Kultur – Kapitel 6

I was surprised that I have never heard about Martin Luther before.  But after I read the article, I understand why.  Before came to the US, I had next to zero exposure to Bible and Christian.  However, since I am here, I have many nice friends who are Christian and I started to learn Bible a little bit, which I think is actually very interesting.  Back to this this article, it is amazing that Martin Luther’s significance went beyond religious, but also influenced German language, mentality and way of life.  I think I can somewhat understand it if thinking about the history of China.  We also have a famous person who reformed almost the entire society at that time.  Things changed after several decades have past, but his influence is still affecting every generation.

The “door culture” in Germany is really interesting, almost exactly at the opposite of America.  For any American who first comes to Germany without being aware of this cultural difference, he/she will totally feel confused.  Still I think the opening door makes more sense – it conveys a clear message and makes everyone’s life easier.

Previously, I knew that Japan has a strict and comprehensive garbage system.  Now I am wondering if there is any difference between Japan and Germany in terms of garbage.  Well, I do think that a garbage system like this is a good thing for the country.  However, it is very hard and challenging to adopt and change in the other countries.  From residents’ perspective, it might cause extra label reading and more chores.  But from a nation’s perspective, it contributes to a better and sustainable development.  I hope that we can have a similar garbage system one day in China, at least moving towards it.

AMD – Julie

I went to the Beethoven String Quartet Cycle couple weeks ago.  So for this AMD, I decided to learn more about Beethoven, this amazing German composer.

Before I did any research for this AMD, I didn’t know much about Beethoven besides he composed many brilliant music work.  I first watched several short biography videos, which walked me through some of his important life periods.

Not surprisingly, Beethoven showed his music talent in his early childhood.  Unfortunately, this made his father to utilize his talents for money.  Pushed by his father such hard that there basically was nothing but piano in his childhood, Beethoven did made achievement since a young age and had his first concert at the age of 17.  I am impressed that he went to Vienna and played for Mozart.  He received praise from the most famous musician at that time!  His story reminds me of an article about Yundi Li I’ve read several days ago.  Similarly, Yundi also exhibited his talents on piano early in his childhood, which brought his father to trained him towards a professional pianist in a hard way through his childhood.  I used to think that this type of parenting could only happen sometimes in China.  The good outcomes of this type of parenting scarify the entire childhood.

I also read some online articles with a background of Beethoven music.  Similar to many virtuosos, Beethoven’s personal life is not always full of happiness.  I can imagine that struggling against the deafness must be especially frustrated for a musician.  Even though, he still composed many important works when he was just next to deaf, which was really unbelievable.  I think it is really interesting to see how his personal life influenced the style of music he composed.

I don’t think I am able to talk too much about his compositions – it is challenging for me to tell the meaning behind the music.  For me, classical music is a relax.  And each time when I hear the classical music, especially when it is played by a violin, I regret that I gave up violin in high school.  Probably I will start to play it again soon.

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.

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.

 

AMD4 – Julie

I decided to do the “Vokabelfeuerwerk” for the AMD this time because I don’t think I have a good knowledge about the vocabulary for this chapter.  I spent more than an hour for the sentences, but didn’t have many in the end.  I was trying to not write simple sentence or at least have few sentences around one idea.  In this way, I can practice more words in one sentence.  Also it took me time to look up the property (masculine/neutral/feminine) for the word.  I still struggle with memorizing all the property of the words and I found out that I forgot what I’ve remembered earlier, which is disappointing.  I focused more on the words from this chapter, but also included some from previous chapters.  Keeping practicing is a good way to remember those words.  I realized that some words I used several times.  Perhaps next time I will just pick up the word first and then try to come up with a sentence.  In this way I can practice more new words.

Will hand in my sentences in the class.  ^_^

Kultur 4

I think the Bike Path in German is definitely a great thing.  It encourages people to bike, instead of driving.  From the public health standpoint, the sedentary way of commuting, like driving, contributes to the epidemic of obesity.  I have heard that, the US is a country on four wheels.  On the opposite, the bike path in German promotes a healthy lifestyle.  Actually, Americans also realized the potential benefits associated with bike path and one can find bike path in many cities now.

Honestly, I would just ignore the red signal and cross the street in an empty intersection, even though I know pretty sure that I shouldn’t.  I found the idea that never ever crossing against red in front of an impressionable child is really interesting.  I’ve never thought about the influence of illegal cross on children.  And sometimes, others’ behaviors not only influence children, but also have an impact on adults.  In the city that most people cross against red, I am more likely to follow others and cross the street.  On the other hand, if everyone around me obeys the rules, then chances are I would wait patiently.

When I was in Germany, I took trains to travel in between cities.  Many times there is no one check the ticket either before boarding or on the train.  However, as foreign travelers, we had every ticket for our ride because we didn’t want to be caught and you never know when the conductor would suddenly come out in front of you.

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.

 

Kultur 3

From my nutrition class I’ve learned that GMO is banned in most European countries. The article Organic Food Obsessions confirmed with that.  However, I didn’t know that Germans are obsessed with organic food.  Actually, from the nutritional research standpoint, there is no conclusive result showing that organic food is healthier than nonorganic food.  I am not a big fan of organic food, especially given its higher price here in the US compared to nonorganic food.  However, the cost is not a problem in Germany, which helps to further promote organic food.

I am not completely unfamiliar with doner kebab. I’ve seen some in my hometown, but don’t recall that I have tried one.  I think nowadays it is really common for a food style emerges and prospers in another foreign country.  In the US one can also come across a Mexican fast food chain wherever he goes.

I was surprised to find out that “Currywurst” doesn’t taste anything like curry at all, according form Forget the “Mett”, Try a “Frikadelle”. Given the name, I would expect that this food item is the German sausage with curry sauce.  From this article, it seems the fast foods in Germany are really not tasting good and I don’t even want to try any of them.

The article Optimists Are Idiots reminded me of one of the article last time, the one that talks about Germans’ complaint.  It is really tough to get alone with someone who always has negative emotions.  However, the humor in Germany presents in another way, as being discussed in Vee Have Vays of Making You Laugh.  Perhaps sometimes only Germans can understand Germans’ humor, such as the “pregnant oyster”.

For myself, I am way more used to the metric system. I had hard times converting from the metric system to the English system, especially for the weight, height and temperature.  I was surprised to find that the US is the only country using the English system (as far as I know).

Also glad to learn more about my favorite city Heidelberg from the textbook.

AMD2 – Flash Card

I am glad that I finally downloaded the flash card on my phone and started using it to practice vocabulary.  I found it is extremely helpful in terms of getting familiar with and memorizing those words.

As we moved into the Kapitel 2, I realized that the vocabulary this time is much more challenging compared to Kapitel 1.  I felt it is really hard to get to know those word only during the class time.

I actually learned about the flash card from the very beginning when I went through the course information page.  However, I didn’t find a time to really try it until the computer session.

I use the flash card app on my phone mainly when I take the bus or wait at the bust stop, trying to utilize those “extra” time.  I think the best thing of flash card is that the word comes up several times when it is being moved from “don’t know it” to “know it”.  Usually it takes times to truly remember a word.  So I think this feature of flash card makes sense and helps the whole process more efficient and effective.  I also enjoy the audio function, which gives me a better idea about the pronunciation.

During my personal experience, I also think there are some minor things it can be improved.  First, it does not allow me to save the progress for coming back and continuing study later.  Usually I am not able to finish the entire list all at once.  And for the next time, I have to start all over again.  Sometimes it is just frustrated when you could never make the progress bar to the end.  The other thing is that it does not provide examples for each word.  I like those examples on the vocabulary worksheet, which help me to understand the word and learn how to use it.  For some words, I am confident with its meaning and pronunciation, but not confident in using it.  If the app could also combine the example feature from the worksheet, then I would say it is a perfect app!

My intent was not to be picky or criticize.  The flash card app did help me a lot with vocabulary and I am pretty sure that I will continue using it through this semester.

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.