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It's OK to Cry When You Don't Understand: 3 Ways to Bust Through

Students of foreign languages sometimes get upset when they get frustrated. They get really frustrated and really upset because what they want most is to speak a foreign language, they've done their homework, they've studied, and somehow the pieces just don't fit together or the pieces they want don't come together when they speak.

It's a hard-core experience.

Some students think I learned German easily because I learned it quickly--it was not easy and my German skills were and are hard-won with…

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Visit the German Settlement Cemetery in Hudson, Wisconsin

Last week you learned about the German Settlement in St. Croix County and the bake house/smoke house that is still used for bread baking demonstrations. Not far from there is the German Settlement Cemetery. Be sure to visit it when you head out for the bread bake. It's set beautifully and is a peaceful reminder of where so many of us have come from (another place) and connects you with another time.

GermanCemetery1

As the sign implores, it's a place to "Reverently read the old gravestone names of those pione…

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Live Demonstration: Brick Oven Bread Baking. June 1, 4-6 p.m.

The German Settlement Heritage Society of Hudson, Wisconsin is hosting a bread bake at the restored brick oven on June 1, 2014 from 4-6 p.m.

The restored brick oven is at 837 County Rd. N, Hudson, WI 54016 (5 miles east of Hudson, WI) and is on the site of the first German settlement in the area, the Nicholas Schwalen farm.

Nutrition and Outreach Specialist Ross Safford will be conducting the demonstration with his humor, dough-tossing techniques, and stories of baking bread.

Here are a few phot…

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Sprachkurs Schwäbisch

Sprachkurs Schwäbisch

Harald Schmidt, who has since given up his late night spot on German television, is to Germany was Letterman and Leno were to the US. He's also a Schwab, he's an incredible mimic and can reproduce pretty much any German dialect.

Here his Sprachkurs (Crashkurs) Schwäbisch.

If you're not yet familiar with Swabian, here's a comparison that should help you understand how it relates to German:

Swabian is to German as Creole is to North American English.

Swabian and German are related, but just as…

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Karneval / Fasching / Fastnacht

Karneval Fasching Fastnacht Fifth Season in Germany

Karneval is known as "die fünfte Jahreszeit" --the 5th season. It's known as Karneval, Fastnacht, or Fasching in many places in southern Germany.

Karneval is a big deal.

Their costumes are pretty fantastic, one of Heidi Klum's favorite things, and their costumes are no exception at the parade on Rosenmontag. But let's back up a few days and a few months to give you the best idea of Karneval.

 

It begins on November 11th at 11:11 a.m. because 11 is known as the "narrische Zahl," the fool's nu…

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Die Schwabenhymne

Die Schwabenhymne Swabian Anthem

As a follow-up to yesterday's post Wer sind die Schwaben?, here's a wonderful little song, completely in Swabian and entrenched in the Swabian culture.

A few helps for understanding what they're singing:

-Swabians are really frugal, so frugal in fact, that they drop the final 'n' on a lot of words. Thus "Schwabenland" becomes "Schwabeland." "Mein" becomes "Mei." An exception to this is verbs and the final 'n' becomes a 't,' thus "sparen" (to save) becomes "sparet."

-"Wir" is pronounced as "mi…

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Who are the Swabians?

Wer sind die Schwaben Who are the Swabians

Who are the Swabians?

The Swabians are the people of Württemberg, which is part of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. (The folk of the area of Baden are Badisch and their dialect is different.) Each area of Germany has its own characteristics and peculiarities, however since I spent a lot of time there, it's worth spending a bit of time getting to know these hard-working folk. They do not speak what you normally know of as "high German*," but they speak Swabian. It's a dialect …

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Famous People Speaking German: Sandra Bullock

Famous People Speaking German Sandra Bullock

After the Grammy Awards last night one of my German students Facebooked me and proclaimed, "Sandra Bullock speaks German!" Apparently Sandra Bullock's mother was a German opera singer and Bullock grew up in Nürnberg and studied ballet and vocal arts and even sang in her mother's opera productions.

What makes perfect sense and is astounding at the same time is Bullock's German accent--perfectly representative of the area she grew up in.

Here's a video of Bullock accepting a Bambi award, an inte…

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How to Create the Weil Sentence Structure

How to Create the Weil Sentence Structure

The Weil sentence structure is a tough one for English speakers. We say "because I said so," but the Germans say "weil ich es gesagt habe," or (translated directly) "Because I so said!"

It's the exact opposite way in German. The verbs go all the way at the end.

Although Germans are, at least in the media, losing this construction faster than the ice caps are melting, there is one almost-guaranteed compliment you will receive when you can say this properly. A German will hear it and say to you,…

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Persian Ware Presentation on 2/12 in Richfield, Minnesota

Persian Ware Made in Germany

Persian Ware, Made in Germany

Black and Gold Autumn Pitcher SetBetween 1820 and World War I, nearly six million Germans immigrated to the United States. From 1840 to 1880, they were the largest group of immigrants. Though we had had immigrants from the German states as early as the 1670s, none of the groups were as massive as what was seen in the nineteenth century.

Though Germans were mostly eager to fit into American life, learning English as soon as possible, there was still a preference for German customs, foods, and hous…

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