Tag Archives: German

‘Dobble’ the fun!

The latest game available at the LRC is aimed at students learning German, though it could be applied to any language. There are a few different ways to play; instructions are given in both English and German, and a list of images and their German words are also provided.


The basic concept is that any two cards has one and only one image that matches between them. Whoever points out the similarity between the cards will get a point. This game is great for students beginning to learn German who want to learn new vocabulary words, including remembering those pesky definite articles, and for those who want to get some practice speaking.

Dobble is similar to our other fantastic game Spot it!, which includes words as well as images and therefore has a different set of cards for each language.

Learning a Language has never been so Transparent!

Please forgive my terrible puns. But learning German (or any language!) can be fun and easy using the many resources offered free of cost by the LRC, and one of my favorite examples is an online program called Transparent Language.

I used this resource to review some forgotten German vocabulary as well as try some of the basic lessons in Mandarin. Any German language learner at any level-beginner, intermediate or advanced- can use this program, which has a wide range of lessons and topics to choose from. You can skip around if you want, which is great for advanced speakers who don’t want to go through all the beginner lessons. The best thing about Transparent Language is that it helps in every area of language learning: reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking!

You do not need to be on an LRC computer to use this resource, but you can always come in and use our headphones and microphones for this program. To get started, visit the LRC webpage at www.gettysburg.edu/lrc and click on Resources. Under Online Resources, Transparent Language will be the first option. You will be asked to create a profile and a login and then you’re ready to go! 

Scribblenauts auf Deutsch!

Have you ever played the video game Scribblenauts? Modeled in the style of a comic book, Scribblenauts is a fun puzzle based game in which you must come up with different nouns to solve problems the hero, Maxwell, encounters.

At the LRC you can play Scribblenauts in German on our iPads! This game is best suited for intermediate or advanced German students because it requires a variety of vocabulary knowledge that beginner students may not have yet. However, that shouldn’t stop you from trying it! This game is excellent for practicing word recall and vocabulary, and Autocorrect can help you out with spelling. To play, make sure the language of the IPad is set on German by going to the IPad’s General Settings > Language and Region > iPad language.

The German department and German club participated in a Game Night in the LRC earlier in the semester, and once we started playing, it was hard to stop! This game is very fun when you creatively solve problems. For example, to cut a tree down to receive a star from the top, we used the obvious saw and ax, then were able to use einer Flammenwerfer-a flamethrower! The breadth of objects available for use in Scribblenauts never fails to astound me. 

Keep in mind that for each scenario you will have to come up with three different ways to solve the problem; essentially three different nouns that the characters can use. Additionally, you cannot use words you have already used in past scenarios, so choose wisely and be creative!

Spot It! New LRC Game

Do you like fast-paced language learning games for you and up to 7 friends?

Then check out Spot It!, the newest game available in the LRC. Spot It! comes in Spanish, French, Italian, and German, and Chinese and Arabic versions of the game are currently being made by LRC employees.

There is one and only one similarity between every pair of cards. Be the first to spot the similarity between two cards, whether its the same symbol, the same word, or a word corresponding with a symbol, and you get the point! A guide showing the correct word-picture combinations are also available.

The words/items used are very common (i.e. cat, window, boat, car, etc.), making this a great game for beginners to learn different nouns or for more advanced students to review old vocabulary.

Dear Ryan Murphy, The Infinitive Goes at the End

***Spoiler Alert for Episode Four of American Horror Story***

Potential Trigger: Clowns

Approximately 90 million individuals speak standard German as their first language, with an additional 30 million people speaking variations (Swabian, Austrian German, Swiss German, etc.) And then, not be forgotten, approximately 80 million people speak German as a second language. I may not be a math major and therefore capable of solving the meaning of life (42, if you wanted to know), but basic addition, that I can handle. 90mil+30mil+80mil= 200mil German speakers, one of whom, is me. When American Horror Story (AHS) creator Ryan Murphy announced that the fourth season of his cult-classic television show would be Freakshow, I got excited. When American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy announced that the fourth season of his cult-classic television show would include German, I, and other German-speaking fans of the show, understandably grew apprehensive. American TV shows are not exactly known for their fantastic pronunciation of languages other than English.

That's right hunny, be wary of strange men offering you things!
That’s right hunny, be wary of strange men offering you things!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 arrived, a blustery day marking the beginning of Fall in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. As always, my friends and I gathered excitedly in front of the television screen, eagerly awaiting the creepy strains of the theme song.


Cinematically, AHS breaks barriers, daringly experiments with camera angles, and ultimately falls flat on its Arsch when it comes to German.

Less than 10 minutes into “Monster Among Us,“ (the first episode), I cringed. Jessica Lange’s German accent is passable; painful, but passable. Her German “R’s” which occur in the back of the throat are inconsistent, as are her “V’s” which sound like an “S” and her “W” which sound like a “V.” (Don’t look at me, I didn’t come up with the pronunciations!)

“Das Leben will geliebt werden. Life is to be lived.“ is the first German line spoken by Jessica Lange’s Elsa Mars. Immediately my little, German-speaking heart sank.

Mr Clown, that is exactly how I feel when people mess up German during TV shows.
My face when Elsa spoke.

Although this sentence is grammatically correct, the translation into English is not. Geliebt is the past participle of the verb lieben, which means to love, making the correct translation, “Life is to be loved.” Also a good sentence. If the episode writers truly wanted Elsa to say “Life is to be lived,” they should substitute geliebt with gelebt, the past participle of leben: to live. Additionally, the third person, present tense conjugation of werden (to become), wird, would make the sentence grammatically correct: Das Leben wird geliebt werden.

Thankfully, the German was kept to a minimum of colloquial phrases until episode four, “Edward Mordrake: Part 2.“ The second half of the AHS Halloween special, it should actually be titled “Night of the Living Trope,” as the episode grossly misrepresented the Weimar Republic, confused geographic and political terms, and perpetuated portrayals of Germans as depraved, sexually immoral, inhumane Nazis. I am not saying that the Nazis were not horrible people –they most assuredly were!– however, Germany, its people, and its history, cannot and should not be limited to “Nazis!” simply because the trope is too “difficult” to avoid. As a scholar of the Weimar Republic, I had to leave the room; the show’s disrespectful (and historically narrow-minded) depiction of “sexual deviancy” as vulgar and perverted via a voyeuristically debasing camera angle made me sick. To top it off, the German spoken matched the horrific nature of the scene.

Snape is not amused and refuses to watch any longer.
Snape is not amused and refuses to watch any longer.

Fourteen minutes into the episode, Edward Mordrake, a freak searching for a depraved soul to take back with him to Hell, forces Elsa to relive her worst memory–the loss of her legs during a snuff film. However, before she could relate the horrific details of her experience, it was necessary to butcher some German.

“Willst die Hunde pissen?” questions Elsa. Translation: Does the dog want to pee? At least, that is what they were going for; the actual translation of this sentence would be along the lines of “Does the dogs want to pee?” The mistakes being made do not involve more than basic, intro-level German; the German 101 students whom I tutor write more complex and grammatically sound sentences, and they have only been studying the language for two months! First, die Hunde is the plural of der Hund (the dog); as there is only one human pretending to be a dog in the scene, the plural is not necessary. Next, subject and verb agreement. In German, the subject of the sentence determines the form of the conjugated verb. The verb used here is wollen: to want to, to will. Willst is the du form of the verb, as described in the table below.

Ich will (I want) Wir wollen (We want)
Du willst (You -informal- want) Ihr wollt (Y’all want)
Er/Sie/Es will (He/She/It wants) Sie/sie wollen (You formal/they want)

Had Elsa wished to ask the man a question, she should have said, “Willst du pissen?” This question is also useful if she is actually talking to a dog. Had her intention been to completely dehumanize the man and ask “Does the dog want to pee?” Elsa would need to say, “Will der Hund pissen?“ Instead, she mixed the two forms and accidentally used a plural. Did Ryan Murphy even consult a German-speaker for this show?

The answer is obviously a resounding “NO,” as Elsa’s next statement is equally grammatically problematic.


“Nay, nay, nay. Du kannst nichts steihen wie ein Mann.” Translation: No, no, no. You cannot stand like a man. The beginning of the sentence is fine. The subject du (you) and the verb können (can, able to) agree; however, the rest of the sentence makes me wince. Nichts (nothing, none), although a proper German word, does not work in this context; only nicht (not) is needed. The following word, which I understood as steihen (no translation available as it is not a word), is most likely a mispronounced version of stehen (to stand). In addition to being mispronounced, it should follow the phrase “wie ein Mann” which is written correctly.
Dear Ryan Murphy, the infinitive goes at the end.


For another analysis of television’s use of “bad German“, please see Rebecca Schuman’s review of Grimm at Slate.com

American Horror Story: Freak Show airs Wednesdays on FX at 10pm EST/9pmCT.