or, "old bowl". Neither seemed to make much sense.

Edited by Hauksbee

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My video had them pronounce the word for squirrel: Eichhörnchen.

It has the "ch" twice, and the students did quite well.

It is neither "rikt" nor "risht" - you gotta learn the German "ch".

 

ps: What does "alte Schale" mean. I entered the words in several on-line translation sites and the  best I got was "old shell', or, "old bowl". Neither seemed to make much sense.

 

Haha - alte Schale could be "old peel", "old bowl" or "old shell".

No idea which one was meant by the creator of this greeting - I guess "old peel".

It makes no sense really, it is just a greeting among buddies.

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Haha - alte Schale could be "old peel", "old bowl" or "old shell".

Good. I got that bit right, it just doesn't have to make sense. That's slang for you.

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If you are Scots you should get the pronunciation right.  The German is close to the Scots 'loch'.   I remember at school in the UK spending a long time trying to get the word 'nicht' right.   When I lived in Germany all the locals said 'Nay' as I was close to the Dutch border and they spoke Platdeutsch.  I found the dialect of Hamburg closer to what I was taught at school. 

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