Do Germans have a sense of humour? This can be the subject of a very long debate, but the BBC Travel website has gone to some lengths in explaining things in a very interesting article titled “Why people think Germans aren’t funny”.
The article gives some very plausible explanations as to why German humour isn’t funny to English speakers and vice versa. Click here to go to the article.
I have been rather sloppy at maintaining Mosel Musings over the last year and please accept my sincere apologies for that. I will spare you the excuses even though I do have my personal reasons for the absence. I also promised some time ago to give a review of the language courses I did last year and sadly I still have not got around to that, but they will happen as soon as I get more time.
However, a colleague is thinking of moving to another country and today I was chatting to her about my language learning experiences. I gave her several pointers of the things I found most helpful and I thought some of the readers of Mosel Musings might also find them useful if they are learning German or indeed any other language.
So, without further ado, here are my tips for language learning novices: Continue reading
I recently discovered a very interesting and useful YouTube channel called “Get Germanized”.
It is hosted by a young German lad with bags of enthusiasm who is clearly very keen to help us foreigners living in Germany. The channel has a great deal of content covering a wide range of interesting topics including things such as job hunting, his Grandfather’s World War II stories and typical German stereotypes. He even has some basic German language lessons which are pretty good for total beginners:
Please go take a look at his channel and give him a few thumbs up or nice comments as he really is trying to help make our lives here easier.
This YouTube video gives a great explanation as to why English is considered to be a Germanic language, even though to most people it has more in common with French.
Well, that is week one of my two-week intensive German studies over, and it has been one of the busiest weeks of my life.
I am staying in the beautiful home of the teacher (actually, she is the school owner) and her husband, and each day comprises one-on-one lessons from 9am to around 4pm. Meals are taken with the family, and free time is also spent predominantly with them.
Being private tuition as opposed to class based lessons, the programme is tailored to my particular needs, and in my case it is a combination of grammar, phonetics and comprehension. Of course, I am finding the German grammar the hardest element to get to grips with, but also the fact that the entire day is pretty much solid German means I am feeling mentally exhausted quite often and on occasions emotionally drained too. The latter was a surprise to me – on Wednesday evening I just felt like jelly and incredibly homesick to the point where I thought to myself “why the hell am I doing this?”. I think this was the result of exhaustion from the intensive studies and the fact that it started to hit me that all my efforts to date really have only lightly scratched the surface of the vast sphere of the German language. My teacher came to the rescue and after half an hour or so I was back on track and ready to face yet another German social gathering, but I have to admit there are still occasions when I really feel I need to be alone but cannot without appearing rude. Continue reading
I previously published a number of posts on everyone’s favourite subject – German language learning. It was my intention to embark on a combination of systematic and diligent self-study coupled with using various apps and other types of software to support my efforts. Here is an update on my progress… Continue reading
We have all been to restaurants in touristy areas where the menu has some dubious translations. This one is from a nice place in my hometown, Zell, and I must admit I have never ordered either of these two dishes simply because I would not be able to keep a straight face!! I dread to think where the “cumcumbers” get inserted! So the moral of this story is, never trust Google Translate!
For those of you who might be struggling, here is a very useful little video produced by the Deutsches Weininstitut (German Wine Institute) on how to pronounce the various German wine terms and their meanings:
To see their website which has a host of information on German wines in general (in English) click here.
My German learning progress has been rather sketchy over the last few months. Of course, I could blame it on work, travel, family commitments and the like but when I sit back and analyse it, that is utter rubbish as I still manage to find time to sit gawking at the telly. I suspect that is the case for many of us and sadly it is very easy to fall into the habit of staring aimlessly at some daft action movie than to challenge our intellects by studying a language.
In my defense however, my work has kept me overseas for extended periods of time, and therefore I neither need or even hear German that often, so the incentive to learn it has not really been there. Well, that is my argument and I’m sticking to it. However, my impending permanent move back to Germany has started to give me a bit of a kick up the rear end and I realise that I really do need to brush up on what I have learned already and start picking up new stuff.
So, in my panic, I came across another free learning resource which looks quite promising. It is a website called “Ich will Deutsch lernen” (i.e. “I want to learn German”) and is sponsored by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research). It takes your from total beginner to level B1, and includes lots of real video footage so you will hear native speakers conversing. It also includes a 45 episode “websoap” called “Schnitzel und Dolmades”. As with most of these sites, you need to register to access the full content, but given it is free that is no hardship. If you feel uncomfortable with registering, it is easy enough to create another free email account and use that along with a false name, etc.
I will be giving it a try over the coming days (well, probably weeks knowing me) and will write my findings and opinions in future posts. If you are interested in giving it a go, the website is here and I would be interested to receive feedback from anyone else who tries it.
Ha ha ha what a day… I need to get a document translated and certified from English to German so I emailed a certified translator in Trier to ask whether they needed the original document immediately and how much it would cost.
Despite sending the email in English, their response came back in German, and my basic knowledge of the language told me my questions had remained unanswered.
So, I emailed the company back (in English) clearly reiterating my questions and requesting that due to my poor German skills I would prefer their reply to be in English.
So imagine my reaction when the reply came “Sehr geehrter Herr Wright. Bitte rufen Sie uns an” (please telephone us)! The real irony was their website is totally in English and proclaims they are able to translate to and from English. Maybe they want to charge me for translating their answers?!
I went elsewhere.