Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Learning a Foreign Language Through Poetry

Guest post by Laraine Flemming
Laraine's text is longer than my usual posts and therefore opens in a new window.

I wholeheartedly agree with her assessment of the value of memorizing poems, not only to assist in learning a foreign language, but also to make you appreciate the finer points of your own language. I believe I have an ear for the rhythm and melody that can be achieved in a text, and I think one reason is that we had to memorize poems in school and recite them aloud. That way, I started to see the expressive potential of different meters and to the present day, I 'hear' the sentences that I write down. I attribute this directly to my experience with reciting poems.

To me, the claim that one doesn't learn anything from memorizing poems is dubious, to say the least. It's just one of the many ways in which education has been dumbed down over the last decades based on spurious claims that do not hold up to scrutiny.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Word of the Month: Unglücksrabe

Word of the Month: Index

A Pechvogel was the first 'compound creature' I drew and posted on my blog. I'm finally getting around to giving him a companion in misery. Unglück is the opposite of Glück (good fortune, luck), and we encountered a Rabe (raven) already in connection with Rabeneltern. Like a Pechvogel, an Unglücksrabe is a person who has run into some misfortune—he and a Pechvogel are partners in bad luck.

The most famous Unglücksrabe in German literature is Hans Huckebein, the anti-hero of a story told in pictures by Wilhelm Busch. I have to do some more research to find out why ravens are associated with bad luck in this expression.

[Source: Wild Things in the German Language: Kindle/paperback version | iBooks version]