Yes, I know, another double letter posting, but hey, who could resist the obvious here? After all, the VW Beetle was ubiquitous, until it wasn’t, and now it is again. The car of the 60’s hippy revolution and a rival to only the mini as the coolest car of all time. The original Beetle production ran for 65 years and 21,000,000 vehicles – making it the longest production run of a single vehicle type ever. The resurgence of the ‘new Beetle’ kick-started a swath of retro-designed vehicles including the Mini, Camaro, Mustang and ……. Oh my this is boring – if you wanted to read about VW Beetle production you could just go to Wikipedia, same as I can. You came here for wit and repartee. So, starting with VW, where can this go?
Well, of course Volks Wagen translates as People’s Car. Cheap transport for the masses. Hitler’s answer to the Model T Ford, and a prime example of the lack of creativity in the world of German engineering. I mean, nothing changed in 65 years? Was it that good to start off with? If you’ve ever driven a Beetle in winter, you know it was absolute crap. But then the Germans have a habit of sticking with the original formula – just look at the stablemate of the venerable Beetle, the Porsche 911. This is basically a sporty Beetle, and it has been in constant production, and constant evolution, since 1963, yet the thing has barely changed at all.
Germans have a knack for the basics, that’s obvious. They are a very logical people too. I tried to learn German once, very briefly. There’s a language built on solid footings and so full of logic it would make Spock proud. I remember something about second verbs going to the end of a sentence. I struggle to identify even the first verb. I can’t imagine a sentence with two verbs, let alone having to shove one to the end. Then they have three genders for words. I thought French was bad enough! English, being the mongrel language it is, ditched the masculine / feminine nonsense generations ago. Apparently German is closely related to English. So you will naturally understand the first German phrase I ever learned: es ist nicht schwarz, es ist blau. And that funky form of transport, the luftkissen. And who recalls the catchy strapline for the Audi ads – Vorsprung durch technic. I’m sure you’re all following along quite nicely. And to all the fraulines out there – ICH LIEBE DICH!
Anyway, in the interests of European harmony, the EU recently issued an edict stating that English would become the standard language of Europe:
The European Commission has announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other contender. Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had room for improvement and has therefore accepted a five-year phasing in of “Euro-English”.
In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump for joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of the “k”, Which should klear up some konfusion and allow one key less on keyboards.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”, making words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.
In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e” is disgrasful.
By the fourth yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and everivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. ZE DREM VIL FINALI COM TRU!
And that’s it for VW – I will just leave you with this snappy German threat to ponder via Google Translate:
ich rasiere dich ohne schaum!