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Landeskunde und Kultur

The 5-Day Weekend, Courtesy of the Reformation

The 5 Day Weekend Courtesy of the Reformation Cover NEW

2017 is a huge year for Germans: they get an extra national holiday, Reformationstag. It's the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door, which turned out to be a pillar event of the Reformation movement.

An extra national holiday means that everybody gets an extra day off work. Everything's going to be closed, however I suspect a lot of churches might have more visitors than usual.

So how does this make a 5-day weekend for Germans? Here's how:

Saturday and S…

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Krank sein, ein Elfchen

krank sein ein Elfchen cinquain poem Cover NEW

An Elfchen is a German poem that contains only 11 words. The form is 1-2-3-4-1. Because if its simplicity, it's a fantastic way to practice your vocabulary.

Or, if you're sick and can't seem to shake off the crud of the decade, it makes a very succinct blog post.

Krank sein: ein Elfchen


hatte Halsschmerzen

mehr Tee trinken

bitte wieder gesund werden!


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7 "Fantastisch" German Products You Can Get Here in the US

7 Fantastisch German Products You Can Get Here in the US Cover NEW

One of the best parts of German culture is the Apotheke, the pharmacy! Not because of the prescription drugs, but because of the products you can buy there. And the freebies--don't even get me started. I once bought some facial care products and make-up and they gave me a HANDBAG. A HANDBAG!!! I still have it. Die Tasche ist fantastisch! I even got a tea candlelight holder one year and since it was Advent/Christmas, the candle holder was in the shape of a star. Ja, das habe ich auch noch.


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Why You Should Stop Asking “Wie geht’s?” All the Time

Why You Should Stop Asking Wie gehts All the Time Cover NEW

Es war einmal…that I called my German Landlord to ask to get something fixed in the apartment. Although I was in a fantastic mood that day, it only took about 20 seconds for that phone call to change my German speaking habits forever…here’s why:

Nicole: Hallo, Herr Müller!

Herr Müller: Hallo, Frau Warner!

Nicole: Wie geht’s Ihnen denn?

Herr Müller: Ach ja, wissen Sie, nicht so gut. Am Wochenende habe ich im Garten gearbeitet und etwas hat mich am Fuß gestochen! Die Stelle ist angeschwollen—e…

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Found at...ALDI - Two Traditions: Ghost Feast and »der Todestag«

Found at ALDI Two Traditions Ghost Feast and der Todestag cover NEW

If you've been hanging around this blog for a while, which some of you have, you'll know how excited I get when it's German week at ALDI. Apparently it just was, but I missed it, as there was no more regular Frischkäse when I arrived, only the Meerrettich kind, which I don't like. Schade.

This week I did a huge Einkaufstour and went to ALDI and filled up the cart. Käse, Champignons, Paprika, Toilettenpapier, Taschentücher, Bratwürste--ich habe echt alles eingekauft.

When I reached the check-ou…

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How do you say "staycation" in German?

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Americans take a staycation und die Deutschen machen Urlaub auf Balkonien!

Although Germans are legally entitled to a minimum of four weeks of vacation per year (many have five, and some six), not everyone takes off to the mountains, to another city, or to another country. Many Germans have Urlaub zu Hause, or more aptly put: Sie machen Urlaub auf Balkonien!

When you take the word "Balkon" and add the "-ien" ending to it, it sounds like the ending of places that you'd like to take a vacation i…

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What's it Like to Have German Health Insurance?

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A lot of folks in the US ask me what German health insurance is like. As a former resident of Germany (2003 to 2008) and a participant in their public health insurance program (there is also a separate, private system, which I know nothing about) here are 7 differences I noticed:

1. It has a different name.

It’s not “health insurance.” It’s Krankenversicherung, or illness insurance. Krankenversicherung is a protection against financial devastation, it’s no guarantee you’re going to be healthy.…

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How to Live Like a German

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and make German a part of your everyday life.

Sometimes it amazes me how quickly people can pick up German words and sentence structure, even though they've never been to Germany and haven't learned German before.

Clients come to a lesson and they have no idea what German bread tastes like, but they can talk about German breakfast: das Brot, die Marmelade, der Kaffee.

It can be a source of frustration, however, to learn German, but only to have all these North American elements around us:  sp…

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5 German Board Games for Any Day of the Year

5 German Board Games for Any Day of the Year Cover NEW

Besides books and reading, it's safe to say the board games are an important German cultural element. Games are so important to Germans that there is a Verein (club) that reviews games every year known as the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year).

German board games are awesome and some of them are now cult games of epic proportions. You might have seen Catan spread out on the coffee table in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. (Das war echt toll zu sehen.)

Here are a few games you could get to …

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21 Christmas Gifts for German Students - listed by learning level!

21 Christmas Gifts for German Students Cover NEW

When you're buying a Christmas gift for someone who is studying German, you may not know exactly what they need. With one small piece of information, that is which level of German they are at, you can do some quality gift buying right here.

Be sneaky! Look on your German learner's book for one of these combinations: A1, A2, B1, B2, or C1. There might be a "+" after it or the book might show a range of levels, for example A2-B1. Sometimes the letter/number combination is on a blue square with th…

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