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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.