Saturday, 17 April 2010


Tourism is a major industry and also a major topic for conversation for anyone learning German. Here's a list of topics that students are expected to talk about or discuss at AS level (exams taken by 17 or 18 year olds in England )
  • different types of holidays and holiday activities
  • what's important when choosing a holiday
  • what can be stressful about holidays
  • pros and cons of tourism e.g. impact on destinations,cultures, global environment and climate
  • impact of tourism on the German economy
A useful starting point would be making lists of vocabulary that you might need under these topics and some useful phrases. For instance, for types of holidays and holiday activities you might list: Strand & Sonne - Wellness, Spa & Beaty - Aktivurlaub & Abenteur-Touren - Sportlich Aktiv - Radreisen - Wanderreisen - Kanu/Kajak. But you also need to note what are the attractions of these types of holiday and to whom they are likely to appeal. If you are looking for entspannen und wohlfühlen then perhaps that would suggest lounging on the beach. However, vigorous activity helps some people relax and feel good.

As ever, a good source of general information is Wikipedia and this quite lengthy entry will tell you about Gesellschaftlich Bedeutung - Kulturelle Auswirkungen - Auswirkungen auf Umwelt und Natur - Wirtschaftliche Bedeutung. I found it particularly interesting that they also handle sustainable tourism, fair trade and problems likely to arise in the future - Sanfter und nachhaltiger Tourismus - Fairer Handel im Tourismus - Zukunftsprobleme.

When it comes to the impact of tourism on the Germany economy I have two suggestions beyond Wikipedia. The first is a report from Deutsche Welle earlier this week Traumziel Berlin: Touristen bringen Aufschwung in die Hauptstadt which is accompanied by a brief video to watch online or download as an MP4 file. The second appears to be someone's dissertation (Diplomarbeit) presented as website  This is not as specialist as it sounds and you can easily pick out sections that interest you - for instance, Bedeutung und Trends des Tourismus in Deutschland. You can see some of the section headings in the image of part of the site navigation.

When you work with websites like this, make sure you pick out key vocabulary and highlight a few facts and opinions that you think might be useful. You might also consider the consequences of the world economic situation on tourism in Germany. A couple of short articles might help with this - Deutschland wird wieder entdeckt and Deutschland ist der beste Verlierer And here are a couple of questions for you: Ist der Kurztrip im eigenen Land die Antwort der Deutschen auf die schwerste Wirtschaftskrise der Nachkriegszeit? Warum ist Deutschland als beste Verlierer genannt?

I'll leave it to you to do some research on what can be stressful about holidays. The key word to search for is Urlaubstress but you might try combining several in one search. Pick  any of the following Panne, Flughafen, Auto, Krise to include with Urlaub and/or Stress.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Volcanic ash stops flights

Der isländische Vulkan schleudert weiter Asche in die Luft, allerdings mit etwas weniger Kraft. Man kann die Aschwolke nicht sehen, aber viele Flughäfen sind geschlossen. Die Aschepartikel sind eine Gefahr für Flugzeuge, weil sie sich auf den Triebwerksschaufeln festsetzen kann.

If you want to discover more about volcanoes then you might like Der Quarks Vulkan which has a simulation of a volcano and answers questions such as:

Warum sind manche Vulkane explosiv und andere kaum?
Was hat die Zusammensetzung des Magmas mit der Explosivität zu tun?
Welchen Einfluss haben die vulkanischen Gase?
Was ist ein Schild- und Schichtvulkan?

You can also watch the video of the whole Quarks broadcast about volcanoes and test your knowledge  with the 8 questions in the Quarks-Vulkane-Quiz

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

On this day

On this day in 1946 may parents married. I think they chose the date because it was exactly a year after my father was released from prisoner of war camp. I think he ended up at Stalag IVD at Torgau but had been forced to work in a copper mine in Eisleben shortly after he was brought to Germany from Italy.
On this day in 1962 four lads from Liverpool played at the opening of the Starclub in Hamburg. You can read about this in KalenderBlatt 13.4.1962: Die Beatles im Hamburger Starclub I saw them perform several times but not in Germany. I also remember seeing some of the filming for one of their films but I can't remember which. I think I was more interested in the girls they attracted than in their music.

A less well known action in WWI also happened on this day in 1918 and again you can read it in KalenderBlatt 13.4.1918: Helsinki erobert. The following year saw a massacre in Amritsar when British soldiers opened fire on a crowd of unarmed demonstrators killing about 400 and wounding over 1000. Another shameful event on this day in 1204 was the plundering of Constantinople by crusaders. You can read about all these events and more on KalenderBlatt from DW-World

Sunday, 11 April 2010


Ich hatte eine Panne - My car broke down or My car had a puncture. Die Panne can be breakdown or puncture but it can also be used in the sense of slip-up or mishap or, to use a more colloquial English term, a cock-up.

My interest is often grabbed when I come across vocabulary used in a slightly different way and today I found an example of Panne being added to another word. It appears in a report about a mix up with the records of organ donors in Britain. The article appears with the headline Datenpanne führt zur ungenehmigten Organentnahme in Großbritannien and within the article you'll also find IT-Panne. Below the article in heise online you'll see links to other Datenpanne.

Searching online, I found Software-Panne and Bankkarten-Panne and some amusing YouTube videos of things that have gone wrong on television e.g.  TV Pannen aus dem Deutschen Wetterfernsehen - Lustige Clips und TV Pannen