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German Directness, Pt 2. Are you Catholic or Protestant?

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When I lived in Lippstadt I had great neighbors. I lived in Lipperode, a village that belonged to Lippstadt. The fascinating single mom next door, the heating oil guy and his wife across the street, the lovely couple in their 50s on the other side, and next to them, kitty-corner from us, lived Horst and his wife.

Horst had taken early retirement and was quite involved locally. He volunteered a lot, one of his positions being President of the village board for the protestant church. A...

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German Directness, Pt 1. Have you gained weight?

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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...

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How to Make German Pancakes - Pfannkuchen

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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 egg

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 whisk...

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Deutsch Perfekt - Magazine for German as a Foreign Language

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“Deutsch Perfekt” is a magazine for Deutsch als Fremdsprache (DaF for short; in English it’s German as a Foreign Language). If you are serious about learning German and want to spend some quality time with a magazine specifically for DaF, I *highly...

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

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:



grosse Gefühle