Learn German

The demand for learning German has been rising steadily. A few weeks ago, I read an article about Spaniards queuing for nine hours to sign up for a German course in Madrid. Surely, Mark Twain would not have been one of them.

But how do you say blog in German? This and a few others terms were contemplated by Anna Sauerbrey in her article how-do-you-say-blog-in-german.html  in the NYTimes. If I did not throw in a few English words here and there such as mein Blog, I’d have to call this  mein digitales Netztagebuch. Or when talking about apps, they’d be called Anwendungen für mobile Endgeräte. 

Linguistic borrowing is also on the rise.

Recently, the Duden added 5.000 words to its latest edition, many of them originating from English.

I’ve set up the page Learn German just for fun. I like German words like Kummerspeck, Hungerturm and Schadenfreude.

Quote of the Day

You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it.

– John Updike –

11 Things Kids will not Learn in School

Among the 50 e-mails I get on average per day, the following 11 Things Kids will not Learn in School has not come in yet. This one I got from Facebook.

My mailbox is usually filled with real messages, funnies, spam, such as ads for winkie enlargement, dubious offers to accept an inheritance from Hong Kong businessmen, tips on how to increase my chances in hitting the jackpot at various online casinos, etc. Alas, I am not interested in growing body parts I was born without, and thanks, but, no thanks, I do not want to inherit somebody’s fictional estate. I’ve got enough fiction in my life already, I have children!

However, these 11 rules really appeal to me. I know, they won’t have any effect on my kids. They do not even read my blog, unless I force them by food deprivation or singing German Wanderlieder in their presence.

These rules, though, have been misleadingly attributed to Bill Gates, but were neither written nor spoken by him.

The credit goes to Charles J. Sykes, author of several books. In fact, the present revival of these rules is a somewhat shortened version of an original piece. The full version was printed in the San Diego Union Tribune on September 19, 1996 and has been published in other media since then.

Here they are.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault; so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you “FIND YOURSELF”. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television and video games are NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Sykes is also the author of Dumbing Down Our Kids, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School, and several other books. More about the mentioned books:
Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, or Add from Amazon. de
50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education from Amazon.de
Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, or Add from Amazon.com
50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education from Amazon.com

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