Tag Archives: german

The Awful German Language

American author Mark Twain wrote the grippingly hilarious and sometimes sexist “The Awful German Language.” Ah, the liberation of intellect. This small excerpt deals a feature not present in English. All nouns in German are assigned a gender (male, neutral, or feminine) that effects their usage. With that bit of info masticated upon, read on…

Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in the distribution; so the gender of each must be learned separately and by heart. There is no other way. To do this one has to have a memory like a memorandum-book. In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl. See how it looks in print — I translate this from a conversation in one of the best of the German Sunday-school books:

Gretchen: Wilhelm, where is the turnip?
Wilhelm: She has gone to the kitchen.
Gretchen: Where is the accomplished and beautiful English maiden?
Wilhelm: It has gone to the opera.

–Mark Twain

Ask Marx and Engels

What can a book published in 1848 tell us about the current economic difficulties plaguing our nation? Things to keep in mind from the past eight years: decline in US quality of life, unregulated economic markets, lax credit lending, war-profiteering, and mass consumerism.

It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put on trial, each time more threateningly, the existence of the entire bourgeois society. In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity – the epidemic of overproduction. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilization, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce.

-The Communist Manifesto



“Anatomical dissection gives the human mind an opportunity to compare the dead with the living, things severed with things intact, things destroyed with things evolving, and opens up the profoundness of nature to us more than any other endeavor or consideration.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

This last weekend I went to go see Bodyworlds at the Milwaukee Public Museum. It was certainly worth the approximate $20 cost for admission. In the late 1970’s Herr Doktor Gunther von Hagens patented his technique for polymer impregnation of biological tissue and revolutionized medical specimens. Doktor von Hagens shatters the stigmata of dead bodies with his tasteful pieces. The donated bodies are perfectly preserved in lifelike poses for inspection by museum goers. The goal of the exhibit is not to create a circus side-show, but rather demonstrate to the public the intricate complexities of the human body, the history of anatomy, and its integration into modern medical science. Do yourself a favor and catch this exhibit.

Der Macht der Jedi


Ich habe gestern der wichtigste Film meiner Kindheit gekauft. Mein Lieblingsteil des Films ist die Szene, die Darth Vader die rechte Hand Lukes mit einem Lightsaber dekapitiert und hat ihm die Wahrheit über seiner Vaterschaft gesagt. Die Stimme Vaders ist nicht so stärk auf Deutsch als James Earl Jones, aber sie hört auch böse und mechanisch. Ich habe diesen Film hundert Mal gesehen, so weiß ich fast jede Zitaten auf Englisch. Aber auf Deutsch ist alles ganz neue. Der Text meiner Lieblingsszene steht unten. Ich glaube, Sie kennen diese Szene auch, eben wenn Sie Deutsch nicht lesen können.

Vader: Obi-Wan hat dir nie erzählt, was aus deinem Vater wirklich passiert ist.

Luke: Er hat mir genug erzählt. Er hat mir gesagt, dass Sie ihn umgebracht haben!

Vader: Nein, ich bin dein Vater.

Luke: Nein. Nein. Das ist nicht wahr. Das ist unmöglich!