Blather auf Deutsch

Die Zeit came to interview me at CUNY and here’s the video — subtitled. In it, I mention discovering the early German blog Der Schockwellenreiter and he noticed that in turn with a classic of Denglisch: “Jeff »BuzzMachine« Jarvis hat den Schockwellenreiter genamedropped.” The past perfect of verb namedroppen. Ich namedroppe. Du namedropst. Wir namedroppen.

  • Ken Carroll


    Actually, this sentence doesn’t look like the past perfect. It’s actually in the simple past tense (or ‘aspect’, as tenses are more fashionably known these days.) ‘Genamedropped’ functions here, I think, as a past participle in a simpe past tense sentence.

    German is tricky in this way. ‘Er hat genamedropped’ looks like an English perfect aspect (Present perfect: ‘He has name dropped’; Past perfect: ‘He had name dropped’.)

    So, I understand the sentence to simply mean

    ‘Jeff Jarvis name dropped Schockwellenreiter’ [which is simple past tense],

    rather than

    ‘Jeff Jarvis HAD namedropped Schockwellenreiter’. [Which would be the past perfect.]

    Phew. I’m glad I’m sticking to Chinese these days.

    Ken Carroll