Tuesday, November 06, 2007


So my earlier post about the faux-Swedish at IKEA (well, I think it's faux - could there be that many names for lamps?) got me thinking about high school. Leap with me, k? It'll make sense shortly.

Back in high school we had this fantastic German teacher - as in she taught German - her actual ethnicity was Italian. I love this city. Anyway. She really taught us to speak German as opposed to just reading it, writing it and dissecting sentences and paragraphs. We used to have to listen to "Ziggy" - a guy from a Toronto radio station who did a German language program on Sundays. Miss M. would record Sunday's program and we'd all listen to it in class on Monday - we had to figure out what the interviews were about, what was happening on the news, and translate the lyrics to songs that were played. It was awesome.

In the 80s there were a few big German hits, remember? Der Kommissar, 99 Luftbaloons - maybe some others? Anyone? Well she'd get us to bring in our 45s (I know) and we'd all try some translation of those too. Very cool.

Every Friday we also had "Kaffe Konditorei" - she'd make coffee and tea and someone would be designated to run to Tim Horton's for donuts, and we'd all have to place our orders in German, then once we had our treats, we set the desks up like cafe tables and chatted in German while listening to Ziggy or some German music. Also awesome.

Miss M. had this great prop that she used regularly to explain any number of verb conjugations, scenarios, whatever. Hugo was a staple in our classroom and there was even an international (well, inter-classroominal) incident where Hugo was kidnapped, with dragging marks and little footprints leading to the art room. That was war, I tell you, but the German students prevailed and Hugo was returned unharmed. Good times.

So the really great thing about Miss M. was that she was pretty slack with the curriculum. I mean we learned, don't get me wrong, but it just wasn't the usual type of learning, and she absolutely loved creativity. We did a lot of talking in that class, which is right up my alley. So much talking, that it became almost second nature to just launch into the usual "how was your weekend?" chat in our new second language. Sometimes though, in our rush to talk about everything, some words weren't always remembered, and that's where we - the students - got creative. You know of course that English and German are a lot alike, right? Here's a list of some of our faves:

to wake up = upgewoken
to disembark - as in from a bus, train, etc. = offgetten
to stroll along, or mosey = mosen i.e. "let's mosey" = "mosen wir"
to drink socially, as in too much and at a party = rumundkokentrinken
to make out (high school, remember??) = ausmaken

Oh there were plenty more, but those stand out. Our Germglish was awesome, and honestly if you threw one of those into a sentence in your best German accent? Totally worked.

So other than making y'all aware of what passed for entertainment in my youth? There's really no point to that story. Now, without further adieu... Gute nacht. Zu beddgoin.


vivian said...

My high school German teacher was equally as cool and un-German. She had a very French last name (and was also the school French teacher). We used to have Octoberfest parties every year. We all had to bring in German food and we basically pigged out. My job was to bring in the kartoffelsalat as my mother makes a wicked German style potato salad. Good times.

Does Rock Me Amadeus count as a German 80's hit?

e-Lizabeth said...

Rock me Amadeus TOTALLY counts, come on!

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