Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Beethoven's 9th Symphony--revisited!

 165+ instrumentalists; only a few different parts along with piano accompaniment. 

Electronic instrument: Matryomin.  Why? I suppose, because the electronics are embedded in a Russian doll called the Matryoshka Doll.  Not my favorite rendition, but whose to criticize?  I find it fascinating.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Is only speaking English enough to compete in the jobs market?

English may be a world language, but is it really enough to compete in the global job race?

Flags of countries 
      Photograph: Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images
Language skills boost career prospects. 
English is the world language, the dominant lingua franca in commerce and media. The language cruises at the apex of globalisation, technology and pop music, and is arguably at its most dominant position in its history. But is this a blessing or a curse for the people who speak it as a native language, rather than a second language? And is there any point of learning another language?

Graduates in the UK are facing stiff competition in this seemingly never-ending economic slump. Carl Gilleard, former chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), says: "Businesses require talent to compete at a global level, and the fact that the UK is lagging behind its competitors in developing graduates who fit the bill is a real cause of concern."
According to Eurostat, 54% of Europeans can converse in at least one foreign language. In comparison, just 39% of Brits claimed the same. In fact, only a 1% lower score for Ireland saves us from being labelled the most monolingual country in Europe. Aside from the slight PR boost from Nick Clegg's Dutch and Boris Johnson's French, if language is the "dress of thought", then our wardrobes are bare.

Having contracted a serious case of wanderlust on my gap year, I moved to the French-Canadian metropolis of Montréal. For me, living there while studying Chinese and economics helped push my proficiency in French far beyond my flailing GCSE level. It also helped me unshackle myself from the sluggish UK graduate jobs market by opening up opportunities in alternative countries and growth markets.

The Confederation of British Industry's Education and Skills Survey 2012 concluded that almost three quarters of businesses value foreign language skills among employees, and nearly 70% are not satisfied with young peoples' linguistic skills. German tops the list of languages rated as most useful, followed by French, Spanish, Mandarin and Polish.

A separate survey of 1,000 UK graduates revealed that 14% lost out on a job in the digital sector because they did not speak another language.

Speaking one language gets you onto the racetrack, but two will knock down half the hurdles.  Communicating in a foreign tongue can be the most exhilarating experience. And it will probably help you get a job too.

Loksan Harley works for Kreab Gavin Anderson, an international communications consultancy.

Monday, July 22, 2013

SYSTEMFEHLER: Wenn Inge tanzt (über Madsen?)

Hier ein Lied aus einem Film über das Leben von Madsen?  Madsen ist doch dabei.

(FYI:  Madsen spielte 2011 in Boston, und 21 aus dem NKHS Deutschklub waren dabei.  SEEEHR SCHÖN war das!)

Songtext:  Wenn Inge Tanzt

Inge akzeptiert das nicht,
Sie ist dagegen
Sie schaut sich gerne Wälder an,
am liebsten den mit Regen
Sie bremst auch für Tiere und hat Ideale
Sie macht sich nichts aus Typen,
Sie rettet lieber Wale
schlecht frisiert und ungeschminkt
als Mädchen eher ungeil
keine kurzen Röcke denn das ist nicht ihr style
Sie trägt gerne cords
sie dreht sicher nicht den SWAG auf
Sie will diskutieren, doch


Wenn Inge tanzt, dann gibt sie Vollgas
Herz über Verstand
Wenn Inge tanzt,dann gibt's kein Halten
Sie ist außer Rand und Band
Wenn Inge tanzt, tanzt, tanzt, tanzt, tanzt, tanzt
nur für sich
Komm Inge tanz, tanz, tanz, tanz, tanz komm
tanz für mich
Komm Inge!

Inge will die Welt verbessern,
Sie macht recycling
Mit ihrem selbst gestrickten Pulli
geht sie Altglas zum Abfall bringen
Atomkraft? Nein,danke. 'Ne Karte für die Demo
Sie geht an Riffen tauchen
und hofft sie findet Nemo
Inge fällt nicht auf
Sie tut nie mehr als nötig
Wahre Schönheit kommt von Innen
Und Eitelkeit ist tödlich
Am Autofreien Sonntag nur mit Fahrrad unterwegs
Obdachlose (homeless -- without a roof) grüßen "Na, wie geht's?"


Wenn Inge tanzt,dann gibt sie Vollgas
Herz über Verstand
Wenn Inge tanzt,dann gibt's kein Halten
Sie ist außer Rand und Band


Jeden Freitag bei YOUTUBE kommt ein neuer Video

 Wer sind die 3 Jungs  von Y-Tubes "Y-Titty" ?   Ich weiß nicht.  Aber hier wollen 2 eine Cola, und der Dritte liefert! 

Wer will abonnieren?   Hmmmm

Hier:  Mini-Rock Safari Zeit  -- eine Parodie.  Verstanden? 

Jemand schrieb:  1000 mal besser als das Original    (ha-ha)

Und hier sind die 3 Jungs (Phil, OG, und TC) bei Stefan Raab... Genial.

Kayla Fernweh schreibt uns und Videobloggt

Mehr zum Nürburgring von Kayla Fernweh  (cooler Name, nicht wahr?)

Und was schreibt Kayla über München?

Hi Frau Baker!

I just wanted to send you the link to my video about the Nurburgring  ( http://youtu.be/3T1lHdoYRkw ), but also just wanted to say hello!  

I've been in Munich for a little over a week now, and have classes for 3 hours every weekday.  Though I'm learning a lot, I am also exploring a ton, and have fallen in love with the city and more in love with Germany in general! I will continue to post videos like this about different experiences I have, I already have a few videos planned! 

I hope your summer is going well, and you are staying cool in the heat wave you are having in Rhode Island!

Lots of love,

Hier fängt Kayla an! 


Monday, July 15, 2013

Why I'll Be Studying Languages Forever

..... Here:  Helpful observations and tips for language learners of all ages

7/12/2013  By Beth ReiberNext Avenue Contributor      FORBES Online Personal Finance 

When I was a child, my “genie” wish was to be able to speak every language in the world. I realized early on that wasn’t likely to happen, so I settled on learning German in seventh grade and French in college. Later, my work as a travel writer took me to Tokyo, where I acquired a reasonable command of Japanese.

Today I am fluent in German, speak passable Japanese and remember bits of French, but studying Spanish in a twice-weekly class feels like the hardest language I’ve ever tried to learn. While I have some of the same motivations as I did with other languages — to enrich my life and travels — now, at midlife, I am also conscious that I’m doing something positive for my brain.

Memorizing grammar rules and new vocabulary seemed to come effortlessly when I was younger; now I find myself struggling to recall what I learned the previous week.

It’s also not true that younger students have better memories than older ones“When my kids go home for the summer, they forget everything,” says my Spanish instructor, Nici Coulson, who also teaches at a middle school. “So when they come back, I review everything in the first quarter that they learned the first year.”

Could age be to blame? After all, we’ve all heard that the earlier we take up a second language the better, which sadly deters some adults from even trying. Despite the fact that my aptitude for rote memorization seems to have dropped over the years, I’ve doggedly stuck with it. And I’ve come to realize that I may have done a bit of “revisionist thinking” on how easy it was to learn German as a kid, sort of like how mothers never remember exactly how painful childbirth was.

Good News for Middle-Aged Students
This recognition led to a Eureka moment for me: that my reasons for wanting to speak Spanish are different from what they were with German. And because motivation is the force that carries us over the hurdles, having this clear sense of my intentions has helped me deal with the frustration that arises whenever irregular verbs threaten to undo me.

Recently I stumbled upon some research that debunks the conventional wisdom that children learn language faster than adults. Educational psychologist Catherine Elizabeth Snow and others have shown that adolescents and adults can actually perform better than younger children under controlled conditions. They believe this is, at least in part, because older students can apply the skills they’ve acquired in mastering their mother tongue to the new one.

Lizette Peter, who teaches second-language acquisition at the University of Kansas, points out that there is more variation among learners of the same age than between child and adult learners, although adults who speak at least one foreign language will generally have an easier time picking up another.

Finally, science has now established that neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change, continues well into old age, meaning you really can teach an old dog new tricks.

Boomers’ Challenges in Learning a New Language
At different stages of life, different tools are employed to learn languages. Young children, for instance, often play games and sing songs. Teenagers muscle through rote memorization and adults often find study easier with books, audio programs, handwritten notes and other methods they’ve grown comfortable with over the years.

Typically the biggest obstacle facing older learners is pronunciation. Research shows that children tend to be better at learning unfamiliar sounds and developing a native-like accent, like the guttural roll of the “r” in German. Hearing loss can also make acquiring foreign words and phrases a challenge.
That was the case for me, too. While I easily absorbed a lot of vocabulary and grammar, it took six years of public school and a bachelor’s degree in German — plus four years of living in Germany and speaking the language — for me to become proficient. (Having a German boyfriend for seven years didn’t hurt.) So why on earth did I think Spanish would come more quickly?

Well Worth the Effort
Older students may actually have a few advantages when studying a language. Lizette Peter, who has personally studied 10 languages, says not to discount the value of developing personal learning strategies over time.

One of my classmates is Bill Getz, who’s 70 and retired. He says he’s able to devote more time to studying and practicing Spanish at this stage of his life because he doesn’t have “10 other mental projects to do” and isn’t distracted from the pressure of work. For him, a foreign language is also a great way to exercise his brain. “I study to conserve my memory — to keep it as nimble as possible to memorize in the short term and to recall in the long term.”
Research backs him up. Learning a language even in middle age can help fend off dementia. And science tells us that anything that stretches cognitive thinking, including memorization, is exercise for the brain.

There are plenty of other benefits to learning a foreign language, including the obvious — being able to communicate with people from other countries. But I also love the sense of accomplishment I get from mastering a new tongue and the personal enrichment of learning about new cultures. When I went to Spain last autumn, I was surprised at how well I could actually communicate and how much more I experienced as a result.

Then there are the less tangible aspects. A foreign language forces us to think in unfamiliar ways. In German, for example, the verb usually comes at the end of the sentence, which involves a thought pattern that’s different from how we think in English. The Japanese use different words depending on whether the speaker is male or female and whom they are addressing. Many languages make the distinction between the “polite” form of address and the “familiar.”

Although I chose Spanish for the simple thrill of being able to converse with people from other cultures at home and abroad, I’m also motivated by brain health. Now, instead of getting frustrated at having to continually relearn grammar and vocabulary, I view this pursuit as a mental version of a crossword puzzle, which I happen to love. 

And for that reason, I’ll be studying languages for as long as I am able.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Deutsche Geschichte per Zip und Zap

An entertaining survey of German history.

Two cartoon types, Zip and Zap, describe -- and depict -- German history in ten episodes, from the beginnings to the formation of the EU.  Each episode is about 9-minutes long.

(A thread running through the series is the amount of national unity and centralized power there is at each stage, eventually explaining the role of the Bundestag.)


Also available on Youtube with automated (not always accurate) subtitles. 

Mia Diekow singt: HERZ

Schön finde ich das Video auch:

Die Regenwolke über deinem Kopf
schießt Blitze in alle Richtung'n
aber du, du merkst das nicht
du hörst den Donner nich'

Da singt'n Bettler
und'n Blumenmädchen am Straßenrand.
Aber du, du merkst das nicht
du hörst ihre Lieder nich'

Und dein Herz singt
warum hörst du nie auf mich ?
Ich klopf' so laut an deine Tür.
Ich bin noch immer dein Freund
und kenne die geheimsten Orte in dir.
Ich schlage mich in jedem Kampf.
Wild und mutig fahr' ich Achterbahn..
denn ich komm' nich' an dich ran !

Durch deine Arme fließt latte macchiato
mit Tempo 170
aber du, du merkst das nicht
du hörst das Klopf'n nich'

Der Taxifahrer auf dem Heimweg
hat dir ein Kompliment geschenkt,
doch du, du merkst das nicht
du hörst seine Worte nich'

Wann hast du das letzte mal gelacht ?

Warum hörst du nie auf mich ?
ich klopf' so laut an deine Tür
ich bin noch immer dein Freund
und kenne die geheimsten Orte in dir (Uh,uh)
Ich schlage mich in jedem Kampf
wild und mutig fahr' ich Achterbahn..
doch ich komm' nich' an dich ran !

Und ich renne mit deinem Kopf um die Wette
aber irgendwie ist der viel schneller als ich

Hast du vergessen wer ich bin ?
Ich klopf' so laut an deine Tür.
ich bin noch immer dein Freund
und kenne die geheimsten Orte in dir (Oh)
ich schlage mich in jedem Kampf,
wild und mutig bis ich nicht mehr kann !

vielleicht merkst du es ja dann..

Optical Illusion: TANZ (von Hiss) in Schwarz und Weiß

Hier, der lustige Songtext

Du bist jung oder alt, reich oder pleite (broke),
Moslem oder Christ, Hindu oder Heide (heathen),
du bist grün oder blau, schwarz oder weiß,
was ist gut für den Körper, für die Seele (soul) für den Geist (spirit) ?
Der Tanz!

Du hast 'ne Menge Sorgen (a bunch of worries)  oder du hast keine,
bist verlobt (engaged), geschieden (divorced) oder ganz alleine,
'du bist dick oder dünn, Jungfrau oder Stier,
du wolltest gar nicht kommen, doch jetzt bist du hier.
Also Tanz!

Wackel mit dem Hintern, hebe deine Beine.
Tanz mit irgend jemand, oder tanz alleine.
Du kannst hüpfen oder zucken, schweben oder bängen,
bewege deine Arme, oder laß sie hängen.
Also Tanz!

Du heißt Jutta oder Dieter, Klaus oder Olga,
bist zu alt für Heavy Metal, zu jung für die Polka,
du fängst an zu schwitzen, keine Luft in dem Dunst,
das ist nur gerecht, denn jetzt geht es dir wie uns.
Also Tanz!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Site to compare countries on various topics


for comparing food and beverage consumption in Germany with that in the USA.

At the bottom is the option to check on other themes.