You know when something just feels right? When you know in your bones that you’ve made the right choice?  I’m reminded of the Volkswagon ad campaign that was all about fahrvergnügen.  Well, when it comes to language and specifically syntax in language, that intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate is called sprachgefühl.

Not everyone has this, of course, and often that results in errors in speech and writing that can be endearing, hilarious, or downright annoying.  Whole books and websites have been written about the the lack of sprachgefühl in those translating from one language to another and there are some gems that focus on things that literally get lost in translation.

I think that when dealing with errors in translation, one reason for a lack of sprachgefühl might be a derivitive of the speaker’s (or author’s) native language. If you’ve studied any of the romance languages in school, for example, you know that the adjective doesn’t always come before the noun or that possessiveness in language is not always straight forward.  Nonetheless, I think it’s awesome that there is a word to capture it when it’s right.

Having sprachgefühl is a glorious thing, savor the moments friends and be well. 

source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprachgef%C3%BChl

About the Author Corinne

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  1. I’ve faced moments at work where I have to figure out what a subordinate is writing (in English) by attempting to translate it backwards into Chinese. Which is really hard because I don’t actually speak Chinese.
    Thanks for the word!

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