Monday, December 17, 2012

Berliner Platz - New Text and Materials for German 10A/B

The German 10 series (conversation) will be using a new textbook in Spring 2013: Berliner Platz Neu 1. Click here for more details. You can order the student pack of textbook, workbook, 2 audio cd's, a DVD, but wait! there's more: a Landeskundeheft and all for $59.95. However, you will find Berliner Platz Neu 1 (which is what you will be using, at a much better price on Amazon, though without the DVD.  Here's a preview of the DVD, which you will view in class:  

Transcripts, online exercises, and answer keys are also available here. So register for German 10A/10B (Mission Center, Mondays, 6:00 - 9:20 p.m.) and have some fun learning practical German you can take along with you on your travels next summer. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Silent Night, Holy Night - Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

Silent Night, Holy Night is one of the world's best known Christmas carols. The words were written in 1816 by Joseph Mohr, a young priest in Mariapfarr in Lungau. Franz Xaver Gruber, a teacher and organist in the village of Arnsdorf, put the poem to music before Christmas in 1818. The two premiered the Christmas carol on 24 December 1818 in St Nicolas Church in Oberndorf near Salzburg. The carol became so well known when the organ builder Mauracher from Fügen in the Zillertal performed it with other musicians from Tirol in Leipzig. The audience was entranced by the melody. From there, Silent Night, Holy Night blazed a trail across Germany and the whole world. By now, the carol has been translated into 300 different languages and dialects.

How to Make a German Advent Wreath

Part of the German tradition is the Advent wreath.  4 candles, each signifying a Sunday before Christmas, burn in a wreath of greens.  It's a beautiful sight.  Here's how:

German Christmas Markets and a Digital Advent Calendar

Christmas in Germany is a big deal. A favorite pastime for Germans and tourists alike is savoring the winter holiday season at a local Christmas market. The colorful fairs spring up in most towns and cities for the four-week Advent season leading up to Christmas Eve. The scents of roasted almonds, gingerbread cookies and savory and sweet snacks mingle with the steam rising from mugs of hot spiced mulled wine as people stroll through rows of wooden booths and stalls. Shoppers find regional handicrafts—nutcrackers, wooden figurines, straw stars, smokers, textiles, cards, cookie tins, glass balls, toys, and tree ornaments. Each Christmas market is unique with its own flavor and traditions. Here is a just a small sampling of Germany's Christmas markets. Click here to read about and view Christmas markets (der Christkindlmarkt) around Germany.

Another German tradition is the Advent calendar, something like the 12 days of Christmas, except it's 25 days! Click here to go to Germany Info's Advent Calendar and visit each day to reveal a new window. Along the way, discover German music, recipes, stories and crafts that will bring a touch of German Christmas tradition to your holiday season. Enjoy! In real life, though, you would be treated with a piece of chocolate. Is there an app for that?

Friday, November 30, 2012

German Films on DVD: Highly Recommended

Increasing numbers of German films and German co-productions are being distributed in the US. These reviews of German films past and present will help you catch up or keep up-to-date on German movies in the comfort of your own home theater. Click here to see a list of recommended German films on DVD; many are available on Netflix or at LeVideo on 9th Avenue in San Francisco. From a now-classic like Das Boot to more recent entries such as The Edukators, there is something for everyone.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spring 2013 German Language Classes: The Schedule is Here!

Here are the schedules for day and evening German classes for Spring semester 2013.  Note the addition of German classes in the evening at the fabulous Mission Campus (22nd and Valencia). The Downtown campus is easily accessible by BART or MUNI. Register early, classes fill up quickly! For further information, please call the Foreign Language Department at (415) 239-3223.  Also, students who are returning to learning German after a break, consider taking a German placement advisory test in order to be placed in a level-appropriate class. Feel free to come into the Language Center and use a computer to take the advisory placement test.    


OCEAN CAMPUS (50 Phelan)
GERM 1   33603 M-R 08:55-10:00 HC 204        Benham
GERM 1A  31132 M-R 08:55-10:00 HC 204        Benham** 
GERM 1B  33605 M-R 08:55-10:00  HC 204      Benham*** 
GERM 2     31491 TR     11:40-01:55 HC 207        Brunner 
GERM 2A  31328 TR     11:40-01:55 HC 207       Brunner 
GERM 2B 31297  TR     11:40-01:55   HC 207      Brunner*** 


DOWNTOWN (800 Mission St.) 
GERM 1  33604 TR 6:00-8:40 DTN 514 Schwarzer☺ 
GERM 1A  34004 TR 6:00-8:40 DTN 514 Schwarzer*** 
GERM 1B  34005 TR 6:00-8:40 DTN 514 Schwarzer ♫ 
GERM 3B  34356 W 6:00-9:15 DTN 725  Schwarzer♪♪ 
GERM 10D  34358 W 6:00-9:15 DTN 725 Schwarzer♪♪ 

GERM 1A   34354 T 6:00-9:15 MIC 271 Brunner♪ 
GERM 2A  31473  M 6:30-9:20 MIC 323 Benham 
GERM 2B  34355 M 6:00-9:20 MIC 323 Benham 
GERM 10A  30472 M 6:00-9:20 MIC 201 Hoelscher 
GERM 10B  34357 M 6:30-9:20 MIC 201 Hoelsher 

 * Begins 1/28/13 Ends 4/22/13 
 **  Begins 1/28/13 Ends 5/22/13 
*** Begins 1/29/13 Ends 4/16/13 
   ♪ Begins 1/29/13 Ends 5/21/13 
 ☺ Begins 1/29/13 Ends 5/23/13 
 ♪♪ Begins 1/30/13 Ends 5/22/13 
♪♪♪ Begins 1/31/13 Ends 5/23/13 
  ♦ Begins  2/16/13 Ends 5/23/13 
  ♦♦  Begins  2/25/13 Ends 5/22/13 
  ♫  Begins  2/26/13 Ends 5/23/13 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mittwochs Film Series at the Goethe Institute: Through the German Eye

Parallel to the exhibition “The German Eye” the Goethe Institute presents two films that show America “Through the German Eye”. Directed by German filmmakers, the feature film “Don’t Come Knocking” and the documentary “Idiosyncrasies” reflect American realities and clichés at the same time, Western movies and surf films.
First up:  

Wednesday, November 14, 6:30pm

Don’t Come Knocking
Director: Wim Wenders, Austria, 2005, 122 min.

Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to die now, nobody would shed a tear over him, that's the sad truth. Until one day Howard learns that he might have a child somewhere out there. The very idea seems like a ray of hope that his life wasn't all in vain. So he sets out to find that young man or woman. He discovers an entire life that he has missed… 

Followed by: 

Wednesday, November 28, 6:30pm
© Harbor Bill, Surfing OutlawDirector: Patrick Trefz, USA, 2010, 60 min.
The documentary portraits ten people who have influenced the surf history during the last 30 years tremendously. “Idiosyncrasies” presents an exploration of some truly unique minds, revealing what's behind the impact of some of surfing's most influential underground individuals, with their unique characteristics that manifest both on land and in the water. 

Filmmaker and photographer Patrick Trefz will be at the Goethe-Institut for the film screening which is followed by a Q&A with him. His Photographs are part of the exhibition “The German Eye”.

Monday, October 29, 2012

German Word of the Week: the Yiddish files

MeschuggeDid you know that Yiddish derives in large part from German?  It's true!  And here's a good Yiddish word that's become not only part of the German language, but is also used in English, as anyone who's watched a Woody Allen film would know!

Word of the Week: meschugge

Oct 26, 2012 and The Week in Germany highlight a different "Word of the Week" in the German language that may have serve to surprise, delight or just plain perplex native English speakers.
Enlarge imageThe slang expression "meschugge" (crazy) is one of several German words derived from Yiddish, which in turn was also influenced by German.(© German Information Center USA)

Derived from Yiddish, the adjective "meschugge" is used colloquially in German to describe someone or something as crazy.
The original Yiddish expression meshuge or meshige (meshigge) was used to describe someone as insane, overwrought, or crazy. The Yiddish usage was in turn based on a Hebrew word that included the verb form of "to lose one's way."
The slang expression "meschugge" had wended its way from Yiddish into German by the 19th century. It has been used ever since as a milder form of "verrückt" (crazy).
In this vein, you could drive someone slightly crazy as in "jemanden meschugge machen" or you could consider someone crazy as in "jemanden für meschugge halten."
Just as several Yiddish words have entered the German language, Yiddish - apart from its Hebrew origins - derived a large part of its vocabulary from German, and sometimes German speakers can even come close to comprehending a Yiddish phrase.
In the United States, this slang expression was also adopted with varius spellings - minus the "c" in the Germanic "sch" - as meshuga, meshugge, meshugah or meshuggah.
The German version of the word has even been used as the title for an English-language feature-length film: A 1998 German-Swiss-American co-production by Swiss actor-director Dani Levy and starring German actress Maria Schrader was called "Meschugge."
And an event held in a Berlin nightclub in 2010 featuring music provided by an Israeli DJ, moreover, was officially dubbed a - you guessed it - "Meschugge Party."

Monday, October 22, 2012

KuBus - Cultural Films from the Goethe Institute

These 49 videos, made between 2003 and 2007, are all about 15 minutes long and they cover all kinds of events and phenomena that occurred in the cultural, social and political life of Germany. An accompanying text provides background information on each topic, there is also a text transcript for each video. Films and accompanying materials can be accessed in German, English, Spanish, French, Russian and (since 2005) Chinese.   Check them out!  Topics include film, literature, music, visual arts, towns and regions.   To start, here's one on Chinese students living and studying in Berlin.  

Speaking of Language - Just for Fun, but .... Seriously!

German Word of the Week: Fuchsteufelswild

Each week, a very informative newsletter "The Week in Germany" offers up a "Word of the Week" to amuse or puzzle English speakers learning German.  This week, it's Fuchsteufelswild and it is used in German to describe an enraged person who is as wild as a fox and mad as the devil. This adjective is most likely rooted in the fox's much-maligned medieval reputation as a sly troublemaker.   To read more click here.   You can also subscribe to The Week in Germany and receive the Word of the Week, and much more!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Nina Hagen - Rare 1980's Clip from the Goethe Institute

Hey, all you German music fans out there, did you know that before there was Lady Gaga, there was Nina Hagen?  In this rare clip she takes you on a short Reise through German pop music of the 1980's. Try the closed caption option if you dare!

Monday, September 24, 2012

17th Annual Berlin & Beyond Film Festival - September 27-October 4, 2012


17th Annual Berlin & Beyond Film Festival


September 27 – October 4, 2012 

Castro Theatre

429 Castro Street, San Francisco

Goethe-Institut San Francisco


530 Bush Street

San Francisco

Join all manner of fans of German cinema at the legendary Castro Theatre(September 27th-30th and October 3rd-4th) and at the Goethe-Institut (September 29th-October 2nd), and celebrate the best in German Cinema today.   Among this year’s guests are the living legend Mario Adorf and German Film Award winner Alina Levshin. In our line-up are “Barbara” - Germany’s entry to the Oscars - and the newly-restored Director’s Cut of “The Tin Drum.”

Oktoberfest by the Bay - September 28-30 at Pier 48 in SF

Why should they have all the fun at the mega-beer tents in Bavaria?  If you are a fan of high German culture, then don't miss Oktoberfest by the Bay! There's tasty food, excellent German beer, and sizzling oompah music, so don't miss out.  You can order tickets and read more about it here.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall Events At the Goethe Institute

Porträt Romy Schneider, 1981, In Quiberon © Robert Lebeck, BerlinThere's lots going on this Fall at the Goethe Institute, San Francisco's premier institution for promoting German language and culture.  Most importantly for German film buffs is a Romy Schneider retrospective, presented in collaboration with the Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen, Berlin. 

Wednesday, September 5 to Monday, October 15, 2012
Goethe-Institut San Francisco
530 Bush Street
San Francisco
French and German Films with English subtitles
Suggested donation: $ 5
+ 1 (415) 263-8760

For more information, click here

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh, the Weltschmerz of it All!

If you think that German is well, a foreign language, think again!  English and German have common linguistic roots, and over the centuries, English has borrowed many words from German.  Remember Kindergarten?  Or maybe at one point you had a bit of Schadenfreude?  For more interesting facts about German in the English language read here.  (Dan Hamilton) 

Want to win at English? Learn German. That's the unexpected message of the 2006 National Spelling Bee finals. America's new national champion, Katharine Close, won by spelling ursprache. The runner-up, Finola Hackett, tripped up on weltschmerz. Another favorite lost on heiligenschein.  Katharine might be excused for a shade of schadenfreude as she watched her friends falter, because behind all the prime-time glitz and angst was a simple lesson. German and English are both Germanic languages. They share many word origins and characteristics. That makes German a good choice for every English-speaking mensch, whether you are a kindergartner, a student, or just one of the familie. It's übercool, mann.

You don't have to be a wunderkind to learn a little German. Even Einstein was no Wunder as a Kind. Once you learn the basics, words that stumped the super-spellers are a piece of Kuchen -- every first-year German student can master their domain.
German is basically a Lego language -- just take word blocks, such as Welt and Schmerz, smash them together, and you've got some real weltschmerz.
It may sound painful, but it can be practical. For starters, you'll finally be able to understand those Volkswagen ads. And for the Doppelbonus, you could actually pronounce Fahrvergnügen.
Here's the leitmotiv: German is very American. It has worked its way into our world. While some worry loudly about too much Spanish, German has become everyday English. We check the weather on the Doppler radar and measure the temperature in Fahrenheit. If your neighbor chokes on his bratwurst, you give him the Heimlich.
German helps us make our way in American pop culture. How can one understand the deeper meaning of "Shrek" without some personal insight into Teutonic fairy tales? If you work really hard, you might actually be able to understand Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Kindergarten Cop" -- although my Austrian friends tell me he still needs to work on his Akzent. Run, Lola, run.
Gymnasium is a high school. A Reformhaus is not a place for delinquents; it's a health-food store. A Roman is not some Italian guy, it's a novel. The Rathaus is the town hall, not where rats live (some may dispute that). An Evergreen isn't a tree, it's a golden oldie. And if you say "Play Misty for me," you've really stepped in it.
Achtung, though, there are some tricks. Soccer is football and foosball is Kicker. A Billion is a trillion. If you take your Beamer for a spin, you'll be driving an overhead projector. A 
Once, I found myself in a tourist area of rural Pennsylvania, and strolled by das Gifthaus. I kept walking, because in German, Gift is pure poison.
See how handy German can be? In fact, in German, Handy is a mobile phone. I think they've got something there. "Cell phone" sounds like a germ spewer. Let's go with handy.
Sure, English is a must. But German is a plus. So let's take a cue from national spelling champ Close and improve our English by learning a little German this week. After all, on Freitag the biggest sports event on the planet starts in Germany -- the Soccer World Cup. Grab your Bier, settle back and repeat after me: TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR!!! It's wunderbar.
And if you find you have celebrated a bit too much, just take some Aspirin and call me in the Morgen. Gesundheit.

Read more:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some German Classes Are Still Open: 2, 2A, 2B at the Ocean Campus

Students who took 1B last semester or in previous semesters, here's your chance to continue your German language learning.  Did you have a couple of years of German in high school or previously at the college level?  Take the German advisory placement test to see if a German 2 level class would be right for you.  German 2,  2A, and 2B still have space at the Ocean Campus:

Some German classes are still open and waiting for you to stop by and sign up!

German 2 (73666)     Tuesdays, Thursdays  12:00-2:30       Ocean       SCIE 255

German 2A (73667)   Tuesdays, Thursdays  12:00-2:30      Ocean      SCIE 255

German 2B (73668)   Tuesdays, Thursdays   12:00-2:30      Ocean      SCIE 255

Monday, May 21, 2012

Deutsch im Sommer - in San Francisco?

Summer 2012: CCSF will be offering a German for Travelers class through Continuing Education beginning July 2 – August 3, 2012.  The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00-6:30 p.m.; the course fee is $150 ($15 discount if registered by June 26).   This will prepare you well for venturing to German-speaking countries this summer, or even to Eastern Europe, where German is also widely spoken.

If you're staying in San Francisco for the cool, gray summer, then you can still experience a bit of German culture at various San Francisco venues.  Start with the Goethe Institute for regular events, then visit a German restaurant for some good beer and Schnitzel.  Here are some suggestions for finding that special German place in the City or East Bay:

Try the Suppenküche at Laguna and Hayes for fine German fare in surroundings inspired by a Bavarian monastery. For some “East German” specialities, hammer on into the Walzwerk, south of Market. And don’t forget to try some “cold dog” (kalter Hund) for dessert!? And on Folsom at 20th there’s Schmidt’s, offering such specialities as Zungenwurst and Sülze, as well as baked cheese Spätzle for vegetarians. Wash everything down with a hearty selection of German beers! Prosit! 
If you’re in the East Bay, the Speisekammer in Alameda, owned by the folks at Süppenküche, serves up lots of Gemütlichkeit.  And in Berkeley check out  Gaumenkitzel, offering fresh, local, and seasonal cooking and baking with a North-German twist.

Monday, April 23, 2012

53 Million Americans Claim German Heritage

Did you know that it was a German who gave America its name? The cartographer Martin Waldseemüller (1470-1520) was the first to draw the New World as a continent on his map Universalis cosmographia, part of which you see on your right, calling it "America" after Amerigo Vespucci, whom Waldseemüller thought to be the real discoverer of America.

But that was by far not the only footprint that Germans left in America. Since the arrival of a German botanist in the Jamestown in 1608, German immigrants and their descendants have made an indelible imprint on this country.  Today, some 43 million Americans claim German heritage.  Read more here (from the German Information Service) about how Germany and German immigrants have left their mark on American culture (think beer, brats, and, oh, yes, Christmas).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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

The San Francisco International Film Festival is in full gear, and Germany weighs in with a three-part drama/mystery Dreileben

All three films of Dreileben’s character-driven crime drama trilogy are set in and around a small town by the Thuringian Forest. This opening entry taps into the Grimm nature of the setting. Two protagonists as green as the leaves face more romantic trouble than they can handle, while a murderer lurks nearby.

Another German entry is Sleeping Sickness (Schlafkrankheit) 

A German doctor working to fight an epidemic in Cameroon must make difficult choices in director Ulrich Köhler’s subtle examination of African postcolonial ties with the West. Echoes of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and a sense of dread pervade this lush meditation on the experience of being European in Africa.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mittwochs-Film at the Goethe Institute - March and April

The Goethe Institute, located at 530 Bush Street (just above Grant Ave.), will present "Mittwochs-Filme".    Next up is "The Edge of Heaven", a German/Turkish/Italian film, to be shown on Wednesday. March 21, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Goethe Institute Auditorium.  Admission is free!

“The Edge of Heaven” is the second part of a planned trilogy about love, death and the devil that started in 2004 with Akin’s film “Head-on”.
“The Edge of Heaven” moves at a gentle pace, adopts a balladic narrative and explores deep philosophical questions. It tells the interwoven destiny of six people coming from three different families and two generations of both German and Turkish heritage, whose lives intertwine in Hamburg and Istanbul and who mature and transform after encountering death. It is a movie as much about bridging the gap between generations — father and son, mother and daughter — as between nations and cultures. It deals with current social issues and has a unique way of illuminating the subject of integration. Akin, considers this his “most spiritual film”.
Here's the complete schedule:  

15. - 18.3.2012
Los Angeles
Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey/Italy, 2007, 122 min.
Goethe-Institut San Francisco
Directed by Erich Schmid, Switzerland, 2008, 85 min.
Goethe-Institut San Francisco
Jörg Kobel, Germany, 2005, 75 Min.
Kadist Art Foundation
04/25 + -2/05/2012
Goethe-Institut San Francisco
For more information, click here.  

    German 1 & 2 Grammar Workshops - Habt Ihr Fragen?

    for Now that you're getting into the thick of things with your German studies (dative case, possessive adjectives, prepositions, and the like), this could be the right time to review and make sure you're up to speed with all the ins and outs of German grammar.

    A  mid-term workshop for German 1 and 2 students will be held in R-205E on

                    Wednesday, April 18, 2:00-3:00

    and for students of German 1:

                           Friday, April 6, 1:00-2:00 

                       Wednesday, May 9, 11:00-12:00 noon


    for German 1 final review and preparation

                    Monday, May 21, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

    for German 2 final review and preparation: Monday, May 14 from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

    Additionally, a Tu, Th session will be planned for German 2.  Check the Deutsch?  Na Klar! Blog (see the Language Center homepage, Language News, for a link) for updates.  

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Drop-In Workshops for Students of Beginning German (German 1, 1A, 1B)

    The Language Center (Leslie) will be presenting three more workshops this semester for beginning students of German.  Depending on requests from students, the workshops may cover such topics as English grammar for students of German, a rundown of materials available for learning German at CCSF, and/or fielding questions that students may have regarding German grammar.  It's a "create it yourself" workshop and will be in

    R-205E (second floor of the Rosenberg Library, entrance near the water fountains) on:
    Here's a Fun Tongue Twister to Try!  

    Friday, March 2, from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.


    Friday, April 6, from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. 


    Wednesday, May 9, from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. (prep for finals!)  

    Two more workshops for students of German 2 will be scheduled for the last couple weeks of the semester, as students are preparing for finals.  One will be on a M, W, or Fr and one on a Tu or Th.  Check this blog for updates.  Bis dann! 

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Die Neue Deutsche Comic Kultur - The New German Comic Culture

    If you're at all into comics, manga, etc., and if you're taking German this semester or are interested in the German language and culture, then this is the exhibit for you!   See below for more information about this Goethe Institute exhibit: 

    „Comics, Manga & Co. – Die neue deutsche Comic-Kultur“

    Thursday, February 9 – Friday, March 2, 2012
    530 Bush Street, Street Level
    San Francisco
    Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm
    Friday: 10am - 4pm
    Illustration von Henning Wagenbreth; © Goethe-Institut
    Illustration von Henning Wagenbreth; © Goethe-Institut
    The exhibition „Comics, Manga & Co. – Die neue deutsch Comic-Kultur“ features the works of two generations of artists, who have transformed the German graphic novel-scene in the last couple of years. Works of MAWIL, Isabel Kreitz, Arne Bellstorf and Martin Tom Diek and many more will be displayed. 

    The artist MAWIL will open the exhibition „Comics, Mangas & Co.“ on Thursday, February 9 at 6.30 pm. He will sign his books and engage in discussion.
    MAWIL is a German artist, born in Berlin in 1976. His tragi-comical stories We can still be friends and the stories about his Alter Ego Super-Hasi have become famous all over Europe.
    Related links