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Monday, April 28, 2014

Mistranslation Monday: Listen

The German boyfriend and I were listening to music on Spotify recently, which is a music steaming platform. You can see the Denglish mix of options in Spotify's menu on the right.

One of the sections we listen to quite often is called "Top Listen."

In both English and German, the word "Top" means the same thing. Depending on whether you are one of my American or German readers, however, you could have read the word "Listen" in one of two ways:

English: the act of listening to something (hören)

German: the plural form of List (lists).

Living in a household where both German and English are regularly spoken (often within the same sentence), the only way to tell the difference between these two words is pronunciation. In English, the T in listen (hören) is not spoken. Instead, it is pronounced like "lissen." In German, however, the T is clearly articulated.

Little did we realize that over the past few months, Marco and I had always been reading "Top Listen" differently. So, when I asked him to "turn on Top Listen" one day, he was quite confused.

"Turn on what?"

"The playlist on Spotify. Top Listen."

"Oh! You mean Top Listen."

Then a debate ensued over whether it is actually listen or Listen -- and the German won.

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