Dwight Schrute’s Terrific German – Part 5: Singing in German Posted by Sten on Jun 6, 2019 in Culture, Language, Music, People, Television, vocabulary
You may remember Dwight Schrute, the quirky top paper salesman from NBC’s “The Office” (by the way, there is a German spin-off, called Stromberg). While the sitcom celebrated its finale back in May 2013, it is still one of the most watched shows today. And Mr Schrute is one of the audience’s favorite characters. Not only his dorky, freaky personality makes him uniquely popular, but also the emphasis on German stereotypes. From his strict sense of law and order to his upkeep of old Schrute family traditions, he proudly lives his German (Pennsylvania Dutch) heritage. Let’s take a deeper dive into all of Dwight’s Germanness throughout ALL 9 seasons of The Office. From his word use to nods to German culture and traditions.
Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf
S4E15 “Night Out”
After Ryan gets to bed after being beaten up by some girls in the club, high on drugs.
Dwight: [to Ryan] Do you want me to sing you a song my mother used to sing me, when we were sick?
Ryan: No. [Dwight starts singing in German] Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf, der Va…
Michael: Dwight, shh shh. Dwight. Leave him alone.
Dwight: It’s a lullaby.
Dwight sings the famous German lullaby Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf (sleep, my child, sleep).
Listen to it here:
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Der Vater hüt die Schaaf,
Die Mutter schüttelt’s Bäumelein,
Da fällt herab ein Träumelein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf.
The translation of the first verse is as follows:
Sleep my child, sleep
Your father tends the sheep,
Your mother shakes the apple tree,
As falls down a dream for thee
Sleep my child, sleep
It would really have helped Ryan, don’t you think?!
Learn Your Rules
S5E12 “The Duel”
Dwight: Rule 17: don’t turn your back on bears, men you have wronged, or the dominant turkey during mating season. There are forty rules all Schrute boys must learn before the age of five. [sings] Learn your rules. You better learn your rules. If you don’t, you’ll be eaten in your sleep. [makes chomping sound]
While this is not a German song, it harks back to the German strictness and harshness in the upbringing of their children. We looked at this in the past few posts in this series, such as with Struwwelpeter and the terrible consequences if you were naughty during Christmas.
The Schrutes make their children learn 40 rules before the age of 5. Or death awaits. Pretty harsh!
Take Me Home, Country Roads – Landstraßen, Bringt Mich Heim
S5E21 “Michael Scott Paper Company”
Erin: Country roads, take me home, to the place…[Dwight is strumming the tune on his guitar] Sorry. I like that song. You’re good!
Dwight: You’re good.
Erin: Thank you.
Andy: That was great, but it’s just sort of, it’s still a little choppy like. But don’t worry, it’s hard, it took me a while too. It’s like [Andy plays Country Roads on his banjo.]
Andy: What? Oh my God you heard that I’m so embarrassed. I’m like so rusty.
Dwight: Oh it’s good, you’re coming along. It’s really technically proficient but really there’s no heart or soul in it.
[Dwight plays a hearty strum of the song, Andy stands and starts a banjo solo]
Dwight: Hey you want to sing with me? Almost heaven…
Dwight and Erin: West Virginia, Blue Ridge mountain, Shenandoah River [Andy vocalizes]
Dwight: In German! Das Leben ist alt dort, älter als die Bäume, jünger als die Berge, wie eine …
Dwight and Andy: Take me home, country roads, to the place, I belong. West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads. [Erin leaves]
Dwight: Take it Andy! Take me home, to the place I belong, Ba bah dah duh
Toby: You have to stop. [bangs on glass window]
Take me Home, Country Road. A classic. So of course, the Germans, who like to dub everything, translated it into German. And yes, Dwight is singing that exact version. Scary.
The part that Dwight is singing looks as follows in German:
Es ist fast der Himmel, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River (*1)
Das Leben ist alt dort, älter als die Bäume
Jünger als die Berge, es wächst an wie eine Brise
Landstraßen, bringt mich heim
Zu dem Platz, an den ich gehör’
West Virginia, bergiges Mütterlein
Dwight butchers the last sentence he sings, es wächst an wie eine Brise is not what he sings, but he gets the other parts very right!
Thanks to The Office for uploading many of the fragments that include the content of this post, and a huge thanks to officequotes.net, where volunteers wrote up transcripts of every single episode. It made this task much easier!
What is your favorite song Dwight sang, and why? Did I miss any singing? Please let me know in the comments below! And thank you for following along!