Kreislaufstörung

While reading an article about BMW’s Harald Krũger, who apparently fainted on stage at the Frankfurt Auto show but is OK, I noticed that BMW cited “circulation problems” as the cause. The term is a translation of the German expression Kreislaufprobleme. However, circulation problems in English refer to a serious and often lethal condition caused

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How to pronounce smooth and smoothie

I have previously written about the different pronunciations of the th (an example of a digraph) in English, see this post. Today, I want to discuss the tricky words smooth and smoothie, which are very often pronounced incorrectly. The main reason is that many nonnative speakers feel uncomfortable with the sounds [ð] and [θ]. However,

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About Mrs S, Mr X and A J

The English language offers some very interesting ways to shorten names. First, it is common to abbreviate double names (two first names, as opposed to double-barrelled names which correspond to two last names) by their initials. For example, the son of Anthony Soprano in the fantastic TV series The Sopranos is usually called A J

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How to pronounce v and f in English

Have you seen the new Rightguard commercial on German TV yet? It is about a product called “5”. I mention it here because the English number five is pronounced incorrectly, namely as [faɪf] instead of [faɪv]. You can hear the correct pronunciation here. This common mistake among German speakers is also often made in the

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How to mix password and Passwort

While listening to German radio the other day, I noticed that the presenter repeatedly pronounced the German word Passwort incorrectly. The mistake was that he pronounced “Pass-” as in the British pronunciation of the English word password, listen here and here. The correct pronunciation of Passwort can be found here. I find the mistake quite

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