Monday, September 19, 2005

An'-ge-la Mer'-kel

I don't know much about German politics - I can't even figure out their electoral system - and I don't care much about who wins, beyond a vague philosophical preference for conservatives over socialists. But there's one thing I love about CDU leader and candidate for chancellor, Angela Merkel. And that's her name.

Compared to recent German leaders - the guttural roughness of Gerhard Schroeder, the heavy, plodding Helmut Kohl - Angela Merkel positively trips off the tongue. Poetry!

Opening with the "a" of "father", Angela Merkel then plunges into a quick cluster of hard and soft consonants pronounced in all parts of the mouth, strung together by quick vowels which are essentially variants of the schwa. What a workout for the tongue.

She's even got meter (dactylic). She could be a character from a nursery rhyme (try substituting her for Little Miss Muffet), or Dr. Seuss:
Angela Merkel
Slipped on a hurkle
Under Schmerkellestrasse...

Or a magic phrase: Abracadabra! Open Sesame! Angela Merkel!

I may be an obnoxious foreigner, but it saddens me that Merkel's supporters have taken to nicknaming her Angie, with a soft "g". It doesn't have the pizzazz.

Keywords: Angela Merkel, poetry


Batya said...

I think it's nice enough that she's a she, nu?

Zman Biur said...

Well, if you want to be sexist about it!