Friday, July 24, 2009

Germany for Beginners

Today we went to an exhibit called "Deutschland für Anfänger," Germany for Beginners. It was really well done, a very hands-on, very colorful, mixed media exhibit. Not sure who the intended audience most of the information was in German with small bits translated for non-German speaking visitors... But it was great for graduate students who teach German 101 in the US. :)

Here are some highlights...

A for Arbeit, "work."

"B" is for Brauchtum, "customs," like the Tannenbaum, Karneval...

"C" is for Currywurst, a letter dedicated to all the different kinds of Wurst the Germans eat. Turns out they eat on average 2.6 kg of Bratwurst a year, 7.3 kg of Brühwurst.

"F" for Fußball, )note the cute little kids listening to some game!)

"G" for Gemütlichkeit, the kind of coziness in a German Biergarten, at home with family...

"H" for Humor, where they embraced the stereotype that Germans aren't funny... Although I thought this little thing of Kanzlerin Angela Merkel in a little red dish was pretty funny :)

And they also had jokes such as: "Q: What is the title of the shortest book in the world? A: One Thousand Years of German Humor."

"K" for Kindergarten!

"L" for Lorelei, the poem by Heinrich Heine which is named after a spot of cliffs along the Rhine, where, as the myth goes, sailors crashed to their deaths because of the singing of a woman combing her hair.

"O" for Ordnung, order, cleanliness and punctuality for which the Germans are so famous.

"S" for Sitten, which are customs, like etiquette...

Some examples they had:

1) Reserving your lawn chair with just a towel (we would probably do this too, right?)
2) Standing in Line is a Waste of Time (so true! Germans are totally bad at standing in line, rush to the front no matter how long they've been there!)
3) Staring Allowed (also true)
4) Not Introducing Third Parties (I didn't know about this, never noticed it)
5) Don't order tap water (I hate this in Germany, very annoying to have to always pay for water)
6) Sharing Tables (in restaurants or especially outdoor cafés sometimes you share the table with strangers right next to you)
7) Du or Sie? (The two forms of "you" are hard for foreigners to get a grasp on)
8) Don't wait to be seated (go find your own table in restaurants, pick where you would like to sit and you'll be served)
9) Watch where you're going! (Or you will be run into or run over)

"U" is for Umwelt, environment. Cute little model of how the Germans separate their trash and how much waste a year that represents. They really do have all these colored bins for sorting their trash.

1 comment:

  1. ALPHABET exhibit...right up a Kindergarten teacher's alley!