AMD 3

For my AMD, I chose to do some research into the Study Abroad programs in Deutschland that the Universität von Michigan offers. Exploring the LSA abroad website, I found that there are three options for Deutschland. The first is an academic Jahr spent in Freiburg. Freiburg is in the German state of Baden-Würtemberg, in the southern part of the Land. However, the program requires 4 semesters of German language instruction. Since I have just begun studying German this year and plan on going abroad my junior year, that requirement disqualifies me from the program in Freiburg.

The next program I read about was the Metropolitan Studies program in Berlin. I visited Berlin over der Sommer, and loved it. However, the program in Berlin is less of a German program and more of a general Kultur program. As a result, it appeals less to me than a course that would allow me to use the German skills that I have been learning.

Lastly, I read about the University Study program in Tübingen. Lasting for a semester, the program is located in the same Stadt that Anna Adler is living in during her semester abroad! In addition, the course requires only 3 semesters of college-level Deutsch, which I will have completed by my junior year. The courses are taught in German, which is certainly intimidating. However, I’m confident that after 3 more semesters of instruction, I will be proficient enough to learn other subjects taught in the language. The time in which I’d take the program is certainly far away, but I look forward to surrounding myself with Deutsche Kultur and Sprache nonetheless.

AMD 3

For AMD 3, I went to a local German restaurant named Metzgers. In German, “Metzgers isst sehr gut!” I went with my fiancé’s family, and they confirmed that the restaurant is indeed authentically German. Scatter around the room were a number of relics from German culture: Beer Steins, quotes from German poetry, and a number of crests from old German clans that must have existed hundreds of years ago. I can’t remember the translations, but my fiancé’s dad translated some of the sayings that were written on the wall in German, many of them translating to being about food, hospitality, or quotes talking about old German castles. The thing that most set apart Metzgers as authentically German was the food. The Wurst platter was what I ordered, with sides of spätzle and sauerkraut. Others at my table also ordered schnitzel in various kinds, cucumber salad, and potato pancakes. While the wait-staff may not have been wearing Dirndl or Liederhosen, the food was by far the best part and made the restaurant very authentic. Going to Metzgers made me very excited for going to Germany some day and trying some of the food. At least now because of German 101, I will be able to say some of the names!

AMD 3

For my assignment, I listened to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 1, and followed along the score that had German annotations. Mahler was an Austrian composer.

I performed this symphony a few years back, and it has grown to be one of my favorite works, not only for its revered difficulty among orchestral repertoire, but lyrical charisma and depth. I remember my original sheet music having German annotations, the most notable thing being that each movement of the symphony was titled “Satz”. Looking up the translation of this word, I understand that it essentially translates to “sentence.” In this context, this makes sense, given that each movement of the piece is to be seen as a distinct phrase that connected with the rest form a cohesive picture.

What I did not notice, however, that there were German phrases scattered throughout the sheet music as well. I’ll discuss these phrases I found in chronological order of when they appear.

At the beginning of the first movement, there is the phrase “Im anfang sehr gemächlich” which means “In the beginning very leisurely.” Listening to the piece, I definitely see how this corresponds to how the orchestra translates this into a musical phrase—there is a difference between playing the same set of notes leisurely and playing them urgently, for example. Shortly after, at the 4:35 mark in the video, the music is marked “Alle betonungen zart.” This translates to “All the delicacies” which again is conveyed by the orchestra. These markings are important because they help to communicate what the composer intended in writing a passage. If you were to look up the same piece played by different orchestras, there would be variations in how this piece is played by all of them because each conductor interprets the piece differently.

Moving forward to the 16:23 mark in the video, the sheet music is marked “Kraftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell” which translates to “Move strongly, but not too quickly.” Again, as demonstrated by the orchestra, Mahler intended for a strong, but contained power in this first passage. At the 20:23 mark, the music is marked “Recht gemächlich (Ja nicht eilen)” which translates to “Pretty easy (Yes, do not hurry).” I found this translation to be a little funny—maybe Mahler was trying to be a little sarcastic here.

The markings can get repetitive, so I will not go through all of the movements. All in all, I found it interesting to try to decipher the annotations without translation using German that I already know. For example, a marking that says “Sehr langsam” that translates to “Very slowly” can be partly translated because we already know what sehr means. The word sehr appears frequently in the piece, so I imagine that Mahler wanted a lot of exaggeration in the expression.

AMD 3 – Thomas (Spiegel Online)

For this AMD, I decided to learn a little more about the Spiegel Online site that we have been using for our chapter by chapter Kapitel Kulture. The readings thus far have been extremely interesting and informative, so I decided to investigate the site. It was definitely a unique experience.

The key for me was switching the language from German to English. This helped me easily correlate important phrases and words between languages. Some of the most interesting features that the site had to offer was the articles involving interactive parts. For example, an article that I read on the “United States Foreign Policy” had a graph illustrating how Germans felt about the start of Donald Trump’s presidency. The ratings ranged on a spectrum of “Sehr guht” to “weiß nicht”. It was interesting to see how the site describes the unique aspects of the US government.

One of the most difficult things that the site struggled with was some of the English sentence structure. The way that Germans write their sentences is much different then then the way that English sentences are structured, and some of the German words often get lost in translation. Other than that though, it was a generally easy interface to surf around on.

 

AMD 3 – Die Familie Trapp – Allie

For this AMD, I decided to watch “Die Familie Trapp”, which is the original German version of The Sound of Music. I really enjoyed watching this movie because it was interesting to see the differences in the Austrian and German dialects of Deutsch. Every time that someone greeted another person, they used the “Grüß Gott” greeting, not “Guten Morgen” or “Gute Nacht”. Additionally, they pronounced some words differently than I am used to hearing them in class. One that stuck out to me was that one man said “bitt-ay” instead of “bitt-eh” when saying bitte. I hadn’t heard that pronunciation of bitte before. I wasn’t able to understand all of the German yet, so the English subtitles were very helpful. However, I could pick out some words, such as “Entschuldigung” and “verheiratet”. I also picked up some phrases, inluding “Nemen Sie platz, bitte”, which I recognized as “take a seat, please”. There were also some cognates that I easily understood, like “Capitan”, which only had a slightly different pronunciation from the english word “captain”. Towards the end of the movie, one of the children begs for some food while the family waits to be admitted to America. I thought it tied in nicely with the Kapitel 3 vocabulary when she told Maria that she had found some “Brot” and “Käse”.

I thought that it was interesting also to note how much German culture made its way into a movie set in Austria. On more than one occasion, we see the Trapp boys dressed in Lederhosen, and a couple of characters turn out to be secret members of the Nazi party as it took power in Germany. Additionally, when the Trapp family is waiting to be let into America, the American man who speaks German to them has a pretty noticeable American accent. He pronounces his rs like an American, as we noticed when we watched the video in class of the man saying “Ich komme aus Amerika”. It was neat for me to be able to pick out different accents in German.

I haven’t ever actually watched “The Sound of Music” all the way through in English, so I can’t comment on the similarities and differences between the two movies. However, I thought that “Die Familie Trapp” was a great movie to help me learn a little more German (at least pronunciation!) and perhaps a little about dialect differences, too.

AMD 3 – Flash Cards

For AMD 3, I spent time using the flash card program online that we learned about during our first computer session. I think it is a very good time to use it since our test is on Tuesday and the content for chapter 3 is more challenge in my opinion.

An advantage of the flashcard program is that I can categorize the vocabularies as difficult or easy based on what I personally know. I think this is a very good design because everyone has difficulties with different words. Except using it on my laptop, I also downloaded it on my phone so I can use it when I am on the bus or even when I am waiting at a restaurant. This helps me utilize my extra free time very well. I think one thing about learning new vocabularies is that a person has to keeps practicing and learning in order to truly know the vocabularies instead of just memorizing them all the night before test. Another really good feature of the flashcard program is that a vocabulary shows up several times when I try to move it into the “easy” pile, which relates to what I just said about how learning vocabularies is about practicing again and again. Last thing that I really like is that I can make the program pronounce the vocabularies. I personally learn vocabularies better if I knew how to pronounce them (It was the same way for me when I learned English as a kid!) However, there are many vocabularies for each chapter and I think it would be very nice if I could save my progress and came back to it whenever I want instead of starting the program all over again.

Overall, I think the flashcard program is very helpful for learning new vocabularies and studying for tests. I will definitely continue using it throughout the semester to benefit my learning.

AMD – Duolingo

I tried Duolingo during the past two weeks and I love it!

To begin with the Duolingo, I started the assessing test to find out my current “level”.  It turned out to be just a little bit higher than beginner.  Given the fact that I only learned Deutsch for 2 month, it is quite fair.

I think those activities in Duolingo seem easy, but it is a good way to review what I’ve learned in the class, especially the grammar and verb changes.  Many of the concepts are overlapped.  Also, I did learn some new words from Duolingo, such as frissen (er frisst), Die Zeitung.  I immediately remembered the word frissen when it came up for the first time.  The meaning of frissen is so funny – eating like an animal.  The explanation did help me to remember the word.

Another piece that I really enjoy is “Bots”, where I can text with “someone” in Deutsch.  Of course, the “someone” here is Duolingo.  However, it seems so real that just like chatting with someone in the real like.  It has different situations, and how the conversation goes also depends on one’s reply.  I would say replying in Deutsch is not easy.  Sometimes I need to look back to the text or vocab list to find the word.  However, I think the practice like this truly helps me to use Deutsch, rather than just learn Deutsch.

I am using Duolingo on my iPad.  And if I didn’t play with it during the day, it sent me the notification in the evening to remind me.  It is such a good way to practice Deutsch a little bit every single day.

I can see that I will continue using Duolingo to learn and practice Deutsch after I finish GERMAN 101.

 

Kulter – Kapitel 3

The first two articles containing the depictions of the German beer industry incredibly interesting. The fact that public drinking is a such a popular after work tendency is shocking to me. As we Americans think that drinking publicly is a sign of alcoholism and is merit enough for arrest, its unusual to see a culture that provides a much different perspective on it. Even with the increase in public drinking restrictions, the government is always trying to be inclusive. Whether it be a “drinking room” or simply the fact that they treat “drinkers are citizens too, with the same rights we all have”, the German way seems to aim towards a more inclusive society.

“The Dark Side: Optimists are Idiots” was a strange piece that focused on the difference between German and outside culture once again, although this time it didn’t seem as cool and inclusive of a perspective. The fact that German’s take pride in their pessimism means that they are missing out on a lot of the innovations that the world has to offer. Imagine if Zuckerberg was met with the same amount of resistance and negative feedback coupled with his one pessimistic perspective, I doubt that Facebook would have happened. Although the ending of the article does show that Germans may still have a “lighter” side to them, it does seem pretty restricting of a lifestyle to remain focally negative.

The article on “Teutonic Humor” was another interesting one. Germans often are depicted as humorless, but the difficulty in finding their jokes humorous might simply stem from the translation devalue. I’ve always felt it difficult to understand or laugh at humorous bits in other languages that I have studied in the past, because unless you have a full command of the language there will always be some loss of value in the joke. The article on German fast foods catered to my original thoughts that their version of fast food is somewhat different than ours. Without the common drive-thru, it may look different to the American eye, but it unmistakably serves its customers quickly and efficiently which are the benchmarks of any fast food joint.

Kultur 3

This past summer my friend traveled to Germany to visit her boyfriend’s family. I recalled a lot of what she told me about her experience while reading the kultur texts because it seemed to align with much of what the articles were trying to convey—namely, Germans love their beer, sausage, and pessimism. I remember my friend telling me that while she loved it, she was not used to the meat-heavy diet, which I found interesting. Reading these articles, i’m quite surprised with the variety of sausages that are available in Germany. The same goes with beer—I am from Grand Rapids, which is known for beer, and I had no idea that beer came in such a variety! I found it interesting, however, that there has been a push to restrict public drinking to prevent violence. Psychological studies certainly show that alcohol contributes to aggression.

Another thing that I found interesting was the directness of Germans that the articles mentioned. My friend also told me that her boyfriend’s relatives were very direct people, and she particularly liked her boyfriend’s aunt for her witty sense of humor. From the articles, it seems like she fits into the stereotype of “the Hamburger”.

I enjoyed reading about the fact that Germans love their organic food, too. This contrasts the culture in America, where there definitely is a stereotype that people who buy organic almost always coincidentally wear Birkenstocks or are overprotective mothers. I think this is because buying organic in America is usually more expensive and inaccessible to a lot of people, whereas since most people in Germany buy organic, it is much more accessible.

Kapitel 3 Kulture

I found the first two articles, both about beer consumption in Germany, to be very interesting. The first article, “Beer, Brewskies, and Liquid Bread” seemed to glorify German beers, praising the wide variety of alcoholic beverages in Germany, alongside the fact that per year, each German drinks on average 115 liters of beer. It seems to me that beer is seen as more of a typical beverage in Germany, like getting a juice or soda in the US. It’s seen as more standard to be drinking a casual beer, such as after work, as mentioned in the article. It’s also interesting to note that 3/4 of the breweries in the European Union can be found in Germany! No wonder they have so many varieties of beer.

The second article, “Capping the Bottle”, painted a little grimmer picture of drinking in Germany. It stated several reasons for wanting to remove public drinking from the culture, including crime rates and public drunkenness. However, for as many people that are for getting rid of public drinking, there are others who are firmly for maintaining this tradition, citing it as a right of the citizens of Germany. It’s interesting for me to note that although there is factual evidence that banning public drinking may be good for society, people are holding on strongly to this tradition that is one of the most unique parts of Germany compared to other first world countries.

Finally, I thought that the article “The Dark Side: Optimists are Idiots” was a good way to build off of the culture readings from last chapter. We discussed how Germans like to complain and are very direct, and this article combined both of those ideas. Not only are Germans pessimistic and direct, but they are directly pessimistic. Again, it’s quite a shift from the happy-go-lucky world view of your stereotypical American. Perhaps this difference could be contributed to our different histories – Germany’s hasn’t exactly been the easiest, and while America isn’t without her blemishes, she was founded purely on a sense of freedom and optimism that may contribute to our stereotype today.