Welcome to the Language School Blog.

This is the place where we are blogging weekly-ish about all things related to our language school, from kids to adults, and grammar to culture. Stay tuned for new content (you can subscribe via the RSS button).

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  • Monday, January 25, 2021 11:46 AM | Anonymous

    This just in: Seitenbacher, a big Müsli producer, has messed with the breakfast of so many Germans **gasp**

    Müsli can be pretty much a mix of anything, as long as there are oats in there, as well. Many like a mixture of nuts, dried fruit, oats and cornflakes - so a bit like a trail mix with added milk. Whichever way you like it, you can mix it yourself, or buy it ready-mixed off the shelf. But Seitenbacher tried to trick consumers by introducing a "new" mix - for more money and less content, double-whammy! - which turned out to be not so new after all: only a tiny amount of honey had been added to the recipe. But consumers in Germany can take their concerns to the Vebraucherzentrale ("consumer central"), and so they did about the Müsli. In a vote, Seitenbacher now received the unflattering title of "Mogelpackung des Jahres 2020". Seitenbacher is no longer producing the new version of this Müsli. You can read more about it here (in German).

    Did all this talk about Müsli get you slabbering for a good old bowl of it? You can find Müsli in many forms, pretty much anywhere, but unfortunately we have to say, that Seitenbacher does have the best mixes here in the US. You can find them here for example. Lecker!

    Guten Appetit!

  • Wednesday, January 20, 2021 11:02 AM | Anonymous

    Did you catch it? Did you? Biden is now our president! And Harris our vice president!

    If you want to re-read the ceremony in German, check out the ARD live blog here: Blog: Biden-legt-Amtseid-ab


  • Monday, January 18, 2021 4:06 PM | Anonymous

    As we are somberly reflecting on Martin Luther King, and the world today, many Germans claim that "bei uns gibt es kein Rassismus!" [we don't have racism] - But this is simply not true. In fact, racism is actually on the rise. You can read more about Germans and racism in this article from Deutsche Welle (it's in English): https://www.dw.com/en/racism-on-the-rise-in-germany/a-53735536

    #MLKDay #NoRacism #GegenNazis #NazisRaus

  • Tuesday, January 12, 2021 9:44 PM | Anonymous

    This week started of pretty darn well for us here at the language school and Kinderschule! And that is a sorely needed Lichtblick after a pretty complicated year!

    First of all, we just kicked of the Spring 2021 adult class semester today, with three Beginner I and two Beginner II classes (whohooo!), and tomorrow our awesome instructors will teach Beginner III and IV, two Intermediate classes, and one Proficient class that is bursting at the seams as well. We are excited that we had so many sign-ups that we had to split classes to make room for everyone on our Zoom screens!

    And to make our day even sweeter, we finally received a long-awaited email telling us that we are re-certified to teach and test the German Language Program (DSD I and DSD II for High Schoolers) at our Haus! *daaaaaaance* We are now the ONLY school in Illinois to offer this program! On top of that we have four instructors enrolled to become certified DSD II testers, and two of them also received their DSD I testing license last year.

    With gratitude to all who support us - and stay tuned for more!

    The Language School & Kinderschule Team



  • Wednesday, January 06, 2021 10:55 AM | Anonymous

    In our first post this year, we wanted to tell you a little bit about our instructors! So, what does “boarisch”, ”icke” , “Schnackbüddel”, “Schwabenländle”, “Ge?”, and “wienerisch” have in common? Well, it’s how people speak in the areas our instructors come from, and which is now the big pot of diversity our teachers bring to the DANK, coming from every corner of the German speaking countries.  

    Can we still understand each other? Mostly :D ! Do our students learn “good German” then, if everyone talks in their own dialect? Yes! With a bit of dialectical seasoning - I for sure have heard students greet each other with the northern “Moin!”, and have students refer to their kids with the very Austrian “Bub”. So while “Hochdeutsch” is taught, each instructor also brings their own part of Germany, or Austria, or Switzerland with them. 

    Which is why our learner community does not only learn German at the DANK, but also a lot about German culture. And we are very grateful for all our students who so wholeheartedly embrace this diversity, and engage in discussions about cultural differences. 

    So, can you find our teachers’ “Heimaten”, and place Flensburg, Berlin, Stuttgart, Utting a.Ammersee, Wien, Bad Homburg von der Höhe, Gera, and Kassel on the map? Test your geographical knowledge here:

    Geography Quiz

  • Tuesday, December 22, 2020 1:43 PM | Anonymous

    Liebe Leute,

    all of us from the Language School want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and, as we say in German (literal translation, ouch), a good slide into the new year 2021!

    We're looking forward to seeing you all next year, perhaps eventually even in-person?! *explodinghead*

    To be with our families, and enjoy the Holidays together, we will be off the Blog until the start of next year. Actually, a little unplug-detox will probably do us all some good after the many Online-Meetings and hours in front of the screen during the most unusual year of 2020? #guteVorsätze2021 #NewYearsResolution2021


  • Monday, December 14, 2020 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    “A” is for apple and “Z” is for zebra - just like in the US, Germans have spelling tables like this. And of course, in Germany you cannot have just any table, but it is standardized through the DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) and can be found as DIN 5009, so that you don’t suddenly get an apricot instead of an apple.

    But, the last time the table has seen any reform was right after WWII and not much actually changed then.So, what is the point, you’re probably asking now, does it matter if there is a zebra or a zebu? Well, it is in German, because the table mostly has names, instead of things. So, “A” is for Anton and “Z” is for Zacharias. Still wondering what the point is? The answer, as it often is in Germany, is: the Nazis. There could be no Jews, and no memory of Jewishness anywhere, and so the Nazis struck many “typically Jewish” names from the list, such as D for David. But, a name is a name, right? No, actually not, when despite everything, anti-semitism is growing again in Germany.

    So Michael Blume, from the anti-semitism department in the state of Baden-Württemberg, has recently asked the DIN to change the list back to the pre-Nazi words. Pre-Nazi? That is, like, thousand years ago, isn't it? Well, not quite, not even 100 years (if you want to learn more about German history, take a class with us ;) ) , but it does seem a bit outdated, even if the list is from the good old Weimarer Republic. And indeed, the change has a strong symbolic character, as a completely new list will be developed and will become standard in 2022. But until then, the official list is the Weimarer one, and I wonder if K is for Kaiser.


    Click here for more on the Buchstabiertafel, and also an interview with Michael Blume



  • Thursday, December 10, 2020 10:55 AM | Anonymous

    Happy Hanukka, Frohes Chanukkafest, Chanukka Sameach - whichever way you say it, we are glad to be able to have and support this Familienfest. And while this is a time of happiness and togetherness (as much as we can these days), it also a time for somber reflection. And because of that we are also proud that Germany has come to light Germany's biggest Menorah in Berlin, where Nazis once came close to destroying everything Jewish. Watch the ceremony here:

    Menorah Lighting Berlin 2020

    We wish you all safe and happy holidays, be sure to enjoy the little things and reflect on the good in life.

  • Monday, December 07, 2020 8:34 PM | Anonymous

    Lustig, lustig, trallallalala - OMG, this song just won't go away, even if Nikolaus is over now! Even if good old St. Nik visited the kids at home AND at school, because their shoes were so....clean??

    If you feel it too, and the traditional Christmas songs are starting to sound a little shrill, try this children's CD: "Giraffenaffen 4 Winterzeit". They take the usual holiday songs and give them a more modern twist, and also translate them loosely into German, so that "Jingle Bells" has the refrain "Schlittenfahrt im Schnee" , for example. You can find some of the songs on Youtube. And the best part: even though they are made for children, they are a pleasure to listen to - think Laurie Bergner, but different bands.

    You can also find one (yes, not a typo) German eMusic CD at the digital library of the Goethe Institut (it's free to join, and they do have a lot of other stuff). Another good way to listen to German holiday music is is this radio station - it gives you a good insight into what counts as typical Christmas music in Germany (Wham's "Last Christmas", anyone?) and you choose what you like from acoustic to kids to Schlager.

    Enjoy listening, and happy holidays!

  • Monday, November 30, 2020 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    We heard that some of you are exhaaausted by trying to figure out if it is der/die/das DANK Haus, der/die/das Klasse und der/die/das Verzweiflung! What are the rules? Tell me how to figure it out! Germans are all in for rules, so give it to me!

    Well... there are only few rules, but some tricks and tips will help you to decide on the right article.

    First of all, separate the grammatical gender from the perceived gender of something: the girl is "das Mädchen" (neuter), the stereotypically very masculine saw is "die Säge" (feminine), while the perhaps rather neutral lawn in front of your house is "der Rasen" (masculine). See, they don't correspond, so don't go down that rabbit hole!

    Secondly, while there are only few rules (read this for a more comprehensive collection), a very stable one is that words that end in "-ung" will always be "die" (die Verzweiflung).

    And finally, make a best guess: the most used article in German is feminine (used with almost 50% of nouns), your second-best guess is masculine (about 34% of nouns), and least used is the neuter article (only about 20% of nouns require this one).

    Oh, and here is a bonus-tip (don't tell your teach!): all plural forms take "die", so if in doubt simply use the plural form: der/die/das Klasse ist super  ➡️ die Klassen sind super!
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