Thursday, 22 April 2010

Offline - Web 0.0

On Sunday the 3Sat programme neues included reportage from their presenter after spending almost a week offline. I've always enjoyed watching the videos (a little under 30 minutes) which help keep me up to date on consumer electronics in Germany and usually has some amusing elements and a nice light touch in the way information is presented. How did she get on? You can read Yve offline ... oder Web 0.0 or go to neues im Mediathek to access the video.

I'm going to take time out as well. No blogging for the rest of the month! I need to go back to basics with vocabulary and grammar. I'm taking some time off work, have some other plans but also want to make sure I work steadily on some of the material I already have instead of spending quite so much time online looking for something new.

Please be patient. I'll be back online on the first of May.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Tomb Raider and the Prepositions

I'm doing some revision on prepositions at the moment and found it useful to be reminded that nach can be used in the sense of towards or in the direction of. For example Ich sah nach der alten Brücke means I looked towards the old bridge. But Nach der alten Brücke means After the old bridge. I thought that nach with the meaning  after  was only used when referring to time, for instance, nach fünf Uhr. It seems I was wrong as I have found several instances where the after meaning is used in travel directions. Perhaps that's because it's used in the sense of kurz nach - shortly after. But I've also found uses where the time reference is implied by an event - Die Brücke nach der Wiederherstellung - Nach der Fertigstellung.

Of course, the more frequently used way of expressing towards is by means of auf ... zu.

I found some interesting examples of prepositions in use. For instance Von dort geht es, aus dem Stand, auf die Brücke mit dem hochgeklappten Teil. This is an extract from tombraidergirl's walkthrough The site has both German and English pages and the Forum allows contributions in either or both languages.

Sites that tell you the solutions to games are great for finding examples of prepositions in use. See if you can find what this next example is about:

Anschließend müssen Sie sich auf der mittleren Rampe weiterbewegen, um dort auf dem Kontrollpanel viermal Lila, zweimal Gelb, einmal Rot und den dreieckigen Knopf links zu drücken. Danach müssen Sie die vorherige Einstellung mit dem linken Knopf löschen, fünfmal Lila, viermal Blau und einmal Rot eingeben. Die Aktion wird dann wieder mit dem linken dreieckigen Knopf ausgeführt. Betreten Sie jetzt die erste offene Tür in der Haupt- höhle und drücken den Knopf nahe dem Graben - eine Untergrundbahn erscheint...
Put some of the quoted text into your favourite search engine and you should find the source.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Nächtlicher Fluglärm macht depressiv und herzkrank talks of a direct connection between the noise of night flights and heart/circulatory disease as well as mental illness. I find it ironic that a conference on this subject can take place in Berlin at a time when we are reading headlines such as Luftraum über Berliner länger dicht. Is this coincidence - Zufall - or synchronisity - Synchronizität? I'm probably not using the word in the sense Carl Gustav Jung intended. If you want to check this out then try reading about der Begriff Synchronizität  Having read a little more I begin to wonder when I should speak of Zufall and when Koinzidenzen.

Es war ein reiner Zufall, das ich diese Verhältnisse machen habe. Vielleicht sind meine Sinnknüpfung ohne Bedeutung!

You might also like to read the Wikipedia article about Zufall. My somewhat random browsing  led onto another article Würfelt Gott? Und wenn ja, wann? from the University of Munich. Its an easy to understand short article. I found some of the ways of looking at the universe quite fascinating. One model views the universe as if it were a book with page numbers corresponding to time. A small taster to get you reading :

Macht es einen Sinn zu sagen, auf Seite 50 gäbe es eine Wahrscheinlichkeit von 30 Prozent für ein Happyend? Wo doch feststeht, ob das Buch ein Happyend hat oder nicht, auch wenn es der Leser und die Romanfiguren auf Seite 50 noch nicht wissen? Wer meint, das Buch hätte auch anders ausgehen können, stellt die Frage, ob denn die Geschichte des Universums per Zufall gewählt sein kann, wo es doch nur eine einzige davon gibt.

Monday, 19 April 2010


I was intending to list a few German idioms such as jemanden auf den Arm nehmen which is the equivalent of the English to pull someone's leg. I decided to enter this as the search phrase in Google and discovered there is a wonderful website for just this sort of search. Redensarten-Index lets you enter words or phrases for your search and when you find an entry you can also get it translated into a choice of languages including English. What I found helpful is the examples of the phrases in use. Redensarten-Index describes itself as Wörterbuch für -Redensarten -Redewendungen -idiomatische Ausdrücke -feste Wortverbindungen.

The home page has quite a few useful links, including one to a quiz with two levels of difficulty. If you need some explanation of Sprichwörter then try die Liste erklärungsbedürftiger Sprichwörter There's also a collection of links for German language sites for learning German (Deutsch als Fremdsprache).


I'm not certain whether many readers of this blog will know the name Melanchthon. He was an important figure during the Reformation who died 50 years ago.

Der Reformator Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560) war ein enger Freund und Mitstreiter von Martin Luther (1483-1546).

You'll find a little more under the heading Festakt zum 450. Todestag von Melanchthon on ZeitOnline. If you search for Melanchthon on ZeitOnline you'll find 127 Ergebnisse so he's obviously been in the news quite a lot over the last few years.

Now a puzzle for you. What was Melanchthon's real name?