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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 pioneer…

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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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Jein = ja + nein

ja nein jein

"Jein" is definitely one of the best words in the German language. It's one word for both yes and no.

ja + nein = jein

Knowing the word "jein" in German opens up a whole new world for German learners and their eyes get really big and their ears perk the first time they hear the word. "Jein" also has several uses; for starters, "jein" allows you to give two simultaneous answers to one question.

This is perfect for difficult questions and for difficult answers.

When it's impossible to give a s…

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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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7 Things to Know When You Visit Germany

7 Things to Know When You Visit Germany

Germany is really what I consider to be my second home and there is a special place for it in my heart; there are so many reasons to visit Germany and here are 7 things for you to know when visit Germany and enjoy much of it, no matter what your level of German.


1. Country Size & Travel Basics:

Germany is about the size of the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin together and they have a population of 80 million people—we have about 300 million on a huge plot of land, so obviously Germany is much…

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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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Wer sind die Schwaben?

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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The White Rose Exhibit in Wisconsin

The White Rose Exhibit in Wisconsin

You may not have heard of the White Rose, but you may have heard of Sophie Scholl. She was a member of the White Rose and there is an exhibit about the White Rose touring now.

The White Rose Exhibit is free to school classes, university classes, and the general public. All information is in English and German, and special events will be held at each location. For scheduling and special events information, please contact the organizer at a location that is convenient for you.

This exhibition di…

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