Saturday, 6 February 2010

World Religions

Some time last year I found an interactive animation about three significant world religions found in Germany - Islam, Judaism and Christianity. I was convinced it was on the Planet Schule site but couldn't find it. That's why I ended up blogging on time travel. As soon as I'd published that post I found it. It was there all the time so why I didn't find it I'll never know. I'll let the blurb speak for itself

Wer arbeitet in einer Moschee? Welche Feste feiern Juden? Begleite Jasmin, eine angehende Archäologin, bei ihrer Entdeckungsreise in die Welt von Christentum, Judentum und Islam. Wohnhäuser, Moschee, Kirche, Synagoge und eine Bibliothek bieten Informationen zu den Religionen. In einem Quiz kannst du dein Wissen erproben.

The page where the link is hidden is Just one more way of adding to your vocabulary. Let me know what you think.

Time travel

Thanks to Planet Schule time travel (Zeitreise) is possible. This site aims to help German children learn about a variety of subjects and the offerings include simulations, interactive animations, educational games and much more. Well worth a look if you want to learn German to talk or write about the topics covered. You may no longer be a child but you can still enjoy and learn from these. Perhaps human cultural development in the early stone age (Kulturelle Entwicklung des Menschen in der Altsteinzeit) isn't going to take you far in the streets of a modern German city but it might help you in a museum.

I'm interested more in recent history and so two Zeitreisen were of particularly interest Chronologie des Mauerfalls and Kriegskinder You can pick out years for which you want more information and click on pictures to bring up more information.

Happy time travel!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Is there anybody out there?

Not a question about why there's been no comments but that age-old speculation about whether extra-terrestrial life might one day be discovered. I tend to be open minded on this question but I am fascinated about how modern telescopes are beginning to find planets outside our solar system. This is well covered in the latest episode of Quarks & Co

Mit immer leistungsstärkeren Teleskopen blicken Wissenschaftler in den Himmel – getrieben von der großen Frage: Gibt es eine „zweite Erde“, gibt es vielleicht sogar Leben im All? Inzwischen haben sie über 400 Exoplaneten entdeckt – Planeten außerhalb unseres Sonnensystems. Quarks & Co begibt sich auf eine faszinierende Reise ins Universum und erklärt, wie man die Wahrscheinlichkeit von fernen Zivilisationen „berechnen“ kann.

You can access all the Quarks videos here - the one I'm talking about is Exoplaneten – Die Suche nach der zweiten Erde and to download the accompanying PDF click here

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The wrong trousers and old clothes

What do you do with your old clothes? I guess many of us take them to charity shops if they're in a reasonable condition. I'm not certain there's an equivalent in Germany so let me know if I'm mistaken.

I did come across something about collecting clothing on a German church website
Was tun, wenn die Hosen nicht mehr passen oder einfach nicht mehr modisch sind. Bloß nicht wegwerfen, sagt Bettina Körtge vom Diakonischen Werk Jerichower Land. Tragbare Kleidung nimmt die Diakonie in Burg gerne
Burg is a town in Sachsen-Anhalt. There's an audio report accompanying the piece so take a look at and learn German words about to do with helping the needy - Bedürftige

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Wine and time - more sayings

I promised more sayings about wine and here they are:

Was die Hundestage gießen, müssen die Trauben büßen. The Hundestage are when the sun is found in the same part of the sky as Sirius (the dog star) i.e. the end of July through to the end of August. If you get to much rain at that time then the quality of the wine will be poor. The same idea is expressed through Wenn gedeihen soll der Wein, muss der Juli trocken sein. But a mild winter that brings little rain or snow is good. Sind im Jänner die Bäche klein, dann gibt im Herbst es guten Wein. Notice the strange placing of es and the typically Austrian use of Jänner for January.

Some sayings relate to the Church calendar. Wenn es Jakobi regnet, ist der Wein nicht sehr gesegnet. Jakobi - St James - is 15 July. Wenn Matthäus weint statt lacht, aus Wein er doch noch essig macht. St Matthew is 21 September and at this time the grapes will have reached a stage of ripening in which heavy rain will disturb the production of sugar (fructose) in the grapes. Soll der Winzer fröhlich sein, tritt Allerheiligen Sommer ein. Sunshine at this time - 1 November - gives extra sweetness to the Spätlese-Trauben.  The grapes harvested very late on when the main season is over give a particularly sweet and high quality wine - not my taste, I'm afraid.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Hobbies, DIY, gardens and even jokes

Hobbies - always a favourite topic set for students learning German. Yesterday I wrote about Koch Atelier and that led me on to explore some of the other things available from the same source. So go to if you want some tips on setting  up a workshop, doing some decorating and all manner of things. If you are looking for creative ideas for making decorative objects or working with textiles then perhaps you'll find something useful in For furniture and everything to do with interiors there's Gardens are dealt with in and you'll want to know all about cleaning so try If you don't find that funny then go for

You might also try the online magazine series

Plenty of useful insights into German homes and gardens and hobbies. Wonderful sources for learning German words and phrases to describe everyday objects. Please share your views on this by leaving a comment.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Plan your dream kitchen

I can find my way around the kitchen fairly well and my roast potatoes today were brilliant (says he modestly). But I was trying to use German to describe some of the things in the kitchen. We have a gas hob - eine Gaskochmulde - with an extractor  in the cupboard above - eine Dunstabzug in Oberschrank. I think I shall continue to practise naming objects in the kitchen over the next few days just to make sure I have them well impressed on the memory. And I'll try to incorporate the words into simple sentences, perhaps being more descriptive - size, shape, colour, postion, relationship to other objects.

You can plan your dream kitchen online and learn German at the same time. Koch Atelier Küchenplanung is a good place to start as it gives you details about lots of different kitchen equipment - Küchengeräte - cupboards - Schränke and plenty of tips and product information. Give it a try and cook up some dream ideas. How would you tell someone in German what your dream kitchen is like and why you chose that particular design?

As you can see from the graphic showing their website navigation,  Koch Atelier offers much more. Why not take a look at Der gedeckte Tisch and decide what you want on your table?