Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas in Germany - A Time for Great Celebration

The Germans (and also the Austrians) practically invented Christmas as we know it, and they are quite devoted to their customs surrounding this holiday, known in German as "Weihnachten".  Watch this short video to get a sense of a German Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas Market, which are held all over Germany at this time of year. 
Click here if you'd like to read more about German Christmas customs. Frohes Fest!

Monday, December 5, 2011

German Films on Netflix: Some Recommendations

Here are a few must-see German films available via streaming and/or on DVD from Netflix.  They are in no particular order of importance, but you will not forget these movies!

As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me (So weit die Füße tragen) (2003)  

After escaping from a Siberian labor camp in the wake of World War II, German soldier Clemens Forell (Bernhard Bettermann) makes his way toward his wife and children, traveling more than 8,000 miles over the course of three long years to reach his final destination. Hardy Martins directs this critically acclaimed adaptation of the best-selling book by Josef Martin Bauer, a true story of survival and courage.

Das Boot (1981)

Nominated for six Oscars, this edge-of-your-seat dramatic triumph follows the trials of a German U-boat crew during World War II. Upon its restored re-release in 1997, an hour was added to the original film, which further augmented its impact.

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)

This German-language 1979 retelling of Bram Stoker's Dracula follows the bloodthirsty, undead count (menacingly played by the late, great Klaus Kinski) as he takes over the German village of Virna and then tries to spread his bloodsucking ways throughout the world. All that stands in his path is the lovely, selfless Lucy Harker (Isabelle Adjani). Iconoclastic German director Werner Herzog blends dreamlike imagery and a languid pace to give the film an ethereal milieu.

Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt) (1998)

A thrilling post-MTV roller-coaster ride, Run Lola Run is the internationally acclaimed sensation about two lovers who have only minutes to change the course of their lives -- and time is running out. Lola (Franka Potente) just received a frantic phone call from her boyfriend, Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), who lost a small fortune belonging to his mobster boss. If Lola doesn't replace the money in 20 minutes, Manni will suffer the consequences.

Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)

Alex's (Daniel Brühl) mother (Katrin Sass) falls into a coma just as the Berlin Wall is about to come down. But when she wakes up eight months later, her heart is too weak to withstand shock -- so Alex goes to great lengths to keep the truth about her country's reform a secret. Wolfgang Becker directs this widely praised, Golden Globe-nominated comedy set in East Germany in 1989 that played in festivals around the world.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Madsen is almost here - Save the Date: Thursday, November 10

In case you haven't heard or read an earlier post (see below), Madsen, Germany's premier indie rock band, will be playing at CCSF (Wellness Center Amphitheater)  on Thursday, November 10 at 12:00  Noon.  Since it's lunchtime then, there will be a light German(ish) lunch available: soda, chips and bratwurst ($2.00). Otherwise, it's free so if you're in the area, stop by and see how Germans can really rock!

Language Center Study Sessions: Habt Ihr Fragen?

The Language Center has scheduled the following dates and times for students to bring in their questions about grammar, Deutsch: Na Klar! content, review and prepare for finals, all per your request.   Former German instructor at CCSF, Leslie Pahl, will be facilitating the workshops on most dates; Stan Rappaport will be facilitating them on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as scheduled. 

Monday, November 7 from 11-12
Wednesday, November 9 from 2-3

Thursday, November 17 from 1:30-2:30 

Monday, December 5 from 1-2
Tuesday, December 13 from 1:30-2:30 
Friday, December 9 from 10-11

The workshops will be held in the Language Center classroom in R-205E.  If you are unsure of the location, just ask at the Language Center Service Counter.  Bis dann! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wer, Wenn Nicht Wir Closes out the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival on 10/26

Tonight is the last night of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco, and it is closing at 7:00 p.m. at the Castro Theater with  "Wer, Wenn Nicht Wir," which is "based on the emotional true story of an explosive era: In the early 60s, Bernward Vesper and fellow university student Gudrun Ensslin begin a passionate love in the stifling atmosphere of provincial West Germany. Sensitive to the increasing restlessness of the times, the fiery couple lashes out at the conformism and denial  around them. After their tumultuous relationship nearly ends due to Bernward’s infidelities, they start a new with a move to West Berlin in 1964. Joining forces with leftist writers and political activists, they become part of the spreading global uprising: “If not us, who; If not now, when?” But discontentment with the world takes its toll on their tumultuous relationship. By the late 60s, Gudrun has joined rebellious Andreas Baader’s pro-violence cause and Bernward risks his sanity by using psychedelic drugs in his struggle to write a novel committed to changing the world…"

If you really want to do something special, attend the closing night party at the Castro, at 9:30 p.m. at the Castro Theatre’s Mezzanine, San Francisco.  After the film, celebrate another captivating and vibrant festival with film friends — while meeting guest stars, and savouring culinary delights and signature drinks from San Francisco and beyond! ($40.00 film & party?  Priceless!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Madsen - Germany's No. 1 Indie Band at CCSF

If you don't already know Madsen, your chance is coming on Thursday, November 10.  Yes, Germany's top indie band will be right here on the CCSF campus.  The concert tour “Mad About German – Mad About Madsen” is part of a five-week concert tour through the USA. Madsen will travel from Boston via Dallas to San Francisco to promote German language through their music.  This campaign is part of the Deutschlandwochen “Do Deutsch”. Students of German and people interested in music will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience up close one of Germany’s top music groups.

For detailed information about Madsen USA tour and their performances in San Francisco go to:

You will find MADSEN online at: 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Sounds of German!

Are you having difficulty with those umlauts?  And is the "ch" sound a challenge?  Then "The Sounds of Spoken Language/German" website is for you.  Here you'll find video clips to accompany an array of various sounds.  Since these are categorized under phonetic linguistic terms that might be unfamiliar, look under "Vokale", then "Monophthonge", then "Vorne" and then click on /y/ for examples of the ü (as in müde), /ǿ/ for examples of ö (as in böse), and /e/ for examples of ä (as in spät).  And practice, practice, practice! Űbung macht den Meister!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raise a Glass (or Stein) for Oktoberfest!

Yes, it's that time again.  Even though it's September, it's Oktoberfest, a time for beer and more beer.  Oktoberfest: A Quiz to find out more about this important German festival. If you can't get to Deutschland, you can still get a taste of Oktoberfest at the Oktoberfest by the Bay celebration at Pier 48.  There will be food, a sizzling oompah band, and, of course, beer.   Of course, it will cost you, but the experience will be worth it! 

Berlin and Beyond - The Greatest Festival in S.F. for German Films

Whether you're a student of German interested in seeing films in the German language or a German film fan, be sure to check out some of the offerings coming up at the 16th annual Berlin & Beyond film festival running from October 20-26.   More details and a schedule will be posted in the coming weeks.   You can also follow the festival on Facebook

Win a Language Trip to Germany!

Here's an exciting contest from the Goethe Institute, and all you have to do is enter with a tongue-twister video, and not even that!  Just cast a vote for your favorite video and you'll be entered to win.  So, start practicing:  Fischer Fritz fischt frische Fische ...

Friday, September 9, 2011

English Grammar for Students of German

Here's the PowerPoint presentation that was given in the Language Center classroom, covering English grammar for Students of German, which has examples in both English and German of important grammar points such as nouns, verbs, subjects, objects, pronouns, articles (both definite and indefnite!), and a few surprises. If you missed this presentation, you can review it in the comfort of your own home. Please don't hesitate to post a question if there is something you do not quite comprehend. Some of the material was taken from "English Grammar for Students of German", 3d edition, by Cecile Zorach and Charlotte Melin. It is available very inexpensively from

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Berlin, Berlin --- The Photography of Antonio Tovar

If you're interested in Berlin, the great metropolis, (and who isn't?), then do stop in at the Goethe Institute to view the photography of Antonio Tovar and his eye's view of Berlin.

Here's the when and where, and it's free!

August 25 - October 28, 2011
Goethe-Institut Auditorium
530 Bush Street
San Francisco
Hours: Monday - Friday, 10am - 6pm
Free admission

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Presentation of Materials for Deutsch: Na Klar!

If you're just starting out with Deutsch: Na Klar! here at City College, you might not be familiar with the various resources available to you as you learn the joys of the German language! To help you out, the Language Center will have a few presentations of the various resources available. Here is the schedule:

Thursday, September 15 from 2:00-3:00

Friday, September 16 from 10:00-11:00


Friday, September 25 from 10:00-11:00

The presentations will be in the Language Center Classroom (R-205E), just check in at the Service Desk (R-205). Students will receive a voucher for one hour of lab credit from the presenter. Alles klar?

English Grammar for Students of German

There will be three workshops in the Language Center (R-205) presenting basic aspects of English grammar for the student of German. The dates and times:

Friday, September 2 from 10:00-11:00

Friday, September 9 from 10:00-11:00


Tuesday, September 13 from 2:00-3:00

The workshops will cover explore basic grammar features such as nouns, pronouns, definite and indefinite articles, verb conjugation, agreement of subject and verb. Students will receive a voucher for one hour lab credit from the presenter. Understanding these concepts in English will facilitate your understanding of German grammar. The workshop will be in R-205E (Language Center classroom), but check in at the Language Center Service Desk.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Willkommen, Studenten!

Welcome back and welcome new students to CCSF and the German language program. Throughout the semester, I'll be posting news of interest to students learning German. So be sure to check this blog once a week or so. Here's something fun for those of you in German 1 or 1A from a language-learning website that has something for everyone. It is based on the Einfuerung to DNK. Try the Scatter game for maximum Spass!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

German Classes - Fall 2011 - Register Now!

Students, whether you are new or returning to CCSF, now is the time to register for Fall 2011 classes. And don't forget to take that German class you've been meaning to sign up for. Do you need a language for a transfer prerequisite? Consider German. And if you started German in the Spring, then take your German skills to the next level with a continuation course. Day courses are offered on the Ocean Campus, while evening courses are offered at the Castro/Valencia Campus (450 Church) and the Downtown Campus (4th and Mission). The Castro/Valencia Campus offers free parking and it is also easily accessible by MUNI, while the Downtown Campus is served by BART and MUNI. The 5th & Mission parking garage is directly across from the downtown campus.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New for Fall 2011: The 6th Edition of Deutsch: Na Klar!

The German Department at CCSF has adopted the 6th edition of Deutsch: Na Klar! for the Fall 2011 semester. What's new in this edition? Chapters have been updated with new photos and "realia" and DNK6e continues to offer the many varied activities that you might know from the 5th edition. The 6th edition will only be used for German 1/1A, so if you purchased the 5th edition this semester, you will be able to use it for the continuation classes until it is finally phased out.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's Almost Time for Finals!

Here are few quick tips for students preparing for a final in German at CCSF (German 1 and 2).

First: Nur keine Panik!

Second: Use the Deutsch: Na Klar! publisher's website to review the various grammar points covered in each chapter under "Grammatik im Kontext". Consult the "Results Reporter" for each quiz and make of note of which points you need to review.

Third: Review vocabulary here and here in the Activity Pack section; look under Wörter). There are also grammar activities in the Activity Pack section.

Fourth: A tutor is available in the Learning Assistance Center (R-207). View the schedule here. Remember, too, that your instructor is available to answer your questions during posted office hours.

Fifth: Review the "Das Kann Ich Nun" at the end of each chapter. This section will provide you with an outline of what was covered in any given chapter.

Sixth: Sign up for the continuation course, for example, German 1B, if you completed 1A this semester, and so on.

During the summer, take the opportunity to watch German news (online), listen to German-language radio, go to a German restaurant and order in German. The Language Center's language learning and culture links for German has many resources for your to explore. Viel Spass!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) - Now on DVD!

Those familiar with the history of WWII and its aftermath in Germany and, specifically, Berlin, will appreciate "Eine Frau in Berlin", based on the best-selling diaries of an anonymous German woman who survived the Soviet invasion of Berlin at the end of World War II. This gripping drama tells the story of a photojournalist's (Nina Hoss) forbidden relationship with a Soviet officer (Yevgeni Sidikhin). After being sexually assaulted by members of the invading Red Army, she turns to the officer for support, but soon finds herself falling for him. Peripheral characters also fill out this bleak and bitter portrait of Berlin and what the war brought upon the Germans.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Burghardt Klaussner Films at the Goethe Institute - The Edukators and Requiem

OK, so maybe you haven't heard of Burghardt Klaussner, but he is a renowned actor in his native Germany. You can see his work for yourself on Thursday, April 14, at The Goethe Institute at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. The film "Requiem" will follow on Thursday, April 21st at 7:00 p.m. The actor will be visiting the Goethe Institute with his band “Zum Klaussner” for a concert and talk on Thursday, April 16th.

German Films at the San Francisco International Film Festival - April 26 - May 5

The annual San Francisco International Film Festival will soon be upon the city, and that means a couple of films from Germany for fans of German cinema to check out. First up, The City Below (Die Stadt unter Uns)is a tense drama set in the upper echelons of Frankfurt’s banking sector.
Click here for details. In Blessed Events, a depressed woman in her 30s, goes out for a night of listless drinking and dancing on New Years Eve, wakes up in a stranger’s car after a one-night-stand and discovers afterwards that she’s pregnant. What happens next? Click here for details. Both of these films are playing at the Kabuki Theaters at Geary and Fillmore. Special support is generously provided by the Goethe-Institut San Francisco and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany–San Francisco.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

German Films on Netflix - A Recommendation or Two ... or Three

If you have a subscription to Netflix, don't miss the foreign language selections. Here are a few recommendations for German films and you can click here to access a more comprehensive list of German films available on Netflix. Just scroll down to "Foreign Regions" and then click on "Germany".

JOHN RABE (2009)

Florian Gallenberger directs this gripping drama about John Rabe (Ulrich Tukur), a German businessman living in Nanking, China, who in 1937 used his Nazi party affiliation to save some 200,000 Chinese civilians from slaughter at the hands of the Japanese army. As Rabe labors to establish an official safety zone to shelter the innocent, he forms an unlikely friendship with an American doctor (Steve Buscemi). Anne Consigny and Daniel Brühl co-star.
Cast: Ulrich Tukur, Steve Buscemi
Director: Florian Gallenberger
Genre: Foreign
Format: DVD and streaming


Set in 1980s East Berlin, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's debut feature (which earned an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film) provides an exquisitely nuanced portrait of life under the watchful eye of the state police. When a successful playwright and his actress companion become subjects of the Stasi's secret surveillance program, their friends, family -- and even those doing the watching -- find their lives forever changed.
Cast: Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Genre: Foreign
Format: DVD and Blu-ray


In 1936, young German climbers Toni Kurz (Benno Fürmann) and Andreas Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas) face off against a rival Austrian duo in an attempt to be the first team to scale the infamous north face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps. As the men make the treacherous climb, journalist Luise (Johanna Wokalek) -- Toni's childhood love -- covers the biggest story of her career. Philipp Stölzl helms this drama based on a true story.
Cast: Benno Furmann, Florian Lukas
Director: Philipp Stölzl
Genre: Foreign
Format: DVD and streaming

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Max Raabe in Oakland!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Max Raabe und sein Palast Orchester, here's your chance. They'll be playing at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on Saturday, April 9. Just who is Max Raabe? Briefly, he and his orchestra specialize in recreating the sound of German dance and film music of the 1920s and 1930s, especially by performing songs of the Comedian Harmonists. Founding the Palast Orchester in 1986, his first hit in 1992 was "Kein Schwein ruft mich an" ("Why does no one call me?", a pop song in 1920s' style, and the film Der bewegte Mann (English title: "Maybe, Maybe Not") in 1994. By the way, "Maybe, Maybe Not," is available for viewing in the Language Center. See and hear for yourself and, if it is your "glass of beer", get thee to the Paramount!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Do You Want to Learn Better? Here's How

Do you think you can't learn German (or any other language?) There's too much der, die and das, and why does German have four cases anyway? And those adjective endings? Um Himmel's Willen! Hilfe! Nur keine Panik! From the BBC come these helpful tips to address typical concerns students have about learning a second language. You can do it! But it's good to have strategies to help you through it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And Speaking of East Germany - Propaganda Mixed With Limited Commercialism in the Former Volksrepublik

Have fun viewing this commercial for the Warttburg, one of the two types of cars produced in the GDR (German Democratic Republic) The very maligned Trabant, or Trabi, was the other.

And then there was the constant mingling of propaganda with limited consumerism, as the GDR attempted to convince its population that it was as well off as its rich brother to the west.

From the Wild West to Outer Space: East German Genre Films

Before the Wall came down, East Germany was a world unto itself, but its film industry could travel: to outer space and the Baltic! If you're at all curious about this period in German film, don't miss the upcoming features at the Goethe Institute. Films start at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, March 3, 17th, and 31st.

When We Leave (Die Fremde) Coming to the Bay Area

What would you sacrifice for your family’s love? Your values? Your freedom? Your independence? German-born Umay flees her oppressive marriage in Istanbul, taking her young son Cem with her. She is hoping to find a better life with her family in Berlin, but her unexpected arrival creates intense conflict. Her family is trapped in their conventions, torn between their love for her and the values of their community.
Director, producer and writer Feo Aladag‘s breathtaking debut When We Leave has won numerous acclaimed film awards and screened last fall in the Bay Area at our film festival Berlin & Beyond. If you missed it then or would like to watch this masterpiece again, When We Leave will be at the two Bay Area Landmark theaters (see below)'.

The film’s running time is 119 minutes; it is not rated. In German and Turkish; fully subtitled in English.
Landmark’s Opera Plaza Cinema
601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
(415) 267-4893

Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas
2230 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley
+1 (510) 464-5980

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daumenkitzel! There's a New German Bakery/Restaurant in the East Bay that will tickle your palate, so to speak.

For students of German living in the East Bay-Berkeley/North Oakland area, or those San Franciscans who venture over across the Bay (and there are some of you out there), there's good news. There's a new German bakery/restaurant/Kaffee und Kuchen destination, Gaumenkitzel. With an authentic Northern German-style menu of Fruehstueck, Mittagstisch, Kaffee und Kuchen (from 2:00-4:30), and a light Abendbrot, you can have a taste of Germany right at home.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

German Tutoring in the Language Center!

Starting right now there is tutoring in the Language Center. Former CCSF German instructor and Deutsch? Na Klar! blogger, Leslie Pahl, will be available for tutoring on:

Mondays (montags): 11:10-12:00 and Wednesdays (mittwochs): 10:10-11:00

Tutoring usually takes place in the Learning Assistance Center (R-207), but this semester, Leslie Pahl has volunteered to do tutoring, and that takes place over in the Language Center. So just come to the Service Desk and ask for Leslie/Frau Pahl.

Additionally, Stan Rappaport, in the Language Center, will be available on Thursdays (donnerstags) from 1:10-2:00. Both Leslie and Stan can help answer all those questions about German grammar that come up in the classroom or as you are doing your homework.

A student tutor will also be in the Learning Assistance Center. Click here for the complete schedule. We hope to see you soon!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Metropolis (with Newly Discovered Footage) at the Pacific Film Archive

Set in the year 2026 (and that's coming right up!), Fritz Lang's 1926 masterpiece Metropolis envisions a repressive techno-oligarchy in which soaring Art Deco towers and overhead freeways mock an underclass of techno slaves ruled by a “supertrustee” (Alfred Abel), who lives with his collaborators in the paradisiacal nightclub of Yoshiwara. Lang even posits a virtual woman, an evil doppelganger cloned from the people’s hero and spokeswoman Maria (Brigitte Helm), as another principal force in this exquisite ballet of machines and men. With newly discovered footage found in an archive in Buenos Aires, this remastered version of Metropolis is a must-see for fans of German cinema. Co-presented with the Goethe Institute San Francisco on Saturday, February 19th at 6:00 p.m. at the Pacific Film Institute in Berkeley.