Re: [Cz-L] Re: czernowitz-l digest: January 13, 2014

From: Benjamin Grilj <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2014 15:57:26 +0100
To: andy halmay <>
Reply-To: Benjamin Grilj <>

Dear Andy,

Josef Burg told me a similar story - just the other way round.
When he was working for the Soviets he should judge the quality of teachers for German in the caucasus. He came to a little village, where an old man taught German - but he wasnīt able to: he spoke a really simple Yiddish! He asked Mr. Burg not to tell anyone because he feeded his family that way and of course Joseph Burg didnīt blame him...


Am 14.01.2014 um 15:05 schrieb andy halmay <>:

> Benjamin - re High German, etc. In her autobiography, Lucca Ginsburg told a story of a German engineering consultant who had come to work in a company in Israel where Lucca worked. The man prided himself for being able to pinpoint exactly where Germans had grown up by their dialect. He spoke no Hebrew, of course, and hardly anyone in the company spoke German so he ate his lunches alone. One time, one of the people in the company sat down next to him and addressed him in Yiddish which the German could make out. He had never before heard Yiddish and puzzled over it. He told Lucca that he was mystified for the first time in his life - he simply couldn't peg that man's background as to where he had come from because he had never heard this dialect before. We emigrated from Cz in the spring of 1939, mother insisted we speak English in the home, so I picked up un-accented Canadian English pretty quickly. I started acting in my late teens, attended
> Lorne Greene's Academy of Radio Arts and by 1949 was working in radio with no one aware that we were immigrants. When TV arrived in 1952 I met an Austrian actor, Joseph Furst, who asked me if I could do a Viennese dialect. Of course, by then I had lost half my Czernowitzer German but actors are always hungry and never turn down any roles so I said, "Naturlich!" The government's radio network overseas department was doing some broadcasts to Austria and needed actors with a Viennese dialect. Fortunately, three of the four-man cast, were older Austrians who had just arrived from Vienna so I listened to them and simply imitated them but to me they sounded pretty much like Czernowitzers. Now there is a German woman in my apartment building today who comes from Berlin and I can hardly understand her. Her German to me sounds like cockney must sound to an Oxford grad. I get the sense that most German speaking Czernowitzers spoke Hochdeutsch.
> Andy

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Received on 2014-01-14 07:55:26

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