AMD 6 – Thomas

For this AMD I decided to try a common idea that I have seen other people in the class use for previous AMDs. I switched my Facebook from English to  Deutsch. It was a lot easier than I had expected to maneuver around the site than I had previously thought it would be. This mainly stemmed from the fact that I am extremely familiar with the interface on Facebook. I know where the search engine, the event pages, and how to like/comment of photos simply from the visual appearance. One thing I did do was comment in German and see if when I translated the text back into English that it still made sense. Like what happens whenever I use the google translate function, the text that I wrote would make very little literal sense. It was still possible to make a general understanding, but a couple of times this resulted in people being thoroughly confused at what I was saying.

I think its really interesting that Facebook does such a good job of making the Facebook experience possible for so many people around the world, no matter their dialect. It’s a triumph of modern technology, and it has allowed people all over the world connect. I have a couple of family friends from Germany, who I am able to talk to over Facebook. I went back and read over some of their older posts to see if I understood anything. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the things that I read I could understand key words and phrases, especially the kind greetings between them. It’s really important in this day and age for everyone to have a voice.

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.

AMD 5 – Thomas

For this AMD, I decided to take the sample AMD idea of reading about Denglisch, which is the english influence on german speaking countries with regards to pseudo vocabulary. One important distinction that the article made was that Denglisch is specific to forced english changes to the german language. It is not just a general term to signify english influence in german culture or vice versa. Loanwords is a term used throughout the article to refer to english words that become “naturalized” as a new word in the german dialect. Most of these loan words have a focus on pop culture or business references that have no current german equivalent. “Pyjamas” and “Trenchcoat” are two examples of words that have a complete inflection from english to german. Other words like “boykottieren” or “Kaugummi” are examples of english words that have been then roughly translated into a german equivalent. Both are examples of loan words.

Denglisch has also made its name in pop culture. A popular German a cappella group produced their first radio album titled as “Denglisch” and a punk rock band from LA had songs in which they would have a german version with Denglisch sprinkled throughout. It’s very interesting to see how cultural influence can go beyond just popular trends, and can even have a profound influence on a country’s language.

AMD 4 – Thomas

For this AMD, I chose to watch the movie Inglorious Bastards. A film by Quentin Tarantino about a fictional story told from within the universe of Nazi Germany. While some of the characters are rooted in realism, the ending definitely takes a fictional and almost fantastic approach. The reason I watched the film was because of the German culture reflected, as well as some language parts. One interesting thing I noticed throughout the majority of the movie is how elitist the German Nazi’s were depicted. It fell in line, for the most part, with the way that I had imagined them. Another interesting thing I noticed was how similar some of the characters were to the descriptions we read about in Kapitel Kulter. The way that they are frank about nearly everything they say, without coming off as offensive.

The dialogue was extremely fast paced, which made it difficult to pick up key phrases and words that I recognize. There were subtitles, however, that helped me gain some context with each scene. Phrases like “Auf Wiedersehen!” or “Ich Heiße” I could catch, but simple questions between characters I found extremely difficult to follow. The scene that was shown in class, where all the German captain finds out that the Bastards are undercover was cool to watch as well. The way that the scene slowly devolves is so weird to listen to in a different language. I think that’s where my German deficiency is most illustrated. Conversation can be so difficult to follow at times.

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.


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.

Kapitel 2 – Kulter-Texte (Thomas)

I enjoyed this assignment a lot more than I thought I would. It’s always been an interest of mine to learn about other cultures. I asked my roommate, who participated in a study abroad program in Germany this past summer, about some of the interesting facts that I discovered while reading these articles. He said that he did see a marked difference in the way that germans communicate with each other. Based more upon honesty and realism, their speech seems to be more “right to the point”. I guess I’ve never really fully understood how much I utilize the americanized tendencies in my speech. I’ve always been raised with the idea that being polite, generally trumps being brutally honest.

Another interesting bit that I learned from Kapitel 2 readings was the obsession they feel toward statistics. I have grown up never knowing the population, unemployment rate, or any of the other statistical categories mentioned in the article. Bizarre as it seems, I’ve never felt the need to know it. But after reading these articles as well as american political gossip, I have realized how important it is to know facts. If you base your knowledge out of facts, you are less likely to dig yourself in a hole as well as seem unintelligent. Maybe from now on I’ll try to learn more about my town.

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.