Kultur 5

I found the overall theme of gender roles in German society to be very interesting. For my last AMD, I read about how Angela Merkel was a powerful woman who held a doctorate in Physics, and the first article from the New York Times in particular contextualized it further. It emphasizes that while it is a milestone that one of the most powerful people in the world is a woman, there persists a societal standard that still affects how women in Germany can mobilize themselves in ways that men can, such as through work or education. In my last AMD, I briefly touched on how current events in Germany are reminiscent of the US in that Germany faces a multitude of problems, and while reading the articles about womens’ roles in the workplace, I saw many parallels to gender inequality in the US. It is good to hear that there are strides being made towards gender equality in Germany, however, albeit long overdue.

Relating to how flirting in Germany differs from the rest of the world, it was also fascinating to learn about how the increasingly progressive role of women could be implicated in how flirting happens. Comparing it to the US, I definitely think that people are more and more readily abandoning the notion of chivalry, but I believe there’s still some bias against women who are more independent and take initiative.

I found the fact that sex shops in Germany aren’t a big deal to be interesting, as well. Comparing it to the US, I think that there’s a certain variance depending on where you are, but I would say that generally, people are very uncomfortable with talking about sex in the US. This expands to how we perceive sex shops, or any sex paraphernalia, for that matter.

 

Kapitel 5 Kultur

I find the article about women working in Germany to be really interesting. For me, I don’t see working and being a mother as things that are opposites, but just a balance that needs to be struck, just like a man who works and also is a father. As someone who comes from a home where the mother was the main breadwinner for the family, I have seen my mother strive to encourage women to work and pursue careers like she did. However, I never thought that this same concept would apply in other developed countries, like Germany. I had thought that America was formed to prefer women to stay at home as mothers (for a period of history) because of some inherent American values or something else. However, to realize that Germans also wrestle with this is interesting. I was sad to read the shaming that occurred for the woman who signed her child up for the afternoon schooling. This seems wrong to me. In a sense, it’s a good thing that Germans value motherhood so much, where in America motherhood may possibly be seen as more of a burden than a blessing in today’s day. However, to cast shame on someone because they make themselves less available for their children compared to other mothers seems to be wrong. Why shouldn’t the father figure have the same standard set for caring for his children as the mother figure has? Additionally, why should there be public shaming of this woman? Is shame really the answer? I would rather prefer a culture that encourages and motivates both mothers and fathers to care for their children as best as possible.

The history of only school ending at lunch time in Germany is so foreign to me! I never could have imagined that this would be a possibility. I was especially shocked when the article seemed to assert that the purpose of the shorter day was for kids to spend time with their mothers. So many kids may even be without a mother possibly, and only a father or another relative to live with. I am surprised that this system works across Germany encouraging mothers to engage with their children. While I’m sure this must lead to a large gap in education for German students, I do really appreciate the idea of the government encouraging a degree of education to happen in the home. After all, the home seems to be the training ground for real life.

Kultur 5 – Allie

As a woman who intends to be a mother and work at the same time, the first article, “Women Rise”, really struck me as interesting. I didn’t know before that Germany had only half day schools, and it’s hard for me to imagine being a working mother in that situation. If signing your child up for afternoon classes places you in the “bad mother” category, then I’d be there in a heartbeat. It’s so important for women to be in the workforce as well as men, and half-day schooling is limiting the opportunities for women to work and be mothers. I thought it was interesting that the author mentions Angela Merkel, because although she is a great example of a very successful German woman, she also has no children. This is not to say that children get in the way of success, but that there should be ways for women to work and be good mothers at the same time in Germany.

I also found “Rules of the Street” to be interesting. It repeats a theme that we’ve heard before in the Kultur readings, that Germans are a little less polite to strangers than Americans. It didn’t surprise me that Germans don’t typically say Entschuldigung when bumping into someone, because we also read about how bikers would run over someone walking in the bike lane.

I really liked the second Kultur reading in Vorsprung, about “Bekannte oder Freunde?”. Sometimes I think that Americans have too loose a definition of friendship, which I am definitely guilty of as well. I like that Germans have specific ways to distinguish between someone that they know and someone that they are very familiar and share an intimate relationship with. Part of this might have to do with the fact that Americans have only one form of you, whereas German has Sie oder du, which is another way to distinguish between friends and acquaintances.

Kultur Kapitel 5

I was really surprised when I read the first article.  I can’t even imagine that women are supposed to be full-time mothers in one of the well-developed countries – Germany, the country that led by a female Chancellor.  I can understand that women take days off from their work during the first year after delivery to better breastfeed their children, but not through the entire childhood of their kids.  I totally agree with the quote that “working women seek not just a paycheck, but also fulfillment of ambitions, both personal and professional”.  Especially for women with higher education, years of school should not only lead to full-time mothers, unless this is the career that one truly wants to go.

I am wondering if the “Entschuldigung” thing was outdated.  From my experience in Germany, people there were friendly and polite.

The “Toilet” article reminds me my days in Germany.  That was so true!  You have to pay for the restroom.  I thought it was just something common and usual in Germany, but have never thought that those Klofrau were hired by big companies and they might also have a miserable life.

I guess the initial subtle glance or smile would easily be ignored in other countries.  But in Germany, women really need to pay more attention to those little hints.  Honestly, I don’t think it must be the guy who starts the interaction.  But personally, I think I would wait for a guy to start.

Kultur Kapitel 5 – Thomas

I have really grown to love these Kapitel Kulter assignments as we have continued to do them each chapter. My favorite part of taking language growing up was learning something new about a new culture. The same thing goes for this German class. This chapter’s articles range from women in the workplace to sex shops. Very interesting, and very different takes on the functionality of german culture. One stems from a somewhat depressing approach to the way that germans view women. While the culture is changing, women have been subjected to scrutiny for prioritizing their work over caring for their kids. In the U.S these changes have already come, with more and more women choosing to pursue careers over children each year. It does seem, however, that Germany is changing the way that they think, abandoning the more conservative approach for a more liberal view.

The “Rules of the Street” article was similar to ones we have read in the past about how unapologetic Germans can be about the way they conduct themselves. Rather than assuming offense, Germans carry on without a worry when they happen to bump into someone on the train or street. A philosophy that I agree with in theory, yet for some reason still like the idea of being courteous as a form of endearment.

The sex shop article was another interesting article as it centered around the German’s acceptance of sex in their culture. Rather than seeing sex as such a dirty topic, they choose to infuse it into their culture. It’s part of their everyday life.

Kulture-Texte 5

The first article discusses the changing role of women in German society. It begins with an overview of the traditional half-day school in Germany. For over 250 years, the majority of German day schools end at lunchtime, allowing (or forcing) mothers to spend the rest of the day caring for their children. However, as the role of German women in modern society changes, many schools are changing this policy and adding afternoon classes, which allow mothers to work all day instead of being forced to care for their children for a large part of the day. The German economy has become largely dependent on women in the workforce, as a combination of job-losses and a declining birthrate. The article finishes by commenting on the fact that German women do continue to face discrimination in the workforce, and how an eventual backlash against their growing role is a possibility. I think its very interesting how the article discusses the push and pull between the German birthrate and the role of women in the workforce. The fact is that Germany’s birthrate is unsustainably low- the population is projected to decline over the coming years. But as more German women are needed in the workforce to make up for the population decline, they will have less time to have and raise children. I think that extending class to afternoons may be a necessary way to combat this trend.

The next article discusses the phenomenon of Germans not saying “Entschuldigung” when making physical contact with a stranger. This seems unnecessary to me, as I generally like to be courteous where I can, especially with people I don’t know. But then again, the articles have been a bit overdramatic in the past, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one was a case of that.

The article on sex shops in Germany is also very interesting. I think that the American attitude towards that sort of thing is excessively prudish- people should have the right to be into whatever they want to be, without fear of being judged. America is often seen as a progressive Western country, but its important to realize that we are still much more conservative than many of our European counterparts.

The article on Klofrau was interesting as well. When I visited Germany over the summer, I remember encountering these bathroom-cleaning women, but I had no idea who they were or what their jobs were. After reading the article, it makes more sense. I do wonder if we in the US would be benefitted by having Klofrau- I’ve encountered my fair share of disgusting bathrooms. Then again, they are all free here, which is something I’m sure I take for granted.

The article on flirting in Germany described how in Germany, flirting is generally a more subtle process than in the states. Instead of a guy confidently approaching a girl (as is “normal” here), flirting usually begins with the guy giving a smile or eye contact, and the girl responded by coming to talk to him. That is certainly very different- American guys will not get anywhere using that tactic.

Kapitel 5 Kultur – Pheebe

In the first article, the author talks about the dilemma German mothers face: working while still having to take care of their children. There is an example in the article, which is about how a German mother was accused of being a “bad mother” when she tried to sign up for afternoon classrooms for her child because she has to work. I was a bit upset when I saw that because I personally think that it is a mother’s own freedom to do whatever she thinks is best for herself and her kids. This actually relates to my personal experience. I lived with my grandparents from second grade till eighth grade because my parents work in China and they only come home every one or two months. However, I don’t think they were “bad parents” for leaving me in Taiwan for school because they were working hard and wanted to give me the best I could have.

The next article talks about how Germans do not really say “Entschuldigung” as much as Americans would. This reminds me of an article we read previously regarding German cyclists and how pedestrians just have to watch out for them. However, I feel like this article is a little bit exaggerated , but I do get the meaning! The article about the sex shops is actually pretty interesting and funny. The author mentions that Germans are more “open-minded” and not as conservative as Americans when it comes to sex stores. I think this kind of “free” culture is actually pretty cool. The next article about the toilet lady is also very funny. When I was reading it, I could picture a lady standing in the bathroom waiting for people in my head. However, I personally find that a little bit weird and creepy because I probably would not want someone to be “waiting” when I am in the bathroom. The last short article about German flirting is also fun. I found it surprising that the author, in his own experience, says that the German men are generally more shy than women. But it is cute that men would only smile or make eye contacts with the women then wait to see if the women would go up and talk to them!

AMD 5

For my fifth AMD, I decided to read the articles from Hartmut about German and English languages mixing. The first thing that stood out to me was the intense push-back that came when the German Duden released their new dictionary with 500 new words, many of them being English. I had not realized that adding English words to the German language would be seen as degrading the German language, but I guess I see their point. In order to preserve what the German language was at the foundation, they would need to ensure that the mass language as a whole does not switch to another language, notably the English language. However, I see any linguistic mixtures as a decision made by society, and not by academics. Ancient Greek can still be discussed and appreciated, but the language still transformed over time.

I am also curious exactly why English has become the language in which many other languages mix with. The writer of the article mentioned that this linguistic mixing has been happening since the 19th century and is nothing new. Granted, English has also taken on some German words as well, for example kazuntight for when someone sneezes, but the English and German mix on the English side does not seem to have as much of a commotion, given English has probably mixed with many different languages at this point. As time goes on and I continue to be exposed to more and more German speakers, I wonder how many English words I will notice integrated into the daily language. Tschuss!

AMD5

This week, I decided to try the Duolingo again.  I haven’t use it for a while.  This time, instead of doing each of the activities, I jumped into the test.  The section I left last time was about accusative, which was easy for me now.  Not surprisingly, I passed the test.  The next test was food.  I was also trying to pass the test, but I failed.  Duolingo has more new vocabularies for this section, such as Erdbeere for Strawberry, Zucker for Suger, and Süß for Sweet.  I went back to do two activities in this section.  I feel we didn’t really memorize the gender of the nouns in the class.  But here in Duolingo, I have to really know the gender to have the correct answer.  It is really challenging.

 

Then I also used the Bots, which is the conversation with Duolingo.  My first conversation was to help an artist chose the color for her painting – a great activity to review the color words.  Also, in the conversation, she asked “Kannst du mir helfen, ein Bild zu malen“.  I was excited to recognize that it was about “zu+infinitive”.  Some of the new words in the conversation I needed to look it up, such as Himmel, which is sky in German.  But there were also some other new words that I could guess and understand the sentence.  “Versuche es noch mal“, is “try one more time”.  I didn’t learn the first word “versuche”.  But before this sentence, it said that my previous answer was not correct.  And I knew the word “noch mal” means “another time”.  This way, it easy to understand that she was asking me to answer again.  I really like the conversation function of Duolingo.  I can have my somewhat creative answer, but also able to have some help and guide meanwhile.

 

AMD 5

For this AMD assignment, I decided to read up on German news on BBC. The first article I read was a profile of Germany as a country. This includes population, major language (take a guess), major timeline events, and information about Germany’s current administration. I found it interesting mainly to read about Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor. She’s very fascinating, not only because she seems to be popular with German citizens, but the fact that she also has a doctorate in Physics. A few other interesting things included key dates such as 1871, the year in which Otto von Bismarck achieved unification of Germany.

The second article I read was about the German cabinet’s recent decision to back a law that pardoned tens of thousands of Gay men who were convicted during the Nazi regime under anti-LGBT legislation. That is, if passed, any man who was convicted and is still alive will receive monetary compensation as a lump sum, along with a yearly compensation for every year spent in jail. I think that this is interesting in the context of LGBT activism in Germany, which is something that I want to learn more about, as I understand that Berlin has been an epicenter of progress for the LGBT community in history.

The last article I read talked about the increase in electric vehicles in Germany. In the past year, the number of electric cars rose by 29%, while the number of public charging points for electric cars rose by 27%. I know that with electric car technology becoming more and more accessible, this becomes an enticing option for Germans, not only because they tend to be more environmentally conscious, but because the cost-saving benefits of electricity versus petrol can convince many. With German automakers such as Volkswagen and BMW committing to EV technology, I can imagine that this will play a role in how Germany pushes the development of alternative-fuel transportation.

Other articles I read related to issues such as international relations and immigration, which further emphasize that like the US, Germany has much on its plate as well. I definitely would say that reading about these current events, both positive and negative, help to paint an understanding of German culture as more multidimensional, and much more humanizing.