wintery german conundrum

Ski/Schi – A wintery german conundrum

After watching some rather skinny people on ZDF repeatedly jump into the air with slats attached to their feet, it got me wondering. Just why exactly is Ski pronounced Schi? I understand that the word ski in German is also der Schi. Fine. But clearly Ski is Ski not Schi.

Sk is for Ska and Skandal and Skizze and Skiff. Not Scha and Schandal and Schizze and Schiff. Why are Ski and Schi pronounced the same? This is not logical. I protest.



  1. Wednesday 18 April 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I have to add fuel to the ski fire. I think it is an American thing. Normally Americans are good at say what you see but this morning people were going on about going to see a concert and playing songs by the artist Susan Tedeski. This bugged me and I looked her up. Sure enough she is Susan Tedschi. Being a native of the UK, I am used to pronouncing a lot of things not in the way they are written – Cholmondely pronuced Chumley : Magdalane pronounced Mawd’lin are two classic examples. I used to feel superior when I heared American’s asking for directions to Lye Chester Square in London, smugly congratulating myself for knowing that Leicester is pronounced Lester, even if its not spelled that way but really, since living in the states, I have come to appreciate the difficulties non-queens english speakers face. If you are going to say Lester then why stick in the ei.


  2. sattva said,

    Wednesday 18 April 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Phonetics have nothing to do with being American (and apparently nothing to do with being British either).

    “Schi” is not pronounced “ski” in German. A friendly Austrian explained to me why these two words mean the same thing, yet are written differently and pronounced the same in German… which has absolutely nothing to do with what you wrote.

    If incorrect verb conjugation and the use of an apostrophe to indicate a plural noun are examples of the Queen’s English, I’ll stick to the American version.

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