Sunday, November 30, 2014

New Yorker Profiles Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel


A summer afternoon at the Reichstag. Soft Berlin light filters down through the great glass dome, past tourists ascending the spiral ramp, and into the main hall of parliament. Half the members’ seats are empty. At the lectern, a short, slightly hunched figure in a fuchsia jacket, black slacks, and a helmet of no-color hair is reading a speech from a binder. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and the world’s most powerful woman, is making every effort not to be interesting.

...... Paragraph 1 of many!  
Find out details of Angela's youth as an award - winning Russian speaker growing up in Brandenburg.  Learn what she thought of  rebellious West Germans in the '60's (The Baader Meinhof Gruppe) and of Americans.  Read about her initially cold relationship with Obama, which has warmed considerably -- even while he's grown far less popular.  Yes, there are clues to her private life.  There is discussion of Germany's history and politics (including fascinating details about the destruction and rebuilding of the amazing parliament building, the Reichstag).  We also learn how incredulous Germans initially were to hand their nation's government over to her.  And how she's quietly relishing the country's stability now, which has fueled her popularity, while her opponents find she's made of Teflon.
Might she run for a 4th term? Certainly her success cannot last.  -- Right?  

Pun control: China bans wordplay  World 

The Chinese language is filled with puns and other humorous wordplay, but the country's print and broadcast watchdog does not believe it has a place in the newsroom. The watchdog has panned wordplay for the media citing that it breaches the law on spoken and written Chinese and if they promote puns, it will make teaching China's cultural heritage harder and could mislead the public, including children, The Guardian reports.  Cultural idioms could create a "a culture and linguistic chaos.

“Radio and television authorities at all levels must tighten up their regulations and crack down on the irregular and inaccurate use of the Chinese language, especially the misuse of idioms,” the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a statement.

The statement also said programs and advertisements must abide by the rule and avoid changing characters, phrases and meanings. “Idioms are one of the great features of the Chinese language and contain profound cultural heritage and historical resources and great aesthetic, ideological and moral values."

"(Wordplay) is so much part and parcel of Chinese heritage," David Moser, academic director for CET Chinese studies at Beijing Capital Normal University told The Guardian.

The statement from the administration cites rather small complaints about
  • a tourism advertisement to a medical commercial. The tourism advert must now change a slogan from "Shanxi, a land of perfection" into "land of splendors" 
  • and the medical commercial turned "brook no delay" into coughing must not linger,"
the Guardian says. 

“It could just be a small group of people, or even one person, who are conservative, humourless, priggish and arbitrarily purist, so that everyone has to fall in line,” said Moser.  “But I wonder if this is not a preemptive move, an excuse to crack down for supposed ‘linguistic purity reasons’ on the cute language people use to crack jokes about the leadership or policies. It sounds too convenient.”

35 hour/week (not 70+): Minimum 24 paid vacation days (not 2-10); 14 Months Maternity leave (not 1- 8 weeks)

Danke, Jesse.  Ich lade gern diesen Artikel hier auf!  Perfekt! -rsb

Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Produce More: A Study In Culture

germany 437When many Americans think of Germany, images of WWII soldiers and Hitler often come to mind. But what many people don’t realize is that Germany is the industrial powerhouse of Europe, and is a leading manufacturer of goods for export to developing Asian nations. We don’t hear about the superiority of German engineering in Volkswagen commercials for nothing!

The economic engine of the EU, Germany single-handedly saved the Eurozone from collapse in 2012. At the same time, German workers enjoy unparalleled worker protections and shorter working hours than most of their global counterparts. How can a country that works an average of 35 hours per week (with an average 24 paid vacation days to boot) maintain such a high level of productivity?

Working Hours Mean Working Hours

In German business culture, when an employee is at work, they should not be doing anything other than their work. Facebook, office gossip with co-workers, trolling Reddit for hours, and pulling up a fake spreadsheet when your boss walks by are socially unacceptable behaviors. Obviously, in the United States these behaviors are frowned up on by management. But in Germany, there is zero tolerance among peers for such frivolous activities.

In the BBC documentary “Make Me A German“,  a young German woman explained her culture shock while on a working exchange to the UK.
“I was in England for an exchange… I was in the office and the people are talking all the time about their private things… ‘What’s the plan for tonight?’, and all the time drinking coffee…”
She was quite surprised by the casual nature of British workers. Upon further discussion, the Germans reveal that Facebook is not allowed in the office whatsoever, and no private email is permitted.

Goal-Oriented, Direct Communication Is Valued

German business culture is one of intense focus and direct communication. While Americans tend to value small talk and maintaining an upbeat atmosphere, Germans rarely beat around the bush. German workers will directly speak to a manager about performance reviews, launch into a business meeting without any ‘icebreakers’, and use commanding language without softening the directives with polite phrases.Whereas an American would say, “It would be great if you could get this to me by 3pm,” a German would say, “I need this by 3pm”.

When a German is at work, they are focused and diligent, which in turn leads to higher productivity in a shorter period of time.

Germans Have a Life Outside Work

Germans work hard and play hard. Since the working day is focused on delivering efficient
productivity, the off hours are truly off hours. Because of the focused atmosphere and formal environment of German businesses, employees don’t necessarily hang out together after work. Germans generally value a separation between private life and working life.

The German government is currently considering a ban on work-related emails after 6pm, to counter the accessibility that smartphones and constant connectivity give employers to their employees. Can you imagine President Obama enacting such a policy in the United States?

To occupy their plentiful Freizeit, most Germans are involved in Verein (clubs); regularly meeting others with shared interests in their community. Common interests in Germany include Sportvereine (sports clubs), Gesangvereine (choirs or singing clubs), Musikvereine (music clubs), Wandervereine (hiking clubs), Tierzuchtvereine (animal breeding clubs – generally rabbits/pigeons) and collectors’ clubs of all stripes. Even the smallest village in Germany will have several active Vereinen to accommodate residents’ interests. Rather than settling in for a night of TV after work, most Germans socialize with others in their community and cultivate themselves as people.

Germans also enjoy a high number of paid vacation days, with many salaried employees receiving 25-30 paid days (the law requires 20). Extended holidays mean families can enjoy up to a month together, renting an apartment by the seaside or taking a long trip to a new, exciting city.

Business Respects Parenthood

Germany’s system of Elternzeit (“parent time” or parental leave) is the stuff of fantasy for most working Americans. The United States does not currently have laws requiring maternity leave, while Germany has some of the most extensive parental protection policies in the developed world.

[The downside of these maternity leave benefits is that employers may avoid hiring women (with the fear that they will take advantage of the extensive benefits), and German boardrooms are consistently male-dominated at a higher rate than other developed nations, although the government is working to eradicate this trend. The financial benefits of staying home (from both Elternzeit and Elterngeld or parents’ money programs) are often too good to pass up for German mothers, and can lead to stagnant or non-existent careers.]

Since “at will” employment does not exist in Germany, all employees have contracts with their employer. Parents who have been gainfully employed for the previous 12 months are eligible for Elternzeit benefits, which include up to three years of unpaid leave with a “sleeping” contract. The employee is eligible to work part-time up to 30 hours while on leave, and must be offered full-time employment at the conclusion of the parental leave.

Parents may also choose to postpone up to one year of their leave until the child’s 8th birthday.  

Either parent is eligible for parental leave, and many couples make the choice based on financial considerations.

In addition to the preservation of the employee’s contract, the state will pay up 67% of the employee’s salary (with a cap of 1800 Euros per month) for 14 months. Parents may split the 14 months however they choose. These benefits apply equally to same-sex couples.

Have you picked your jaw up off the floor yet?


Comments:  Some of the formality of the work place is language-related.  People address their co-workers formally, which can be very direct.  

Furthermore, with considerably more free time, German citizens have time to plan extensive vacations and actively participate in their communities, such as organizing Karneval dance teams and parades.

Klassensprüche: Wie sagt man das?

Verstehst du alles hier?  Welche kannst du morgen in der Klasse laut sagen?
Here are some useful classroom expressions.  Which don't you understand?  Which are you ready to put to use tomorrow?

Our Text uses mogeln for to cheat.           ,,Du hast gemogelt!"
Here instead (#14) we find schummeln.   ,,Ich habe nicht geschummelt."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Was machen sie in Bayern anders?

 (What are the Bayern Müncheners doing differently?)

 Bayern München - Excerpt - Soccer America

So from all over the world they come looking for a piece of the American pie -- and an especially enticing point of entry into the U.S. market is youth soccer.

Chelsea’s partnership with the 9,000-player CASL ended in 2012, but it sold lots of replica jerseys to Americans. This year, we’ve had two European clubs venture into the U.S. market that actually do have an impressive record of graduating players from its youth academy to its first team: Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Barcelona has launched an academy in Florida.  (La Masia, Barcelona’s famed academy in Spain, doesn’t charge kids. This U.S. version is, surprise, a pay-to-play venture.)

Credit to Bayern Munich for being honest about why it has forged a partnership with Global Premier Soccer. “Our main objective is that we brand build and get in touch with our fan base,” Rudolf Vidal, CEO of Bayern Munich in the USA. Despite its long history as a superclub, Bayern has lagged in U.S. popularity behind English Premier League clubs, which have gotten far more television exposure in the USA than Bundesliga teams, and behind the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Bayern, a Bundesliga record 23-time champion, has been on a particularly good roll recently, reaching 3 of the last 5 Champions League finals. And Germany’s 2014 World Cup title-winning team included 7 Bayern players and 5 players from Bayern’s youth academy.

The quest by Bayern, which opened a New York City office and a U.S online store earlier this year, to build its American fan base is perfectly understandable as its global rivals have been doing the same. Kids, of course, are a prime target. “Part of the brand-building process is definitely the grass-roots approach where we can bring our know-how to the States,” says Vidal. “We want to build the brand, get in touch with the people who are interested in Bayern Munich and go into the youth soccer structure and try to help wherever we can. It’s not like we can reform the whole system. We want to help, add something.” He says he’s very confident this will be “a win-win situation for everybody. That means for the kids, for Bayern Munich, and for GPS.”

“We’ll send the best coaches coming from Germany,” Vidal says. “We’ll bring GPS coaches to Germany. We’ll give them our curriculum and principles to tell them how we work, what is the secret behind that.”

Much of Bayern’s success in youth development is not so secret. It fields one team at each youth age group comprised of the best players it can find from mainly southern Germany, but also from throughout the country and abroad. And each year players are cut and new talent comes in. Bayern coaches have the luxury of coaching the very best players at a particular age group. They coach players whom their scouts assessed as having the potential to become pros. The American coaches (whom Bayern coaches will be advising) coach in a very different environment. Will Bayern guidance help them become better coaches to young Americans?  Perhaps. Will Bayern be selling lots more jerseys? For sure.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gewinner - v. Clueso

Ich bin dabei, bist du dabei, sind wir dabei uns zu verlieren?

Mit Songtext
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WWI Adversisement

BBC  (Beware:  There are English references which can befuddle a bit; hang in there! -- rsb)

Ad Breakdown: Sainsbury's WW1 Christmas truce advert.

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Christmas supermarket advertisements used to show a paper-hatted extended family, lashings of mince pies, copious tinsel, and an inordinately large turkey. But this year's Sainsbury's offering rewinds 100 years to dramatize the Christmas truce of 1914, writes Tom de Castella.
It starts with the boom of artillery. It's night and British soldiers huddle in the trenches. Snow is falling. A Tommy opens a parcel from home - out falls a woman's photo and a bar of chocolate. The Sainsbury's Tommy - for it is he - smiles. Silent Night rises eerily - at first in German and then in English. The Sainsbury's Tommy pokes his head above the trench and after momentary tension - will they shoot? - the two sets of soldiers are in No Man's Land playing football and chatting.
The protagonist hands his chocolate to a German called Otto and in return receives what looks like a piece of hardtack biscuit. In the distance the guns rumble, both sets of troops return to the trenches, and the rousing score morphs into meditative piano. "Christmas is for sharing," flashes up on screen, followed by the familiar orange Sainsbury's logo, and finally "Made in partnership with the Royal British Legion".
Some have seen it as a massive counter-offensive against John Lewis after their penguin and boy blockbuster. While John Lewis had opted for "a mawkish story about a lonely penguin" using CGI, Sainsbury's had created a moving memorial based on lots of historical research and austere production values, one newspaper review said. But foranother it was a "dangerous and disrespectful masterpiece".
chocolate bar
Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, says Sainsbury's probably decided there was little point trying to outdo John Lewis. Instead it's opened up a new front in the ad wars. It's risky, Sutherland suggests. There's always going to be a certain number who feel you're using millions of deaths to "sell wrapping paper", he says. But most people will like it. "It's a healthily oblique way to do a Christmas advertisement" that sells "the spirit of Christmas".
There were powerful emotions on Twitter.
"I know, I know: capitalism etc but still: *sobs* #sainsburyschristmas" Angela Clarke tweets.
Matt Henry opined: "The Sainburys Christmas ad should win an award. Sorry John Lewis you don't even come close."
"Great ad, beautifully made AND doing good," says Chris Arnold - a reference to the £1 chocolate bar that will be sold in aid of military veterans.
There were plenty of naysayers too.
It "shamelessly exploits a moment of genuine humanity during #WorldWar1 to get us to buy more stuff" writes Chris Hudson.
Above a photo of the Tommy shaking Otto's hand, Gareth Dimelowwrites: "What say we put aside our differences and get every customer to spend an extra ten shillings?"
Tim Footman moves the Anglo-German struggle from the trenches to the supermarket aisles: "Subtext of the #sainsburyschristmas ad: poor Germans, they only have Lidl and Aldi."
As the guns fall silent incongruity appears to have won the day, Alison Dunn tweeting: "Yes, the ad is nicely made but horrid orange sign at the end makes me fear Jamie Oliver will pop up in the trench."

Mike Nichols -- Emmy - Grammy - Oscar - Tony Winner


Married to Diane Sawyer...
Albert Einstein's cousin...

This was a brilliant man who enjoyed an amazing career.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

VOXX Club aus Bayern, singt Ziwui, Ziwui -- A Bird Calling Song

Lustiges Lied.
Ich verstehe wenig. Ich freue mich, dass diese Band ein neues Hit haben.  

Wenn die Sonne nachts unter geht
und im Wald die Nachtigall singt
freit sich' s Dirndl nur verkehrt,
weil der Bua dann zu ihr kimmt.
Dirndl sieh, Dirndl schau,
wie du gehst und wie du stehst,
Buam's schau, schaut 's genau,
wie sie ihre schönen Wadeln dreht.

REFRAIN  Ziwui, Ziwui   wir haben was wir wollen und wir brauchen net vuill (nicht viel)
            Ziwui,Ziwui    wir können, mögen, dürfen net a bisserl vuill
            Ziwui, Ziwui   du woasst scho was mia guat duat und was i wuill
            Ziwu, Ziwui    wir lieben was wir haben und wir brauchen net vuill.

Wir san g'schneidig und brave Buam
haben nie was unrecht's duan.
Hab' m a Freid g'habt jeden Tag,
Hab'm immer saubre Dirndl g'habt.
Dirndl sieh, Dirndl schau
wie du gehst und wie du stehst,
Dirndl schau, schaut's genau
welchem Buam das ihr wirklich glaubt's



wir lieben was wir haben und wir brauchen net vuill.

Das geteilte Land: Die Zeit

The German Newspaper, The Times shares statistics comparing the two former Germanys to each other in various ways.


Among the statistics shared are current differences in
  • Income
  • How many boys were named "Ronny"
  • Percentage of agrarian land
  • Birth rates
  • Average age
  • Favored travel destinations
  • Flu shots per capita
  • Number of pro and semi-pro soccer teams 
  • Linguistic comparison of their word for "stapler"
  • Types of household appliances
The mini-film shown on this site is also recommended!  Enjoy!  --rsb

Hour of Code -- Warum nicht?! 8.-14. Dezember

Hier bei uns, einen Brief vom Schulleiterin, Dr. Barbara Morse:

The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.
The above quote is from the Hour of Code website.  Coding is relevant to many subjects and areas of interest - students who learn to code learn to develop algorithms, solve problems and speak in an international language of code.  We hope that all teachers will consider becoming involved in this year's event from December 8 - 14.   
Even if students don't have any school time during which they code in school, we hope they will want to participate from home.   
I will be sending out a trivia question every school day during the event and I will give a prize to a student drawn from those with the most correct responses.  More information about the trivia questions will be sent to advisors as the event approaches.  In the meantime, you can find information about The Hour of Code at and
Let the games begin!   
Dr. Barbara Morse

--Koennten wir uns ein Knusperhaus mit Code bauen?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Easy German Berlin am 9. November 2014

Super footage!

Don't miss:  The South Korean woman who recognized our reporter in the last seconds!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Singing helps tune into foreign languages

Here's a brief post I couldn't wait to pass along!

Singing in a foreign language can significantly improve learning how to speak it, 
according to a new study.

Adults who listened to short Hungarian phrases and then sang them back 
performed better than those who spoke the phrases, researchers found.

People who sang the phrases back also fared better 
than those who repeated the phrases by speaking them rhythmically.


Best performers

Three randomly assigned groups of twenty adults took part in a series of five tests as part of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Reid School of Music.  The singing group performed the best in four of the five tests.  In one test, participants who learned through singing performed twice as well as participants who learned by speaking the phrases.  Those who learned by singing were also able to recall the Hungarian phrases with greater accuracy in the longer term.

Why Hungarian?

Hungarian was chosen because it is unfamiliar to most English speakers and a difficult language to master, with a completely different structure and sound system to the Germanic or Romance languages, such as Spanish and French.

The research was carried out by Dr Karen M. Ludke, Prof. Fernanda Ferreira and Dr Katie Overy.
This study provides the first experimental evidence that a listen-and-repeat singing method can support foreign language learning, and opens the door for future research in this area. One question is whether melody could provide an extra cue to jog people’s memory, helping them recall foreign words and phrases more easily.
Dr Karen M. Ludke

Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Music in Human and Social Development

Saturday, November 15, 2014

J.S. Bach: Wir danken Dir (mit Notenblätter dabei!)

Published on Jan 3, 2013     "We Give You Thanks"

Sinfonia, Cantata 29, BWV 29

"A typically flawless performance of this magnificent Bach piece by Michael Murray....Played on the organ of the Symphony Hall Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1990."

Do you, too, enjoy watching the sheet music, or score, as you listen?   In fact, you might be able to respond to one comment made by ParisAlan1 a year ago regarding a difference in modern transcriptions (both are French):  

But in fact, the score we're seeing is the Alexandre Guilmant transcription, and what is being played is the Marcel Dupre version, the difference being a quasi-transference between the treatments of the left hand and pedal parts throughout the piece; follow along carefully, and listen, and you'll see.  I prefer this Dupre version, of which I've always thought Michael Murray made the definitive recording. Thanks!

A fascinating comment all around. --rsb

Thanksgiving: Christina Stürmer singt "Jetzt danke ich dir"

Jetzt danke ich dir

Ich hab lange gebraucht,
um endlich zu verstehen,
das Momente, die uns wichtig sind,
viel zu schnell vergehen.
Ich wollte sie teilen,
sie halten um jeden Preis.
Mir gewünscht,
du könntest mich so sehn.
Heute weiß ich,
das hast du auch.

REFRAIN:  Und jetzt stehen wir hier,
            und ich danke dir dafür,
            dass du immer noch zu mir hältst,
            in dieser viel zu lauten und schnellen Welt.
            Wie ein Teil von mir,
            ich danke dir dafür.
            Weil mich so keiner kennt
            und mir wichtig ist,
            dass ich dankbar bin.

Wir haben uns nicht gesucht,
doch gefunden irgendwo.
Was Worte nicht begreifen,
das passiert halt einfach so.
Ich habe es vermisst
und gewartet auf den Tag,
der näher ist als je zuvor
und ich wie von selbst,
diese Worte sag.

Egal was sein wird irgendwann.
Egal wohin wir gehen und was noch kommt.
Eins können wir nicht verlieren,
dieses Gefühl, bleibt dir und mir.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Henning Wehn: Waiting for the Verb


He calls himself the German Comedy Ambassador to the UK.  Is it worth it to hang in there through his strong German accent?  YUP!


Nicht + Verb!
Pass auf!  (Listen carefully, or you could very easily miss everything that was said.  The all-important verb comes at the very end of the sentence!)

Check out other episodes too, and let us know your favorite!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mauerfall und DDR Zeiten von den Prinzen -- aus Leipzig

Die Prinzen: Es War Nicht Alles Schlecht

Keine Kohle in der ____________ und trotzdem viel gelacht      (slang: $)
Und wenn der ________________ leer war, was zu essen ausgedacht
Urlaub im _________________ und nicht in Daunenfedern         (down-feathers)
Und zum ersten Mal auf eigenen vier Rädern
Ich glaube, jetzt gebt ihr mir völlig Recht
Es war nicht alles ________________

_______________ gingen alle in den Garten
Statt _______________ gab es Ansichtskarten
Man kannte immer einen, der sehr ____________ war
Die große, weite ____________ schien unerreichbar
Im _____________________ wirkte nichts real und echt
Es war nicht _____________ _______________

Da gab's noch diese heiße Mathelehrerin
Ich hab zwar nix kapiert, doch ich ging gerne hin. 
Es gab wenige Sachen, die für die ______________ nicht klar war'n
Und legendäre Parties, wenn die _______________ nicht da war'n
Wir haben viele Nächte durchgezecht
Es war ___________ ___________ ___________

Wir haben ___________ genossen und verschwendet
Und dann hat sich das Blatt nochmal gewendet
Die Welt war plötzlich voll mit ______________ Dingen
Und alle wollten ______________, wie wir singen
Der Lieblingsvogel war der Mauerspecht
Es ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________

______________ ist dieses Lied nicht interessant,
Und ____________ nicht politisch relevant.
_______________ gibt es manchen, der es hörte,
Und sich an ein paar kleinen Zeilen störte.
Es hat nicht so'n Niveau wie Bertolt Brecht,
Doch ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________

Die Wochentage von Detlev Cordes

Ein echter Ohrwurm!


Die Buchstaben-Fee = The Fairy (die Fee) for the Letters of the Alphabet
  • Hier der Refrain (Er ist ziemlich lang -- The refrain is like an entire verse, it's so long, and he repeats it 2x each time.)

  • A B C D E : hier kommt die Buchstaben-Fee!  (fairy)
    F G H I J: zauber für uns flott!         (magic)
    K L M N O: einen Buchstaben-Zoo.
    P Q R S T : zeig uns, liebe Fee!          U V W und X: deine Zaubertricks.
    Y und Z: bitte sei so nett!                 (Please be so nice!) 
  •  Hier die 2 Strophen   (Here are the 2 verses, where Cordes spells out various animals.):
  • K U und H:      schon ist die Kuh da.
    H U N und D:  schön, dass ich den Hund seh'.
    A F F und E:    einen Affen zaubert die Fee.
    R E und H:       das ist ein Reh, na klar!                  

  • T I G E R :      Tiger zaubern ist nicht schwer!
    P F E R D:       zauber mir ein Pferd, liebe Fee!
    I G E L:           der Igel rollt sich auf ganz schnell.      (Der Igel ist ein Glückstier!)
    K A T Z E       schau schau!  Schon ist die Katze da - miau!  
Text und Musik: © 2001 Detlef Cordes. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
NOCH EIN LIEBLINGSLIED!    Author unbekannt

Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär
und auch zwei Flügel hätt,
flög' ich zu dir.
Weil's aber nicht kann sein,
bleib' ich allhier.

Bin ich gleich weit von dir,
bin ich doch im Traum bei dir
und red' mit dir.
Wenn ich erwachen tu',
bin ich allein.

Keine Stund in der Nacht,
da nicht mein Herz erwacht,
und an dich denkt,
dass du mir tausendmal,
dein Herz geschenkt  (x3)

Anstatt (instead of) Halloween: Sankt Martinstag!

 Am 11. November :

Hier, zum mitsingen:

Und hier, die Geschichte:

Hier, das Pferd und der Sankt!
The beginning and end show the children and their lanterns.
It is apparently very strenuous for a horse to take the tiny steps this parade requires.
This bushy-browed expert handles the task voluntarily, to make sure it gets done right.

Was heißt ,,Weltschmerz"?

Easy German fragt!

Gibt es das Wort auf Englisch?  Nein!  Wir sagen auch ,,Weltschmerz."  Aber was bedeutet es?
[Is there such a word in English?  No -- we also say "Weltschmerz."  But what does it mean?]

Manuel Neuer kann auch kicken

Ihn kann ich immer gern beim spielen anschauen.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lucarelli's Midnight Sonata by Beethoven -- Classical Guitar!

1.  Und was weißt du über Beethoven?
2.  Zum beispiel, wo wurde er geboren?


Hilft das Foto?
1.  Der Musiker konnte schlecht hören.  Mit 10 Jahren verdiente er schon sein Geld, als Erwachsener.
     Wenn er Orgel spielte wünschte er, ''der Fluß der Musik niemals aufgeben wurde."

2.  Diese schöne, mittelgroße Stadt war in der DDR-Zeiten die Hauptstadt Deutschlands.   Hier besuchen wir sehr oft mit GAPP. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Google Today, on November 9, 2014


And from GOOGLE, these cool notes:
  • Seeking inspiration for this doodle we took a short bike ride from our Mountain View, California headquarters to our local public library to study an actual piece of the Berlin Wall.

    This graffitied chunk of concrete, once a literal division, has been transformed into a symbol of unity, a reminder to passersby of the triumph of the collective human spirit.  It was moving to see it in person and, appropriately enough, spray-painted on this special slab are the German words “Wir lieben dich” — “we love you”. 

    Determined to share this experience on the doodle and others like it around the world,
     we enlisted several folks and are grateful for their help. 
    Our friends at arranged 17 international film crews to gather footage. 
    The German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) provided powerful archival 
    photographs by Klaus Lehnartz and Heiko Specht to set context for the video. 
    Googlers from around the world translated more than 50 international versions
    Morgan Stiff edited it all together.

    We’re especially indebted to Nils Frahm, who composed the video’s beautiful music.
    Nils grew up in Germany and had this reflection of the event:

    I was 7 years old when thousands of East German signature cars arrived in my hometown Hamburg and filled the air with odd smelling blue smoke. I saw strangers hugging strangers, tears in their eyes, their voices tired
    from singing. I was too young to understand, but I felt that life was different now and that different was better. 
    Now it is our obligation to tell this story to all those who couldn't be there, 
    who could not feel the spark of the peaceful revolution themselves 
    and more importantly who can't remember how existence feels 
    when its incarcerated by concrete walls.
    It is time to celebrate 25 years of unity. 

    We couldn’t have said it better.  Ryan Germick & Liat Ben-Rafael, Google Doodle Team

Saturday, November 8, 2014

9. November: Only 1 more day left in Berlin's lighted balloon celebration


Welches ist dein Lieblingsfoto?  Which of the above photos is your favorite? 

Deutsche Welle published the photo below to accompany an article about the weekend celebration in Berlin.  The tourist board reported that there were over a million participants.  Some of the day's highlights were:
  • The opening of a new museum chronicling the lives of some of those caught up in fleeing this wall, including a two-and-a-half hour visit by Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
  • Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" (which has become the European Union's anthem)
  • The release of those 7000 white helium-filled balloons which lined much of the old wall. 
  •  Fireworks and Light Show

Who was that STASI who ratted on me??

The Stasi files: Germany's 600-million-piece puzzle

By Laura Goehler, CNN
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
Mugshots of Henning Frunder taken by the Stasi after his arrest. Mugshots of Henning Frunder taken by the Stasi after his arrest.
Stasi files: History's biggest jigsaw puzzle?
  • Henning Frunder was jailed in East Germany after his plans to leave came to attention of Stasi
 Henning Frunder was only 21 years old in 1968 when he decided he wanted to leave Eastern Germany. Polish fishermen were meant to take him and a group of students across the sea to the Northern border of West Germany, but the group never made it on that boat.
Letters to friends in the West asking for money to pay for the journey ended up in the hands of East Germany's secret police, the Stasi. A few weeks later, Frunder and his friends were arrested, put on trial, and sent to jail for trying to illegally leave East Germany.
Frunder spent months in a Stasi prison before eventually being deported to Western Germany in the fall of 1970. At that time he had no idea who sold him and his friends out.
"We were not trained in conspiracy. Maybe we trusted more people than we should have with our plans," he says.

What was The Stasi?

The Ministery of State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit,) known as Stasi, was established in 1950 as the secret police and intelligence service of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED,) East Germany's governing party. It followed the model of the Soviet secret police and operated as part of the GDR's massive security apparatus.

The Stasi was known to have widely spied on citizens in Eastern Germany and to persecute those that opposed and showed subversive behavior against the Soviet-backed SED-Regime. It functioned as both a domestic and foreign intelligence service. Before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the Stasi had more than 90,000 full-time employees and an even higher number of secret informants.

What Frunder knew was that it must have been someone that they trusted, someone who pretended to be a friend.

For over 40 years Eastern Germany's Ministry of State Security, known as the Stasi, spied on its citizens, often using so-called "informal employees" -- secrets informants -- to report on their own colleagues, friends and family.

When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, Stasi agents were given the order to cover their tracks and destroy any evidence that would reveal names of secret informants, documentation of dealings with the West, protocols and recordings of trial proceedings -- none of it was ever meant to be seen by the public.

Activists were able to stop the destruction when they occupied the Stasi headquarters in January 1990. Over 45 Million pages of Stasi files had been torn apart and what the shredder could not handle had been simply torn apart by hand.

Over 15,000 bags containing more 600 million pieces of paper were recovered. In 1992, two years after the German reunification, the Agency for the Federal Commission for the Stasi Records (BStU) was put in place. Its task: Solve one of history's biggest puzzles.

Roland Jahn is the Federal Commissioner in charge of the Stasi Records Agency. Jahn is an ex-Stasi prisoner himself. He says the agency is doing an important job in dealing with the past. "It is incredibly important for those concerned to gain access to their files, people get a part of their lives back that was stolen from them", stresses Jahn. He adds that the agency providing access to secret police files is unique and serves as an international role model.

So far 1.5 million pieces have been put back together, most of them by hand. Currently about a dozen employees are still manually trying to reconstruct the files. With 600 million pieces left, continuing the task by hand seems almost impossible.

How CNN reporter's dad fought the Stasi
"It is important that we develop systems to speed up the process", says Jahn. In 2007 a computer system was introduced to accelerate the process. According to the Stasi Records Agency, the new virtual puzzle system has helped piece back together four bags so far. To tackle the remaining 15,000 bags a "better scanner technology has to be developed and put in place," says Jahn.

Decades after being sold out, Henning Frunder had thought he moved on. He didn't think he would ever find out who denounced him.

"Over time I stopped wondering, I thought it would not change much", he recalls. In 1994 he received first clues about who his betrayer might have been, but it was not until 2011, over five decades later, that Frunder received a call from the Stasi Records Agency. "Out of 15,000 bags they came across one that had my name in it," he remembers.  It was the file of secret informant Aleksander Radler, a member of Frunder's student group. Radler, nicknamed "Thomas," spied for the Stasi for over 25 years.
"When I learned that Radler was living in Sweden, preaching the word of God as a priest, this is when the outrage came," Frundler continues. But Frunder never contacted the former spy. "He never showed any remorse, if he did, it might be interesting to talk to him."

If you chose to live with a lie you damage our democracy. That's why it is important to uncover the truth, even if it hurts.  (Stasi Records Agency Commissioner, Roland Jahn)
Even though the recovery brought back old memories that Frunder thought to had been consigned to the past, he still believes it is in the interest of society to reconstruct the Stasi files.

"Looking back at my own story, I think I was able to deal with it, because I was so young, I hadn't built much they could take away from me. But he adds that "others suffered more than we did and I am sure that there are many people out there that have big blanks to fill, and recovering the Stasi files could help bridging these gaps in the ordeal they went through."

Stasi Records Agency Commissioner Roland Jahn sees the confrontation with the past as vital for the future. "If you chose to live with a lie you damage our democracy. That's why it is important to uncover the truth, even if it hurts", he says.

Today, every citizen has the right to request access to their files at the Stasi Records Agency either online or in person. In over two decades more than three million requests for files have been made, with more than 30,000 applications in 2014 alone.

If and when the remaining 600 million pieces of Stasi files will be puzzled back together, Jahn cannot tell. It will depend on available funds, public and political interest and technology.

However, Jahn is proud of what has been accomplished in the last 25 years. "Germany has shown how to consistently face the past and deal with it, and being observed by the international community, it has created something that is of great importance today." for interactive ways to learn German

 Mit Herrn Antrim

He speeds up his demo just when he shares the family members lesson with us.  I suggest viewing this lesson on your own to learn that important and interesting vocabulary.

I used an email address to establish an account.  Herr Antrim suggests that you need to pay for any  accounts on your hand-held devises, which for instance Duolingo does not.

HERE IS THE FAMILY LESSON.  Let me know if it opens for you.

Right thereafter this lesson, Herr Antrim demonstrates the interactivity parts of BUSUU.  The friend challenge sounds pretty cool to me.  Also, meeting up with other learners at your level.  Correcting other people's English in exchange for someone looking over your German is set up automatically.  I wonder how many points you can earn by doing lots of this kind of correcting, and whether you might even be able to support the (~$8) monthly fee through this method.

I like the colorful videos, the voices, and some of the exercises, which compare favorably to what Duolingo has to offer.  Another place where Duolingo shines is that it allows you to complete a unit to 100% without paying for the review exercises.

Do you want to set a goal of 1-2 hours of German per week?   I'm not sure if Duolingo has that feature.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Interactive BEFORE / AFTER Photos of the Berlin Wall

While initially you can see half of each comparison-photo, it's easy and so cool to pull the middle arrows across to view the whole photo of those you're especially interested in.


Based on "In Flanders' Field" a poem by John McCrae about World War 1.

Libera's lovely video sung by precious young boys, whom we can only hope will never need to go to war. 

Remember to wear a poppy on Tuesday! 

-- Your poppy doesn't have to be ceramic, but wouldn't it be cool if it were?  Here are a few which will soon be on sale.  These poppies, from an art installation, called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, are the main part of London's tribute to WWI.  It is the creation of ceramic artist Paul Cummins and by November 11th it will feature 888,246 ceramic poppies, each representing the British and Colonial soldiers killed during the war.

The poppies were hand-made by 50 potters at Cummins' Derby studio using only techniques available to potters during the First World War, meaning each poppy will be individual and unique.

The setting is by stage designer Tom Piper, who has calculated 50 poppies per square metre would be necessary to fill the 16 acres of moat: 'When you think of it in terms of pure logistics it can get very mechanical, but when you consider that each of these poppies will represent a life it becomes very poignant.' 
Pictures: REUTERS
Other magnificent photos, including an aerial, can be found HERE.
-- I'm wondering: Do you know a veteran or service person to thank on Veterans' Day?  How will you celebrate Veterans' Day this year?


Gender and Plural Practice

Here are more suggestions and tips, this one for forming plurals.

Here is the comparison of adverbs hin (hither) and her (yon -- both from old English). 

I especially like Mr. Wallace having included slang expressions, which erase the directional charge, by standing in for both hin und her.

In the examples below which comprise the production and use of "da- and wo- compound words", notice that our tutor includes the adverbs hin und her with his preposition examples.  Well, they do indeed work with da- and wo- compounds.

Nice concise lesson with good examples.
Danke, Herr Wallace of Atlanta.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Vielleicht bin ich nur hier, weil du da bist -- ein neues Lied

 Das Gezeichnete ich

Vielleicht zu einer Hochzeit zu singen?

Wo denn sonst?

Step Into German's Match of the Month

Hör 2 Minuten lang gut nach, denn mit 3 guten Antworten darf man gewinnen!

Hier spielt der FC Schalke 04  in Königsblau gegen Borussia Dortmund in gold.