My Heart Are Full of Grievous

The video below is a special project by Egri Nök.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is well-known in Germany for her fractured, incorrect, deficient use of the German language. Her oratorical skills were apparently at their worst when she made these brief remarks on the occasion of the first anniversary of last year’s truck jihad attack at the Berlin Christmas market.

Egri worked hard to render the Chancelloress’s solecisms in English, but it wasn’t always easy to do so. For example, in two instances Mrs. Merkel used the wrong case of the German word for “big”. English, being largely case-free, has no equivalent. So we all put our heads together, and Dymphna suggested the imaginary word “bigly” (which she says was invented by Scott Adams). In the text you’ll see other erroneous neologisms (or neologous errors) that were coined for the occasion.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   We have gathered here today, on the first anniversary
00:03   of the return of the terrible terrorist attack on Breitscheidplatz.
00:10   This day has, for many people…
00:14   destroyed their former lives.
00:17   Twelve people died, many were injured.
00:22   And we all mourned today together with the relatives.
00:27   And… with the relatives, and the injured,
00:33   also dedicated this memorial here.
00:36   I have speaked with the bereaved yesterday
00:40   And with the injured.
00:43   It was a very open… and also,
00:46   from the side of the people who are affected, a very…
00:50   blunt conversation, that showed…
00:54   which weaknesses our state in this situation also…
00:59   showed. And for me, and I say this on behalf of the whole federal government,
01:05   this means… to work on…
01:08   that we improve the things that didn’t go well.
01:12   That we do everything humanly possible… not only to guarantee safety,
01:17   but the people, whose lives…
01:20   were destroyed… or whose lives were affected…
01:26   also to give them the possibility to re-enter life as good as possible.
01:32   Therefore, I will meet the grievers and the injured again in a few months,
01:38   to make clear: what have we learnt?
01:42   What will we do differently in the future?
01:45   And, by that, to help this – bigly
01:50   to also overcome this bigly attack so that
01:54   that as a state we can do the necessary in the future.
02:01   Today is a day of mourning, but also a day of the will
02:07   to make that, what didn’t go well, better.

53 thoughts on “My Heart Are Full of Grievous

    • Dymphna, Merry Christmas to you, the Baron and everyone else.
      And best wishes for the coming New Year.

    • Not surprising considering that the libs are always crowing about how educated Merkel is with her physical chemistry PhD from Leipzig.

      Merkel is also a Russian-speaker. Sounds like a colluder to me!

      • Physical chemistry? Oh, well, in that case… P-chem was generally regarded as the hardest of the undergraduate coursework in a chemistry major at my school. I wonder what her thesis research was in.

        Really, though, I strongly appreciate the value of an advanced degree in science among political figures. I really think that if more of our US politicians had such a background, we’d be spared some of the idiocy flowing forth from Washington daily. The vast, VAST majority of elected officials here in the USA, as far as I know, are lawyers by training – at least at the federal level. There is some intellectual challenge in law, to be sure, but it’s of a rather different character from what confronts one in the physical sciences and is by nature not as rigorous as the latter.

        • Outside of their given field, most PhD’s are no more knowledgeable nor capable than the average person and many are less, that is what drove them to academia in the first place. Having a PhD myself and working with a number of them, I can attest personally to what I say.

  1. The reason for this must be the extreme discomfort of being forced to face the victims of her own politics. After the Paris attack she could travel there two days later and offer her formal condolences without such stuttering. But this here she avoided like the plague until it wasn’t possible anymore. She acts like she got really cornered. Good. Let there be much, much more of it. There shouldn’t be a moment in her remaining life without guilt pouring over her head like liquid lead if any justice is left in this world.

      • Definitely a sociopath.

        Note how she says she will meet with the victims again next year – not to ask them how they are, and what she can do for them.

        But “to make clear: what have we learnt? What will we do differently in the future?”

        I think this is chilling.

        Not just the complete absence of interest in other people, but also how she calmly takes it as a given that there WILL be another attack, and how she thinks the pressing question is, will Germany deal with the next victims more professionally.

        • “what have we learnt? What will we do differently in the future?” is classic manager-speak.

      • I didn’t mean to say she feels guilt in the sense of honest insight and regret. But she must sense the pressure of having to do something she doesn’t want to, which is a way to throw her off the rails as seen.

        • Oops, this and the above was me, K. from Germany. Installed a new browser and had all forgotten about the autofill values.

  2. I have a different view about the bigly. I believe she said: DIESES GROSSE…ANSCHLAG, that is, she was heading for a noun such as, I suspect, VERBRECHEN, that is, crime, because this noun in German matches grammatically what she had said so far. Whereas Anschlag does not, having a different gender from the word for crime.

    Then she seems to have realised the political ramifications of calling it a “crime”, given the intelligence service and police background to it, and changed her mind to the noun Anschlag, which means attack.

    Generally I believe it naive to think that Merkel with her physics PhD cannot speak German correctly.

    I hear her as a person who month after month skilfully uses the language to confuse and obscure and prevaricate; she has to search for words to do this, and her slowness and false starts are evidence of her thinking very fast on her feet so as not to reveal the truth.

    Already in 2015 I think she had said publicly that she wanted 50% of all teachers in Germany to be Muslim, nothing obscure about that.

    • I think you make a good case, and certainly a very interesting point.

      The only hook on which I could hang a disagreement on is that with Merkel and her policies, it really doesn’t matter what she says. You yourself pointed out that she said clearly 50% of teachers should be Muslims. And what were the consequences of that? Zero. She’s still chancellor and still has a party with the plurality.

      The majority of Germans continue to support the socialist government because they pay in 25 cents and expect to get full and prompt medical care of the highest caliber. In other words, they expect the government to take care of them, and don’t want to do anything to screw that up in the future, like vote in a government that starts looking at rational consequences and actual accounting.

      I say this not because I dislike Germans but because it seems to be true. And makes me very sad, but I can’t look away from it.

      • Heck, in America this is why many continue to vote for the socialists Democrats, without even paying anything into the system.
        Germany and France need a Donald Trump badly.

    • I concur with this grammatical analysis. It seems to me the Chancellor is really not deliberately butchering the language or that she talks like a hillbilly or something. To my ear, it’s much more a case of her being in a highly uncomfortable situation and having to ad-lib, which is harder to do in a very inflected and syntactically structured language like German because to a degree with which English-speakers have no need to concern themselves, when speaking German, you really have to plan out your sentences in advance to some degree, at least if you want them to be grammatically intelligible when they come out. If you lack opportunity or the right mental state to do so, it can be tough to just throw words together on the fly.

      I think I would tend to agree with a lot of criticisms of Frau Merkel, but not this one.

      • You got it right here! The false start under stress and talking ad- lib is very frequent in German, in view of the complicated syntactical structures.

        I am confronted with this in my own home on a daily basis. And she has a degree in German. I will not disclose the identity of the above-mentioned person for reasons of discretion.

    • I agree that she didn’t know what to call the attack and was searching for words.
      If she had said “dieses (n) große (n)” or “diese (f) große (f)” I wouldn’t have bothered.
      But she says “diese (f) großes (n)” (1:52:00) which is ungrammatical not only because the genders of demonstrative pronoun and adjective don’t match (f./.n), but also, because “groß” with the ending -es can never appear in that position, between the demonstrative pronoun and the subject.
      And what do you make of 0:43 “mit den Hinterbliebenen gesprochenen”?

      • @Egri Nök:
        I admire your tireless sterling work at GoV. Notwithstanding, already 7 years ago:

        Während die Bundeskanzlerin die Karriereleiter in den letzten Jahren behende empor geklettert ist, verschwand ihre einst angenehme Ausdrucksweise irgendwann im grammatikalischen und rhetorischen Sumpf des Polit-Geschäfts.

        ( …her once pleasant way of expressing herself vanished at some time in the grammatical and rhetorical swamp of politics)

        One of the many articles in German on Merkel and Her Language also notes that she uses interchangeable modules/Lego blocks, Versatzstücke.

        This can answer your two questions:

        1. DIESE (R)…GROSSES: did you hear how her voice suddenly emphasises/speeds up the GROSSES, as if she is about to deliver the module GROSSES VERBRECHEN, big crime? Then she brakes herself and changes to Anschlag, attack.
        2. MIT DEN HINTERBLIEBENEN GESPROCHENEN: “with the survivors ie relatives of those killed, the ones spoken to”: I think one has to imagine a comma and a further MIT DEN before the GESPROCHENEN.

        I estimate she is talking here about the family members she ignored for the past year and then qualifies this cautiously by implying “those of them I spoke to”, but then again, she did not, so she uses the passive form, “those that were spoken to”, ie she leaves it unsaid, by whom, but wants to profit politically by pretending that she in fact did so.

        • Reconquista, thank you for the SZ article. They point out what I was saying, too: “The grammatical references are often imprecise or incorrect.”

          I’m afraid I can’t agree with your two suggestions:

          1. – if she had intended to say crime, Verbrechen (gender: n), then she would have started out “dieses große”. But she started out “diese großes”, and that is not a fragment that would have been correct with any noun in any of the three genders (m, f, n), it is simply wrong.

          2. Even if we were to imagine a “mit den”, then that would be wrong, too: “I have, with the bereaved, (and with the) spoken, spoked, speaked”?
          My guess is that she was accidentally rhyming “Hinterbliebenen”, like: I have spoken to the bereaven. I have speaked to the bereaved.

          I am not suggesting that she doesn’t know syntax and grammar. Such assumption would indeed be naive.

          But spoken German is not rocket science.
          Especially not when a speaker is producing very short, very simple sentences like Chancellor Merkel does here. With adjectives as basic as “big”.

          My personal guess is that she is so overchallenged, for whatever reason, that the different areals of the brain that produce language are a bit of synch.

          Either way, it is not a good sign.

      • That last one was strange, to be sure. I can’t think of any construction with “gesprochenen” that would make any sense other than just a weird stutter. As to the “diese großes” bit, I can only imagine that, again, her mouth started in on one phrase on autopilot, then she stopped partway through and started working on a new phrase such as “großes Geschäft” [i.e. this whole big business/to-do], then changed her mind about that as well. It’s a pretty random example, I admit, but that’s the best I could conjure up – not much.

      • Yes, I noticed the same thing Egri, but I simply saw it as something akin to our Trump holding a glass at the podium with two hands.
        In other words, the more people age, the stranger things start to look and sound. She looks awful in this video, like a dribbling, old, troubled woman who has somehow misplaced her broom, and so is worried she won’t be able to get to her next destination.

        • I’m about to reach my 64th birthday and to my horror I’m finding myself less fluent, less able to construct a sentence and access the wide range of vocabulary that’s stored in my brain.

    • Nice one, Sarge. But I am also reminded of President Eisenhower- him of the tortured syntax- who, when asked how he would respond to a troublesome issue during a press conference, replied, “I’ll just confuse the hell of them” (may not be an exact quote).

      FYI, my impression is that Eisenhower’s written communications were considered a model of clarity and breviloquence.

  3. Well why didn’t it “go well”, Madame Markel? Nary a clue from your pained monologue. Could the fact that some things “didn’t go well” have anything to do with your incredibly myopic policies? Possibly you have allowed considerable numbers of people into your country who wish your people I’ll? Could the ideology of Islam have anything to do with such people?

    BTW, I write from the USA. We still have this little thing called a 2nd amendment that precludes petty tyrants like yourself from depriving me of my liberty or my money under the guise of stopping “hate speech”.

    • But CONUS nationals living under the gun of NORTHCOM would do well to have a word with ex-Yugoslav gun owners who, so I understand, did not benefit at all from the high gun ownership rate, ie a sort of de facto 2nd Amendment, after 1991 in the so-called Civil War, ie external destruction of Yugoslavia esp. Serbia.

      Because the army in question just issued threats against wives or children when entering their houses to confiscate the weapons.

      If gun owners are organised in militias or some other historically-proven formation depending on terrain and logistics and the political details, that is a different matter.

      • Your statement is a bit foggy at first glance. You’re saying from past experience, a determined government can pry guns away from citizens in spite of a high rate of gun ownership.

        I agree totally. It’s suicidal to take up arms against your own army and justify their view that the civilian population is an enemy.

        A government wishing to enact a tyranny will generally use surrogate shock troops: street gangs, organized political violence, and even random criminal acts. The government uses surrogates because it must maintain some deniability. Guns are useful in protecting against the violent surrogates. Look at the hysterical response to the person who fired a gun to warn off a person using a homemade flamethrower against demonstrators.

        The biggest asset of a citizenry is the sympathies of the local army and police. It’s better to suffer some violence and deaths at the hands of the national army without fighting them, than to make it impossible for the sympathizers in the army to covertly help citizens.

    • Merkel is the German version of obama/clinton. Crime, chaos, corruption follow these three sociopaths as sure as night follows day.
      I wish Germany and the rest of Europe best wishes, but I have little confidence they can save themselves. Europe appears to be a nation of sheep.

      • Europe is not a NATION of anything. It is a lot of NATIONS.

        It’s important to keep that in mind.

        • I wish ‘white nationalists’ would understand this. Europeans don’t identify with a posited white nation; they identify as Finns, French, Germans, Hungarians etc etc. Only in the US with its black population and its melting pot of white nationalities does the end-product result in black v. white.

  4. Make things better???, You make this awaful mess , reapes , crime sky rocketed, criminals from Third world countries, You name them refugees, put next generations to high risk , unreverseble , court is waiting for You , for sake of Our kids ..

  5. If I might add… This is a simple case of THE Lying Liar telling the lies that lying liars tell to cover the lies that lying liars tell… I believe she is so focused on the lies that Lying Liars tell that she is so concentrated on which lie is coming next that she has lost track of the lies that have already been espoused…. Just saying…

  6. ” Germany IS ruled by a Sociopath” , says Dr. Nicolaus Fest:

    Rumor has it that there will be new elections and even a renewed attempt at the Jamaica Coalition without Merkel. But – even if Merkel goes now – the damage she has done to Germany (and Europe) cannot be repaired. And personally, I hope that she is not allowed to slip out quietly, without the punishment she deserves (Chanelling Nürnberg Style War Tribunals ! ) – only because people will be relieved to see her gone.

  7. To whom it may concern: do English grammar books fit through chimneys? Then there is a chance that Santa will come along. And believe me, I do not like to boss around.

  8. Dymphna, the word “bigly” was not invented, but rather happily used, by the cartoonist Scott Adams. He got it from Donald Trump, who said “big-league”, which was misheard (deliberately?) as “bigly”. See

    Thank you, Reconquista, Phillip, and others, for pointing out that Merkel’s malapropisms can be explained by the phenomenon of anacoluthon: starting to say one thing and then deciding to change it to something else, without being able to ensure gender agreement between an already spoken adjective and the newly decided-upon noun.

    • As I explained in my response to Reconquista et al, it wasn’t an anacoluth at “diese großes”. In a linguistic transcription, an asterisk would have been added:
      *diese großes
      to signal that “diese großes” is ungrammatical (linguistic term for “wrong”), no matter which noun she might have had in mind.
      And then there is “Hinterbliebenen gesprochenen”.

        • @Egri Nök and Phillip:

          German allows the sentence: ich habe ihn gesprochen, I talked to him. Or: kann ich Sie einen Augenblick sprechen/ can I see you for a moment?
          Hence the person talked to is a Gesprochener in Merkel’s module-by-module mind.

          I rest my case.

          • As I understand it, based on the way Egri explained it, there was an extra “en” at the end of gesprochen — “gesprochenen“, which makes no sense, and can’t be explained away.
            Sprochen is the past tense of “speak”, literally equivalent to “spoken”. Her version has a double inflexion, as if she had said “spokenen”.

          • @Reconquista – you are suggesting that she nominalized the verb, from “sprechen” (v) to “das Gesprochene” (N), and uses it in the dative plural: “den Gesprochenen”.

            I have two objections to that, first, nominalization of “sprechen” is limited to where language is concerned, e.g.: “Is this expression found in written or in spoken language?” – “In spoken/In Gesprochener”.

            My other objection is, if she was nominalizing the verb (although I think that is unlikely, for the reasons explained), then the sentence would lack the verb.

    • Several years ago, I heard someone from New Jersey say ‘bigly’ in a statistics presentation, and I actually asked her in an email later, attempting to be humorous, if it was a New Jerseyism. (For reasons on which I choose not to publicly speculate, I got no response at that time or later.) So this word has been in circulation for several years, at least.

      • I think it’s from Scott Adams’ cartoon series, the one which features people who work in cubicles. Took me a moment – “Dilbert” was the name of the main character.

  9. I would not read much into her grammatical errors. The overall impression of this interview is her being turned into an aging and tired old woman.
    Compared to previous interviews, her lively head movements are gone, large bags under her eyes and sagging skin. She is clearly at the end of her tether.

    • @Copywriter: this seems counterfactual and hence surprising. You appear not to read or speak German and are relying on visual impressions of her only? As you appear to be implying that any errors by her are due to fatigue.

      Actually, for some years now Merkel’s use of the language has been noticed and commented on also in the MSM in German in Germany, let alone by alternative German sources.

      Possibly Swiss and Austrian media addressed this subject too in German-language print and audio and video, I don’t know.

      Apparently she spoke quite differently before rising to power.

      The importance of the way she talks can be seen from the fact that Albrecht Müller at analysed the language of her last New Year speech at length.

      The economist, election strategist and advisor Albrecht Müller ran Willy Brandt’s successful SPD campaign in 1972 and then headed his Chancellor’s ministry. A US analogy to Müller might be David Axelrod/Rahm Emanuel /Karl Rove.

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