Kultur 6 – Pheebe

In the first article, the author talks about how Martin Luther affected Germany as a whole. First of all, the article mentions that even though Germans are not particularly religious, Lutheranism has shaped the German language, mentality, and how they live. The aesthetics, such as architecture and furniture styles, and the music, such as orchestra, are all influenced by Martin Luther. One of the interesting facts is that Germany has the second-largest book market after America because Luther translated Bible into German and wanted everyone to read. Even though he had made many positive impacts in Germany, the author ended the article with negative qualities ascribed to Germans. He insisted on separating spiritual and worldly authorities, which attributed to German’s legendary obedience. The rigid moralism makes Germans hard to deal with sometimes.

The second article talks about Bild Zeitung, which is a very popular primary source of news for Germans. However, it usually contains a lot of sexual and “twisted” politician news. It is mentioned in the article that the motto of this paper is actually Bild Dir Deine Meinung, which can be translated as “we form your opinion so you don’t have to.” Even though it includes many disturbing facts and news, it is in fact extremely popular in Germany. I personally can kind of understand that because at my home country, we have a kind of magazine that has all the “gossips” and paparazzi shots of famous celebrities. Many people in fact enjoy reading it and it is one of the most popular magazines in the country. However, I always consider Germans as more serious and conservative comparing to people from other countries.

The next article talks about how in Germany, people usually have their door closed. In order to reach the person behind the door, one must knock “loudly.” In contrast, people mostly keep doors open to show a welcoming feel in America. I think it is pretty interesting to know about this because it could be useful for people going study abroad or travelling. However, I am not sure if the article is a little bit exaggerated or not.

Th last article is about how Germans have MANY different garbage cans for different kinds of waste. I personally find it extremely confusing, but I believe that it is a good thing that Germans are doing recycling with a very serious and careful manner. This reminds me that when I first came to the states, I could not believe that people actually dump their leftovers into the trash can. In my country, people do recycling for leftovers. Usually 75% of the leftovers are used to feed pigs and 25% are used to as fertilizers for farming. Overall, I believe that if people all over the world can do recycling like the Germans, we’d definitely have a more environmentally friendly place to live in.

 

 

Kultur-Texte 6

The first article discusses the influence of Martin Luther on German culture today, 500 years after his 95 Theses were first pinned to the door of a church in Wittenburg. Despite the fact that Germany is only 30% Protestant in the current day, much of what is perceived as “German culture” is really Protestant culture. This reality is reflected in several ways. The German emphasis on minimalism and asceticism can be traced back to Luther’s teachings, as well as the German love for orchestral music and literature. Lutheran ideals even extend to the German emphasis on austerity, which has been especially present in a time of multiple economic crises across the EU. However, the article ends by discussing the growing diversity of thought in Germany- while Martin Luther’s ideas have had a lasting impact on German society, there is a growing population of Germans who hold wildly unique and different world views and ways of life. I found the article very interesting. Germany is certainly not a religious country, but it’s fascinating how its religious past has affected the culture so heavily.

The next article is about the most popular German tabloid, Bild Zeitung. Despite twisting any minor news into an Earth-shattering story, the magazine is immensely popular in Germany. The magazine also relies on scandalous and semi-nude pictures of women to attract readers, and a scantily-clad model often adorns the front page. However, the Bild tends to lean in a conservative political direction, often attacking liberal politicians and policies. I’m actually a bit surprised by the popularity of Bild Zeitung in Germany. I would have thought that a country so focused on seriousness and practicality would not care much for the exaggerations and smuttiness of the tabloid. The combination of sex and conservative news doesn’t seem to mesh for me either. But Bild seems to have pulled it off.

The third article discusses German closed-door etiquette. Unlike the US, where someone available to talk will leave their door open, in Germany most offices have their doors closed at all times. As a result, one must assert themselves when meeting someone in their office- the article recommends a firm knock followed by entering the room. I’m not sure how much I believe the article on this topic, as Spiegel has exaggerated in the past. However, I’ll keep their recommendations in mind the next time I’m in Germany.

The final article is on the German obsession with sorting their trash into an array of different categories. Public trashcans across Germany, from apartments to the U-Bahn, require user to sort their trash into many different categories, from different colors of glass to packaging to organic waste. This can be confusing the non-Germans, who are used to only a few options for recycling, compost and trash. I actually think the system in Germany is great. The US could certainly do a better job of being environmentally friendly, and if the public could be as educated as Germans are on different types of waste, this issue could be improved.

AMD 6

For this week’s AMD, I listened to Mahler’s seminal work “Rückert-Lieder.” I encourage you all to listen to it, as it is so overwhelmingly beautiful, and some of the best music you will ever hear. To make it educational, I listened to two different versions, German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and American baritone Thomas Hampson, and compared their pronunciation, word stress, and understanding of the text. As you can hear, native speaker Dieskau has it perfect, but Thomas Hampson, being the god that he is, has near perfect diction. Enjoy!

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.

AMD 6 – Pheebe

For AMD 6, I decided to read about “Denglisch.” In the article, it mentions that German words have many cases of English loanwords and they started become common in the early 20th century. Some English loanwords that we have learned are “Kaugummi” for chewing gum and “Fernsehen” for television. After World War II, German language was directly influenced by US pop culture. Therefore, German now has words like “Hippie,” “Groupie,” and “Western.” The article gave several examples of English words/expressions that can be used in an unfamiliar sense in German such as “Handy,” “Fotoshooting,” and “Beamer.”

I think that it is very interesting how different languages influence each other. This is also one of the reasons that I thought German is easier to learn when the person knows/speaks English. Throughout the semester, I found myself identifying a lot of German vocabularies similar to English words and it has helped me learn a lot actually. Even though English is my second language, learning German has not been too difficult for me this semester (except the gender and grammatical stuff). In addition, I believe that this is an advantage for Germans to learn English since there are many words similar to each other.

The article also mentions some adoptions of German language from English idioms. For example, “Das macht Sinn” means that makes sense and “Was passierte in 2005” means what happened in 2005. A lot of advertising in Germany nowadays also uses many English terms. I think it is very interesting how much English has influenced not just German, but also the rest of the world. Nowadays, people usually learn English as their second language because it is an “international language” that most people know. Not only German, my first language is also influenced by English. For example, “Mcdonald’s” in Chinese is “Mai Dang Lao” and “Disney” in Chinese is “Di Shi Ni.” Also, I just want to say that the articles mentions there is a book titled “I like you – und du?” which is really cute!

 

 

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 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.

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!

AMD 5 – Allie

For this AMD, I decided to learn more about German history and culture as opposed to more German language, so I fully embraced my inner German and watched a documentary. It was about the rise and fall of the Berlin wall, and its effects on Germany and its citizens. A lot of the documentary focused on the hardships that the people living in Germany at that time faced. The most highlighted difficulty was the separation of families and loved ones, as the wall literally went up overnight, giving no time for families to make sure they were all together. The documentary told stories of people hiding in cars, secretly catching trains, dodging bullets, digging tunnels, and crafting hot air balloons to escape from the East to the West. It was absolutely crazy to learn about the lengths that people would go to in order to escape communism. I also found it fascinating how the wall continued to be augmented as the long years of separation dragged on. The wall started as a small, makeshift barrier to prevent East Germans from leaving, because the economy of East Germany would collapse without a sizeable work force. However, as people continued to escape from East Germany, the wall got taller and stronger, and included electrified wires, nail beds, dogs, watch towers, guards, brushed sand, mine fields, and several other barriers to deter escapees. Guards had orders to prevent people from escaping at any cost, which often included killing people who tried to leave.

The German parts of this documentary were dubbed over in English, but I could still grab a few of the words that were spoken. I noticed a lot of the conversational past that we have been talking about, because I could pick up on the ge- beginning of the past participle. I heard one example of a separable verb in the conversational past also, when someone used the word angekommen!