From: "Christian Thalmann" <[log in to unmask]>

| Yeah.  Many B-movie educated Americans don't seem able to distinguish
| [x] and [C] from [X].  While [X] sounds undeniably rough, the former
| two are actually quite smooth.
| I never quite understood why people call German "guttural".  Unless
| you use the Hitler-style drumroll /r/ and uvular /X/s, there is very
| little about the language that would deserve that predicate.

Didn't Hitler have a damaged larynx (probably from all that screaming) that made
his voice so unbearably raspy?

In my senior year in high school, one of my best friends was an exchange student
from (then West) Berlin. He was conversing with another exchange student in
German (or a local dialect like Saxon) -- and it sounded NOTHING like the
stereotypical "Nazi" language. In fact, I heard a woman reporting on Deutsche
Welle and she sounded pretty dang sexy.

My brother, on the other hand, never cared for the phonetic; I'd practice
speaking Russian or German or Arabic or whatever and he'd complain about that
[X] sound, but it did take me a lot of practice to "soften" it so I could say
_khorosho_ instead of _KKKHHHHHorosho_.

And I still have trouble distinguishing [x] from [X] -- but I do know [C] ;)

| Then again, which average American can distinguish German from Dutch?
| ;-)

I'm still wondering how you can say _groot God_ without sounding too
"aggressively guttural"....