Saturday, 13 March 2010

City of Culture

Essen has been chosen as City of Culture 2010 and has a video about this with accompanying comprehension exercises - Kulturhaupstadt 2010. If you follow the link you will be asked too log in. The registration process is quite simple if you are visiting for the first time.

Prussian history

I find history fascinating and intend to read even more history books once I'm fully retired. The internet is also a very useful source of information, though you do have to be a little careful about the quality and reliability of the material.
Prussia grew from being one of many German states to become the most significant by the second half of the 19th Century. For an overview of Prussian history a good starting place is from the broadcaster RBB. This is a true multimedia site with plenty of visual and audio material in addition to text. There is some video material but not the original broadcasts. You can navigate through the site in a variety of ways which include a timeline as well as menus and hypertext links.


For a long time I've been meaning to bring together various lists of expressions that could be useful in discussions or to improve essay style. I was given another list last week so I've brought them together and put them in categories.
  • Expressing an opinion
  • Agreeing
  • Disagreeing
  • Querying
  • Emphasis
  • What it's about
  • Other useful expressions

Friday, 12 March 2010

Learn to type in German

Being able to type with all your fingers can speed up a lot of what you do on a computer. You can sign up for online tutorials at and you can save your progress so you can go back later to tackle further lessons. Why do I mention this site? It also offers to teach you to type in German. You can go straight to the German typing tutorials at

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


I'm on a pre-retirement course today and I recall German friends talking of Unruhestand rather than Ruhestand. I googled Unruhestand and found there is actually a blog which says a little about Aktiv und kreativ im Ruhestand and goes on to say:
Immer mehr Menschen über 50 haben derzeit einen Internetanschluss und die Zahl wird immer größer. wendet sich an diesen Personenkreis, der sowohl von der Werbung wie auch von sonstigen Medien oftmals ignoriert bzw. unterschätzt wird.
The point they make about over 50s being ignored may have some validity. The trouble is over 50 can mean a couple of generations. People can be concerned about their grandchildren and their parents.

An earlier post on said:

Oftmals denken ältere Menschen erst über ihre Wohnsituation nach, wenn sich einige Wehwehchen zeigen, die es schwer machen, in der gewohnten Umgebung zu leben.
That might lead to a useful discussion about when it would be sensible to start making decisions about the sort of accommodation needed for living in retirement and whether those needs are likely to change over time.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Stories - Erzählungen

Could you put together a short story in German? If you think it's a little daunting then you might find advice given on helpful. Lernpfad Erzählung gives, as an example, a very short story and comments on the component parts. There are also links across the top of the page for the steps along Lernpfad Erzählung: Aufbau - Erzählperspektive - Sprachliche Gestaltung - Erzähltempora - Erzählung verfassen - Überprüfe dein Wissen

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Mammoth undertaking

Is it possible to bring extinct species back to life? I've just listened to a fascinating podcast on the subject - Schöpfung, zweiter Versuch - Das Mammut kehrt zurück.

Sie streiften in riesigen Herden über die Steppen der Nordhalbkugel, bis sie vor 10.000 Jahren, am Ende der Eiszeit, plötzlich verschwanden. Für immer, so glaubte man. Doch was, wenn es Wege gäbe, sie wiederauferstehen zu lassen?

What I heard was the second of two podcasts from the Deutschlandfunk series, Wissenschaft im Brennpunkt. I regularly download these from the RSS feed for the series but each is about 30 minutes long so quite demanding to listen to and I tend to be a couple of months behind with my listening fitting it in when I’m doing something else, like ironing my shirts. I quite enjoy listening to reports like this as they make scientific subjects reasonably accessible. What I had not previously realised was that if you click on the title above the blurb from the RSS feed you get the text for the whole programme. That does make it much easier to check out parts that were of particular interest and also to do some vocabulary work. The links for the two programmes are here Teil 1 - Teil 2 Instead of subscribing to the RSS feed you could look at the  recent programmes listing.

While I'm fascinated by the research being done, and this report includes something of the work of George Church, I'm not certain about the desirability of bringing extinct species back to life. Sind Sie für oder gegen?