For my last AMD, I tried something that many others have this semester—switching my Facebook from English to German. Facebook is something that I use very often, both personally and for work, so I thought that it would be something fun to try and slightly immerse myself in the German language.

I think that depending on when one does something like this while learning a language, it can be very interesting in different ways. Since I started German Facebook at the tail-end of this introductory semester, I found myself recognizing many things that we’ve learned in class. For example, much of the user interface of Facebook combines past tense, indefinite articles, and accusative case. “Andy Bui shared a photo” translates to Andy Bui hat ein Foto geteilt, and “Andy Bui shared a link” translates to Andy Bui hat einen Link geteilt. Dative case is also present, as you may show that you like a post by clicking the button gefällt mir.

Many of these commands were fairly easy to recognize because social media is supposed to be easy to use. The only places in which one could find slightly more complicated German would be in things like settings. Because I work at the university, I am prompted in my profile with Welche position hast du bei University of Michigan? Even where you would go to make a post—Was machst du gerade?

I’ve had Facebook set to German for almost a week now, actually, but I think that I won’t change it back to English. With how I use Facebook everyday, it doesn’t warrant complicated interactions, and I find that I have very little trouble navigating the interface.

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.


For my AMD, I decided to watch a bunch of movie trailers in German, to see what I could understand and to get a taste of German voice acting. The first trailer I watched was for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. I had already seen the trailer in English, so I was generally able to understand the gist of what the characters were talking about in the scenes shown. However, the truth is that much of the German was much too fast for me to understand, even when I enabled captions. I did pick up on several English words used, like “rocket.” The German equivalent for rocket is “Rakete,” so its interesting that rocket was used instead. One part of the trailer I did understand very well was a scene towards the end, where Baby Groot is holding a pair of underwear in a jail cell. Another character looks in and says “Das sind meine Unterhosen,” which easily translates to “That is my underwear.”

The next trailer I watched was for Fast and Furious 8. Luckily, I was able to understand more because a lot of the dialogue was slower. I picked up on lines like “Dieses Crew is eine Familie” (another usage of an English word), and “Wir haben nur eine Chance.” There were actually a lot of English words in the trailer, like “high tech Terrorismus,” and “boom, baby!” This reflects the Kulturtext articles that we read a few weeks ago, about the invasion of English words into colloquial German. I certainly didn’t mind, as it made my comprehension of the dialogue much better.

The final trailer I watched was for War Machine, starring Brad Pitt. Much of the dialogue I didn’t understand, as there were a lot of vocabulary that I was not familiar with. However, some scenes didn’t require advanced vocab to understand at all. I found once scene particularly interesting. There are several American soldiers in a bar, and they are cheering “USA! USA!” However, they pronounce the letters the German way, instead of the American English way. This was particularly comical to me, because the most American chant I know was made to sound distinctly un-American.

Overall, I enjoyed watching the trailers that I did. Once I have a better grasp of the language, I think it could be a lot of fun to watch some of these German dubbed movies. I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity when I’m studying abroad in Germany in a couple years.

AMD 6 – Allie

I really enjoyed watching a documentary for my last AMD, so I decided to watch another one. This time, I watched a documentary from the History Channel about the rise of the Third Reich in Germany. I have studied about this before in some history classes in high school, so I knew that the German economy was hurting pretty badly when Hitler came to power. I had heard about his promises to make Germany a great nation, but I wanted to see if I could learn anything new about the beginnings of World War II.

The most interesting part of the documentary for me was how much Hitler used children to spread his power across Germany. The Hitler Youth and Hitler Maidens had a huge impact on German culture. The children took oaths to give their lives if necessary for the Führer. One woman wrote about how her children would not listen to her anymore, because they belonged to the Führer first, and to their families second. The most horrifying part of the Hitler Maidens was how they were basically used as breeders for the “desired” races. They would force the girls to go to camp, where they would have a boys camp nearby. The girls had to certify that they were “Aryan” in heritage before they could attend. In one instance that the documentary talked about, 35 out of 41 girls at a camp came home pregnant.

The documentary also told the story of a young Jewish girl who escaped from Germany before the full-fledged transport of Jewish people began. It told about how she had to pay her taxes for the coming year in advance, even though she was travelling to America and would not be in Germany at all the next year. The documentary said that when Jewish people escaped from Germany, they had to leave approximately 90% of their assets behind. The most startling figure from the documentary said that about 30% of the German war effort was paid for by left-behind Jewish wealth.

I don’t think it would be correct to say that I enjoyed this documentary, because it spoke to a lot of heavy topics in German history. However, it was very informational and helped me to better understand how an entire country could come under the power of such a twisted leader.