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).

  • Saturday, February 13, 2021 9:40 AM | Anonymous

    Where would you go, if there was no pandemic, and you had no money or time restraints? We asked our teachers, and they picked some really beautiful spots in the German speaking countries in Europe (also called DACH countries: Deutschland, Austriae - auf Hochdeutsch Österreich, and "CH" for the "Confederation Helvetica," or as it is commonly known, die Schweiz).

    The top destinations were Wien (Österreich) and Hamburg (Deutschland). But beyond that our instructors are dreaming about visiting Davos and Tessin (Schweiz), Innsbruck (Österreich), Berlin (Deutschland), München (Deutschland), Salzburg (Österreich), Leipzig (Deutschland), Gera (Deutschland), and Zürich (Schweiz). Some also didn't have a particular city in mind, but wanted to go "in die Berge" or "an die Nordsee". Ahh, Heimweh is calling!

    Are your feet itching to go, too, or are you day-dreaming perhaps, about your next trip? Ask you instructor about places to go!

    But, reality is calling, and since we cannot go just yet, perhaps a cooking class at the Haus (virtual or in-person) might be a thing for you to bring DACH closer. Next up is a Fruitcake class! Mmmmmhhhh, Obstkuchen!! Check it out:

    Kulturküche: Obstkuchen

  • Monday, February 08, 2021 7:52 PM | Anonymous

    ... or rather "Schluss mit dem Faxen!"

    Languageschool students: Can you spot the subtle difference between the use of the Dative and Accusative??? *nerdface*

    No? Let me explain then (*teacher mode*): "Schluss mit den Faxen!" is something your parents might yell at you, when they have enough of your shenenigans while "Schluss mit dem Faxen" is what might have been the headlines to the fact that the Bundestag (German Federal Parliament) has decided to end using fax machines in their house. 

    It was the so-called "Ältestenrat" (the council of the wise old sages) who decided that it wouldn't need this outdated form of communication anymore. Well, actually, the very agile and modern-sounding "Kommission für den Einsatz neuer Informations- und Kommunikationstechniken und -medien" recommended not to add this function, and an actual extra line, to the new set of phones that will be installed in the parliament these days. So, really, it is being out-phased rather than that it being an active decision, but still, you gotta start somewhere!

    So, remember: by 2024, no more faxes to the Bundestag! We don't take faxes either, but you can always contact us at languageschool@dankhaus.com and kinderschule@dankhaus.com. See you there!

    Read the whole article about the exciting modernization of the Bundestag here!

  • Tuesday, February 02, 2021 1:01 PM | Anonymous

    What a great German word. Say it out loud and slowly: Lern-pro-zess-be-glei-ter-in. Mmmhhhh, composite nouns, so good! But what does it mean? Well, here at the DANK we see our teachers and instructors as coaches rather than the old-fashioned "standing in front of the class" teacher (well, in these days actually "sitting-in-front-of-the-screen" would be more accurate). This means that our Lernprozessbegleiter*innen coach our students how to learn and what to learn, and they kindle and fan the sparks of curiosity about language and culture that our learners already bring to the table. And this true for our very young students in Krabbelgruppe, who watch big-eyed and mesmerized when they hear a German song being sung, as well as for our adult learners who feel the pride of accomplishment when they are able to express themselves in German. Often, you will see that same kind of pride on our teachers' faces when our students ask nuanced questions and dive in deep - because this curiosity is what gets us everyday. So, stay curious and ask your Lernprozessbegleiter*in any questions you might have! :D

    Oh, and if you're curious about our Lernprozessbegleiter*innen, take a look:

    Our Teachers

  • 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


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