The Lords: Poor Boy

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Still grinning about how wery hard life was in Berlin in 1965. The German beat band, The Lords, sing and dance “Poor boy”, one of their greatest hits. Now, I’m not knocking writing and singing in a foreign language, on the contrary, it’s really great! But for an English teacher like me it’s fascinating to look closely at the errors they make. Apart from the w/v problem (Germans overcompensate, saying “wery well” to make sure they don’t say “very vell”), The Lords make the typical mistake, “she learned me (to do sth)” (instead of “taught”), and sing “the life is so hard” – using “the” for an abstract noun. Wait a minute: Why are “life” and “death” considered abstract and intangible in English? Englische Sprache, schwere Sprache.

PS: “The life is hard to go/life is very hard to stay” reminds me of the German saying about not having enough money: “zum Leben zu wenig, zum Sterben zu viel” – too little to live on, too much to die.

When I was born you know
I couldn’t speak and go
My mother worked each day
and she learned me to say.

Mother and father and son
sister and uncle are/have fun
and she learned me to say
life is so hard each day.

Poor boy you must know
poor boy the life is hard to go (?)
poor boy you must say
life is very hard to stay

When I was born you know
I couldn’t speak and go
My mother worked each day
and she learned me to say.

Poor boy you must know….


2 Responses

  1. Hi!
    Love the photo on your blog, wish I was living in that shack… Anyway, I happened by your blog today and really liked what I found. It occurred to me that you might like the site “English Central” where your students (for free) can practice pronunciation for as long as they like – and be scored on their efforts! They can focus on a particular sound or talk about different topics. Have a look – I’m sure you’ll love it!

  2. Hi Karin,

    Thank you for your very kind words, and for your great tip: is really interesting. I just spent some time there, practicing pronunciation with Angelina Jolie and Steve Jobs and the people reporting on the royal wedding – lovely! The texts are excellent. I have one minor quibble: I couldn’t listen to my whole recorded phrase, just to individual words. But maybe I’m doing something wrong. Also, my use of connected speech made the words sound different from the models of individual words they were compared with. I’m definitely going to pass this on to the other teachers in my course, and to my students. Thanks a lot!

    It’s great looking through your blog. Will comment there.

    Yes, that hut must be a great get-away. I found it on Pixelio and reproduced it with permission of

    Thanks again 🙂

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