Week 2

17 Feb 2014 09:02 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I don't want to go home :P My flatmates are nice, and I feel comfortable here. But I need to go home and see Ben and the cats. Also all 11 kg of my course materials are at home.

I've been poking around the GI website, because I'd like to take the C2 exam (the Grosse Deutsche Sprachdiplom) eventually, and I was looking for some self-study materials, etc. They have some free online, or I could buy this book. They recommend a distance learning course in grammar, which I may opt to do even if I don't take the exam. (After I finish the current study thing. Two at once is absurd.)

I don't know that getting that qualification will do anything special, other than show that, hey, I can speak German really well, so I'm not going to teach people terrible German.

Of course, afaict there are no sites in the US where it's given. Oh, no, they'll give it at the GI in DC and Boston. Getting to DC would be easier & cheaper for me, though since my sister moved back out to Maryland, I don't have a convenient downtown location to sleep for free. The one in Boston looks like it's on the red line between Arlington and Copley.

Either way, this won't be happening this year, and next year looks less unlikely, but they only offer it once or twice a year. So.

La. I think I'm going to go take off my makeup and wash my face.
feuervogel: Mesut Özil hugs Cacau (german team 10)
So, I need to go to Germany for an internship for 2 weeks in February, and I'm not sure where the money's going to come from. Which means I'm going to beg from people on the internet, I guess.

I know people who have used indiegogo to fund an educational thing, and people who have used GoFundMe, too. There are so many crowdfunding sites out there now, I hardly know where to start.

I'm leaning toward indiegogo, because I feel like I should offer people something in return for them throwing money at me. Straight up donations makes me uncomfortable, but I don't know why.

I could offer related things, like German lessons (over Skype or in person) or postcards. But those are very specific, so I could also offer unrelated things, like quilted e-reader or phone covers.

What do you all think? What are your experiences with these sites, and how do you feel about donating vs getting something in return? Other thoughts?
feuervogel: (shiiiiiiiiiit!)
I'm so not ready for VP this weekend. Augh. I've got laundry drying right now, so I can pack tonight, if I'm lucky, or tomorrow. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to wear.

I'm close to finished with this short story (which needs a better name; I am terrible at naming things and I hate it), so I'm looking for a few good beta readers. I'll email you the file (.doc, .rtf, or .odt--your preference) and hope to get it back by the 20th. I won't have time to work on it while I'm at VP, of course. Comment or PM me.

I get to finish things off in the house, like the almond milk I use for post-workout smoothies, which Ben won't use and won't keep until I get back. Not sure whether I want to make a smoothie for lunch today or tomorrow, though. I also have a persimmon I bought Saturday that is finally starting to become edible. I hope it's ready tomorrow.

I still need to finish The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I am enjoying a lot but not having time to read. I can take it on the plane, but I was kinda hoping to sleep, since I have to get up an hour early Sunday. We'll see.

I'd also like to make more progress in this module, which has finished being about language acquisition theory and turned into instructional methodology.

On which note: progress! I am confirmed for Mannheim Feb 10-22, and after I get back, I'll look more into flights and housing. The woman I've been conversing with sent me documents with hotels and apartment search information, which I will make use of. If any of you German friends of mine are in Mannheim or have friends there who are willing to put me up for about 18 days for less than 500€, please let me know! If you have any tips about Mannheim, also let me know. I've never been there.

(The youth hostel works out to about 440€ for the length of time, and it includes breakfast. But it's a shared room, so ... One plus is that each room has its own shower. I don't know. Hard to unpack in a hostel I think, but everything else is so expensive.)

Anyway, I'm hungry, so I need to get lunch and then get back to revising this story.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
Wie ihr schon wisst, mache ich jetzt einen Fernstudiumkurs durch das Goethe-Institut, um DaF-Lehrerin zu werden. Ich muss ein Praktikum machen, und ich suche gerade eine Stelle. Ich habe 2 potenzielle Möglichkeiten: eine beim GI, die andere bei einer anderen privaten Sprachschule. Es gibt Rahmenbedingungen fürs Praktikum.

Hier folgen 2 Briefe, die nicht 100%ig gleich sind. Ich habe nie so einen Brief geschrieben, und ich weiss nicht genau, wie man einen auf Deutsch schreibt, die Formen usw. Zu formell, zu informell, usw. Und was benutzt man für die Anrede, wenn keinen Namen bewusst sind? (Und in eine Web-Form geschrieben wird...) Grammatik auch bitte korrigieren!

an die Sprachschule )

Für das Praktikum beim GI muss ich mich zwischen Frankfurt und Mannheim-Tübingen entscheiden. FRA hat billigste Flugpreise; Mannheim-Tübingen ist näher einen Freund in Stuttgart. Ich könnte an die beiden schreiben, und es würde nur die Anrede anders sein. (An welche Person sollte ich schreiben?? Die erste Vier sind Betriebsführer usw.)

ans GI )

Jo, zu kalt? Zu informell? Grammatische Fehler? Danke nochmal *küsschen*
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
In my correspondence with the people at the Goethe Institute, I've noticed that they stick to fairly strict formats in both email and posts on the forum. (Salutation, body, closing, signature) I find this incredibly weird.

When I email people in the US, I find that I typically leave out the salutation after the first response, and almost never use a closing (sincerely, yours, etc). Yes, even in somewhat formal situations!

Is this a weird American cultural thing, a weird internet cultural thing, or what? I know that Americans tend toward informality when at all possible, and Germans tend to err on the side of formality, so it could be that.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Slow Travel Berlin (run by English-speaking expats) posted today about language schools in Berlin. So I'm going to collect the links here.


http://www.speakeasy-sprachzeug.com/en/ (rather twee, holy god)

http://www.sprachsalon-berlin.de/en/ (I should contact them about the practicum I need to do for this course I'm taking)

http://www.hartnackschule-berlin.de/ (I can't tell if they have job opening things)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I downloaded, filled out, saved, and emailed the registration form to the Goethe people on Saturday. Today I got an email I don't understand, because I *did* fill the form out.

What does this mean? I sent the file to Ben for him to open it in a different program at work, to see if Preview and Adobe aren't playing nice.

vielen Dank für Ihre E-Mail, die zuständigkeitshalber an mich weitergeleitet wurde.

Bitte füllen Sie das Antragsformular komplett aus und senden Sie dies an uns zurück.

Should I respond with "Ich dachte, ich hatte das Formular komplett ausgefüllt. Welches Teil habe ich verpasst?" ?
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I got a response to yesterday's query, and I can register for the course. Woo!

I'm gonna eat lunch first and then spend some time figuring out how to do an international wire transfer from my current financial institution. When I was at BofA, I could do it online, but I don't remember if the SECU has that option. (I looked into it before.)


20 Feb 2013 02:32 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I'm trying to figure out what to do for the writing sample required for grad school applications. They want a 10-20 page "major paper" from an undergrad German Studies course. I ... don't have any. We wrote short papers that were in response to a series of questions/prompts. I have a 5-pager I wrote while I was in Marburg (about Schnitzler's Reigen). I can't find the 3-pager I wrote on Marx & Hegel in Ideas & Power (I found all the other papers, but not that one :P Does anybody have a functional 3.5" floppy drive? Maybe it's miraculously on one of the dozen diskettes I have.)

What I should do is just email the directors of graduate studies and ask which is better, to submit multiple shorter papers (which don't have secondary sources or research, either, because we didn't have access to German journal in college) or to write a new one.

What I've been doing is checking out books from the library and downloading all the articles that sound interesting.

I thought maybe I could do a translation paper, so I translated a piece and then found this and gave up on life. Like, LITERALLY minutes after finishing the translation, I went to that site to look up this article for ideas on things to include in a translation paper, and OH LOOK at what's on the front page. GAH.

It's a good story, though, and you should go read it.

So maybe I'll pick something else. There's one that looks like a fun challenge because of all the plays on words and cultural references, and another longer piece that I liked (which would make it easier to hit 10 pages ngl).

I don't know. *flails*
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
59/70 correct; there's also a short essay section, which I presume they grade on their own.

Some of the questions I was like "wtf? I've never seen this before. If I could use a dictionary...." Some I was like "haha! That was in the grammar I just reviewed! haha! Verb is always last in dependent clauses EXCEPT if it's a modal!" I think maybe the subjunctive was a little messy, too.

So hopefully it's good enough to hit the mandatory C1 level. It's an 84%. Now I just wait to get a response from them.

And I just got email from my college German department asking for stories about how we've used our language in our jobs to promote international programs to new students. I haven't, really, mostly for personal enrichment and following sports. But maybe I will soon... I'll email back and ask if there's any way to turn my rambling into something useful. I'll always wax rhapsodic about the value of study abroad, but that's not really what they're looking for.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
There are a lot of similarities between German and English, enough that it can lull you into a false sense of security. It leads to things like Berlin finally becoming a world-class airport (bekommen=receive) and ich bin sensibel (sensibel=sensitive).

There's a list of false cognates here, if you're curious.

I'm studying/reviewing for a language test right now, and one of the things I know always screws me up is verbs with fixed prepositions, so I'm spending some time with that. (There's a helpful list in Dreyer & Schmitt.)

So, German prepositions aren't always 1-to-1 translateable for English ones. I'd say most are, but not all. Über, for example, means over or above, but also about, as in talking about something. Nach means after, but also toward (ich reise nach Athen) or in accordance with (gebraut nach dem Reinheitsgebot).

Which means you get set phrases like

jdn. danken für
jdn. ärgern mit
herrschen über

which are easy to remember because they're just like the English thank someone for, anger someone with, rule over.

But then you get

fragen nach

which means literally ask after, which is technically sensical English, but it's not the first thing I choose (ask about). It may be more common in British English, I'm not sure.

Then there's the ones that are like English in that they use a different preposition depending on context:

kämpfen mit den Freunden
kämpfen gegen die Feinde
kämpfen für den Freund
kämpfen um die Freiheit

English collapses the last two into "fight for," and German may have the same ambiguity of fighting with (ie alongside vs against) (native speakers, help me out).

And I'm only on p 100 out of 300. -_-
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I emailed the Goethe people Friday afternoon (after business hours Germany time), and when I woke up, there was a link to the Einstufungstest in my inbox. So I think I'll spend some more time today studying and take it tomorrow, though the last Einstufungstest I took was without any preparation and I landed in the C1 class anyway.

I need to learn the Funktionsverben (eine Entscheidung fällen, Abschied nehmen, etc) and review the verbs with set prepositions (achten auf, denken an, sorgen für, etc), plus the set expressions like Abschied nehmen von, Kritik üben an, etc. And that's only the first third of the book. (Though my copy is from 1996 or so.)
feuervogel: (reading)
Saturday I went to the UNC library to get a borrower's card (which I got for free with my Durham Tech student ID woo), use the computers for some research, and check out some books.

I got Feridun Zaimoglu's short story collection "Zwölf Gramm Glück," then I couldn't remember the name of the person who wrote "Mutterzunge," so I looked that up: Emine Sevgi Özdamar. Back to the opposite end of the 8th floor stacks, not quite as far as Zaimoglu.

I follow the Library of Congress numbers down to the bottom shelf, find Özdamar. Shelved beside her was Selim Özdogan, so I picked up a couple of his books and decided to go with "Ein Glas Blut," which is a collection of short stories and poetry.

I started with Mother Tongues, because it's in English (UNC doesn't have a single copy in German). It's very Literary. I've ordered a copy in German, and it shipped today, so I should get it sometime soon. I don't need to return the books until 2/18 (and I *think* I can renew them, not sure). But I spent a good bit of the first few pages wanting to know what the language was like before it was translated, then it got weird. (Literary weird.)

So I started reading Ein Glas Blut, since they're all short, a page or three. Some of the poems are confusing for me, though I'm not sure if that's because there's some reference or context I'm missing. Some of them are just fine. I liked the one called "Drei Fragen," where he asks three questions. I read that out loud to Ben, translated mostly on the fly.

There's another one, traueratem, that's I think supposed to be/was originally spoken word, because there's one section that has this distinct defined rhythm and rhyme scheme that sounds very much like rap. I read it out loud to Ben, in German, and he agreed.

I like this a lot better than Mother Tongues, though I'll withhold judgment until I get that in German to compare. Sometimes translations can be really weird. (Or it could just be, you know, Lit'ry.)

Then I looked him up on Wikipedia, and it turns out he wrote a fantasy novel. (Or a regular novel that was nominated for a science fiction prize. Whichever. It sounds kind of magical realism-ish. If I can find a cheap copy here, maybe I'll buy it.

The library also has Heimstr 52, which sounds from its Amazon blurb like the sort of thing I'm looking for. (Also, there are lots of papers written on the metaphor of travel and transit in Turkish German literature.)

I should start with the Zaimoglu soon.

I just wish I read as fast in German as I do in English. Then again, I read *really fast* in English. If I'm actually paying attention, I read a lot slower.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I'm looking for a novel published between, say, 2005 and 2010, by a Turkish German. A Bekanntin from Twitter gave me this, which kind of helps (though not if I can't find any of those books here for reasonable prices).

The reason I want this is so I can write a paper for my grad school application. (I need to give them a 10-20-page paper, theoretically written during my undergraduate German studies. We never wrote real academic papers, with journal references and stuff, in college. So I need to make one now.) I want to write about Turkish Germans, though I don't have a paper topic specifically.

My alternate idea was to write about reunification viz Friedrich Christian Delius' "Die Birnen von Ribbeck," which we read in one of the college classes, maybe "lit since 1945," and the current state of affairs. (The pears thing uses a lot of metaphors, like "you have to graft trees together carefully, otherwise it won't take.")

If I knew anything about film/media analysis, I'd write about Gegen die Wand (which I have a bunch of articles on) or Das Leben der Anderen. Or Türkisch für Anfänger.

ETA: Do you have recommendations? Have you read any of those books and liked them? Or books by other German Turkish writers? If I click, Amazon helpfully gives me similar books, but I don't know anything about them.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
On Facebook, I said, "talk me out of applying for a PhD in German studies."

Two people are trying to talk me INTO it.

Application deadline is December 8.

It's a joint UNC-Duke program, and I can't find any information on which school's tuition you pay. (UNC's would be so much cheaper.)

The main reason I didn't continue my German studies right after college (aside from thinking I wanted to be an O-Chem professor, hahahaha, lol) was because I didn't think I could get a decent-paying job with that. I really hate that a mercenary decision I made when I was 17 (ie, to go into sciences because $$$) is controlling my present and future.

(I also really like public transit and urban planning and smart growth, but German is something I've loved forever, or since the late 80s, anyway, when I started studying the language.)

Problems I see: a) I want to write. b) There's the barest chance I could get my shit together in time for the December 8 application deadline. c) I wouldn't be able to go to VP next year, if I get in. d) I'm a horrible student--total slacker. Though maybe if it's something I care about, it would be easier.

So, maybe I think about it for the next 6 months, figure out the answers to the questions they want answered on their application form, and make a decision then. I know myself, and, while I make impulsive, snap decisions, this is kind of huge. (Also, I don't really have any 10-20 page papers. The one I wrote on Schnitzler's Reigen when I was in Marburg is 5 pages (I got a 2 on it), and I found my collected papers for Ideas and Power in the Modern World, which included some German philosophy (Marx & Hegel, mainly, also Kant), but they're all 3-5 pages, too.

Argh, I don't know.
feuervogel: (reading)
Meine Schwiegereltern wohnen zur Zeit in Basel, während die Schwiegermutter lehrt oder so etwas. (Sie ist Professorin.) Sie hat angeboten, beim großen Buchladen mir Bücher zu kaufen. Ich kenn, leider, keine deutsche SF/F-Schriftsteller! Bei Amazon gibt's sehr viele Bücher von Englisch ins Deutsch übersetzt, aber darauf habe ich keine Lust.

Letztes Jahr habe ich Die Magier von Montparnasse im Buchhandel gesehen aber nicht gekauft. Das, und sein Sequel quasi Der Kristallpalast, hab ich erbittet.

Jetzt komm ich zur Frage: welche Bücher könnt ihr empfehlen? Ich mag nicht frauenfeindliche Sachen (zB "Quest" von Andreas Eschbach), rassistische Sachen, anti-feministische Sachen, usw. Meine Lieblingsautoren sind Lois McMaster Bujold, CJ Cherryh, Terry Pratchett, und Neil Gaiman.

Danke im Voraus!
feuervogel: (hertha)
I watched the Hertha-Düsseldorf match today. I'd planned to get up at 7:15 for the 7:30 show and shower when it was over, but I was awake at 6:30 anyway, so I showered and ate breakfast before the match. It was a heart-stopper, that one! First Düsseldorf scored on a major defense error on our part, then Ramos equalized, then Düsseldorf went ahead by one, then Rukavytsya equalized. Then Lasogga got us the 3:2 and in the last seconds of stoppage time, Ramos sealed the deal with the 4:2. The defense today was shaky as shit, and there were a couple close calls from Fortuna on top of the 2 goals conceded. But next week, Captain Mijatovic's 2-match ban off a dodgy red card will be up, so his unshakable solidity will be back.

I saw a link on twitter to an interview with my favorite national player, Arne Friedrich. Then, because I'm like that, I decided to translate the whole thing. It was longer than I expected, and it took me about 2 hours to get the first draft. Then I got a buddy to read over the English for me and mark the awkward/overliteral areas, and I cleaned it up this morning.

I kind of like doing translations, actually. It's fun. I have no idea how to make use of this skill, other than for translating interviews with footballers for non-German speakers on livejournal. Publishing houses likely have their own translation staff, and I'm not qualified at this point to do books. I've thought about calling UNCC and asking about their translation studies certificate (which is 4 courses during a regular BS/BA program), but they're in Charlotte, and that's far to go for a class. Also, I have no money for tuition.

I should come up with huge lists of pros and cons of moving to Berlin, though the pro side would mostly read "IT'S BERLIN, ISN'T THAT ENOUGH?"


31 Dec 2010 10:12 pm
feuervogel: (crowley eternity)
Lots of people are doing year or decade in review things; I might do that later. We'll see. Perhaps some forced introspection will be good for me.


1. Practice taiji daily. Practice chansijin at least 3x/wk and Four Flowers at least 3x/wk. Practice at least one form per day, and Chen at least twice a week.
2. Exercise at least 3x/wk. I'm not getting any younger, and my thighs aren't getting any smaller. (Quite the opposite, in fact... I've already started wearing the seams out on a pair of stretchy jeans I bought in September. That I wear twice a week. Dammit.)
3. Get a rough draft of Iron and Rust finished by the end of February, then go over it once.
4. Have the first 6k words polished in order to apply to VP.
5. Outline prequel(s) to Iron & Rust.
6. Get my author site set up. (Pay someone to make the design pretty. Too bad Tammy's overextended already; she makes good design...)

Other plans:

1. Read Spiegel.de every day.
2. Write a paragraph in German every day.
3. Review German grammar.
4. Practice German vocabulary.
5. While I'm in Berlin and Vienna/Budapest (6 wks total), have a revised first draft to betas.
6. If my job still sucks by the time I leave for Europe, send out my resume to other retail chains. Hopefully they can give me part time (10-20 hrs/wk) or every third weekend (Fri-Sun.)

Travel & con plans:

January: none
February: Snowshoe?
March: none
April: none Carolinas Writers Conference 4/16
May: Goethe Institut Berlin (4 wks)
June: Vienna, Bratislava & Budapest (for our 10th anniversary) (2 wks)
July: none USKSF tournament? ReaderCon
August: NASFiC?
September: Dragon*Con
October: none
November: Thanksgiving with the in-laws
December: pre-Christmas with my mom's family (probably 12/17-19)

I'll post-date this later, so it sticks at the top.
feuervogel: (food)
Or most anything on this page.

(And Laugenbrötchen... but not just for Christmas. They're DELICIOUS. Especially when you put Nutella on them. Mmmm, total lecker.)
feuervogel: (dfb logo)
I'm watching Bundesliga matches on streaming internet video sites. Even if I find a feed in English, I won't watch it, because it feels wrong to watch in a language other than German. Listening to the commentary reminds me of one of my favorite things about German.

You can take the prefix ver- and put it in front of a verb and make it connote that they fucked up.

schießen (to shoot); verschießen (to miss the shot)
schenken (to give as a gift); verschenken (to give away, as in an opportunity; also used in context of points on an exam: ich hab 10 Punkte verschenkt.)
spielen (to play); verspielen (to miss a play, to play badly)
laufen (to run); verlaufen (to be lost)

Note: not all verbs beginning with ver- carry this connotation. Of course, all the ones I'm thinking of ottomh aren't positive: verlieren (to lose), vergessen (to forget).
feuervogel: (hetalia germany reads porn)
Since my language ability could be classified as preternatural, it may be possible that I expect too much of other people when they are faced with a foreign language.

After all, I did borrow Sylvain's French-German dictionary (since the teacher had explicitly barred me from bringing my German-English dictionary to class) to look up German legal terms regarding trials (prisoner, defendant, plaintiff, alleged, etc). The fact that a majority of English legal terms are Latinate in origin, and thus share a root with the French, no doubt helped. A lot of English words have Latinate roots (the fancy ones, mostly, since the more vulgar versions have Germanic roots: excrement vs shit), so I can sort of figure out some very basic stuff written in a Romance language.

Then there are all the cognates of German in English: bread/Brot, knight/Knecht, sun/Sonne, hell/Hölle, stool/Stühl (which actually means chair, but never mind that), board/Brett ... the list goes on.

(I'm sticking to Indo-European languages here, and not including, say, Hungarian or Japanese, because they're from different language families, and are quite different in vocabulary.)

I would expect a peer to be able to deduce that, for example, "am Montag 26. Juli um 19:00 Uhr" has something to do with Monday July 26 and 7 pm (19:00). Not so much with, I don't know, "Doch ich sage euch: Gott existiert und wenn ich euch seinen wahren Namen verrate, werdet ihr vom Unglauben abfallen und Gott preisen, denn Gottes wahrer Name ist: KEIN SCHWEIN." Except maybe it has something to do with God and pigs and names.

(That book, though? LAUGH RIOT. Until the ending, which is typisch Deutsch. Kann ich aber unbedingt empfehlen, wenn dir Terry Pratchett gefällt.)

Do I expect too much?

This ramble brought to you by procrastination.
feuervogel: (writing)
Marburg, Dez. 1996
fallender Schnee
im Dunkel gehe ich durch
die ruhige Strassen.
Schöne Lichter von den Läden
rufen mich an, einzukommen.
Ich drehe mich von denen Weg.
Der leisefallende Schnee ruft mich an -
Bleibe draussen. Komm doch - es ist schön
hier im Schnee.
Die Altstadt ruft mit ihren gelben Lichtern-
kannst alles hiervon sehen. Es ist ja schön.
Schau mal.
Ich steig die Treppen hoch, die mich in die Vergangenheit führen.
Ich schau die Stadt an.
Der Schnee rieselt auf die Strassen
auf die Lichter
auf die fröhliche Menschen, die
Hand im Hand durch die Stadt spazieren
auf mich, die alleine durch die Stadt geht -
allein, aber nicht einsam:
ich kann die Stimmen des Schnees
und der Stadt hören.


it's probably crap.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
From an article on the Secret Service (in German): Sch(m)utzengel.

Schutzengel: guardian angel
Schmutz, schmutzig: dirt, dirty

Combine them, and you get a tarnished guardian angel. Nifty, eh?


19 Dec 2009 02:07 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
The Goethe Institut in Berlin will cost E1465 ($2100) for the 4-week intensive course, including a homestay.

I was looking at the Vienna tourism info page, and they list a bunch of learn German institutes, some of which are cheaper. (For example. Also housing.)

I *really* want to go back to Berlin, because it's my favorite place in the world, but since I haven't had work since October 2, money's kind of an issue. The Goethe Institut is highly regarded, of course, but a cost differential of E400 ($570) or more? Yeah. Cultura Wien offers the Austrian Language Diplom; I'm not sure how that rates compared to DaF or the Goethe Zertifikat. (Though there are only certain dates available, and I won't be there for any of them. Well, May 7, but that's at the beginning and I'd totally bomb.)

There are also other places to learn German in Berlin; the first I found was more expensive. ... It looks like the other Berlin-based courses cost as much as or more than the Goethe Institut.

Damnation. I'd really love to spend a month in Berlin, and go see the stuff I missed before (and make a day trip to Dresden). But if I can save close to six hundred bucks... argh.

[personal profile] sabeth, do you have any opinions? (Hey, I could learn some Austrian terms. And, ooh, be surrounded with Austrian accents all day. *puts another mark in the Vienna column*)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
I may rant a bit here, so be forewarned.

I'm so tired of people saying German is an ugly language, a harsh language, not a poetic language. I'm tired of trying to explain how they're wrong and completely uninformed, ignorant, and clearly not remotely familiar with the actual German language.

Have they never heard of Friedrich Schiller, often referred to as the German Shakespeare? Or his friend Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who spawned an entire literary movement (introspection) and inspired the works of Mozart? Or Heinrich Heine, one of the most famous German Romantic poets and he who said "Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people"?

Leaving aside the copious examples of German poets, one aspect of the German language lends itself remarkably well to poetic expression: the (infamous) compound noun. There are nouns in German that require a full phrase (sometimes even a clause) to render in English. To take a well-known example, Schadenfreude: the (malicious) delight you take in someone else's misfortune.

Goethe contributed a delightful compound word to the corpus, which is a hapax legomenon (thanks [livejournal.com profile] joyeuse13 for the term!): Knabenmorgenblütenträume, in his poem Prometheus. (Yes, this is one of the poems I learned in college. My professor pointed out the uniqueness of the word, and it stuck in the back of my head.) A literal deconstruction of the word is boys' morning blossom dreams, which can sound a bit dirty. A better rendering is "the blossoming dreams of the morning of [my] youth."

The stanza:
Wähntest du etwa,
Ich sollte das Leben hassen,
In Wüsten fliehn,
Weil nicht alle Knabenmorgen-
Blütenträume reiften?

An approximate translation, not poetic:
Do you believe (implied: wrongly)
that I should hate life,
flee to the desert,
because not all the blossoming dreams of the
morning of my youth ripened?

The entire poem is about an angry Prometheus berating Zeus, asking why he should honor him. Interestingly, the entire compound noun only appears in the early version of the poem.

Don't disparage the language because of your ignorance. Make an effort to learn about it. You'll find you're rather wrong.


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