Kapitel 2 Kultur

The first article, The German National Pastime: Whining, Bitching and Moaning struck me as rather interesting, because I always thought of America as a sort of haven for complaining as well. A lot of the conversations that I have with my peers include complaining about the weather, upcoming exams, or homework so hard that it should be illegal. I think that’s what the author is trying to point out about Germans as well – they use complaints as a way of carrying on conversation. A part that I found most interesting was towards the end, where the author mentioned that if you tell a German that they complain a lot, and that they actually have it pretty good, that they will agree with you and explain why they complain all the time. I see a lot of similarities to my American experience in that – my peers and I have the privilege of attending one of the best universities in the world, but we can still find things to complain about.

I also found the article entitled Brutally Honest: “Have You Gained Weight?” to be very intriguing. It is true that in America we are super polite about a lot of things. If someone asks if they look good, we always say yes. It took me 19 years to tell my grandma that I don’t like some of the meals that she cooks for me. It seems to me that the German way of saying exactly what you mean would be really refreshing, not having to tiptoe around what you actually mean. I wouldn’t have had to suffer through eating meatloaf if I could just tell people what I’m thinking.

Finally, I really related on a more personal level to the article By the Numbers: An Obsession with Statistics. As an engineering student, I am always saying “show me the numbers”. My brain just processes numbers better than other kinds of descriptions. I feel like the German described in this article would appreciate this way of thinking, because statistics just use numbers to describe things instead of words. My family also watches a lot of documentary/history type shows when I’m at home, so I can relate to the German people’s love for facts and interesting information. I think it’s awesome to be knowledgeable about a lot of different things, so that’s something new that I can really appreciate about the German people.

Owen’s Reaction to Kapitel 2 Kultur

I found all the articles from the Kulturtext sehr interessant. The first article, while focusing on the Kultur of complaining in Deutschland, very much struck home for me. I went to a private school in San Francisco, which is one of the most liberal places in the world. While I am fairly liberal myself, many times I felt like my classmates took their criticisms of den USA too far. Even though I understood that most of the complaining came from a place of wanting to make the Land better, I often felt that the complaining came at the cost on not appreciating what we all did have. This seems like it could parallel the situation in Deutschland closely. Both many Deutschen and many of my classmates have very gut lives compared to most of the world. But while I think criticism of various institutions is important, I also believe that kids from my school and Deutschen alike need to be careful not to lose touch with what we do have.

I also enjoyed reading the article on Auge contact. Eye contact is interesting in that cultural norms regarding it vary widely from country to country. In Amerika, eye contact is important. In a conversation, not giving eye contact is a sign of disrespect, dishonesty or Angst. However, if you don’t break eye contact enough, you’re likely to come off as standoffish or just plain creepy. However, in places like China, minimal eye contact is a sign of respect. When holding a conversation, one is expected to let their Augen wander around the Zimmer while listening to the other person. This would be seen as very strange in den US, and I assume in Deutschland as well. Lastly, from what I read in the article, in Germany strong eye contact is not seen as creepy or aggressive in the way it is in the US. This extends to eye contact between two strangers. In Amerika, if someone on der Bus is staring you down, the appropriate response is to worry they are going to confront you. In Deutschland, this is obviously falsch.

The article on Germans’ brutal honesty left me with thoughts similar to the previous one, in that it totally varies Kultur to Kultur. Personally, I would never insult someone’s cooking or Aussehen, even if I was just being honest. It simply goes against how I’ve learned to act my entire life. However, I understand this is different in Deutschland, and that such lack of tact would not be taken negatively at all. It’s still something I’ll never do though, even when I spend time in Deutschland like I’m planning on.

Finally, I actually really understood the last article on Germans’ obsession with statistics and documentaries. I’ve always been fascinated by demographics and charts (especially on Landkarten!), so this aspect of Deutsche Kultur doesn’t confuse me at all. In addition, I watched a lot of documentaries with my dad when I was younger, and I still liebe them today. So in other words, this part of me would fit in very well in Deutschland!

Deutsch Kultur – Kapitel Zwei

From the outside, I have always seen Germany as a very well-functioning country. Everyone around the world seems to adore Angela Merkel as the German Chancellor. I was surprised, however, to read about all the complaining that happens in Germany. I have always thought of the United States as a very privileged yet dysfunctional nation. Most other European nations such as Germany, the UK, or France appear to be extremely well functioning to me, an average U.S. citizen. Reading the article on German citizens complaining made me realize that the problem is not with either country but more with the people. People in general seem to like complaining, especially about authority. The habit of complaining probably begins young when children complain about their parents and never disappears even as children grow into adults (for many people, but others do grow out of complaining). My fiancé’s family always talks about how the United States should be like other nations in regards to standardized healthcare. I never saw the flip-side of the coin where German citizens, even though they may have socialized medicine, still complain about higher taxes. Even as the United States seems to be more and more tumultuous politically, with the uprising of executive order from President Trump, I don’t think I will expect more complaining to happen. In light of the German complaints, we will more likely see people come together in actually trying to make a better country together even when our government is incredibly divided.

Another interesting facet of the articles was the Germanic Stare-Down. Two summers ago, I spent 6-weeks in India working with an NGO there to fight human trafficking. Indian culture is fairly unique juxtaposed against American culture. However, India has the same cultural norm of staring. Walking onto the train, anyone could lock eyes with a random man for 5 seconds or more. While this often turned into a competition, I’m not sure the reason why this is. I enjoyed reading in the articles how the long eye-contact may root itself in the rough 20th century experience of Germany. People were told to always keep aware of their surroundings, especially in light of Totalitarian governments. That this practice has been passed down for generations is extremely interesting, and I wonder how many other German practices can be traced to deep cultural roots!

Kapitel 2 Kultur-Texte

I was surprised when I read the article Whining, Bitching and Moaning, as it talks about the negative aspect of complaint in Deutsch.  I have to say I have bias to Deutsch, and I know that.  I really love Deutschand to my mind everything related to Deutsch is great, is the best (I know it doesn’t make any sense.  But that is Liebe.)  But one thing I totally agree with the author: when you visit a country, you always see the good stuff; but when you live in a country, you start to experience the negative aspects and gain an comprehensive understand of the country.

Personally, I feel being staring by a stranger as the second scenario in Watcha Lookin’ at, Granny, is really uncomfortable, and might be terrified.  However, I think the civic duty in the first scenario makes sense to some extent.  It creates peer pressure that force Leute being disciplined and well-performed in the public, which I think is good for a country.  However, I’m afraid the staring in the Deutsch is way too much, basing on this article, which interfere other’s personal lives.  Additionally, I think the response “Would you like to take a photograph” is really smart and I would like to try it one day.

Honestly, I didn’t believe anyone would choose the third response given in the article Have You Gained Weight?.  But Germans choose it.  As a foreigner to the US, I do feel very truly that Americans is being very nice to people.  I’ve always heard “You are doing great”, and sometimes I am not sure if that is true.  However, I do feel this kind of encouragement is important, especially when you do something for the first time.  Also, when starting asking and probing more, Americans will also give me constructive advice.  For Germans, I think I would also appreciate their honest and direct way.  But sometimes this may hurt.

Given the fact that I am really bad at number and statistics, I really need to study ahead of time if I am going to Deutsch.  However, I think for any country or city, there is much more than those number.  Zum Beispiel, the famous food, the unique culture, the schön attractions, all beyond those number.  Statistics can only provide a tiny little glance of a city or country.

AMD 1 – Deutsch Duolingo

I spent time today working on Duolingo for German. I have used Duolingo in the past to prepare for taking German 101 and for fun. I have been surprised how many words I may not have heard before in German, but from context clues I can figure out what they mean. For example, a sentence that says “Die Madchen essen die Apfel,” I can tell that the word Apfel means apple because essen is to eat. Additionally, I know from our German 101 class how to tell if a noun is plural or not through the article. Considering Madchen is typically Das Madchen, I know in this case that Madchen is plural because it is preceded by the article Die. Since Apfel is also preceded by die, that also tells me that it is plural to go along with the subject “girls.”

From my experience today working on Plurals on Duolingo, I can see that something like Duolingo helps me a lot especially with grammar. This is because I can see how the app Duolingo writes out sentences and conjugates verbs accordingly. While I remember some of the content verbs from Duolingo, the truth is there are so many words to remember that most of them slip out of my mind. However, reading so much German in Duolingo is helping me to understand basic sentence structure as well as which articles go with which nouns. I hope to soon be able to take on the section of Duolingo on Proverbs and Idioms soon (although, it’s way over my head at this point) so I can fit in with all the local slang! Tschuss!

AMD1 – Berliner Philharmoniker, Johannes Brahms

Prior to deciding to learn German, I had already viewed the Berlin Philharmonic as one of my favorite performing groups (I was devastated when I found out that I missed their performance in Ann Arbor, even more-so when I found out that my friend ran into Simon Rattle, their principal conductor in a Starbucks). Having played the violin since I was little, German composers have played an instrumental role in shaping my repertoire. The music scene truly drew me to German culture in which the epicenter seemed to lie in Berlin—perhaps this naturally lead to a bias on my part?

For this assignment, I listened to nearly an hour’s worth of classical music by Johannes Brahms, a German composer born in Hamburg. Many of these pieces were performed by German groups such as the Berliner Philharmoniker. The first piece is the Academic Festival Overture by Brahms. Composed in the summer of 1880, Brahms was originally against the idea of even writing the piece. Its purpose was to serve as a form of gratitude for being awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Breslau; Brahms hated the indulgence of celebrity, and only intended to leave a thank-you note until he heard that the university would accept nothing less than a musical composition. So, in the end, he composed the overture, which exhibited a boisterous, light-hearted theme that was meant to convey a drinking song. Funny, Brahms.

I discuss the Academic Festival Overture first because it is the only piece that I found that loosely follows a narrative, which brings up an interesting aspect of German history being its occupancy of absolute music and German Romanticism. In essence, absolute composers, often developed under Romantic schools of thought viewed music is only to be enjoyed as music itself, and free of any narratives or underlying meaning. My interpretation of this is enjoying music for how it makes one feel, regardless of how you may analyze its intention, which heavily contrasts the styles of composers from other countries. For example, Russian composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev were famous for the political themes underlying their compositions. Shostakovich’s Symphony 5 was actually known for bringing its audience to tears because they resonated with the political message in light of treatment under the Stalin regime. In my time researching Brahms, I struggled to find any meaningful messages behind his works, which is likely the intention.

In researching the Berliner Philharmoniker and German composers such as Johannes Brahms, I found myself learning about the significant ways in which German culture has contributed to some of the things that I enjoy most, being classical music and the violin. I believe that learning about culture and history is a critical component to language learning, because these various aspects come together to form a cohesive package. In addition to the Academic Festival Overture, I also listened to the Violin Concerto in D Major, and the Symphony No. 3.

AMD 1- Bundesliga Round up- Thomas

I was initially somewhat concerned about this blog post because I don’t commonly use a lot of german functions or features on a day to day basis. However, once I thought about features that I do use on a day to day basis that don’t necessarily utilize the german language, the idea of browsing around the official German “Bundesliga” soccer page occurred to me. I’ve always been a huge sports fan, and especially one of professional soccer. It’s incredible what you pick up from an interview from just a few weeks of exposure to the language. The interviews with German players such as Marco Reus, Thomas Mullér, and Manuel Neuer highlighted how the tone of a response follows similarly to english interviews. Phrases such as “das spiel in der Hand zwei und eins” I was able to understand because of the context and similarities to the english delivery.

Despite it being a german based league most of the information on the page’s interface is in english. Therefore, the majority of the german exposure that I got on the page was from interviews. I tried to shop around and learn as much as I could from what each athlete had to say based on how there club is doing. Translated into closed captaining as “we did what we had to”, I recognized terms from “wir” to “hatten” as word froms that we have been studying since the start of chapter 1. It’s difficult for me to read and analyze important terms, but for some reason I understand notable verbal queues much better. I think this comes from Professor Marquardt’s tendency to test our listening to learn the material better.

The last thing that interested me was to find out where the concentration of Bundesliga clubs were oriented. I made a quick google, and it was interesting to me that a large portion of clubs fell in the west region of Deutschland while Bayern Munich is one of the most southern and isolated clubs in the league. It was interesting to see how close or far certain inner league rivals were from each other.


AMD1 – Travel in Heidelberg – Julie

I was super excited when I found one of the AMD idea is a travel guide to Germany.  I love and enjoy travelling, and always do the travel plan myself.  I immediately decided to investigate more about Germany through the travel guide for this AMD assignment.

I traveled to Germany once and my favorite city is Heidelberg.  This was almost five years ago.  What I can still remember is there is a bridge in the Heidelberg with a monkey (it might be another kind of animal) on the one side.  There is a story saying that if you touch the monkey’s foot, you can come back to Heidelberg again later.  Unfortunately, I didn’t touch the monkey, which I totally have no idea why I didn’t.  But I do very much want to visit Heidelberg again.  The other side of the bridge connects to the Philosopher Walk, a scenery trial which I enjoyed.  Another place I still remember is the castle, but I don’t recall any details.

I wanted to confirm that all my recalls are correct and also remind myself more details about my trip in Heidelberg.  Therefore, I went to the Travel Planet and searched Heidelberg.

According the Travel Planet, Heidelberg is Germany’s oldest and most university town.  How could I forgot the University!  There was once in a time that I was actually thinking about applying to the Heidelberg University.  However, it was not very realistic.

I didn’t know that Mark Twain stayed in Heidelberg for three-month and recounted his observations in A Tramp Abroad.  I guess I will read this book one day.

The castle I mentioned earlier is Schloss Heidelberg (so the Scholoss means Castle), which is ranked at top among attractions.  In the description, it mentions the largest wine cask in the Schloss.  This reminds me when we were there, my aunt and uncle tried few cups of wine, but I didn’t because I really don’t like any alcohol at all.  It also highlights the beautiful view over the Neckar River and the Alstadt rooftops. (I looked into the dictionary, Altstadt = old town).  When I was staying in Heidelburg, I did spend some time in the Alstadt, strolling along those cute stores.  In addition, the red-roofed buildings are the feature of the Alstadt, which were built pretty much from scratch during the 18th century after the city having been destroyed by French troops under Louis XIV.  The Neckar River in the description reminds me there are two main rivers in the Germany.  I then did some research and found that there are actually many rivers in Germany.  Probably what I thought were Rhine and Main.

That bridge is Alt Brücke. (From the dictionary, Brücke = bridge.  But I don’t know the difference between alte and alt.)  And it is true that there is a money next to the tower gate, holding a mirror.  The Philosopher Walk is actually called Philosophenweg, claimed to be the top choice trail in Heidelberg.  I am glad that I didn’t miss it.

Now, I do miss my time in Heidelberg.

Duolingo für Deutsche

For my first AMD post, I thought I’d try out Duolingo für Deutsch. I’ve always been a competitive person, so the Idee of a game I could play while learning German appealed to me. When I first began to use Duolingo, I immediately took a liking to the casual style of the Programm. It first asked me to take a quick test to see how much German I knew- I passed the first few Fragen, but quickly realized I was best off starting from the beginning.

As I went through the first few lessons, most of the content was review. I did learn a few new words- Brot is bread, and Mädchen is girl. After going through the first few chapters, Duolingo informed me that I was now 2% fluent in Deutsch. I’d like to think I’m more around 5%, however, since the program doesn’t know what I’ve learned in class.

Overall, I could see myself continuing to use Duolingo in addition to taking the German Kurs in class. While the site is no replacement for the Schreiben and Sprechen exercises given by German 101, it could certainly prove to be a fun and helpful supplement.

AMD 1 – Duolingo im Deutsch – Allie

I was actually pretty excited to see that Duolingo is one of the suggested activities for the AMD assignments, because I’ve used it before in my Spanish classes! So, because I already conveniently had the app downloaded, I decided to use Duolingo to learn some more German. The first couple of tasks were learning the basics that we have gone over in class, but it was a good review to learn them again. I learned that Junge and Mädchen mean boy and girl, respectively. I also learned some alternative phrases to Auf Wiedersehen! for goodbye. “Bis bald” means “see you soon” and “Bis später” means see you later. I also had a small introduction to some verbs other than the ones we have been studying in class. Namely, essen, trinken, and schwimmen. These were pretty easy to learn, considering that two of them are cognates. I have always heard that German and English are very similar, but I didn’t know how far the similarities went. I learned how to conjugate  I also learned how to say “keine Ahnung”, which may be a useful phrase in class when ich verstehe nicht.

I also learned a little bit about German idioms, which I found pretty interesting. “Practice makes perfect” turned into “Es ist noch kein Meister vomHimmel gefallen”, which literally translates to “No master of heaven has fallen”. Instead of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, Germans say “Eine Hand wäscht die andere”, which is “one hand washes the other”. It was interesting to see the small differences in how Germans express the same sentiments as English speakers.