… and there are even more winners!

The Oxford German Olympiad traditionally has a ‘Round 2′ of competitions. They have related or different themes to the main Olympiad, with prestigious prizes donated by individuals and institutions in academia and industry. All the winners of these competitions are also invited to the prize ceremony in Oxford and you can read all about the competitions and the winners’ work below!

The Wiener Library Competition:

Every year, staff at the Wiener Library, London, delve into their archives and select an interesting text from their extensive collections on the Holocaust and the Nazi period. Current university students from all over the country are then invited to have a go at translating the text and provide a short commentary. This year, the chosen text for translation was satirist Martin Miller’s 1940 speech parodying Adolf Hitler.

Winner: Stuart Dunlop, University of Manchester (Winner Wiener Library 2017)

Runner up: Syamala Roberts, University of Cambridge (Runner up Wiener Library 2017)

 

Camden House Competition:

This competition is sponsored by the publisher Camden House and its sister company Boydell & Brewer. Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers are invited to submit a book proposal on a topic in the field of German literature and/or film that would represent a significant contribution to research and fit the profile of Camden House in German studies.

Winner: Jonathan Johnston, Trinity College Dublin (Winner Camden House 2017)

 

Kafkaesque Creatures:

Kafkaesque Creatures is sponsored by the Kafka Research Centre. This year, learners of German age 14 and over were asked to read Kafka’s short story ‘Die Sorge des Hausvaters’, which introduces us to the strange creature Odradek, and write a creative response in German.

Winner: Victoria Adjei (Winner Kafkaesque Creatures)

Runner up: Cressida Hay (Runner up Kafkaesque Creatures)

Runner up: Elsa Voak (Runner up 2 Kafkaesque Creatures)

 

The HC Artmann Competition:

This was a special competition created this year to celebrate the work of Austrian poet HC Artmann. Much of his work is written in his native dialect and contain a lot of grotesque and even morbid imagery. So this competition asked students aged 16 years and above to engage with three of his poems and either rework one of them or write a commentary. Oxford German Network is particularly grateful to HC Artmann’s widow, Rosa Pock, for her generous permission to reproduce his poems.

Winner: Beth Molyneux (Winner HC Artmann)

Honourable Mention: Sophie Stoakes (Honourable Mention HC Artmann)

Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland – the Winners!

The Oxford German Olympiad 2017 is officially closed and yesterday evening the winners were invited to attend a prize ceremony in Oxford. We’re delighted to announce all the winners here. And while you’re here, why not take a look at some of their work as well?

Peoples have always migrated and taken their languages and stories with them. Moreover, languages and cultures are almost never confined to one geographical area or one nation. This year, the Oxford German Olympiad explored German peoples, language and culture beyond the borders of Germany. We asked students across the UK to think about where German is spoken throughout the world in all its variants and how it got to all those places, as well as modern German-speaking migrants and the texts and opinions they take with them.

 

Oxford German Olympiad 2017 The Winners

Years 5 and 6 (age 9-11)

Draw a comic strip:

Winner: Seren Billington

Runner-up: Charity Clifford

Runner-up: Rianne Thomas

Highly Commended: Nile Studt

Highly Commended: Helen Li

 

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Design a menu:

Winner: Sydney Smith & Ellie Grimsey

Runner-up: Helen Li

Highly commended: Hester Perry

Commended: Anastasia Ellis, Olivia Hough, Liberty Caraher

 

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Illustrate your favourite German word:

Winner: Sophie Moss

Runner-up: Dinara Gill

Highly commended: Lydia Morgan

Highly commended: Aisha Akhtar

Commended: Joshua Mariott

Commended: Martha Block

 

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Years 7 to 9 (age 11-14):

Write a conversation between a Deutscher Schäferhund and a Bernhardiner

Winner: Aishwarya Shanmuganathan

Runner-up: Izzie Grout

Highly Commended: David Demetriou & Alfie Stocker

Commended: Emma Haythornthwaite

Commended: Charlotte Preston

Commended: Fifi Dunphy

Commended: Elizabeth Gliznutsa

 

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When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit: Summarise or write about the adventures of Anna’s toy dog

Winner: Eleanor Voak (Pink Rabbit Winner)

Runner-up: Khadijah Rahman

Runner-up: Layla Barwell

Highly Commended: Helena Taylor

Commended: Xiaoli Biggs

Commended: Lara Koch & Elizabeth Appleford (Pink Rabbit Commended)

 

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Design a brochure  

Winner: Alina Gantner & Maria Maratovna Nazhmeddinova

Winner Dario Brincat

Runners-Up: Mahliha Taylor & Rosa Boyd

Highly Commended: Pamela Shahbakhti

Commended: Ngum Mofor

Commended: Abesha Balakumar & Ikra Kabir

 

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Years 10 and 11 (age 14-16):

Relocate the adventures of Hänsel und Gretel and write their story

sekhonsogo2017Winner: Simrit Sekhon

Runner-up: Loretta Bushell (Runner up Pink Rabbit)

Runner-up: Sofia Justham Bello (Runner up 2 Pink Rabbit)

Commended: George Phibbs (Commended Pink Rabbit)

Commended: Sebastian Roberts (Commended 2 Pink Rabbit)

 

Write a blog post or short article

Winner: Olivia Shelton (Winner Blog Post)

Runner-up: Isobel Horsfall (Runner up Blog Post)

Highly Commended: Jacob Melia, Daniel Mills, Alex Rowley (Highly Commended Blog Post)

Highly Commended: Alasdair Czaplewski (Highly Commended 2 Blog Post)

Commended: Pyotr Baskakov (Commended Blog Post)

 

Write a profile

baylisslogo2017Winner: Lucy Bayliss

Runner-up: Ekaterina Rahr-Bohr (Runner up Profile)

Highly Commended: Iris Bertrand (Highly Commended Profile)

Highly Commended: Jessica Ebner-Statt (Highly Commended 2 Profile)

Commended: Yao-Chih Kuo (Commended Profile)

Commended: Sophie Noble (Commended 2 Profile)

 

Years 12 and 13 (age 16-18):

Migrating Communities

Winner: Simone Jackson (Winner Migrating Communities)

Runner-up: Beth Molyneux (Runner up Migrating Communities)

Highly Commended: Isabel Yurdakul (Highly Commended Migrating Communities)

Highly Commended: George Ruskin (Highly Commended 2 Migrating Communities)

Commended: Lidija Beric (Commended Migrating Communities)

Commended: Amy Lewis Commended 2 Migrating Communities)

 

Dialect Essay

Winner: Mariella Clarke (Winner Dialect Essay)

Runner-up: Franziska Alting (Runner up Dialect Essay)

Highly Commended: Maia Jarvis (Highly Commended Dialect Essay)

Highly Commended: Emma McDowell (Highly Commended 2 Dialect Essay

 

Colonial History Essay

Winner: Helena de Guise (Winner Colonial History)

Winner: Beth Molyneux (Winner 2 Colonial History)

Runner up: Lilian Tosner (Highly Commended Colonial History)

Runner up: Eden Magid (Runner Up 2 Colonial History)

Highly Commended: Hugo Gallagher-Boyden (Highly Commended Colonial History)

Highly Commended: Phuong Bui (Highly Commended Colonial History)

Special Prize for pupils outside the UK: Maurice Zoa & Bruno Ndougou

 

Open Competition for Groups or Classes (4+ participants)

Write and perform a rap about the German language

Winner: Samantha Martin, Veronica Kravchenko, Laura Newey, Faye Metcalfe

Runner-up: Pierre Meyer, Nicholas Poat, Travis Richards, Thomas Barnes (Deutsch Rap – Transcript)

Highly Commended: Jodie Gollop, George Bayliss, Nicholas Speed, William Coupe

 

Create a web page or website on the theme ‘Deutsche jenseits von Deutschland

Winner: Propa Anwar, Lidija Beric, Rayya Shareef, Precious Quaye

Runner-up: Miles Begley, Rupert Hill, Reuben Bye, Lucas Cope

 

Interview a German-native speaker living in the UK and create a podcast

Winner: Leonora Selita, Sofia Denno, Laura Bell, Amaani Khan, Rosie Young

Runner-up: Safron Salhan, Setinder Manic, Nikita Talwaria

Runner-up: Hannah Wicks, Laila Gowling, Grace Adamson, Ellie Tempest

 

A new OGN competition is launched – it’s going to be a classic!

The Oxford German Network is delighted to announce the launch of a new essay competition for 16-18 year olds in the UK: ‘A German Classic’. The piece of classic German literature celebrated this year is Goethe’s Faust, Part I. To find out all about entering the competition, visit the OGN website here, where you’ll also be able to download a wealth of podcasts and other study resources to help you. The competition prize has been generously donated by Jonathan Gaisman, QC, whose first encounters with German as a schoolboy left him with a lifelong enthusiasm for German literature. In this week’s blog, he tells us how this passion came about.

Faust_und_Erdgeist,_Illustration_von_Goethe
Faust und Erdgeist, a sketch by Goethe

My first German teacher, a perceptive man called Roy Giles, wrote in my initial term’s report: “He will do well at this language, because he likes the noise it makes.” And so I did: aged just 14, I was immediately delighted by the disembodied voice on the audio-visual tape, which was how my acquaintance with the German language began: “Hören Sie zu, ohne zu wiederholen”. The cadences of this unremarkable sentence, bidding one to listen without repeating, still enchant me today. The story on the tape told of the prosaic doings of a German businessman attending an industrial fair. He was called Herr Köhler. Presumably this was a joke, though one unlikely to appeal much to schoolboys. But what caught my attention was the dramatic plosive – unlike anything in English – available to those willing to launch into the sentence “Plötzlich klingelt das Telefon”. That this sentence, like its companions, was of an almost Ionescan banality deprives it of none of its nostalgic appeal: I was already reaching for the handle of the door.

Four years later, by the time I left school, I had passed well and truly through. In those days, studying a modern language involved intensive study of literature. We studied Prinz Friedrich von Homburg and other writings of Kleist, carefully read Maria Stuart, and more than dabbled in the shallows of Faust part I.  A personal enthusiasm bordering on obsession led me to commit large slabs of Faust to memory, and they are still there. Giles had introduced us to recordings of Gründgens‘ performance of Mephistopheles in Faust; another teacher, Mark Phillips, earned my particular  gratitude by playing me Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin.  And so the way was opened though literature to poetry, to Lieder, to Wagner and to the extraordinary contribution of the German language to the life of the arts from the 18th century on.

German literature and culture had thus passed into my bloodstream, and become part of my imagination and mental being. So it was inevitable that I would take modern languages to university, where I was lucky enough to be tutored by a third fine teacher, Francis Lamport, at Worcester College, Oxford. Sadly, before long, but not before adding authors such as Büchner, Grillparzer, Kafka and Mann to my acquaintance, I abandoned the outer form of German studies, and dwindled into a lawyer. But the fire within was alight, and it burns still. The few years between the ages of 14 and 18 when I studied German represent the dominant intellectual influence in my education, and the one for which I am most grateful.

The simple aim of this prize is to enable other students to set out on the same journey which has enriched my way of seeing the world, to discover the inspiration of the German literary canon, and to avow the great truth uttered by Karl der Groβe himself: “The man who has another language has another soul”.

Jonathan Gaisman QC

Faust_spricht_mit_dem_Erdgeist,_Margret_Hofheinz-Döring,_Öl,_1969_(WV-Nr.4385)
Faust spricht mit dem Erdgeist (1969), Margret Hofheinz-Döring (copyright Brigitte Mauch)

Mitmachen und Erleben im mittelalterlichen Stil

We’ve had several posts from south Germany and Switzerland in the past, so this week we’re redressing the balance and turning to a more northerly destination: a small town in Nordrhein-Westfalen. One of OGN’s team recently went to find out what you could do there over Pentecost, which is a public holiday in Germany. Read on…

Letztes Wochenende war in Deutschland ein langes Wochenende – wegen Pfingstmontag, einem religiösen Feiertag. Erwachsene haben am Montag frei – und die meisten Kinder mindestens eine Woche Schulferien. Das ist die perfekte Gelegenheit – ganz wie zu den Bank Holidays in Großbritannien! – in überhitzten Autos im Stau zu sitzen und sich in überfüllte Züge zu zwängen -, um z. B. Familienmitglieder anderswo in Deutschland zu besuchen.

Also schloss ich mich den Scharen an und fuhr mit dem Zug nach Krefeld in Nordrhein-Westfalen (die offizielle Website der Stadt findet ihr hier). Seit dem 18. Jahrhundert ist die Stadt wegen der Seidenstoffproduktion als ‘Samt- und Seidenstadt’ bekannt. Doch schon im Mittelalter wurde Flachs in der Umgebung angebaut, womit Leinenstoff hergestellt und auf dem Markt verkauft wurde. Dieser inzwischen tradierte ‘Flachsmarkt’ ist jetzt eine alljährliche Veranstaltung und einer der größten historischen Handwerkermärkte in Deutschland – und den wollte ich mit Freunden besuchen.

Burg_linn_02 joerg74
Burg Linn (Foto: joerg74)

Einmal angekommen, fuhren wir zum Veranstaltungsort des Marktes: der Wasserburg Linn, die vor den Toren Krefelds liegt. Sie ist eine der ältesten Burganlagen des Niederrheins (andere Burgen, die man besuchen kann, findet ihr hier). Die Burg ist von einem breiten Wassergraben umgeben und heißt deswegen ‘Wasserburg’.

Die Burg wurde als Stammsitz der freiadeligen ‚Herren von Linn‘ im 12. Jahrhundert errichtet, aber der Großteil des heute noch erhaltenen Baubestandes stammt aus dem 13. Jahrhundert. Als die Familie ausstarb, wurden die Grafen von Kleve mit dem Besitz belehnt. Etwa zu dieser Zeit wurde auch die Stadt Linn gegründet, die heute zur Stadt Krefeld gehört. Die ganze Burganlage macht also einen durchaus mittelalterlichen Eindruck mit Türmen, Torzwinger, Rittersaal und einem Bergfried, während die Straßen des umliegenden Stadtteils mit Pflastersteinen gepflastert sind. Alte Fachwerkhäuser stehen dicht aneinander am Straßenrand.

 

Der Flachsmarkt findet auf dem Parkgelände rund um die Burg statt. Die Anlage ist riesengroß – und das muss sie auch sein, denn über 300 Handwerker errichten hier ihre Stände und bieten ihre Waren an. Der Anblick all dieser Stände und der vielen Besucher war überwältigend: hier waren Flachsspinner, Handweber, Lehmbauer, Sattler, Seiler, Rüstungsschmied, Kettenhemdmacher, Perückenmacher, Imker, Buchrestauratoren, Spitzenklöppler, Töpfer und Buttermacher – und viele mehr – zu sehen. Und das Tollste war, dass man ihnen bei der Arbeit über die Schulter schauen konnte und in vielen Fällen durfte man sogar selber mitmachen. Das ist nämlich ein wichtiges Kriterium für die Flachsmarktaussteller – die Besucher sollen nicht nur ihre Waren kaufen, sie sollen dabei auch etwas Lernen und Erleben können.

Falke Burg Linn Pfingsten 2017
Ein Falke fliegt über die Köpfe der Zuschauer (Foto: Jolan)

Nachdem wir also alle Hüte beim Hutmacher anprobiert und dem Leinenweber an seinem Webstuhl zugeschaut hatten, ließen wir uns von den Rittern  beim Turnier unterhalten. Ein besonderer Höhepunkt für mich waren aber die Falkner, die in luxuriöser mittelalterlicher Tracht ihre Vögel präsentierten – dass ein Jagdvogel so lautlos und nah an allen Köpfen vorbeifliegen kann, hätte keiner von uns gedacht! Leider ist der Falke so schnell geflogen, dass niemand ein wirklich gutes Foto davon machen konnte (aber wir haben es versucht).

Flachsmarkt 2017Und trotz der vielen Besucher und des schönen Wetters war die Burg definitiv nicht so voll von Menschen wie mein Zug auf der Hinreise!

Madeleine, Stuttgart

(Uncredited photos by Madeleine & Harald T.)

 

How Germans have helped the OED — OxfordWords blog

This week we’re sharing an old post from OxfordWords about the involvement of German and Germans with one of the most famous institutions of the English language: the Oxford English Dictionary!

 

It is well known that the work that originally produced the Oxford English Dictionary was a great collective effort, drawing on contributions from people throughout the English-speaking world. It should also be no surprise that valuable contributions were also made by many scholars from outside that world. However, the specific debt which the Dictionary owes…

via How Germans have helped the OED — OxfordWords blog

A record-breaking Oxford German Olympiad!

Judging of the Oxford German Olympiad 2017 has now been completed and all those who took part will soon be informed of their result. It’s been a particularly exciting year for the Oxford German Network team because this year’s Olympiad has proved to be the biggest ever!

Pennsylvania_German_Sticker.svg2017 marks the 5th anniversary of what has become the biggest event in OGN’s calendar. The Oxford German Olympiad is an annual themed competition for learners of German aged between 9 years and 18 years old and living in the UK. The tasks are designed to challenge learners of all levels to get creative with their German language skills and expand their knowledge of the culture, history and literature of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This year the theme was Deutsch(e) jenseits von Deutschland – German(s) beyond Germany.

In its first year in 2013 – when the theme was ‘Grimm Tales’ – 496 pupils aged between 11 and 18 years old took part. In 2016 (Deutscher Humor – Nichts zum Lachen?) saw 350 young German learners aged 9 to 18 years old compete to show off their German language skills and cultural knowledge. This year, nearly 550 entries were submitted by over 750 pupils aged between 9 and 18 years old from 97 schools in every part of the United Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were all represented. That includes nearly 50 schools that entered pupils for the very first time, making 2017 definitely the biggest year of the Olympiad in all respects!

The Olympiad tasks are judged by a hard-working team of German experts from the Oxford German Network team (past and present) and members of the Oxford University German Sub-faculty, who take a break from reading undergraduate essays every year to read… German posters, brochures, fairystories, interviews and imagined dialogues, rewritten literary classics, comic strips, and watch sketches, raps, songs and animations. The variety is almost endless!

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Judging is completed in several stages and the ultimate decision over the winning entries is presided over by the Chair of the Judging Committee – in previous years this has been the professors who have been the Taylor Chair of German and the Chair of Medieval German Literature and Linguistics. This year, Professor Henrike Lähnemann once again took up the helm of the Judging Committee.

The competition is too large for the judges to be able to give individual feedback on entries and every year judging proves to be a tough task, but this year the committee were particularly impressed by the creativity of the entries. As one judge said, “what I found most striking was how evident it was when pupils were having fun”, commenting that in the tasks they had judged “it was great to see a very wide range of entries”, while another member of the Judging Committee admired the “really playful responses” to the set tasks and noted that several had showed strong evidence of considerable background research. All the judges noted that – in addition to sticking to the rubric of the competition tasks – the entries that did particularly well and most impressed them were those that showed reflectivity, linguistic accuracy and ambition, and creative thinking with language and with the format of the task, whether that was storytelling, interviewing, creating a comic strip or writing an essay.

OGE-logo-land-ounSo the Oxford German Network Team and the Olympiad Judging Committee hope you – whether student or teacher – enjoyed taking part in the Oxford German Olympiad this year as much we all did reading and watching all your entries. Warm congratulations to all the winners, runners up, and everyone who participated!

Now… keep your eyes peeled for announcements about the Oxford German Olympiad 2018!

 

Looking for participants….

This week a request for participants from Oxford’s Chair of Medieval German Literature and Linguistics, Prof. Henrike Lähnemann – if you’re in Oxford on 25 May 2017 and want to take part in some of the celebrations and events for Bonn Week, read on…

Lucas_Cranach_d.Ä._(Werkst.)_-_Porträt_des_Martin_Luther_(Lutherhaus_Wittenberg)
A portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1528)

I am looking for German speakers who would like to take part in a public reading of Martin Luther’s ‘Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen’ in German which is scheduled to take place on 25 May, 4-5:30pm, at the Taylor Institution Library, Oxford. This is to launch the first publication in a series of Reformation pamphlets in facsimile, transcription and new translations, provided in this case by Howard Jones (and with input from many of you). The reading will be recorded and made available together with the free, open access edition, in the Digital Library section of the Reformation 2017 blog of the Taylorian where currently there is already the facsimile and transcription available. Thanks to sponsorship from the German Embassy, we will be able to hand out free print copies to all readers and sell them otherwise at the launch for 2GBP (afterwards 5GBP); the download will be available free directly after the launch.

The launch is scheduled to coincide with Bonn Week, a celebration of 70 years of twinning with Bonn, so we hope to have a good mix of German and British audience. Further details to follow – for now I just need expressions of interest for reading; drop me an email to volunteer for a paragraph. It would be nice to have a cross-section of voices from young and old, men and women, German and English native speakers! The text is 7,000 words long = ca. 60 minutes reading time; if we could have 20 speakers, everybody would get one (longer or shorter) paragraph, between 2 and 4 minutes.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Henrike Lähnemann (email: henrike.lähnemann@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk)

PS: You might have seen / heard the BBC series ‘Breaking Free – Martin Luther’s Revolution’; two episodes are now available from the website http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08nyr3b

From the Sea to the Night – but mainly in the Desert. A Review of Wolfgang Herrndorf’s ‘Sand’

Every so often, we at OGN Towers like to take a look round the blog-o-sphere and see what other people are writing about German-language life and culture. Last week we reblogged a post by Mary Boyle about her stopover in Aachen. This week, we spotted Heike Krüsemann’s recent review of Wolfgang Herrndorf’s acclaimed novel, Sand (2011). Heike published her post on her blog here: From the Sea to the Night – but mainly in the Desert. Review of Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf. She’s also written for the OGN blog in the past. But now, read on…

[An edited version of this post was published under #RivetingReviews on the European Literature Network website, 12 April 2017. ]

Sand

North Africa, 1972. A man with no memory wakes up in the desert with a massive hole in the head.  So far, so yawn: please, not another one of those lost memory characters stumbling around the plot trying to solve a mystery slash crime, been there, done that, keep your T-Shirt.  Not so fast!  Carl (named so after the label in his suit) is not your average unreliable narrator.  In fact, although we’re trapped inside his head most of the time, he’s not the narrator at all.  Somewhere, someone’s sitting at a desk writing all this down in the first person, someone who was there as a seven-year-old, dressed in “a T-shirt with Olympic rings and short lederhosen with red heart-shaped pockets”.  Who’s he? Not sure – everyone in Sand is reliably unreliable, apart from the author himself, who’s reliably, erm, dead.

After being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in 2010, Herrndorf churned out some literary gems – including international bestseller Tschick (English title: Why We Took the Car) and Sand – and then, in 2013, shot himself.  Perhaps fittingly, Sand is stuffed full of pain, gallows humour, false hopes, dead ends, absurd coincidences, misunderstandings, senseless chance events, torture, and death.  It’s set under a desert sun so merciless, that a mere glance at the cover triggers an inverse Pavlov’s dog reaction of dry mouth for the reader. Sounds offputtingly soul-crushing?  Not so!  What’s holding it all together, over 68 chapters and five books from the Sea to the Desert, the Mountains to the Oasis and on to the Night, is the search for meaning, never mind the answers, it’s the questions that matter.  Of those, there are many – and it makes for a hilarious, intriguing, heart-breaking, and ultimately gratifying read.

‘And now Lundgren had a problem. Lundgren was dead.’

A young simpleton murders four Hippies in a commune (it is the 70s…), a mediocre spy doesn’t survive a handover, a pair of bumbling policemen investigate – to not much avail, what else – a dangerously smart American beauty muscles in on the act, a fake psychiatrist tries to get to the bottom of Carl’s subconscious, a small-town crook and his henchmen get involved in the odd bit of kidnap, torture and blackmail. The hunt is on for a man called Cetrois, who may or may not exist, and a mysterious centrifuge makes an appearance, or it might be an espresso machine, who knows.  More important seems to be a mine – this could mean a number of things, a bomb, a pit, a cartridge for a pen, … a cartridge for a pen?!

Yes – now let’s talk language, and translation.  The characters in Sand are supposed to be speaking French, and thanks to Pushkin Press and translator Tim Mohr, we can now read it in English.  Think ‘Allo ‘Allo.  Tim Mohr, writer, translator, former Berlin Club DJ, and lucky owner of the coolest mini-bio ever, constructs an achingly immediate desert world by locating the English prose somewhere between 70s nostalgia and the contemporary.  In German and French, ‘mine’ can mean the inside of a pen, and Carl’s knowledge of this means that he’s a step closer to solving the puzzle, but is it close enough to see it through?  You decide for yourself, but really, that’s not the point.  He tried, he really did.  And in the end, that’s what matters.

Sand

written by Wolfgang Herrndorf (Rowohlt Verlag, 2011)

translated from German by Tim Mohr

published by Pushkin Press (2017)

 

Heike Krüsemann is currently completing her PhD thesis on representations of Germanness in UK discourses. Her Quirky Guide to Oxford will be published by Marco Polo in German and English in 2018.

Heike’s 30 second video review of Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Tschick

Heike’s blog German in the UK

Twitter: @HeikeKruesemann

 

Aachen Cathedral (and associated thoughts)

To Be A Pylgryme

Two weeks ago I moved to Berlin with my husband. We are planning to be here until August, while I work on a project part-funded by the DAAD, during which time I will be a postdoctoral researcher at the Großbritannien-Zentrum, part of the Humboldt University. We decided to drive from Oxford to Berlin, stopping in Aachen, and ticking off a medievalist bucket list item: Aachen Cathedral. Not all of the photographs in this post are mine, but their attributions should be clear.

Our hotel was over a mile from the town centre and we decided to take advantage of a relatively warm (for April in northern Europe) evening by walking in. This had the added advantage of not having to take our bike rack off the car, or get the car out of the hotel’s Tiefgarage. About halfway there, as we stopped at a traffic light, we realised that a…

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Life after German Studies – Teil 3!

This week, in our last blog post in this series, two more graduates of German Studies talk about their experiences and choices after finishing their studies, which have taken them in very different directions.

20170404_182728 (2)Sarah Sheppard

I chose French, German, English and History for A Level and was completely torn about which combination to choose for university, until I realised that studying modern languages meant I could combine all four quite easily.

Languages beyond GCSE suddenly meant more than vocabulary lists, grammar, food, and trips. It meant studying literature, history, politics, philosophy, culture. I did as eclectic  a mix of these as possible when studying French and German (and a little bit of Dutch) at Cambridge, where I met all kinds of interesting people and also got to spend three incredible summers teaching English at a summer school in rural former East Germany (Sommerschule Wust – see the recent OGN blog post). I spent my year abroad in Vienna, where besides eating cake, I also studied Swedish and History at the university there.

Having specialised in German, I then spent a year in French-speaking Switzerland, teaching English in several rural secondary schools.  I was living just half an hour from German-speaking cantons, however, so I got very good at switching between two languages and also picked up some Swiss German. After that I did a Master’s degree in modern languages at Oxford where I got to use my French and German for research, including handling books first published in the eighteenth century.

Eventually I decided classrooms were way more fun than libraries as I spent part of my time as Master’s student helping out at a local secondary school once a week.  So I stayed on at university to do a PGCE (just one of many routes into teaching), which made me think hard about how people actually learn languages and how to inspire the next generation of linguists. I now teach both French and German at a state secondary school, where I get to use both my languages every day, where I am never, ever bored, and where I get to pass on my love of all things Deutsch and français.

 

20170404_182728 (2).jpgIvo Brook

I didn’t take the what are perhaps the stereotypically expected paths of a language graduate when I left university (I studied History & German at Sheffield University) – neither teaching nor translation work really appealed to me. After an MA in Creative Industries in London, I worked my way through a stint as a researcher for a legal directory and somehow a job or so later found myself working as a B2B conference producer – first in IT and then aviation engineering. But the door to this career was opened by my degree in German. Despite English being the lingua franca of most industries, many events are still conducted in the local language and I started with a focus on DACH-area events [DACH = Germany (D), Austria (A), Switzerland (CH)]. This has led to a career that takes me on trips to various corners of the world each year – and while I may not be using my German on a daily basis, the stereotype of the German engineer is not dead and I have plenty of opportunities to practise.

Many thanks to all of the contributors to this series of blog posts. Have you recently graduated with a degree in German or you took German as part of your degree? Or did you learn German later? Tell us about why you studied German and where it has taken you now – we’d love to hear from you! Comment below or email the OGN team!