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German Word of the Day: Der Erzähler

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German Word of the Day: Der Erzähler
Photo: depositphotos
16:28 CEST+02:00
With the Frankfurt Book Fair kicking off today, the eyes of the literary world are all focused on Germany. We have chosen a word to join in on the literary celebrations.

Der Erzähler is the German word for ‘narrator’ and in honour of the book fair, we thought that we would share the German translations of the different types of narrators.

An Ich-Erzähler is a first-person narrator. An example of this in well known German book; Max Frisch’s Homo Faber, where the main character, Walter Faber, leads the reader through the story in his own voice.

An allwissender or auktorialer Erzähler is an omniscient narrator, such as that in Gottfried Keller’s novella Kleider machen Leute, in which an all-knowing voice guides us through the plot.

A personeller Erzähler is the translation of a third-person limited narrator. An example of this is the narrator in Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung; the story is told from the third-person, but from the perspective of only one character.

Lastly, a neutraler Erzähler is a simple third-person narrator with no opinions or feelings, purely a neutral perspective guiding the reader through a story. An example of this is Theodor Fontane’s 1986 novel Effi Briest.


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