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.


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 – 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 – 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.