The Pronunciation of "Das Boot"

“Das Boot” - a fantastic German film from Wolfgang Peterson that is considered a classic. I don’t expect everybody to speak German, but you would think Ebert and Roeper would at least know how to pronounce the title of a film they both consider a classic. But no - on a recent review, they both botched it up.

“Das Boot” is pronounced, “Das Boat” in German, not “Das *Boot * (as in a shoe worn by cowboys)”

They can wrap their lips around French titles and Italian titles and godknows what else…but how can they continually screw up a very simply pronounced title of a classic German film.

OK…I feel better now.

Just had to get that off Mein Chest.

The thing is, if you watch the movie in German with English subtitles, you figure out very quicly how to pronounce “boot”. Maybe Ebert and Roper only saw the English-dubbed version. Or maybe they never saw the flim in the first place.

Loser! Everyone knows that “Chest” is masculine! Der Chest! Meinen Chest!


Italian is phonetically fairly straightforward for E & R’s English-speaking audience, so it’s not too hard for them to at least approximate correct pronunciation.

I’d say that they mispronounce French at least as badly as German, but I can’t really get worked up about it. Their main goal is to get the name of the film fixed in the viewers’ minds, not to Fight Ignorance, and most Americans think of “Das Boot” as being pronounced like the footwear. So, although I personally find Ebert’s pronunciation of the “t” in Chocolat[sup]*[/sup] a little jarring (it should be silent), it’s no worse than when people wish me “bon appetit” with a stressed final “t”. I’d feel boorish correcting them, although I don’t go as far as to copy the mistake.

This last week’s most-talked-about actress had probably better get used to being called “Tattoo”, but at least she can commiserate with Gérard “Depardoo”.

I know where you’re coming from, DMark, and in an ideal world we’d all pronounce foreign words correctly, but until then I’ll save my (mild) indignation for waitpersons in the US who attempt to correct my pronunciation when I order bruschetta.

[sup]*[/sup][Actually, I find myself thinking of the 2000 film – most of whose cast and crew are not francophones – as Chocolat with a pronounced “t”, to differentiate it in my mind from Claire Denis’ excellent semi-autobiographical 1988 film Chocolat, set and filmed in colonial French Cameroon.]

Double vowels in german are pronounced long, right?
Similarly, Beethoven is not pronounced bee-toven, but more like bay-toe-fen

That would be the typical English approximation; however: In English, the “long”* vowel sounds are mostly diphthongized, so if you pronounce Beethoven that way it will mark you as having a terrible, terrible American accent. In German the ‘ee’ is a pure close /e/ phoneme which is somewhere between the vowel in ‘fed’ and ‘fear’, and the ‘o’ is somewhat like the way some English speakers pronounce the ‘o’ in ‘old’. I’m not sure about the ‘v’ in Beethoven; I think it’s actually a Dutch name, as befits the ‘van’, and I think the Dutch pronounce the intervocalic ‘v’ more like an English v.

*historically long vowels that participated in the Great Vowel Shift. True phonological vowel length in modern English has almost nothing to do with that, but instead revolves largely around whether the following consonant is voiced or not.

Nope, I think you’re actually the loser. :smiley: “Chest” is indeed masculine, but “off” should be followed by the Dative case, so it should be “Off meinem Chest”. Also, “meinem” is usually shortened to “mein”, so “Off mein Chest” is actually more correct than “Off meinen Chest”.

Ok, genders of foreign words in Germany are a somewhat problematic issue, but why did you make it masculine?
If you assign it based on the translation, then “Brust” (feminine) is probably the most straightforward choice. “Brustkorb” (masculine) is more technical and more specific to the ribcage.
The closest cognate “Kiste” (box) is feminine as well.
The “natural” gender is of course neutral, but for inanimate objects that doesn’t mean much.

(If you want something really controversial, assign a gender to “email.” That it’s feminine is just as certain as the fact that Balrogs don’t have wings :wink: )

So it’s pronounced “throat warbler mangrove”?

For the fun of it, really.

I used the accusative because I was showing action involving direction rather than location. The corresponding German preposition would probably be “aus,” which is always dative, but “Off” is obviously a two-way preposition. :smiley:

I almost commented on the potential use of dative, but considering that prepositions take the accusative in English, it makes sense. Though I agree it does seem like a two-way. Certainly ‘off of’ would have been dative, though.

kellner - why shouldn’t email be feminine? Ich male die Email = I mail the email, right?

I think it should, but for a significant number of people it’s “das Email”.

I named my large, grey german super-cruiser “Das BMW”. A german-speaker told me it should have been “Der”. I’ll name the next one that.

Well, what to call your BMW depends on what it stands for. By itself, I think that BMW should be “die”. (die Werke, right?)

If you want to say that it’s your Bayerische Motorwagen, for some reason, you could use der.

Wow, I would kill to hear somebody say Das Boot and pronounce it like the footwear. I’m getting all kinds of images with underwater shoes and whatnot.

I speak a little german. And I’m quite sure that both are incorrect.

I’m trying to think of an english word that has the same sound as the dobbel-o in “das boot”, but I can’t. If you know how to pronounce “bordeaux” correctly, it’s that same “o”-like sound in the end, just longer.

No no, it pronounced Frankensteeeen. Sorry, couldnt resist.

But seriously, I agree with mr. jp, I didnt see the difference when the pronounciation was compared with the o sound in boat, but the bordeaux sound is more like it. It would be like “das bordeauxt” substracting the -ord- part and pronouncing the rest (isnt there a function to overline text here somewhere?).

Either das B[del]ord[/del]eauxt or das Beauxt (I don’t get what you’re asking.) (Actually, French “eaux”=“au”, so we could just shorten it to das Baut, but that’s pronounced completely differently in German, and the “t” would be silent if we tried to make this a French word.)

And, according to, it’s the same phoneme in both for the “o” vs “eaux”.

“Die Werke”, yes, but isn’t “Werke” plural, so that gender no longer matters in German?