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AM: Which watch? -- Famous line from "Casablanca"

Famous, yes, but in Casablanca they never said, "Which watch?". It was the equally funny -- and completely un-German -- "What watch?".

Mr. Leuchtag: Liebchen - sweetness, what watch?
Mrs. Leuchtag: Ten watch.
Mr. Leuchtag: Such watch?

If my 50-year-old memories of colloquial German are any guide, all of these variations are völlig falsch (i.e. baloney). The dialog "should" have gone like this:

Mr. Leuchtag: Little sweet, how many clock is it?
Mrs. Leuchtag: Ten clock.
Mr. Leuchtag: So many clock?

Maybe it's just me, but this literal translation from the German sounds just as funny as the incorrect original.

The German style of telling time is not as bizarre as it looks, though. They are simply omitting three minor words for the sake of efficiency in speech. "How many [hours of the] clock is it?" almost sounds correct to English ears, and it is very reminiscent of our own abbreviated phrase "What o'clock is it?" ("o'clock" being a contraction for "of the clock").

[The remainder of this lengthy and exceedingly pedantic lecture has been dropped for the sake of efficiency in posting.]

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