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.

  • Jeff,

    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