German Language/"Gowl"


I'm an Amish from Pennsylvania, USA. My mother tongue is Pennsylvania German. What's quite interesting about Pa German is how it differs from modern High German. And one good example of such differences is the word used to describe that creature the English call a "horse". We PA German speakers call it a "gowl". We pronounce that word so it rhymes the English words owl, growl, and howl, when refering to one horse. When speaking of many horses we use the word 'gal',pronounced  just like the English word "gal" which mean girl.
Is a horse called a gowl anywhere in Germany today?

Hello Irvin,

thank you very much for your interesting question.

The standard German word for horse is "Pferd". The "pf" is quite tricky to pronounce, and to be honest, many Germans actually just pronounce it as a normal "f". The German word for horses is "Pferde".
You can listen to the pronunciation when you follow this link:
Just click on the speaker symbol next to the German word, and listen to the options.

However, there also is the German word "Gaul". Although it is spelled differently, it is pronounced exactly as you pronounce gowl. Interestingly, this is not a very nice word to say. So, if a horse wouldn't do what it's supposed to do, for example it won't move, someone might yell "Blöder Gaul!" which means stupid horse. So you shouldn't use this word talking about someone else's horse, as they might not like their horse to be called like that.
The corresponding word for several horses is "Gäule", which is pronounced "goyla". Again, you can use the website mentioned above to listen to the correct renunciation.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards

German Language

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As a native German speaker working professionally with languages, I can answer questions concerning German grammar, spelling and punctuation. I can also help with understanding and short German-English translations. As I also speak French, I might also be helpful concerning German-French translations. Translation only refers to short texts here.


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