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A Short Guide to the German Language and the Messucherkamera and Other Notes
Old 11-07-2019   #18
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A Short Guide to the German Language and the Messucherkamera and Other Notes

Lesson 6
zweiäugige Spiegelreflexkamera

That's a lot of letters in quite the sequence, isn't it. Let's take it step by step and in no particular order then. A "Spiegelreflexkamera" is generally translated as an SLR, a single lens reflex camera. But that's not quite right. It really means mirror reflex camera, no mention of the number of lenses, it could look like a spider's face for all we know right now. In comes the friendly adjective "zweiäugig" to lift the fog, because it means "two-eyed". (Where did the "e" at the end of "zweiäugig" go? Well that, my friends, is but one of the many exciting mysteries of the German language. Just learning a word and its pronuncation doesn't automatically grant you the ability to use it correctly. This is not Disneyland. And you don't want me to deep dive into how the ending of adjectives change (or don't) depending on the noun they describe, the four grammatical cases, and where it is placed in the sentence. Because it is a zweiäugige Spiegelreflexkamera but the Spiegelreflexkamera is zweiäugig. Ok? Good.)

The four consecutive vowels in the middle, including an Umlaut, look frightening at first but knowing that it is two words glued together, it is actually quite harmless.

You guessed it, zweiäugige Spiegelreflexkamera just means TLR. Why not use an abbreviation? Excellent question, but remember that, first and above all, abbreviations are weak, and ZÄSRK sounds like a fictional Hungarian copycat version of a Ukrainian-made large-caliber rifle from the 1960s.

Aussprache! (That means pronunciation!)

tsvai (like thai but with a tsvvv)-oygueegueh shpeeguel-reh(not ree!)flex-kahmehrah

Easy. Nice. But notice the ts for "z" in the beginning. The German Z is sharp! Which leads right to the next lesson.


Lesson 7

Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex

This is going to be a short one, focusing solely on Aussprache.


Just had to get that out. Anyway "i" is always some form of "ee" (longer or shorter, depending on stuff) in German, it only becomes "i" as in I when paired with an "e" to form "ei", which also means egg. Try to remember this part because we are going to build upon it later. I'm going all didactic on your beehives!

So the famous Zeiss-made zweiäugige Spiegelreflexkamera Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex is pronounced as follows:
tsaiss (or tsice if you must) eekon eekohflex.

It's not hard at all, just remember not to go around bragging about your dzice aykon aykoflex if you want or need to remain undercover in North Rhine-Westphalia or wherever. (North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the sixteen German states, or Bundesländer. It sounds like it should be a small place because the name is rather long and precise like "Oooh just a mere fourty steps north of the creek and then up the hill between the two old pine trees, onward for a mile and a half and then a skip-and-a-jump to the west you'll find a village so peculiar that the few Westphalians from the South Rhine who ever visited could not believe their Phalian eyes, let alone the Northphalians from the other side of the bog..." but it's actually huge, the most populous of the Bundesländer even.)

eekon, not aykon, eekoflex, not aykoflex. Not'n to do with the song.

These are icons. They clearly do not flex except for maybe one or two.

Lesson 8
Rollei / Rolleiflex

The most famous zweiäugige Spiegelreflexkamera of them all is not the Rollieflex! It's the Rolleiflex! Rolling-egg-flex! You do remember the lesson above so I have no more explaining to do! Yeah, didactics Mr. White!

I'm not quite sure how exactly Franke & Heidecke came up with the name and I'm not going to waste my time googling more things you can clearly google yourself if you're interested but I am 100% positive it's Rollei not Rollie. As fellow pedant and Ausspracheliebhaber retinax mentioned, "Rollie" is SOMEtimes used by SOME Germans as a diminutive term for wheelchair and the rest of the Germans collectively, unanimously think: "JUST SAY ROLLSTUHL, THERE'S NO POINT, ROLLIE SOUNDS LIKE YOU'RE THREE YEARS OLD AND TALKING ABOUT YOUR BOBBY CAR (Bobby Cars are awesome) AND IT HAS THE EXACT SAME NUMBER OF SYLLABLES AS ROLLSTUHL. ARGH! WHERE IS MY SCHNITZEL!"

If you are seriously into all things Roll-Ei, Maryland's got you covered.
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