Sunday, May 31, 2015

aufwachen v. aufwecken (Ich bin aufgewacht...ich habe mich aufgeweckt)

Word of the Day – “aufwachen”

aufwachenHello everyone,
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of:
aufwachen (pron.: owf wa-HHHen… kinda sorta) 

Aufwachen… a burden at times and a relief at others. We usually do it once per day… or twice… or not at all if we are party animal. The word consists of the basic verb wachen and the prefix aufAuf can mean a number of things like open, up, on top of or on and wachen means something like… uh …just watch this video here.

See you in 2 minutes … … … … … … … … … … … …

Thank you Everly Brothers for that nice explanation.

Aaaaanyway… aufwachen means to wake up.
  • Wann bist du heute aufgewacht?
  • When did you wake up today?
  • Ich wache von allein auf.
  • I wake up by myself.
The 2 words wake up and aufwachen are of course related. Actually there some other examples where the English k is the softer German ch, an exhale with a little friction in your throat. Two other prominent examples are machen  to make or brechento break.

And I see we have some people calling. The first one is Martin from Sheffield, how are you doing?
“Hey Emanuel, nice song… would it be possible that you translate the hook line for us? A friend of mine who speaks German sometimes does that and it’s always  hilarious …”

Oh yeah that is true… great idea. We’ll do it in a little bit. Thanks Martin for that and our next call is Veronica from Madrid, hi Veronica…

“Ola… so in language class I learned aufwecken, and this also means to wake up… could you explain me the difference? “

Oh of course, don’t worry… I’ll talk about that a little later on but first I want to say some things about aufwachen.

The stem of the word wachen is the word wach which literally means awake.
  • Als du angerufen hast, war ich schon wach.
  • When you called I was already awake.
  • Bist du wach?
  • Are you awake?
If you want to say that you are wide awake you could say hellwach. Literally this would be bright awake.

But the word is also used in a more abstract sense. Calling a person wach can mean as much as smart, clever, alert or astute. And this is not far fetched after all as being awake in the literal meaning also comes with being able to concentrate, perceive and think … at least most of the time :).
  • John ist zwar schon 78 Jahre alt, aber er hat einen wachen Geist.
  • John might be already 78 years old but he is an alert, lifely mind.
You see that wach can have the notion of being alert. This becomes quite obvious in the words wachen and bewachen… they mean to guard or to watch over. On first sight these 2 seem to have little to do with wake but being awake is THE number one prerequisite for guarding so I hope you can see the connection.
  • Der Wachhund bewacht die Villa.
  • The watchdog is guarding the mansion.
Just for completion I want to mention the word erwachen here. This is kind of the poetic brother of aufwachen in that it has a string notion of dignity and gravity to it… nature does it, or Snow White after the kiss… A good translation is to awaken.
  • Im Frühling erwacht die Natur.
  • In Spring, nature awakens.
What you do every morning usually does not qualify as awakening with all than crankiness, smelly breath and wrinkly face . What you do is aufwachen which has only this one meaning: to wake up; so translating the lyrics of that song is a piece of cake:
Wach auf, kleine Suhusie, wach auf!
Wach auf, kleine Suhusie, wach auf!
 Now onto something else.

Difference between aufwachen and aufwecken

To answer that I first want to present you with another video from 2 guys who’s thrust and jiggle ability makes the Everly Brothers look stiff as boards.

Yeah good old George Michael… his voice carried so far back then, that he didn’t  need a microphone AT ALL.  By the way have you hear of the Jitterbug before?  (From the video, you'll be able to tell that it's a kind of dance.)

OK.  So, the hook lines of both songs seem to be almost identical. They are both orders in a way.
  • Wake up (little Suzie)!
  • Wake me up (b4 you go go)!
BUT they are perfect examples for the difference between aufwachen and aufwecken. Suzie is told to wake up herself while whoever is told to wake up George Michael.

Aufwachen means to wake up YOURSELF. It is what you do every morning and you CANNOT do it to someone else. Even if an alarm clock is the reason for you waking up, you still aufwachen. So aufwachen is the EXACT opposite of falling asleep.

Aufwecken or simply wecken is what you do to others or what your alarm does to you. Here are some examples.
  • Thomas wakes up at 11.
  • Thomas wacht um 11 auf.
  • Thomas wakes up Suzie at 11.
  • Thomas weckt Susie um 11 auf.
  • Kannst du mich morgen um 8 (auf)wecken?
  • Can you wake me up at 8 tomorrow?
  • Ich wache immer mit guter Laune auf.
  • I always wake up in a good mood.
By the way… it should be obvious now why an alarm clock is called Wecker. It is simply a thing or person waking up others… just like Fahrer (driver) or Bäcker (baker).

So the Everly Brothers want Suzie to aufwachen and what they do by singing it to her is aufwecken.
So we are almost done but we need to talk about the grammar a little bit. I think you have already seen that both verbs are separable so auf is weakly linked to the stem.

The past is a little tricky. Aufwachen is sort of a movement of your mind and thus builds it’s spoken past with sein while aufwecken is just something you do so it needs haben. The ge-forms of both verbs are straight by the book though.
  • Thomas woke up at 10.
  • Thomas ist um 10 aufgewacht.
  • Thomas woke up Maria at 10.
  • Thomas hat Maria um 10 aufgeweckt.
You need to pay a little attention there because if you confuse haben and sein people might assume you mean the other wake up and misunderstand your sentence.
As far as the real or written past is concerned you don’t really need it, especially not for aufwecken but it is not a problem anyway since it is also completely regular.
  • Thomas wachte um 10 auf.
  • Thomas weckte Sam um 10 auf.
  • Thomas woke up (Sam) at 10.
And if you ask yourself why Thomas is waking up different people with different gender… well, he just gets around.

So… this was our Word of the Day. Aufwachen and aufwecken both mean to wake up but the former is to wake up yourself while the second one is to wake up others and the 2 are not interchangeable.
If you have any questions just leave me a comment. I hope you liked it and… oh and we have a call again… Jane from Dublin. Hey Jane, we don’t have much time left…

“Hi Emanuel… could you please please give the translation for that Wham song too?”
Good idea… but promise to sing it and post it to Youtube!

“Cool, will do… thank you so much, bye…”

Bye Jane… so here you go:
Weck mich auf, bevor du geh-hest!
Lass mich hier nicht hängen wie ein Jojo
Weck mich auf, bevor  du geh-hest,
Ich will dabei sein, wenn du voll abgehst.
Weck mich auf, bevor du geh-hest!
Denn ich hab’nich’ vor allein zu gehen.
Weck mich auf, bevor du geh-hest!
Geh mit mir tanzen heut naaaacht!
Ich will, dass es kraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacht!
Hope you liked it and see you next time.

Top Secret: 10 Surprising Facts About the U.S. Military's DLIFLC GLOSS

By Comments are closed 
Quick! Take 5 from your books, podcasts and flashcards. You’re in for a treat today.
Because today, we’re gonna be talking about a language learning site that is truly in a class of its own.
Unlike so many language learning brands that populate the internet, this one’s not backed by angel investors or venture capitalists. It’s backed by Uncle Sam himself.

It’s no freemium site with fancy graphics, but if you truly wanna go deep, and I mean really deep in learning your target language, you can’t afford to skip the site we’re gonna talk about here: the DLIFLC GLOSS.


Well, the acronym stands for Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC), Global Language Online Support System (GLOSS). Now that’s a mouthful!

The DLIFLC is the institution and GLOSS is one of its many programs.

The DLIFLC is the language school where the U.S. military trains the interpreters that it sends all over the world (cue patriotic music and the entrance of colors).

Okay, so now that we’ve got our letters straight, let’s dig a little deeper and learn what those acronyms are really all about.

We’ll start first with some backgrounders on the DLIFLC itself, and then later in the list, we’ll zero-in on DLIFLC programs like GLOSS.

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About the DLIFLC and GLOSS

1. It’s DoD territory.

The DLIFLC is under the Department of Defense.
It is regarded as one of the finest foreign language learning institutions in America. Located in Monterey, California, this premier language provider considers its mission deadly serious.
Exactly how serious?  Seven hours a day serious. That’s the length of time students spend in classes, supplemented by 2-3 hours of nightly homework. This continues for 5 days a week in a 26 to 64-week basic course.

Why the intensive course?  Well, because this is where America trains the people who talk to the world. The center churns out military linguists who serve on federal agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the U.S. Border Patrol–which means you can’t get in the program unless you’re a member of the Armed Forces or are sponsored by a government agency.

So think: James Bond meets FluentU.

2. The first language it taught was Japanese. (Know why?)

The DLIFLC started in 1941, on the eve of America’s entry into World War II. It began as a secret language school with 60 carefully selected U.S. soldiers—mostly of Japanese ancestry. Why? Because it was a reflection of the realities on the ground. Japan was on a war footing in Asia, and America needed soldiers who understood enemy intelligence.

The programs in the center often reflect world affairs. During the Cold War, many programs were geared towards the Slavic languages. Today, in the post 9/11 world, Arabic, Dari and Pashto (Afghanistan) are getting a lot of focus.

3. They have their own “immersion facility.”

When you want to immerse yourself in your target language, one of the things you can do is spend a few months abroad and soak in all the learning experiences at your country of choice. Or, if budget and time are not permissive, you get creative and engage in online language immersion through websites like FluentU. Others watch foreign TV shows, read foreign books or chat up native speakers through Skype.

But do you know how Uncle Sam does immersion?  Well he builds a whole simulation—furnishing a whole facility with kitchen and sleeping quarters where students can live for 1-3 days.

So for example, if you’re learning German, the DLIFLC immersion program will isolate you in a world that only understands German. Not a word of English will be spoken while you are in the immersion facility. So you may be on U.S. soil, but it will really feel like you’re in Germany. And you’ll be put in real-world situations like bargaining for food and clothing at a market place.
How cool is that? You don’t have to get creative with your imagination. The simulation is so real, it’s like you’re there.

4. The GLOSS is unparalleled anywhere else.

So at this point, you may be thinking, “What does all this have to do with me? I’m not a member of the Armed Forces, so I’ll never be in that program anyway.”

Well, you stand to benefit more than you think.

The DLIFLC has an online component which can be freely accessed by you and me.
This is where the “GLOSS” of “DLIFLC GLOSS” comes in. The Global Language Online Support System was especially designed for independent online learning.

Since not everyone can go on campus and attend the classes, DLIFLC has developed online lessons for its students.

And like I said, that material is open to anyone. Which means we can participate in the intensive learning program intended for the select language learners of the armed forces of the United States.
If that doesn’t make you rejoice, I don’t know what will.

5. There are 7,000 lessons in GLOSS.

There are lessons for 40 different languages, including lesser-known tongues like Balochi, Pashto, Hausa and Dari. The lessons are divided into two modalities (Reading and Listening) and seven learner levels.

Each lesson contains 4-6 tasks. So for example, in a listening lesson, one of the tasks would be to match an image with its correct audio. Another task might be to type in an answer to an audio question.

GLOSS lessons cover a rich variety of topics that include: culture, economics, environment, geography, military, politics, science, security, society and technology.

6. The lessons are interactive (and come with certificates too).

GLOSS’s lessons are interactive. Meaning, you’re very much involved in your learning process and you’ll probably be busy doing something at any point in time.

So let me tell you beforehand, the lessons are not for the faint of heart. The tasks in GLOSS might just be some of the most challenging ones you can have online. The “beginner” modules here are considered “advanced” in other websites. (You’ve been warned.)

Other sites mark the learners’ progress through a “points” system. More points means the further you are in the lessons. The lessons in GLOSS come with “certificates,” which are given to you after every lesson. Certificates are proof of the hard work you put into learning your target language. You can print them out and collect as many as you can. It will be a nice pat on the back.

7. The audio recordings and conversation examples will set your ears ablaze.

DLIFLC is one of the few language learning sites that gives a fitting nod to the importance of listening in language acquisition. A testament to this are the GLOSS’s listening lessons themselves.
As mentioned previously, GLOSS lessons can either be about listening comprehension or reading comprehension. (DLIFLC focuses on these two because they are the most important skills on the field.)

GLOSS is one of the most comprehensive resources of language audio recordings online. Where can you find, for example, 140 audio recordings of Albanian conversations, 69 for Uzbek and 111 for Hindi?

In addition, DLIFLC has an accent library for Arabic and Spanish languages. I ask you again, where can you find the same text read in 11 different Spanish accents (eg. Argentinean, Chilean, Columbian, Honduran, Mexican, Peruvian, Venezuelan) or 10 different Arabic accents (eg. Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian, Saudi, Tunisian, Sudanese)? Only at GLOSS.

8. Their Online Diagnostic Assessment can take around 1-2 hours.

Think GLOSS lessons aren’t challenging enough? Or do you simply want to know what areas need more work for you?  DLIFLC developed the Online Diagnostic Assessment for that very purpose. It will identify your strengths and give you feedback on sticking points.

Create an account and you can take the assessment. There will be two kinds of tests. One is for reading comprehension, and another for listening ability. You will read/listen to sets of passages followed by 4-6 questions. The questions will not only test your comprehension of the passages / recordings, they will also test you on vocabulary, sentence structure and text structure.
Sometimes you will be asked to give your answer in a multiple-choice format, but most of the time you will be asked to type in your answer.

The tests take 1-2 hours per skill and are available for 13 major languages. So if you’re itching to know where you stand on the issue of comprehension, I challenge you to take the assessment.

9. GLOSS actually teaches both language and culture.

If you take a look at DLIFLC’s other programs, you’ll quickly notice that the center is as serious in teaching culture as it is in teaching language. One can quickly sense this in programs like “Cultural Orientations,” “Familiarization Modules,” “Countries in Perspective” and “Cultural Awareness Assessment.”

GLOSS, in its listening and reading lessons, espouses the philosophy that you can never divorce a language from its culture. You can never distill language from the people who speak it–their history, experiences and aspiration as a group.

You don’t sense this from the other language learning sites. This is one of the biggest advantages of learning in DLIFLC. You don’t get cultural lessons as interesting asides, instead you get heavy doses of it. Because of this, you acquire not only a new set of vocabulary or grammar rules, but an enduring appreciation for the culture that produced the language that captured your imagination.

10. GLOSS champions the concept of “language maintenance.”

DLIFLC believes in the importance of maintaining competency in a language. Just because you have already acquired French, for example, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for you. Nope, you need to continually review, practice and pile on to your skills. Otherwise you’d slowly backslide and lose those language gains.

You need to go back in order to move forward. That’s why for 4 hours a week, DLIFLC allows its analysts and linguists to go into independent study.

In line with that belief, the DLIFLC created GLOSS not only as a teaching tool for first time learners, but as a refresher course. It was made available online so that former students, assigned and dispersed in the far reaches of earth, won’t have return to campus to get the highly needed language refresher and reviews.

DLIFLC GLOSS is quite unique in that it emphasizes the importance of “language maintenance,” regardless of skill level.

So, you now know 10 things about the DLIFLC and GLOSS. I’m sure you can’t wait to give those listening and reading lessons a shot. Enjoy!

--- Once you complete the activities on one of the selected sessions (start with Level 1) be sure to print you completion certificate and bring it to me. I'd love to ask you about the session.  I just completed the Level 1 session on Berlin Travel Guide:  Museum Island.  I learned a lot!  (I also really enjoyed the Pergamon Museum during one of my most recent visits to Berlin. I look forward to returning to Museum Island, especially after it's complete.)--rsb

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Step Into German redesign.... noch nicht fertig


Dear colleagues,

unfortunately, the Step into German re-design has turned out to be quite
time-consuming, but yes, we will upload all the old materials (music videos,
inventions, city portraits...) within the next couple of weeks. If you
can't wait ;-) please go to:

Weiterhin viel Spaß mit Step into German alt und neu wünscht

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cologne in Musik: The Dom (Cathedral) is visable from everywhere

The local dialect is called Kölsch.  This song is sung in Kölsch -- with some sprinkles of English and High German.

Home ess wo dää dom es  

600 kilometer fott vun däm wat heimat es
ich fahr de janze naach bes ich ding spitze sinn
wiesse striefe om asphalt

600 kilometer fott vun däm wat heimat es
ich fahr de janze naach bes ich ding spitze sinn
wiesse striefe om asphalt
dä kaffee weed kalt
de musik lauter ich ben aanjeschnallt      (anschnallen = to fasten in)

600 kilometer bes ich widder odme kann
ich maach et navi us d'r wääch fing ich allein
blaue schilder wiesse schriff
ming kess es e schiff
volle kraff et ruder fess em jriff

un he die stross jeiht immer nor jraadus
irjendwann rääts aff un dann es schluss
ding leuchte en dä naach dat jeiht nie us
säät ich ben zo hus

un dann jeiht jraad de sonn op hell un klor
ich fahr övver de zoobrück un ben do
fenster runger kölsche luff
ich sing

home es wo dä dom es (4x)

wör dat new york dann wööds du de freiheitsstatue sinn
ejal woher mer kütt mer süht wohin et jeiht
du bes die richtung un dat ziel
dat krüz op d'r kaat
wenn ich dich sinn dann kumm ich endlich aan

600 kilometer fott vun däm wat heimat es
ich fahr de janze naach bes ich ding spitze sinn
wiesse striefe in der naach
dat leed hält mich waach
und ich fahr wigger richtung neue daach

un he die stross jeiht immer nor jraadus
irjendwann rääts aff un dann es schluss
ding leuchte en dä naach dat jeiht nie us
säät ich ben zo hus

un dann jeiht jraad de sonn op hell un klor
ich fahr övver de zoobrück un ben do
vun dem bleck krich ich nie jenoch

ich sing

home es wo dää dom es (4x)

du steihs do wo ich hinjehür
wo ich de janze naach dorchfahr för
ich kumm immer widder zoröck zo dir

hey hey

un dann jeiht jraad de sonn op hell un klor
ich fahr övver de zoobrück un ben do
vun dem bleck krich ich nie jenoch

ich sing

home es wo dää dom es

Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna --with Conchita !

Sie hat eine neue Platte.  Mal hoeren!

Leider war Oesterreich ganz zuletzt dieses Jahr, mit Deutschland kaum besser: im zweitletzten Platz!

Andreas Kuemmert, mit Heart of Stone, hat den Platz fuer Deutschland gewonnen.  (He won the slot for Germany):

But he bowed out, leaving the competition to 21-year-old Ann Sophie to sing a jazzy number about breaking up...Black Smoke.

"How long can we pretend... Don't have the heart to say..Will never be the same. Cuz you said you'd never let me go... Too hot...We're only left with smoke; black smoke."

Aber welches Lied hat gewonnen?  Aus Schweden:  We're Dancing With the Demons in our Minds, von Mans Zilmerloew

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dieter ist unfreundlich und gemein (unfriendly and mean)

Im Reisebüro  (in the travel agency)

Haben Sie ein Sonderangebot(Do you have a deal? --special offering?)
Ans Meer --
Auf eine Insel (on an island?) Auf Hawaii, zum Beispiel (for example)
zu teuer (too expensive)   billiger  (cheaper)
Auf die Insel, Rügen.  Eine Woche Unterkunft (board) kostet 200 Euro, inklusive Frühstück.
Sind Sein ein Vollidiot?  

Topp 5: Was machen Freunde?

Danke, Hueber Verlag.

Laing : Ich bin so verliebt

Ich krieg meine Schnürsenkel nicht zu
Ich trage links den rechten Schuh-u
Ich ess' mein Müsli mit Saft
Ich platze fast vor Kraft
Ich rede Stunde am Telefon
Gibt's einen der noch nichts weiß davon?
Ich nehme allen die Vorfahrt
Ich tanke Disel statt Bezin.

Ich bin verliebt x3
Zu Hause stapelt sich Geschirr
Meine Katze ist ganz dürr
Ich habe seit Tagen keinen Spiegel gesehen,
doch ich war noch nie so schön.

Ich bin so verliebt...

Ich bin so verliebt,
ich brauche keine Musik.
Ich bin so verliebt,
dass alles einen Sinn ergibt.
Das alles, alles einen, einen Sinn ergibt
ich bin so verliebt.
Das es sowas gibt.
Mein Leben gerät aus der Bahn.
Ich geb dem Busfahrer Trinkgeld.
Ich schwebe durch die Welt,
manchmal fall' ich hin
Du raubst mir meinen Gleichgewichtssinn.
Mir ist das so egal
Ich bin den ganzen Tag beschäftigt ich fühl mich feneomenal!

(Dank an Lotte für den Text)

Spiegel TV ist 25 Jahre alt

Eine Reise in die Vergangenheit

74,000 Filmminuten produziert
  1200 Sendungen ausgestrahlt
580 x Guten Abend gewünscht

Die Mauer ist gefallen.

10 Embarrassing German Conversation Mistakes to Learn to Avoid

“Am I going on a date with who?
No way!
She’s just my friend! I mean…
Oh, whoops…
Sound familiar, German learners? As sure as you’re going to find a bad soap opera if you turn on a German TV in the middle of the day, it’s unavoidable that you’re eventually going to say something humiliating on your quest to learn the language. It’s part of the fun.  At best, you have a good story. At worst, you suddenly find yourself in a relationship (see below, #1).

The trick is to laugh it off, even if the other person beats you to it. Native speakers understand that some things just don’t translate from other languages, and therefore are unlikely to ask that your visa be revoked, no matter how offensive the mistake.  Nonetheless, to give you a fighting chance, here’s 10 embarrassing mistakes that you can learn to avoid before you go out the door.

1. Wait, I Thought We Were Just Friends?

Relationships can be complicated anyway. In German, the terminology doesn’t help. For as specific as the language usually is, having names for things we wouldn’t dream of in English, there seems to be a slight oversight: there’s no actual word for “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” Or more accurately, you use the same designation for your burning love interest as you would the guy you play basketball with every Monday night, calling them friends [Freund (m)/Freundin (f)].

In this case, it’s all in the syntax. Generally, to point out that darling girl that you faithfully buy roses for on the anniversary of the day you first kissed, you would say Meine Freundin. To introduce the childhood pal that you hang out with sometimes on weekends but in a purely platonic, non-mushy way, you would usually call her eine Freundin von mir, or “a friend of mine.”

If you want to avoid undue jealousy and make it to your next anniversary, it may be worth taking note.

2. The Interplay of Weather and Sexuality

To avoid giving the wrong signals, it is important to note that being hot or cold in German is a reflexive thing. Mir ist heiß translates as “To me, it is hot.” The English learner has a tendency to want to say Ich bin heiß, a direct translation. That’s not incorrect…if you want to suggest that you’re hot and bothered. Either way, we’re not judging.

In the same way, if you’re a little too warm, you’re going to want to say Mir ist warmIch bin warm can carry implications of sexual preference.

3. A Brief Education on Education

Navigating the translation of the schooling system in German can often be confusing, and leave many well-intentioned foreigners suggesting that they’re six graders. Some distinctions:
  • If you’re at university, you’re a Student/Studentin. Someone still in the equivalent of high school/secondary school or lower is a Schüler/Schülerin. Unlike English, “Student” doesn’t encompass all levels of learning.
  • Studieren is the verb to study, but only as your major. When you’re hitting the books, you’re lernen, even if it’s review.
  • Hochschule doesn’t mean high school. Instead, it’s a term that designates all higher education for various types of careers, the types of which are often spelled out in the names of the Hochschule.  [--As to undergraduate schools in Germany, they actually have these 4 types of high school:  GymnasiumRealschule, Hauptschule, and Gesamtschule, the first 3 of which vary according to the pupil’s aspirations afterwards, and the last, which combines them all.]

4. Open the Geht

One of the things that you’re going to be asked the most is how you are doing. Although less likely consequential than the Ich bin heiß pitfall, beginners still have a tendency to say Ich bin gut when they want to say that they’re good, directly translating it from English. Classic rookie mistake. Instead: Mir geht es gut. (Literally, it translates as “To me it goes well,” but for all intents and purposes, you’re saying that you’re doing fine). Not only is the former grammatically incorrect, it comes across a little cocky…

5. Hold on a Minute…What Time Should I Be There?

Germans are renowned for their punctuality, and for scoffing at those who aren’t timely. To keep us in our place, however, they made telling time a difficult matter.

The beginning German learner will note that nach can translate as “to,” as in when you’re traveling to a country or other designation. As a result, when someone asks to meet Viertel nach fünf, one would think that that they’re supposed to show up at a quarter to five. If you did, however, you’d be twiddling your thumbs for half an hour—or better yet, practicing your German on random passersby. Viertel nach actually means “quarter after,” while Viertel vor is the correct term for “quarter before.”
Note for those of the Irish or English persuasion: When a German says halb vier (half four) he actually means a half an hour before four o’clock, aka 3:30. Following the customs of your homeland would make you an hour late in this case.

6. Before and…Oh Gross

The word for “before” in German, vor, sounds like its English counterpart. However, the German word After means anus.  Uh, do we really need to keep talking about this?

7. Unintentionally Noncommittal

Another German phrase that may not be ein Freund von dir (just seeing if you’re paying attention) is Ich will. Even if you know better, in the heat of conversation you may be tempted to use it as “I will.” So many German words are spelled the same in English that it’s easy to get duped. The cold hard reality, however, is that Ich will means “I want.”  (For those keeping score at home, “I will” translates as Ich werde in German).

Instead of telling someone that you’re going to take out the garbage, you may be suggesting instead that you want to…and maybe that it’s probably not going to happen. So watch out!

8. I Become a Jelly Donut

I once stood in line at a bakery with my ex-girlfriend’s father, who was German, overweight, and did not like me very much. Suddenly he turned to me and said, “Ryan, I become a jelly donut.”
Bekommen, the verb “to get,” sounds so much like “become” that both German and English speakers get confused by it. Nonetheless, if you’re not careful you’ll turn yourself into all sorts of things.

9. Now Listen, Young Lady

An oft-told story from German classes in middle schools across the world: The students are asked to introduce themselves. A boy stands up and says: “Ich bin ein junger Mann.” (I’m a young man.)
The teacher says, “It’s nice to meet you.”

A girl stands up and says “Ich bin eine Jungfrau.” The teacher says, “Well I hope so, dear.”
Jungfrau means “virgin.”

10. H stands for “Clothes”

The “ch” sound is notoriously difficult for non-native German speakers. It has amused or frustrated many the bus driver and store clerk that has tried to decipher the attempts. Sometimes we find ourselves going too soft (“sh”) or too hard (“k”) to compensate. Be wary of the latter at times, however. Instead of asking if something happened at night (Was es in der Nacht?) you could be asking if it was in the nackt, aka “nude.”

This list won’t make you bulletproof from saying something incidentally shocking or prevent you from garnering a few raised eyebrows: mostly, we don’t want to ruin the fun for you. It will, however, help you avoid some of the common pitfalls beginning learners sometimes don’t see coming (and allow you to laugh at some other non-native speakers). In the end, your mistakes will be more original, and make for better stories and more interesting language learning.

From one friend (wink) to another.

Ryan Dennis was a Fulbright Scholar and previously taught at Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd. In addition to hating ketchup, British spelling and violence, he writes The Milk House—the only literary column about dairy farming.
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Minnesotan Les Schrenk survived WWII. Now, he knows why.

This is a family story as well as a public one, and I'm proud that it has a satisfying ending, which can be a rarity in war stories. 

 Les Schrenk and his crew landed on what is now my cousin Niels Møller's farm in Denmark.  Niels and his siblings remember their mother, my grandfather's youngest sister, mentioning having seen the plane go down, and also seeing the parachutes.  She thought that one of them had landed in their pond.  Another cousin, Nicolaj Bojer, visited Les Schrenk in Minnesota, and invited him to the family farm, where together they sleuthed out various artifacts from Les's downed plane, the Pot O' Gold.  It was tireless research by Nicolaj that led to Hans-Hermann Müller, and his Heidelberg address." This is all in the PBS show (from Danish TV), Mortal Enemies, airing soon in New England on PBS.  

A letter Nicolaj wrote to us announcing the Danish documentary, along with a link to the documentary itself (including footage of Schrenk visiting the family farm in 2008, and also of the reunion of the two "mortal enemies" in Heidelberg), are found here on this blog:  -- rsb

Undated courtesy photo of Les Schrenk’s "Pot O’ Gold" B-17 bomber crew during World War II. Shrenk is second from left in the back
Undated courtesy photo of Les Schrenk's "Pot O' Gold" B-17 bomber crew during World War II. Shrenk is second from left in the back row. Schrenk, 91, of Bloomington was in the plane when it was shot down over Denmark in Feb.1944. Schrenk parachuted to safety and survived a German P.O.W. camp. (Photo courtesy of Les Schrenk) 

Les Schrenk, 91, of Bloomington was in a B-17 bomber shot down over Denmark during World War II. Schrenk parachuted to safety and survived a German P.O.W.
Les Schrenk, 91, of Bloomington, photographed on Thursday, May 21, 2015. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)
Sunday night, Les Schrenk will watch a war story on TV -- about himself. The documentary "Mortal Enemies" will tell the tale of the act of mercy that haunted him for 68 years. 

Schrenk, 91, is alive today because a German pilot mysteriously spared his life during World War II. And he is at peace today because he finally found out why -- after an odyssey spanning seven decades of dogged research. 

Schrenk said that when he finally met the pilot, he called it a "reunion," as if they were long-lost friends. The meeting would be full of answers for Schrenk, which he found satisfying. "This has finally come full circle. It's kind of the closure of everything," said Schrenk, who will be watching the documentary in his retirement home in Bloomington. 

The following account of Schrenk's saga comes from the TV documentary, interviews, and military documents from World War II: 
On Feb. 22, 1944, a squadron of bombers left England to attack Nazi factories near Germany's Ruhr River. The mission was so important that the Allies set up a simultaneous decoy attack to distract the Germans. 

In the decoy squadron was a B-17 named Pot O' Gold. On the belly of the plane was a gun turret, and inside it waited a machine-gunner -- Army Air Corps Sgt. Les Schrenk, 24, of Long Prairie, Minn.
The squadron roared over its target in German-occupied Denmark, but cloud cover prevented it from dropping any bombs. As the planes wheeled around to return home, a swarm of German aircraft attacked. 

"The air was full of airplanes," Schrenk recalled Thursday. "I swear, some of them came within a few feet of us." 

The Nazis shot three of the B-17s out of the sky, killing all 40 crew members. Then a German JU-88 swooped toward Schrenk. 

"The first thing I remember was a great big explosion," he said. He looked up at the right wing -- where a 25-foot plume of flame belched from a fuel tank.

Undated black and white courtesy photo, circa World War II of German pilot Hans-Hermann Muller. Muller spared the life of Les Schrenk, of Bloomington,
Undated black and white courtesy photo, circa World War II of German pilot Hans-Hermann Muller. Muller spared the life of Les Schrenk, of Bloomington, Minn., along with the crew of Schrenk's B-17 bomber, when he let them parachute safely to the ground after he shot down their plane. The two men met in Muller's home in Heidelberg, Germany in 2012. 
Photo courtesy of Les Schrenk.
On the plane's radio, someone asked: "Where's the nearest land?" The navigator replied: "Twenty minutes due east." This is it, thought Schrenk. Like blindfolded prisoners facing a firing squad, the crew waited for the final gunshots. 

And waited. And waited. 

But the German attacker had stopped firing. The crew was amazed to see it assume a protective position, floating about 100 yards over the crippled B-17. 

Schrenk knew that falling into the icy North Atlantic was a death sentence, but if his plane could reach land, he and his crewmates might parachute to safety.  It didn't seem likely. The flames went out and reignited, over and over. "It was explosion, explosion, explosion for 20 minutes," Schrenk said. Just as the plane crossed the beach, the wing fell off. "Ten seconds earlier and I wouldn't be here today," he said. 

The bomber spiraled down. The crew bailed out, their chutes popping open. As he swayed in the wind, Schrenk heard the crash of his plane three miles away. Then he heard bullets buzzing past -- German ground troops had opened fire. The 10-man crew landed without injury, with the exception of a pilot who fell into a lake and drowned. 

Schrenk's boots had hardly touched the ground when the questions hit him: What just happened? Why am I alive? Why didn't the pilot kill us? 

German troops quickly rounded up the American fliers and marched them to a nearby schoolhouse. Schrenk would soon be sent to Stalag Luft 4 -- Airmen's Prison No. 4 -- in Lithuania. By that time, the Russian army was threatening from the east. Eventually, the camp's guards ordered the prisoners to evacuate. As they marched, Schrenk wondered about their destination. Days later, he realized there wasn't one. The guards were not taking them to another prison, but driving them back and forth across snow-covered Germany like a herd of cattle. 

It was a death march that lasted three months. "If you couldn't keep up, you were shot," said Schrenk. His comrades died all around him. He was constantly on the verge of freezing and starving. He wore out the bottoms of his socks -- so only rings of cloth remained around his ankles.

This  P.O.W. spoon, with a Nazi design stamped in the handle, belongs to Les Schrenk of Bloomington, who was in a B-17 bomber shot down over Denmark during
This P.O.W. spoon, with a Nazi design stamped in the handle, belongs to Les Schrenk of Bloomington, who was in a B-17 bomber shot down over Denmark during World War II. Schrenk parachuted to safety and survived a German P.O.W. camp, photographed on Thursday, May 21, 2015. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi) 
He could see his toes wiggling out of his tattered shoes. "I was lucky," he said. "I was from Minnesota, and I knew about snow. Those guys from Florida had never seen a snowflake."

At night, the men wrote poetry. Schrenk carried a notebook through the entire march -- and still has it. In it, a typical poem "Discards" compares the starved men to "a broken bottle thrown away that was once a bottle of beer." 

Then, suddenly, the march was over. "One of the guards said, 'We are your prisoners now. You are free,' " remembers Schrenk. British troops had come to the POWs' rescue, but there was no celebration. In a hunger-induced stupor, Schrenk took hours to realize what happened. "We could hardly put one foot in front of the other," he said. 

Schrenk was one of thousands of liberated prisoners, and their sheer numbers overwhelmed the Allied forces. "Our own government didn't come to get us," he said. The liberators told the ex-POWs their ordeal still wasn't over: They had to walk 13 miles more to another camp
The British did give Schrenk clothing -- a British uniform, which turned out to be a stroke of luck. After days of trying to get U.S. forces to help, Schrenk donned the uniform and approached an American airman, who naturally assumed Schrenk was British. Schrenk finagled his way onto a transport plane and landed in England. 

That's when the war ended. 

Schrenk returned to America with two Purple Hearts, moved to Edina, got married and lived in the same house for 56 years. 

Yet the big question never left him.

He'd look at his wife and friends, and wondered where they would be if the German pilot had not spared him. He'd look at his daughter, who wouldn't have been born. The questions became an obsession, and he began his search for the only man who had the answers: the German pilot who had shot down his plane. 

Despite a barrage of letters and phone calls, he made no progress. "The German government was absolutely not helpful," Schrenk said. "Everything was classified." 

Eventually, a Danish friend, Nikolaj Bojer, came to his aid. And after four years of cutting through the red tape with his help, Schrenk finally found the name.  It was Hans-Herrmann Muller. 

Schrenk found a phone number and arranged a meeting. A Danish TV crew picked up the story and began to film him. In 2012, the two men met in Muller's alpine home in Heidelberg, Germany.
Schrenk thanked Muller and handed the German a .50-caliber bullet, which he had recovered from the site of his wrecked B-17. 

"I am very glad I didn't give it to you back then," Schrenk told him. 

Then it was Muller's turn. He tried to say what Schrenk had waited 68 years to hear -- the reason Schrenk was standing in front of him. Muller was a battle-hardened ace who downed 16 enemy aircraft during the war. But after crippling Schrenk's plane, he felt a sudden pang of conscience.
"It would have been foolish to shoot down aircraft over the sea. They'd have no chance of survival," Muller said in the documentary. 

Instead, he escorted the flaming B-17 to shore. "When I saw that all 10 jumped out with their parachutes, I must say -- it may be too much to call it happiness -- I did feel a kind of satisfaction." 

But why? 

Only minutes before, Muller had mercilessly machine-gunned another B-17 into the Atlantic. Why not do the same for the Pot O' Gold? The only explanation -- the conclusion of Schrenk's epic saga -- was a split-second decision. But that was enough. 

Schrenk felt satisfied and basked in the warmth of a new friendship. "It was like seeing a friend from old times," Schrenk said. "I will like him forever, and that is what he tells me, too." 

Toasting each other with champagne, the men look in the documentary as jovial as a pair of aging Rotarians. But their smiles couldn't hide the fact that this was a curious kind of friendship.
Their last meeting was two generations earlier, in midair, as they desperately tried to kill each other.
Both knew their friendship would seem strange to others, and both felt the need to explain.
Friendship is personal, they said, but war is not. 

They never thought of conducting war in terms of killing people. They never thought of their victims at all. "If I had thought about it, I certainly wouldn't have been able to manage 16 shootdowns," Muller said. "You were happy after a successful shootdown. But how many people and who would be in there?" he said. "We didn't care about that at all, because then we wouldn't have been able to attack more rigorously." 

Schrenk agreed. "If you shot a plane down, it was more like just: 'Hooray! I scored a victory!' There was no feeling, really. You are shooting at each other. You are trying to keep yourself from being killed." 

Schrenk, who lives with his wife, Bernice, in the Bloomington retirement home, said he still regularly calls Muller. The friendship continues. And the explanation of the friendship continues, too. 

"People who don't understand war ask me: 'Why don't you hate him?' " Schrenk said. "If I would hate the pilot that shot us down, would it hurt him? No. He wouldn't know I was hating him. Who would it hurt the most? Me. It would make me a bitter person." 

As he folded the pages of his poetry notebook, he said, "It is much, much better to put the past the behind and move forward." 

Bob Shaw can be reached at 651-228-5433. Follow him at
"Mortal Enemies," the story of World War II veteran Les Schrenk of Minnesota, will air at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on Twin Cities Public Television. 
The documentary was produced by Danish TV and brought to Minnesota with support from the Danish American Center and Danish Consulate.
Les Schrenk, left, of Bloomington, Minn. shakes hands with the German fighter pilot who spared his life in World War II -- Hans-Hermann Muller. The two met
Les Schrenk, left, of Bloomington, Minn. shakes hands with the German fighter pilot who spared his life in World War II -- Hans-Hermann Muller. The two met in Muller's home in Heidelberg, Germany in 2012. Photo courtesy of Twin Cities Public Television.

12 Predictions for the Year 2000 from a 19th-Century German Chocolate Company

filed under: History
Image credit: 
Wikimedia Commons
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Right around the same time that French postcards were predicting lots of aerial and aquatic activities in the year 2000 as part of the 1900 Paris World's Fair, a German chocolate company decided to get in on the future-telling business with a crafty marketing campaign. For a short time, Theodore Hildebrand and Son chocolate company slipped colorful cards depicting theoretical life in the year 2000 into boxes of their sweets. Altogether, 12 such cards were produced, predicting how a range of activities would get upgraded for the 21st Century.

1. Police with X-Ray

It's unclear from the picture how an x-ray camera of sorts would factor into crime-fighting. With both the legal and moral high ground, couldn't the police apprehend the criminals face-to-face? Weigh in below if you can make sense of it.

2. Flying Machines

What's a vision of the future without some personal flying machines? This card features several different options that all look heinously unsafe. Is that little girl even wearing a seat belt?!

3. Movable Houses

Alright, this one is just all wrong. They're still using horse-drawn buggies and steam engines, having focused all the attention and effort of their technological advancements on building portable rowhouses.

4. Airships

More air travel. And fashion stuck in the 1800s.

5. Undersea Ships

Perhaps even more tantalizing than the leisure submarine patrolling the ocean floor are the sea bike, sea surrey, and sea wheeled-recliner above.

6. North Pole Trip

It's true that air travel has made vacationing in remote locations possible and even popular. But I haven't noticed a lot of hot air balloon jaunts to the North Pole showing up on hip destination lists.

7. Water Walk

The genius here isn't the water-wheel unicycle or the shoe-canoes—it's the artistic, elegant, and tech-free individual hot air balloons that keep water-waders upright. Even the horse has one!

8. Ship Railway

So many questions. How is this better than a normal ship? Is it limited to shallow waters? WHY IS IT ON FIRE?!

9. Roofed City

This one seems like a great idea until you remember things like, you know, drought.

10. Theater

Things happening in one place will be able to be captured and viewed in an entirely different location in real time? Yup.

11. Moving Sidewalks

Scattered throughout the airport, these human conveyor belts are a delightful respite that make you feel like you have super-speed compared to the people on still ground. But in crowded cities? Now that just sounds dangerous.

12. Good Weather Machine

Yes. Get on this, scientists.
All images via Wikimedia Commons.

Teenage Bottlerocket – Ich bin Ausländer

"Anyone learning German will at some point have used a variation on the lyrics of my current OhrwurmTeenage Bottlerocket – Ich bin Ausländer.
Whether it’s at the bank attempting to set up that first Konto, the dreaded Anmeldung at the Bürgeramt or just chatting with friends, we’ve all had to point out our shortcomings when it comes to our understanding of Deutsch.
My personal stock phrase in these moments, to the amusement of some of my friends, is ‘Es tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut’.
This isn’t of course an experience exclusive to those learning German.  Anyone attempting to take their classroom or book knowledge of a new language to the next level and attempt a practical application of their skills will have been in a similar position.
That moment of utter confusion with a mixture of embarrassment and abject terror thrown in when you realise you no longer have any idea what the person in front of you is saying and you’ll have to let them know.
It all started well enough but then there was a word or two you didn’t understand.  Then while you were trying to work out what these elusive words were you missed the next ten or twenty.  You start practising the phrase you’ll use to interrupt them and now it seems that all that is coming out of the mouth of the person you are speaking to is a jumble of vowels and consonants.
And it seems American punk band Teenage Bottlerocket had some difficulties with language during their 2013 European tour as they released Ich bin Ausländer as part of their American Deutsch Bag EP.
Teenage Bottlerocket – Ich bin Ausländer"

Ich bin Ausländer, und sprechen nicht gut Deutsch.
Bitte, langsam! Bitte, langsam!
Bitte sprechen Sie doch langsam! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Vom Burgau Gymnasium: über uns!

Unsere 2. Woche in Amerika

Erstellt am Sonntag, 26. April 2015 14:24

Unsere zweite Woche in Amerika

usa2 1Am Mittwoch gings dann auf nach Providence. Nach ca. einer Stunde Busfahrt waren die meisten ausgeschlafen. Einer der Amerikaner führte uns dann durch die Stadt. In der Bibliothek der BROWN University gab uns Professor Dr Landis Einblick in alte Schriften von deutschen Settlern, was durchaus interessant war. Anschließend besichtigten wir das RISD Museum, ein Kunstmuseum, in dem die unterschiedlichsten Stile und Epochen ausgestellt sind.
In der großen Shopping Mall hatten wir mehrere Stunden Freizeit um zu shoppen, zu essen oder auch einfach nur die Stadt zu erkunden. Nach diesem Tag mit sonnigem Wetter war bei einigen das Maximalgewicht des Koffers schon überschritten...

usa2 2Natürlich erlebten wir in der Woche noch mehr. Je mehr wir mit den Amis unternahmen, desto mehr fielen uns die Unterschiede zwischen der unsrigen und ihrer Verhaltensweise auf. Sie haben zum Beispiel bereits mit 16 Jahren ihren Führerschein, was, wie wir ebenfalls merkten, nicht immer eine gute Idee ist. Aufgrund dieses frühen Führerscheins unternehmen Amerikaner z.T. mehr mit ihren Freunden mit dem Auto und sind auch später abends noch unterwegs, wo sie sich beispielsweise in DunkinDonuts-Läden, von denen man in den USA mehr findet als Tankstellen, treffen und auch ohne alkoholische Getränke, die man dort ja erst ab 21 erwerben kann, gute Stimmung verbreiten.
Neben vielen individuellen Erfahrungen, die wir in unserem jeweiligen Unterricht sammelten, zeigten uns die Amerikaner beispielweise wie Baseball funktioniert, wobei sich Herr Breuning sehr anstrengte und mit seiner doppelten Falleinlage den ganzen Platz unterhielt. Die Woche endete mit dem Ferienbeginn, der von uns für Aktivitäten wie Freizeitparks oder Laser-Tech genutzt wurde.
Die letzten Tage und NY rücken näher...
Julian Lorenz und Jacob Odenthal (EP)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sein: Was sind Sie zum Beruf? (Occupations)


Banker:  Bänker?
Ebenso -- Just the same...

Toms Fahrrad

das Rad  -  ein neues Fahrrad
die Reife
der Sattel - ist höher
die Bremse
die Handbremse
der Tachometer :  Wie
die Klingel: so macht er sich aufmerksam
die Pedale: somit kann er das Rad bewegen
der Ständer, um das Rad abzustellen
der Gepäckträger
der Strahler: reflektiert das Licht in der Dunkelheit
der Helm: um sich nicht bei einem Stürz zu verletzen

11 Illnesses You Can Only Catch In Germany

Published on Apr 19, 2015
There are illnesses that can only be found in Germany! Find out more and learn about deutsche Krankheiten in this video and Get Germanized!

• Ostalgie (Nostalgia for the old East Germany)   • der Hörstürz     •  der Putzfimme
• die Zivilisationskrankheit                • der Kreislaufzusammenbruch

Der Kevinismus, Nicht nur in Deutschland, aber bei uns auch. Die Ägyptischen die hat nach den USA migranten /gemeigrant , nennen ihre Kinder Amerikanischer Namen. Anderen irgendwo in der Arabische Region, velleicht nennen eure kinder Khaleeji Namen. Ich leide an der Frühjahrmudigkeit, für den ganz Jahr! Ps, Korrekt meine Grammatik, bitte ;-)

This was great! I love the list of illness you can only contract in Germany because i'm interested in disease ^^ I also found it interesting that all the words were pretty long, that's really amazing :) Even though i'm not in Germany i think i contracted a few of theses illnesses especially as my b-day is coming in mere weeks and i will be reaching a new bracket in age i suffer from Torschlusspanik ^^ Perhaps my illness is all in my mind but we must find a cure ^^ Amazing video, please do more like this :)

+mew19forever well, all these words are so long because they describing what they are. This is this german thing that you mash a short description of the word acutally into the word. For example the word Torschlusspanik: tor=gate schluss=closing panik=panic Torschlusspanic closinggatepanic ;)

+Mysterios1989 Ah! I get it ! ^^ I really like how the German language is very straight forward with it's words, it makes things easier to explain ^^ Thank you for explaining  this for me, i really appreciate it ^^

In English, we sometimes hear Wanderlust (with Anglicized pronunciation) instead of Fernweh. Also, someone suffering from Lebensmüdigkeit might be referred to as "world weary" if they're old or have have experienced a lot of hardship. We have a couple phrases similar to Torschlusspanik, too. If a woman is worried about losing her chance have children due to age, we might say her "biological clock is ticking". And of course there's the "midlife crisis" for people who suddenly need to buy an expensive car, quit their job to see the world, or something like that in order to feel young again because they've hit middle age.

"Wanderlust" means that you want to walk and "Fernweh" means that you want far away (Hope you understand my English)