German Lesson: der Kunstfehler

The word Kunstfehler is made up of die Kunst (the arts) and der Fehler (the mistake). But the meaning is not a “mistake of the arts”, but  a common term used for a doctor’s malpractice. Another word used is der Behandlungsfehler (error in treatment).

It just caught my attention, because I expected no association between science and art. When treatment goes well, it is medical science. When treatment goes bad, the German language blames it on the arts. 🙂

BodyTruths

The number of malpractice suits in Germany is on the rise. This is not because doctors make more mistakes, but instead, more patients take action if there is a suspicion of malpractice.

Quotes for Teachers

Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.

~Jacques Barzun

apples

Quotes for Teachers

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.

– Socrates

Fauna in Ireland

What Germans like to buy for New Year’s Eve (Silvester)

The German supermarkets have been swamped since yesterday. The madness will continue until tomorrow afternoon, 31 Dec, when the shops close at 2pm. Here are a few items Germans like to buy around this time of year.

Clover, pigs, and chimney sweeps are good luck charms and make a nice thank-you present for co-workers, neighbors, etc.

chimney sweep

Fireworks sell out quickly. Our children got their own share of firecrackers and bottle rockets.

Germans spent 113 million euro on fireworks last year. If I had any say in this, I would stop this waste.

fireworks for sale in German supermarket

Then, some of us tend to give our friends drinks with interesting labels, such as ‘Kalte Muschi’, which is a coke and red wine mix, or plain red wine with an alluring name.

Drink names

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

(Little Gidding)
― T.S. Eliot

German Lesson: die Wickelkommode

My niece is about to have her first child and so my sister informed me that she could use a money present to buy the baby’s furniture. Among the needed items listed is a Wickelkommode (baby dressing table or diaper changing table). This triggered some memories for an item I never had, a Wickelkommode.

I have raised two children and didn’t need one. I guess the reason being was that our first child was born in Japan and we occupied a tiny teachers housing flat, with tatami mat rooms. First of all, these apartments are not equipped to room a baby changing table. Also, the traditional Japanese mom changes her baby’s diaper on the tatami floor, which I did too.

And one thing I never had to worry about was the baby rolling off the dresser.

A few years later, when we came to Germany and we had our second child, I continued changing the baby’s diaper on the floor, just the way I had learned it in Japan and I had gotten very used to it as well.

A Wickelkommode, in my viewpoint, is a very commercial item. It is much more comfortable being on the floor with the baby, there is plenty of room to put items aside, it is more relaxing, and does not cost a cent.

 

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