Do you plan to attempt to write German in order to get correct translations (proper or machine), have no idea why there's a curvy B in certain words, or are trying to pronounce wovel dipthongs in a dramatic reading and keep thinking it sounds wrong? This guide will help you to help yourself to help the fandom, and despite the overly silly and unserious phrases being used in this article, it is aimed to be of education purpose to a flunctuating degree.
(IPA: /ɛː/. Unicode: U+00C4 for capital, U+00E4 for small. International keyboard command: pressing ¨ followed by pressing A.)
Written as an A with two dots above it, or sometimes small lines in handwriting, this is a distinct wovel in many Germanic languages. Basically, a German A is a British long A, while a German Ä is mostly like the American A but a lot more stiffly pronounced.
Ü (and Y)
(IPA: /y/. Unicode: U+00DC for capital, U+00FC for small. International keyboard command: pressing ¨ followed by pressing U.)
Like the Ä, this one also have two dots above the U. And also this one specifies a distinct vowel, a wovel that simply does not exist in English. Speakers of any Nordic language, Spanish, French, and probably many other languages simply have to pronounce their Y with a bit more strength. There are many ways to approach something similar to it, like starting with pronouncing an I, but instead of opening the mouth widely, one instead makes a narrow/round/duckface shape with the lips. For a more unconventional approach, imagine that your mouth is a concert speaker that makes a continuous "Eeeeeee" sound which slowly dims down to a deeper sound while building up to the next song's opening.
The Y is pronounced identically, but is virtually solely used for scientific terms (Natriumlaurylsulfat), a few loanwords, and a very select few cases of naming things with foreign spelling conventions (Bayern, as seen in Bayern Munich/München).
(IPA: /s/. Unicode: U+1E9E for capital (only used in all-capital writing), U+00DF for small (preferred). US-International and select other keyboards' keyboard command: Holding AltGr while pressing S.)
Contrary to popular belief among foreigners, the ß is actually not pronounced as a B, but is rather meant as a certain S sound. It's not a short or very long S, that just like in English is marked in German as S and SS. However, it is used to write the SS or SZ sound that comes after a long vowel, such as Großbritannien. The letter's origin began as a conjunction of the SZ written letters, and has since taken on a life on its own.
So in short, große ("large") is pronounced as Grohsse, and not Grobeh. It's also worth noting that the Swiss German alphabet lacks the ß and instead writes SS, so if you for the life of you can't find a good way to add an ß into a piece of text, you can write it as Grosse and claim to be using the Swiss alphabet.
(IPA: /ø/. Unicode: U+00D6 for capital, U+00F6 for small. International keyboard command: Pressing ¨ followed by pressing O.)
Yes, this is yet another changed vowel. This one is also a bit difficult to describe, but easier as such than with the Ü. Imagine the wovel dipthong in the American pronunciation of Earl and with a non-rhotic R, but with a stiffer and slightly higher pitch, and we're off to a good start. If you can't imagine it, find the voice of someone who has ever spoken the sentence "My Name is Earl" and take it from there.
One tier up
Google Translate and diacritics
Okay, here's an instance thas has happened several times over with various Filly fans. You're using Google Translate to get the bare basics from a German Filly text in the search for more information, but as the writing is considered part of an image file, it's not as easy as pasting it into Google Translate. So you have to write the German text in person through various means, and when you translate the info on the ecosystem of Emocia, the outcoming results shows that the trees are bleeding, and that the Filly Elves are drinking from schooner glasses. Is this trustable information?
Thankfully not. A mistake that has happened particularly often is writing Blüten (blooming, as in flora blooming) as Bluten (bleeding), due to an Ü being absent. The second one is a theoretical example of Schöner (beautiful) being written as Schoner (schooner), which the guy who wrote this article can't remember any instances of it happening and is thanking several fiction deities for it. The moral of the minute, Google Translate will not forgive and will take some minutes to forget, if you don't use the correct diacritics.
Pretty much every language on Earth and probably also the Filly World have a different way to pronounce the Eu and Au dipthongs, and German is playing this game too. There actually is a straight English equivalent of this sound, but in English it's the "oi" sound as heard in "coil" and "boiler", which may take some time to transfer to a whole new spelling. If you've watched enough voice commentaries of major football tournaments that Manuel Neuer has become a household name, then you've already got it in, unless the commentator was pronouncing it wrong.
Compound words are common in Germanic languages, but in the Nordic ones you can only combine three or at the very most four words into a compound before it begins to look very silly, not to mention poor form. In German, however, if you find enough related words that describe something, it can go on forever, as emphasised in the video to the right about the rhabarbra pie baker Barbara whose business opportunities very quickly expands.
More relevant to Filly is that it is very handy to know which words a compound is made of, or at least where in a compound you should preferrably split up the words. Türkisfarbenen consists of two words, "Türkis" (Turquoise) and "Farbenen" (Colored), and as such the compound means that Aquatica is below a turquoise-colored sea. Recognising such types of words as colors, flora, weather types and compliments are the most basic stuff a Filly fan will need to keep track of.
And why this is necessary for people using Google Translate? Because while translating a compound word on Google only gives one result, as in Glücksgefuhle becoming "happiness", translating Glück gives such options as "happy", "luck", "bliss" and "good luck", while Gefuhle can give "feeling", "emotion", "sensation" and "touch". So if you ever come across a translated-to-English sentence where there's a seemingly random mention of happiness, see if there was a compound that could be pieced up for smaller words that gives more options, some of which could sound much more likely in context after all!
Common Filly terminology
The German being used in Filly material, be it websites, toy brochures or marketing sites, is pretty simple. There's maybe twenty grammatical particles at most to recognise, most of which should be memorised in a few months. Being a fantasy franchise aimed at children, most of the language is pretty much so, with many variations on words describing beautifulness, happiness, types of magic, pastry baking, and in the case of the ice brands, ice (What else?). Seeing recurring patterns in words should only take two months or so if you're looking at German material every now and then.
For those who want a quickstart, here's a list of particularly useful words in random order.
- Zauber Magic, enchanting magic, or spell (It's a bit vague).
- Mit With.
- Regenbogen Rainbow.
- Schloss Castle.
- Traum Dream.
- Pferdchen General term for horse.
- Nacht Night.
- König King, alternately a royal.
- In contrast to how it may be in several languages, it does not refer to a trauma. Unless it was a that heavy nightmare.