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…
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,…
Persian Ware Presentation on 2/12 in Richfield, Minnesota
Persian Ware, Made in Germany
Between 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…
What are You Allowed to Name Your Child in Germany?
It's no secret that Germans have a lot of rules. One "rule" that has become more flexible in the last few years is what you can name your child and how you spell her or his name. Now you can even bypass the commonly-accepted French spelling of the name "Jacqueline" and go right for the German phonetic spelling of "Schaklyn."
Here is an article about the process of naming your child in Germany and for all you German learners out there, here are a few ways to read this article and e…
How to Pronounce the "Ich-Laut" in German
Use this Instructional Video to Learn How to Pronounce the "Ich-Laut" in German!
The Ich-Laut can be tough for English speakers to pronounce because it's not a part of English.
...or is it?
Ladies and Gentlemen, we *do* have the Ich-Laut in English--it's hidden!
In this video on how to pronounce the Ich-Laut, I show you where to find that hidden "ch" sound in English and then I guide you through a couple of exercises to help you pronounce this sound in German.
The most important factor is t…
"Amerikaner" means "American" and it is also the name of a most fabulous cake cookie that's available in many locations all over Germany.
They are beautiful, delicious cookies about the size of the palm of your hand and they make a fantastic sweet snack or as part of Kaffee (coffee and cake at 3 p.m. in Germany. What a delicious tradition.)
Here is a recipe for these cookies, known as black-and-white cookies here in the US. I made them for one of my German classes and they loved them. I …
German Directness, Pt 1. Have you gained weight?
Germans are incredibly direct. A German really will ask you if you've gained weight (Haben Sie zugenommen?), just as someone might ask if you have lost weight at another time (Haben Sie abgenommen?).
Why do they think it's OK to ask such a personal question?
What's disconcerting for people from the States, is that we don't ask this question unless we can tell for certain. For a German on the other hand, this question is simply a matter of fact and by no means a judgement.
Ask any American i…
How to Make German Pancakes - Pfannkuchen
Germans have a wonderful affinity for pancakes, and their pancakes are more in the French crepe style. There is a restaurant in Ulm that specializes in pancakes, and I can highly recommend it.
If, however, you are nowhere near Ulm, here is a recipe from Germany converted into English units (or whatever it's called here in the States).
2 German Pfannkuchen
1 pinch of salt
a scant 2/3 C milk*
2/3 C flour
Combine the egg, salt, and milk. Add the flour a spoonful at a time and w…
How to Write an "Elfchen" (German Cinquain Poem)
An "Elfchen" is similar to a Haiku in that it has a set form, however it is unique in that it has 11 words, the lines having 1-2-3-4-1 words, respectively.
It always has this form (replace each number with a word):
one two three
one two three four
The first word is the topic and the final word is often a commentary or a summary word. Here’s one I wrote for my student’s Valentine’s Day (Valentinstag!) lesson last night:
veraendert das Her…
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