5 Inventions to Thank Germany For

Posted on 28. Jan, 2015 by in History, Language

Many of the useful and practical Gegenstände (objects) that you use today were invented by Germans. As Germans are known for being very efficient when it comes to working, it’s no wonder that so many inventors are Deutsch! Here’s a list of some of them:

Die erste Glühbirne:

The First Ever Lightbulb:

Although it is said that Thomas Edison and other inventors invented the light bulb, a man called Heinrich Göbel is also to thank for. He invented the first moderne (modern) light bulb in 1854 that could last up to 400 hours – whereas other inventors in that time couldn’t figure out how to keep the light bulb from burning out! He was born in Springe in Hannover and then later moved to New York.

Das erste Auto der Welt:

The World’s First Car:

This was invented by Karl Benz in 1886, which was the first Auto (car) to be powered completely alone with just gas, also known as the horseless carriage. Karl Benz came from Mühlberg in Germany and then moved to Mannheim where he lived for most of his life. His first Erfindung (invention) was actually in 1885, but as the car was too gefährlich (dangerous) and ausser Kontrolle (out of control) he made a second model in 1886. As you’ve probably guessed by his name, Benz turned into Mercedes Benz in 1926 when he merged with a company and decided to rename all cars with Mercedes – inspired by one of the car models named after Emil Jellinik’s daughter – Mercedes Jellinik.

Karl Benz’s first automobile in the Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart. Photo by ptwo on Flickr.


Der Computer:

The Computer:

You can thank Konrad Zuse (born in Berlin) for this invention, who invented the first modern (programme controlled) computer in 1941. His first computer model: the Z1 was called Rechenmaschine (adding machine) with a keyboard to type data in.

Der Strandkorb:

The Beach Chair:

Der Strandkorb. Photo by Dave Collier on Flickr.

It might not be as world changing as the other inventions, but it’s still practical for any holiday makers along the North Sea and Baltic Sea – where it’s very windig (windy)! Der Erfinder (the Inventor) was a German basket maker called Wilhelm Bartelmann who lived in Rostock in Northern Germany. He invented the Strandkorb in 1882 by request from a tourist.


Die Petrischale:

The Petri dish:

Germany has also invented a lot of things for medicine, physics and chemistry. Julius Richard Petri invented the Petri dish, which is of course named after him. He was a Bakteriologe (bacteriologist) and lived in Berlin. He invented the Petri dish in 1887 whilst working with Robert Koch – a German physician who contributed greatly with his Forschung (research) on Tuberculosis, Cholera and more.

These are just a few inventions created in Germany that I thought were interesting! What’s also interessant (interesting) is that a lot of inventions have more than one inventor that contributed to the making of it. Do you know of any other German inventions?


Bis bald,


German parents want to kick out their children’s teacher

Posted on 27. Jan, 2015 by in Current Events, Film

On January 15 Sönke Wortmann’s movie Frau Müller muss weg! (lit. Frau Müller must leave!) was released at German movie theaters. The critical comedy depicts the difficult relationship between parents and their children’s teachers in Germany. The story behind the film is certainly not far-fetched but reflects the situation of German teachers and parents alike.

YouTube Preview Image

Frau Müller (Gabriela Maria Schmeide) is a cordial Grundschullehrerin (elementary teacher) in Dresden. Even after 20 years of Berufserfahrung (professional experience) she still loves her job. She cheerfully bids her student’s parents welcome on an unscheduled Elternversammlung (parent meeting) on a Saturday afternoon.

In three months, the Halbjahreszeugnisse (intermediate report cards) will be handed out, which worries the paternal minds. The parents are dissatisfied with the schlechten schulischen Leistungen (poor school performances) of their children and put the blame on Frau Müller. Allegedly, Frau Müller’s grading is too strict and she assigns too much homework.

Worried mother Jessica Höfel (Anke Engelke) has recognized herself that her daughter isn’t die hellste Kerze im Leuchter” (the brightest bulb in the box) but wants to send her to a Gymnasium (academic high-school) anyway, just as the other parents, too. But the intermediate report cards are decisive for an appropriate secondary school. If the report cards will turn out badly, the chances of entering a Gymnasium would diminish.


The pressure of the job market

The movie Frau Müller muss weg! addresses the current fear of many German parents who are concerned with the professional prospects of their children, which also implies their future financial conditions. In conversation with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, the Swiss pediatrician Remo Largo declares: “The economic crisis, Hartz IV (A/N, German unemployment benefit), and the rise of China lead up to enormous fears with regard to their offspring.”
But teachers are also put under pressure. On the one hand, they have to grade the school performance of their students and on the other hand, they are also aware of the current economic situation. The requirements on students have gradually been lowered over the last decades. According to the FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) the final grade 1.0 of the Abitur (high-school diploma) increased by 40 percent between 2006 and 2012. These days, there are more students who achieve better results, but most of them aren’t wiser than past Abiturienten (high-school graduates).


Frau Müller, it’s not ADHS, it’s intellectual giftedness!

Frau Müller informs the couple Marina and Patrick Jeskow (Mina Tander and Ken Duken) that their son displays behavioral problems. He disrupts the class and beats classmates. Marina Jeskow is unsympathetic to the fact that her son could suffer from Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit-Hyperaktivitätsstörung (ADHS, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). She is convinced that her son is hochbegabt (highly talented) and that he only disrupts the class because he is unterfordert (unchallenged).
Indeed, many German parents tend to think that their children are highly talented when they are confronted with the contingency that their child could suffer from ADHS. It must be noted that the medikamentöse Behandlung (medical treatment) of ADHS isn’t that advanced in Germany because the majority of physicians still refuse to give Ritalin to young children.


What the movie Frau Müller muss weg! wants to tell us

The lesson to learn is clear: Parents have to learn again that teachers aren’t enemies, who want to score off their children. It’s a pedagog’s task to teach students in a particular field and to evaluate their Lernfortschritte (learning progresses). Unfortunately, most Germans hold the opinion that they can foist parental education off on the teachers of their children.
Moreover, parents have to learn that it’s better not to push their children but to confide in them. It is not necessary to pass the Abitur or to complete an akademische Ausbildung (academic training) in order to find one’s place in the world of employment and to live a happy life.


die Grundschullehrerin – female elementary teacher
der Grundschullehrer – male elementary teacher
die Berufserfahrung – professional experience
die Elternversammlung – parental meeting
das Halbjahreszeugnis – intermediate report card
die schlechten schulischen Leistungen – poor school performance
das Abitur – high-school diploma
der Abiturient – male high-school graduate
die Abiturientin – female high-school graduate
die Abiturienten – high-school graduates
die Aufmerksamkeitsdefizit-Hyperaktivitätsstörung – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHS)
hochbegabt – highly talented
unterfordert – unchallenged
die medikamentöse Behandlung – medical treatment
der Lernfortschritt – learning progress
die Lernfortschritte – learning progresses
die akademische Ausbildung – academic training

Recognising Basic Bavarian Words & Phrases

Posted on 25. Jan, 2015 by in Language, Practice

A while back I said I wanted to introduce some Bavarian (Bairisch) to the blog. I wrote a couple of posts on the Bavarian language, which you can read by clicking on their titles below:

An Introduction to Bavarian
I Liab Di: Bavarian Love

Words and Signs you Might Encounter in Deepest Bavaria

However, I realise now that I got a little carried away and should’ve started with the basics, so that’s what this post is all about. This post is both intended for people who are complete beginners to German, and are interested in seeing the differences between Hochdeutsch (high or standard German) and one of Germany’s many dialects, and for more advanced German learners who are looking for a new challenge!

So without further ado, here is a list of basic phrases translated from English into German into Bavarian.

Please note that the dialect I know and use is Mittelbairisch (Middle Bavarian), which is spoken in München, along the Donau river, and in parts of Austria. The words and spellings I use here reflect that, and you may see things spelt or pronounced differently in other parts of Bavaria (see this map for a vague idea of what is spoken where).


By Constanze Arnold (this is a picture, so feel free to save it/print it!)

As you can see, there are definite differences between Hochdeutsch (Standard German) and Mittelbairisch (Middle Bavarian). However, in many cases you can recognise the German word that the Bavarian comes from. Some examples are:

hoas is heiße (Ich heiße… – I am called…)

oid is alt (Ich bin … Jahre alt – I am … years old)

guad is gut (Mir geht es gut – I’m well/fine)

They are different, but they are recognisable.

To practise recognising these differences, here’s a little extract from the newspaper TZ, written in Bairisch. Can you recognise the Bairisch words, and tell me which German words they come from?

Minga – Am Freidog erscheint de ganze tz auf Bairisch. Von vorn bis hintn! Rudi Bögel, da Chef von da Zeitung, mocht hia kloa, warums des Dialekt-Experiment übahabt gibt.

Am Freidog, liabe Leser, hams wos in der Hand, wos einmalig is! De ganze tz auf Bairisch. Vo vorn bis hint! Jetzt wern Sie sich frogn, warum mia des macha? Offizieller Anlass is da intenationale „Tag der Muttersprache“. Und do hamma uns denkt: Dann schreima am Freidog einfach in unserer Muattersprach, nämlich Bairisch.“
(original text here)

And finally, a challenge to finish! Using the table above, tell me a little about yourself in Bavarian!

Pfia God!

Constanze x