Thursday, December 12, 2013

German Traces in NYC

Did you know that it was a German, Peter Minuit, who purchased the island of Manhattan for 60 guilders' worth of trade goods in 1626?  And they kept coming to the big Apfel.   By 1880, there were over 200,000 German immigrants living in New York, most congregating in the area east of the Bowery and north of Division Street—or, what became known as Kleindeutschland.  Explore this site from the Goethe Institute in New York and learn more about the many contributions German immigrants made to New York, New York.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Barbara - German film set in 1980's East Germany (DDR) - Available on Netflix

If you're curious about life in the former GDR (German Democratic Republic) in the 7 or 8 years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, "Barbara" will give you a good sense of the oppressiveness of the ever-watchful State apparatus.  This would be a good follow-up to students of German 2A/2B, who saw "Goodbye Lenin" this semester.  It's a kind of "prequel", if you will.

German Youth Word (Jugendwort des Jahres) of the Year: Babo?

Germany Announces 2013 Youth Words of the Year

Dec 3, 2013
Babo Enlarge image The 2013 youth word of the year was "Babo." (© dpa)
The German initiative Jugendwort des Jahres ("young person’s word of the year") has declared the winning word for 2013 to be Babo ("boss" or "leader"), above fame ("great, super, popular") and gediegen (literally, "dignified," but here, "great/cool"). In places four and five came In your face (that’s straight up) and Hakuna matata (no problem, no worries).
© dpa Enlarge image At least 14 million people were learning German in 2010. (© dpa) Since 2008, young people in Germany have been invited each year to submit and discuss their favorite words on The voting starts mid-year and involves the top 30 words. The most popular go through to the next round and are submitted at the beginning of November to a jury made up of a range of language specialists. The jury chooses the winner from the top 15, as well as the words that place second to fifth.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

German-American Language Myths - President Kennedy in Berlin - 1963

President Kennedy in Berlin, 1963
No, President Kennedy did not really call himself a "jelly doughnut" as he spoke before the people of Berlin.  That is a misunderstanding of the use of an indefinite article that has been perpetuated for 50 years.  It is time to set the record straight!  Click here for the full story about this language myth.  

Christmas comes to Germany and it's a really big deal!

Christmas as we know it was practically invented by the Germans, and they hold the holiday (Weihnachten) near to their hearts.  The Weihnachtsmarkt is a thing of beauty to behold on a cold, wintry night warmed by Glühwein (spiced mulled wine).  Click here to read more about various Weihnachtsmärkte all around Germany.