http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/daily-prompt-dream/

Trials of Hercules

In the gardens of my dream home would stand centerfold a grand mosaic quad depicting, on the border, the Labors of Hercules, full in size, three on each side, with arrows and helmets and owls between scenes, small, but detailed in vibrant colours: the symbols of trials and heroes and gods: imagery that would rival the sagas tiled from the floors to the ceilings of King Ludwig II’s unfinished castle. After The Labors, The Lovers: Orpheus and Eurydice, Andromache and Hector, Pygmalion and Galatea, and Endymion. The deaths of Hyacinth and Achilles. Eos.

I would walk once, twice, a thousand times along the outer balcony of my home: a rectangular platform, garden-encompassing, made of simple white marble, trace the weaving pathways between tree and flower, view the gallery, read The Books, and write.

Love America? Thank an Immigrant..

So the other day I’m sitting with a bunch of students outside the Studentenwohnheim, chilling atop a blanket and enjoying some nice weather. Thinking I’d have a chance to read and do some writing – the others were planning on sunbathing so I figured it’d be quiet enough for me to work uninterrupted – I’d hauled out several notepads: two for brainstorming, one for outlining essays, two books: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics and A Short History of Time and a shit ton of pens, highlighters and notecards.

Now the presence of the books was in no way obnoxious. In actuality: I barely got a chance to get started before we all got to talking and I would go on to sit with a pile of stationary, non-boisterous work at my side for a good few hours before tiring of brushing away spiders and ants and taking everything back inside.

People who know me know of my obsessions with certain disciplines – scientific, academic or otherwise – most of which are lifelong obsessions. One could argue that the most visible manifestation of my neurotic obsessions, apart from a clear biased tendency to speak more than is commonly acceptable on the same non-standard topics in general non-academic conversation on that topic, is that I hoard a number of books, films and other mediums of information on said discipline.

My interest in theories of the universe, time and space first developed when I was twelve and visited NASA for the first time, where I witnessed a space shuttle launch and met an astronaut. It is perhaps important to note that it was at this time that I was heavily involved in the sciences and was seriously considering studying the natural sciences and pursuing a career in either marine biology or physical cosmology, which I ended up opting against for the humanities as my career interests altered. Although I would not claim to be an expert, I still follow NASAs online networking sites and avidly read up on space news, but would, as it were, only consider cosmology to be a casual obsession of mine.

That I was reading — well, I wasn’t physically reading at that time, as I mentioned I didn’t end up getting the opportunity to — better said: that I was assumedly in the process of reading Stephen Hawking’s A Short History of Time in German was met with heavy skepticism by one of our ten person group — who I will not describe here for sake of politeness — who then, after flipping through the book a bit — apparently skimming past my notes and failing to notice the hand-written, self-reflective essay titled Das Universum dehnt sich aus lying atop my pile of work, proceeded to announce to the group that they didn’t think I was actually reading it.

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Now that’s a statement.

In der Psycholinguistik, bzw. “die Wissenschaft von Bildungsrepräsentationen und Denkvorgänge, die sich mit der Sprachverwendung befassen” (Warren) lernt man, dass es “nur zwei mögliche Methoden gibt, dadurch man Syntaxregeln lernen kann: die Regeln können einem erklärt werden, Explikation, oder man kann sie selbst herausfinden, Induktion” (Steinberg & Sciarini).

Man kann versuchen, die Grammatikregeln einer Zielsprache auf drei verschiedene Weise zu erklären:

  1. Mittels der Muttersprache
  2. Mittels der Zielsprache
  3. Oder mittels einer Fremdsprache, die nicht die Zielsprache ist (hier Nicht-Zielsprache genannt)

Die Frage ist, aber, ob es eine gute Idee ist, sich selbst eine neue Zielsprache beizubringen unter Nutzung fremdsprachiger Lehrmitteln.

Dazu gibt es einige Vor- und Nachteile:

Vorteile:

  • Brücken werden zwischen Sprachen geschlagen, dadurch, dass man interdisziplinär lernt
  • Man verbessert konsequent seine Beherrschung der Nicht-Zielsprache
  • Die Zahl von verwendbaren Lehr- und Lernmitteln vergrößert sich
  • Lernen mittels neuerer Lehrmethoden wird unterstützt

Nachteile:

  • Man muss schon eine ziemlich gute Kenntnis der Nicht-Zielsprache haben, um sich mittels deren eine neue Zielsprache beizubringen
  • Eine Zielsprache kann nicht mittels einer einzelnen Methoden gelernt werden
  • Ohne Grundkenntnis der Linguistik zu haben könnten die Regeln der Zielsprache schwer zu verstehen sein, weil sie im Zusammenhang mit den Regeln der Nicht-Zielsprache expliziert sind

Im Endeffekt muss man selbst herausfinden, was für Lehrmethoden ihm am besten hilft.

Jetzt würde ich euch gern fragen, was ihre Zielsprache ist und was ihr über das Lernen einer Zielsprache mittels fremdsprachiger Lehrmitteln denkt.

Zitate im Original:

“Psycholinguistics can be defined as the study of the mental representations and processes involved in language use […].” -Introducing Psycholinguistics by Paul Warren, 4. ISBN 978-0-521-13056-1

“Essentially, there are only two processes by which one can learn the syntax of a second language: someone can explain rules to you, explication, or you can figure them out for yourself, induction.” -An Introduction to Psycholinguistics, Ed. 2. by Danny D. Steinberg and Natalia V. Sciarini, 124. ISBN 0-582-50575-5

Englischsprachige Infos zu diesem Thema findet man hier auf meinem YT-Kanal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF4GD4qeRls.

This is an English summary of the Q&A video I posted to Youtube on 07.06.13 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu23U2rVCVA&feature=youtu.be). I will try to include English subtitles in my future German videos; however, I am, at the present time, only able to provide general video summaries here at my blog due to time constraints.

I promised that I’d start making Q&A videos once a month. A promise’s a promise. The first Friday of every month will be Q&A Friday on my channel. Any questions you might have for me can be sent to me via any of my social networking sites.

Now it’s question time.

Which German city has been your favorite to visit and why?

I’m going to have to say Dresden. Don’t get me wrong – I love Berlin and Hamburg, but those are cities that I see as places to live in, rather than visit. Dresden I only visited for one day, but had the opportunity to see a ton of sights. Usually I don’t have that much time to sightsee when I’m in a new city, but in Dresden I got a fair tour of the Altstadt. I particularly enjoyed the Frauenkirche (which I accidentally called the Marienkirche in the video).

What are the most common mistakes in regards to pronunciation and/or grammar that native German-speakers tend to make in English?

German-speakers often mix up the letters w and v, saying, often, wideo or willage – better yet: willach – instead of video or village. The letter g is another point of difficulty; in the word managing, as in village, the g is often mispronounced as the Cyrillic letter Che, i.e. Ч or ch. The sound is so dissonant I wouldn’t be surprised if whispering “I study manaching” to someone would result in ear bleeding. Grammatically speaking: German-speakers tend to have difficulty when it comes to properly using gerunds and the progressive tense; they often say “I sit here and film a video” rather than “I am sitting here filming a video,” despite that the present continuous action denotes use of the progressive.

What do you miss the most about America when you are in Germany and vice versa?

When I’m in the States I miss Germany and everything about her. I miss simply being able to ride the Straßenbahn and travel here and there by bus. I miss being able to speak the language on a daily basis with people who have similar interests in German media. I miss the culture. Returning to the US is a greater culture shock to me than going to Germany, and it’s been this way for the past several years. When I’m in Germany I miss my dog and I miss being able to sing as loud as I want.

Do you have a favorite German accent or dialect?

Berlinerish. It’s simply awesome.

How many hours per day did you use to dedicate towards your independent studies of the German language?

According to my mother I would obsessively learn German starting the moment I came home from school and would spend hours doing something – anything – that had to do with learning German. Needless to say: I spent a lot of time doing my independent studies.

Which books would you recommend for people who are already fluent in English but would nevertheless like to increase their vocabulary?

As a student of English many titles come to mind. I would definitely recommend the works of James Joyce and William Faulkner. There’s so many names I could mention, but I’d rather go into that at some other time. Individual books with elevated vocabulary that I’d specifically recommend are Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser and Paradise Lost.

Do you already know which country or region you’ll travel to next?

Yes, and I couldn’t be more excited. My family is coming to visit at the end of the month. We’ll be driving to northern Italy, Austria, Lichtenstein and France. I believe we’ll also visit Munich, in which case I’ll finally be able to say I’ve been to Bavaria.

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To learners of the Irish language:

Finding resources along your journey may initially seem difficult – especially if you are from an area where foreign language materials are sparse and hope of coming across rare language books has long since been lost.

You may want to take a look at the websites to some Irish bookstores, such as An Siopa Leabhar (http://www.cnagsiopa.com/) or Easons (http://www.easons.com/), if ordering Irish resources through your local bookstore or via a general online retailer seems as though it will be problematic. I mention these stores in particular as they are the main bookstores I visited while I was in Dublin, Ireland over St. Patrick’s Day and because it was there I bought several Irish language books.

Following is the list of Irish learning resources that I am currently using. Under music and videos I have not included all of the links I have used, but rather intend to point in the direction of where to find such materials. For a more detailed account of my thoughts on each resource, see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9vvX7fdCAI.

Textbooks and Additional Reading:

Gaeilge Gan Stró: Beginners Level by Éamonn Ó Dónaill. ISBN 978-0-9563614-4-8

Progress in Irish by Máiréad Ní Ghráda. ISBN 978-0-86167-159-5

Graíméar Meánscoile by Diarmaid Ó Tuama. ISBN 978-0-7144-1689-2

Céadtach Mac Rí na gCor by Mícheál Ó Conaola. ISBN 978-0-898332-48-3

An Hobad by J. R. R. Tolkien. ISBN 978-1-904808-90-9

Music:

Cailleach an Airgid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAE-8SGYgrs

Óró, Sé Do Bheatha ‚Bhaile http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0NfY-ElcPo

Videos:

TG4 http://www.tg4.ie/

Youtube search “No Béarla Series”

There comes a point when you have to say something about it – whatever it may be. I’ve been fretting over one it in particular for the past several months: trying to determine how best to request that people kindly, to quote the words of one Jenna Marbles: Pipe the fuck down – and stop correcting my German.

It’s all about modesty, you see. I believe one can only be modest up unto a certain point.

I’m not naive when it comes to my level of German, I just try not to get punched in the face by talking about it. It’s advanced for the amount of time I’ve spent learning. Great.

However, despite repeatedly coming to Germany over the span of four years and having listened time and time again to the yo German is ridiculous loop as it – without fail – plays out in every conversation with every new acquaintance I’ve ever made – this is not an exaggeration, and really, it’s beginning to get quite old – and knowing full well the extent of my own knowledge of the German language, it still feels like I’m stamping my forehead with ARROGANT when I say, please cut it with the crap.

Which I really shouldn’t, because in Germany speaking bluntly doesn’t require a justification or an apology from the speaker for having had to make such a blunt statement.

So screw it. Stop correcting me. Why? Because it feels to me – and here I’m talking specifically about my presence on Youtube – like I’m always being graded. Now, there’s one thing about grading the quality of a video and its content, another about grading based on number of syllables incorrectly articulated: this where only 2 mistakes means yo German’s still ridiculous, but 2 whole mistakes means yo German’s getting worse man.

So to put it bluntly: I will not under the guise of false modesty, allow myself to be subjected to ill-proposed “suggestions for improvement” which would, were I to heed such nonsense, render me a German-speaking gynoid circa the era of Bismarck.

Even Doctor Faust had 24 years to get his shit together. I’ve only been learning German for 4.5 years. I have time to improve, but for now I’m pretty content with my level and have enough resources and experience to correct myself. So pipe the fuck down.

Please.

This blog is a summary of the video „Eine bescheidene Bitte“ (German), which I posted to my YT-channel on May 22, 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggyby7DQW7M.