Friday, 19 March 2010


Tuesday afternoon our conversation class will be talking about music. I think most of us are interested in classical and choral music. I don't think we know much about pop music in Britain nevermind in Germany. I've tried to take a look at what is popular at the moment and also to listen to the music of Lena Meyer-Landrut who will be representing Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest in Germany. is worth a visit as you can listen to samplers from the Musicload Single Charts - eine Probe anhören. The site also gives the ability to search for lyrics and to download midi files.

A useful listing for music links (pop and classical) can be found on the Musik page of

The music industry's attitude to file sharing and downloads is a matter of current controversy. Proposals for a Kulturflatrate have not gone down well with the music industry in Germany. They came up with 10 Thesen der Musikindustrie gegen die Kulturflatrate and these, together with various responses, can be found in

The pollen flies again

Die Pollen fliegen wieder This report from RP Online says people with allergies (Allergiker) will be hit particularly hard at this spring. There'll be a massive increase in airborne pollen after the extended winter, with birch and grass pollen flying around at the same time. Birch pollen is particularly aggressive. Pollen is always more of a problem after a severe winter.

Im Allgemeinen gilt: „Je intensiver der Winter, desto stärker die Pollensaison." Deshalb empfiehlt Dr. Christian Hentschel: „Die Intensität ist nicht zu unterschätzen. Allergiker sollten keine Selbstbehandlung mit Apotheken-Versorgung wagen, sondern sich gleich auf den Weg zum Allergologen begeben.“
Notice the nice example of the je ..., desto ... construction in this quote.

Glauben Sie, dass Heuschnupfen nicht genug Beachtung geschenkt wird?

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Dishwasher

Only an hour ago I was saying "We don't need a dishwasher.", so it's hardly surprising that an article about "The Dishwasher" in caught my attention. Tellerwaschen gegen die Bildungsnachteiligung is about a magazine and accompanying blog called The Dishwasher and is aimed at students from working class backgrounds. A large part of the article is an interview with the editor, Andreas Kemper.

One thing that you can do with interview texts like this, where what was said is quoted rather than reported, is turn sections of it into reported speech.

For more reading on students from non-academic families take a look at Fikus-Referat and my post First student in the family?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


We spent some time in our conversation class today talking about TV viewing habits but realised none of us knew much about the full range of programmes available in Germany or which ones are popular. I'm reasonably familiar with the range of channels and I have links to many on the TV page of Jeckylls Heft What I have only just discovered is the Wikipedia Portal: Fernsehen which gives at least some of the answers we didn't have this afternoon. The main themes covered are Bezahlfernsehen – Einschaltquote – Geschichte des Fernsehens – Geschichte des Fernsehens in Deutschland – Geschichte des Fernsehens in Österreich – Fahrgastfernsehen – GEZ – GIS – Öffentlich-rechtlicher Rundfunk – Privatfernsehen – Fernsehwerbung – Medienwissenschaft.

I found the article on Fernsehwerbung instructive, particularly about the rules and limitations that apply.

A useful collection of links and information about the various broadcasters can be found at Another source I only found today is the University of Exeter's Media Index Deutschsprachige Medien im Internet which has separate sections for Fernsehen, Radio, Zeitschriften, Zeitungen. Worth exploring further I think.

Monday, 15 March 2010

German Exports

Germany has always relied on exports and is Europe's top exporter. Despite the recession exports from Germany were worth over 800 billion   euros. Imports were 135 billion less for the same period. The high levels of exports may be endangering the competitiveness of other European countries. Should Germany strengthen its domestic demand as French minister Christine Lagarde demands?

Read more on this in Frankreich basht deutschen Export-Erfolg has a table showing where German exports go. You could use the information to practise using vocabulary about increase and decrease and also try expressing an opinion about German exports and how they affect other economies in Europe.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Food labelling

Nutritional values will soon have to appear on packaging in Germany. I was surprised to find that this was done on a mainly voluntary basis at present.

"Bisher sind die Nährstoff-Angaben auf Verpackungen größtenteils freiwillig. Künftig wird die Kennzeichnung für alle Lebensmittel Pflicht", sagte die CSU-Ministerin der Zeitung "Bild am Sonntag".
Reuters ran the report this morning under the heading Ministerin: Nährstoffangaben zu Lebensmitteln werden Pflicht


iGoogle is a great way of keeping up to date with news and other information in German and you can set it as your home page.

Set up a Google account if you don't have one and go to iGoogle. Once you are signed in you can drag in whatever gadgets you want. Even better you can set the language to Deutsch and your location to Deutschland. If you are new to iGoogle it might be better to delay changing the language before you figure out how it works. You can also create other pages (sometimes referred to as tabs) so you can group the gadgets according to subject. I have Home, Nachrichten, Technik and Österreich on mine.

I have the Google News gadget on two pages. One is set for Deutschland and the other for Österreich.

Give it a try and if you are particularly proud of one of your pages you might like to share it with me.