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German Genius – Learning without any Effort!

Not possible? But yes, it is! And this is how you do it:

Der Nürnberger Trichter (the Funnel from Nürnberg)
There exists a method of learning in Nürnberg, Bavaria, which apparently is THE panacea for all learning challenges, dating back to the 6th century. The student doesn’t have to make any effort on his part, it’s all poured into him and we even have a word for that “eintrichtern” (equivalent: ‘to drum it in’). If you intend to learn German that way, read on. But do bear in mind that meanwhile a more state of the art modern teaching methodology has evolved which, talking from my experience, also proves to be very successful.

The device ‘Der Nürnberger Trichter’, is depicted as a funnel which pours knowledge into anyone’s head so learners can obtain knowledge with hardly any effort at all on their part. No need to swat, the Funnel makes learning German easy. True or not true, that is the question! Why is it not used worldwide? Let me tell you.
Well, the idea originates from a German poet from Nürnberg, who wanted to pour the art of German Poetry and Rhyme into any-ones head within 6 hours. As simple as that, including vocab, grammar and speaking skills. So the poet, Herr Harsdörfer of the ‘Society for the Cultivation and Improvement of the German Language’, wrote 8 booklets, with the jocular title “Der Nürnberger Trichter”, intending to imbue the ordinary person with the beauty of the German language.

Of course he didn’t intend to make a poet out of everyone in merely 6 hours but rather making his mother tongue accessible to the ordinary person, not just to the learned, who had the privilege to be taught Greek and Latin. He wanted his language to be nurtured, spoken and understood at a high level and hence forth German became an established subject in all grammar schools (I personally think bureaucracy today has taken it too far, but that’s a different story). My home city of Nürnberg has followed a long tradition of inventiveness: it is famous for the original pocket watch (Peter Henlein), the oldest globe without America (Martin Behaim), “Hydraspis” is the invention of waterski, swim belt and flippers and most importantly the first law on the size, quality and cost of the ‘Nürnberger Bratwurst’. But here is the reason why I think Herr Harsdörfer is tops: With his booklets on poetry and grammar he intended to help women to become equal partners of conversation! That was back in 1642.

In my classes I have decided not to use the ‘Der Nürnberger Trichter’ as a device, partly due to technical issues but also because I am an advocate of modern language teaching, without a funnel.

10 Reasons to learn German

1. It was Einstein’s first language.
2. Jobs for German speakers have exploded in recent years.
3. English and German share 60% of their vocabulary, so you can already speak and understand German before you even start learning it: house, loyal, hunger, gold, bed have the same meaning in both languages.
4. German is spoken in over six continents : 100 million native speakers, and it’s the officical language in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Belgium.
5. First letter of every noun begins with a capital. Why is that good? Because it makes reading faster and easier: “Organgen, Bananen, Aprikosen sind mein Lieblingsobst”.
6. German declensions are adopted from Latin languages and there are merely four cases, whereas Latin has six!
7. It has a lot of funny false friends with English: bad = evil / das Bad = bathroom; boot = shoe/das Boot = the boat; gift = the present / das Gift = poison.
8. Attention to very end is essential: German word order is fairly rigid and in most sentences the verb is placed at end. Waiting politely until someone has finished their sentence is a virtue!
9. German can be so subtle: the beauty of German is to express an idea in its deepest complexity with only 1 word: sich vergengenwärtigen = to refresh a past idea and apply its value in the present; mitdenken = to actively think in a teamwork for a common cause; Fingerspitzengefühl = the ability to deal with sensitive issues in accordance with the circumstances.
10. German countries are a beautiful holiday destinations and the gratification of saying in German “Ein Bier bitte” is second to none.

German is worth learning since it’s very flexible, practical, and expressive. Don’t get discouraged by its complexity, you don’t need to learn it perfectly but with enough practice, your language knowledge will extend to further horizons.

New German 5-week introductory courses for complete beginners, starting September 2017.

Please contact Gabriele on 07930 923435 or e-mail

Leitkultur – Leading Culture

The German Federal Minister Dr. Maiziere has in the face of a well published influx of foreigners into Germany in the last 2 years (the refugee crisis), who may or may not stay, explained that ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans’. Who are we as a people, what bonds us together? What do we expect from non-Germans to accept?

Here are his 10 points:
1. Social habits, such as shaking hands, including women. We show all of our faces, we don’t do burkas.

2. Education does include subjects which may not be directly related to a future career, it is linear, enhancing general knowledge.

3. Achievement is a virtue as is a level of excellence. We also offer subsistence to those who are in need, we have a social conscience.

4. Following a dark period in our history we have moved to a federal system where freedom and peace are of paramount importance, as well as tolerance towards our neighbours and states.

5. Our culture is imbued with music, theatre, philosophy, it’s part of the world’s cultural inheritance. Germans promote culture and education to all of open mind and heart to partake.

6. Religious beliefs are respected and our churches stand for charitable work as well as unite people in faith. Religious communities live in peace alongside each other and the law takes absolute priority over all religious rules.

7. A civic culture determines the settlement of conflicts in Germany and violence is not accepted. Respect towards minorities is practised and encouraged.

8. We are patriotic: “And because we’ll make it better let us guard and love our home, love it as our dearest country as the others love their own,” Berthold Brecht. Our flag stand for Unity, Justice, Freedom.

9. Our country is located in the heart of Europe and we have been shaped by our neighbours over centuries. Our common language of German unites us and in its intricacies represents the German mind and soul.

10. We have a plethora of traditions and remembrances: from The Day of German Unity to the October Fest. Germanys’ 16 federal republics have many varied mentalities, foods, customs, and dialects, all essentially and uniquely defined as being German.

The complete article in English and in German

A debate in German about the need for a Leitkultur 


Boost your Career – learn German

Good news for German speakers!

German tops the list for highest paid and most in demand languages in the UK in 2016.

If you want to advance your career prospects by learning a foreign language, knowing German will earn you a higher salary than French, Arabic or Spanish, according to the latest statistics. Out of over one million job postings German came first, based on an analysis by the job search engine Adzuna

Whether you want to work in law, marketing, tourism, media, accountancy, or sales, there are thousands jobs currently (September 2016) advertised. Many businesses operate globally, especially in science and research German is the most used language. Germany offers research fellowships to scientist from abroad.  

If you are a student and feel the fees in the UK are exorbitant, why not look at the top German universities. Studying in Germany is much more affordable than in the UK and many top universities lecture in English especially for Bachelor of Science or Master’s programmes, but “a basic knowledge of German must be proven”.

Carnival Time in Germany

Karneval, Fasching, Fastnacht

It’s madness, it’s crazy! Let’s get going! “Alaaf – Helau” you chant.

Year after year on the 11.11. at 11.11. o’clock Carnival starts and ends on ‘Aschermittwoch’ (Ash Wednesday).  Read more…