Vampires in German

Whilst reading the horror-pulp novella, Friedhof der Vampire by John Sinclair, I was reminded how enjoyable vampiric tales are in German. There is something about the language- the strong consonants joining those elusive umlauts to produce a cool, aloof sensuality- that makes it perfect for tales of the macabre.

Here is some vocabulary you’ll often come across:
unheimlich: eerie, uncanny
das Blut: blood
übersinnlich: supernatural
der Geist- ghost
das Grauen- horror
der Totenschädel- skull
die Leiche: corpse
gruselig: creepy
der Schrecken: dread
die Hexe: witch
der Sarg: coffin

Published in: on June 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm  Comments (23)  
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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Looks like a couple of the movies are in Spanish? I can’t really watch at home on dial-up, it would take forever to download a 3-minute clip! 😦 I should have a few minutes at work tomorrow to check out at least a couple of them.

    The German words do sound far more menacing than their English counterparts 😉

  2. Ah, no. Someone posted the 1979 version of Nosferatu which was made in German by Werner Herzog. But the one they posted includes subtitles in their native language.

    regarding the words…hee hee… i know. Perfect. I wish Germany made more gothic horror films. They pretty much pioneered horror films with their silents, but then moved onto other genres. I have heard there is a large number of indie horror-gore being produced lately, but that’s not my cuppa Earl Grey.

  3. It is so weird I can understand the second and the third decently but the first one I had problem with. I think my hubby is right it is not good trying to read English and hearing German. Either concentrate on one but not both. But don’t tell him I agreed with him. I use to watch movies hearing English and reading it in German and he hated to watch the movie with me. Now I see why, lo.

    Thanks for the new words list above. I copy and pasted them to be in my vocabulary:)))

    I knew das Blut: blood
    der Geist- ghost
    gruselig: creepy (I always thought this was disgusting)
    der Schrecken: dread (this was good to see because at first I thought about Schrecklich)
    die Hexe: witch

    The third movie interest me. I need to bookmark this page. Christopher Lee look so familiar but I can’t finger where I have seen him from. I plan to look him up a bit later today.

  4. Haha! Nein! I will not betray your secret. 🙂

    I”ve found it useful to watch things first in English, then in German with German subtitles, and then in German without the subtitles. I don’t think watching German with English subs hurts, so much as it can be too easy to get caught up reading the subs, rather than concentrating on the German.

    I just looked up “disgusting.” There are several different words for it. A few are: übel, widerlich, and ekelig.

  5. p.s. the first one is harder to understand with their whispering.

  6. lol and that what I was doing with the first video. I heard words but I was reading the subtitle. But the first one was funny though. I had to crack up when she pretty much let him have it by telling him that her heart belong to her love (the guy) and nothing the vamp do can ever change that. Then he back off instead of attacking her. I guess he would not be happy if her heart belong still to someone else. It is a bit romantic and funny at the same time.

    Thanks for the words for disgusting. Just add them to my notes as well 😉

  7. Oh ya, Christopher Lee is familiar to me because I have seen his face many times. He is British.
    Here are the listen of his movies

  8. I love the german language, it reminds me of my childhood as well as working well in horror and gothic movies (are those two things connected?)

  9. […] Tweet of the Day: Vampires in German […]

  10. Hey Chazz,

    I don’t want to say that Gothic and Horror are connected because one can very often be one but not the other. However, Gothic elements have often been used in horror. Think isolated castles, ancient ruins, etc.. Frankenstein, The Monk, Dark Shadows are varying examples of gothic horror.

    Whereas you have horror such as The Ring and The Grudge which are not at all gothic.

  11. p.s. Have you ever studied the language?

  12. Now that you point it out, it seems almost self-evident. If vampires (the Nosferatu variety, at least) had a common language, it would have to be German.

    Oh, and by the way I just read the Haunting of Hill House. Twice. It’s a complex and interesting novel, full of subtle ambiguities. Thanks again for turning me on to Shirley Jackson.

  13. Heya Haystack,

    Have you ever read any Terry Pratchett? The vamps in his (comedic) novels come from Überwald. If I remember correctly, they are quite disdainful of those who can not perfectly pronounce umlauts. 😉

    So glad you liked HOHH. Let me know if you read, “We’ve Always Lived in The Castle”. I’d be curious what you think aabout it.

  14. Yes, I read “We Have Always Lived in in the Castle” first. I thought it was just about the best thing ever. I liked how Merricat’s neurotic, magical thinking was logical in its own way, though outwardly random and insane to most of the other characters.

    I haven’t read Terry Pratchett, but I’m passingly familiar with it from having a lot of friends who have. He’s pretty funny.

  15. I mean “is my childhood and horror” connected.

    My nanna tells me I use to be able I say things in german but I can’t now. I really want to learn

  16. Chazz,

    Go for it! Why ever not? 🙂

  17. I think I would have done a whole lot better in German class if the teacher was having us memorize the vocabulary of horror instead of the vocabulary of banal sentences.

    “the strong consonants joining those elusive umlauts to produce a cool, aloof sensuality” – is the most beautiful description I have ever heard of the German language.

  18. Oh, thank you so much, Diane! 🙂

    Yeah, I think the materials one uses makes a huge difference. Learning a foreign language is such a long, difficult process that it really helps to use whatever you can to make it more enjoyable for yourself.

  19. Gruselig!!!!! (how do you say that properly?)

  20. Grooz-ae-lick. (German “s” is pronounced like English “z”. German “e” is more like our high a.

    Also, German “g” at the end of a word is pronounced with a “k” sound.

    However, Berliners tend to pronounce the “”g” with a “sh” sound at the end, instead.

    And of course my friend Sputs would want to speak “Berlin”. 😉

  21. more on the “e”. It’s hard for me to really explain with the above example. But for an easier one, the word, “mehr” (more) is pronounced “mare”.

  22. Your “lautschrift” of the German words is just hilarious 🙂

  23. Hee hee! I’m glad my troubles and tribulations with your language are entertaining. *giggle*


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