Archive for the ‘Languages & Communications’ Category

Every Tuesday between 10.30 and 12.30, a German speaking children’s group (Kindergruppe) meets at the Martin-Luther-Kirche in Shieldfield, Newcastle. The German speaking parents and their children (between 0 and 4 years) meet to play, sing, do crafts etc and celebrate together birthdays, carnival, Easter, Christmas and organise trips together.

If you would like further information, please contact Angela Rau-Pokorny directly: Tel. 07769 731 259 or email angelarau@hotmail.com.

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Dear Stammtisch Friends

I hope you all had a great start to the snow free New Year and are enjoying the slightly warmer temperatures. We have now got another date for the Stammtisch at the Mansion House, which will be held on Monday, 21 March, starting at 6.30pm. Gunther will prepare a warming Linseneintopf mit Bockwurst (lentil stew) at a cost of £7.95 per person and the leader of Newcastle City Council, David Faulkner will also join us for a talk about the Ruhr Capital of Culture (Gelsenkirchen, Newcastle’s twin city in Germany was part of the celebrations last year). As usual, just let me know if you’re coming and payment will be again at the door.

We are also currently planning a German wine tasting evening later in the year, but more as soon as we’ve got this organised. If you have suggestions for future events/themes, please let me know – it would be great to get your ideas!

The Stammtisch also received an invitation from Newcastle City Council to the Holocaust Memorial Commemorative Event “Untold Stories”, which takes place on Sunday, 30 January from 3pm at the Journal Tyne Theatre at Westgate Road. There will be a commemorative performance, including keynote speeches from; Youk Chang, Professor Roberta Greene and Peter Kurer and a celebration of ‘The Galloping Stone’ an anthology of writing by clients, staff and volunteers from the Medical Foundation for the Care of the Victims of Torture, by Gillian Allnut and others from New Writing North. The programme will also feature classical and contemporary musical performances from Katie Doherty as well as a solo performance from Bradley Creswick leader of the Northern Sinfonia and a performance by Hotspur Children’s Choir. For further information about the event and to order your ticket – please visit: http://www.hmd.org.uk/events/find/north-east/11733newcastle-holocaust-memorial-commemorative-event-untold-stories.

The Lit & Phil also holds some events to commemorate the Holocaust and if you don’t know this landmark building next to the Central Station, go and check it out. It’s open to non-members and you will be impressed by this little oasis in bustling Newcastle. The Literary & Philosophical Society dates back to 1793 and some of the North East’s leading thinkers, inventors and business people have been amongst its members. The current building was opened in 1825 and today houses over 150,000 books and an extensive music library. To find out more about the society, the library and forthcoming events, visit www.litandphil.org.uk.

That a dog is for life and not just for Christmas, we all know. But last year the shelters were full of unwanted four-legged companions and many unfortunately had to be put down. If one of your new year resolutions is to keep fit, why not check out some of the local animal shelters (such as Brysons – www.brysons.org.uk) to get a suitable partner. And if you’re worried if you can take your dog to a pub for a well-deserved pint, there’s a great website that tells you where you both can go to – www.doggiepubs.org.uk.

And if you’re New Year resolution is to learn a new language – another Stammtisch member sent me this link to this free award-winning online language learning community: http://www.busuu.com/. If anybody has been on it and has some feedback, please post this here on our blog.

And if you’re a fluent German speaker, you might even want to head over there – apparently the German economy is doing rather well – with a 2010 growth of 3.6%. And the Handelsblatt recently reported that there are even 40,000 open ‘Hilfsarbeiter’ (un-/lower skilled labour) positions, which is surprising as we still have almost 3 million people unemployed. If you want to know what are Germany’s top 10 most sought after positions – Stern carried Adecco’s Stellenindex 2010. Click here for further details.

And if you want to know what Germans find entertaining – then just get ‘Hummeldumm’ – this is the title of one of Germany’s top selling books in 2010. I picked it up while on holiday last year and had a few giggles If anybody wants to borrow it, let me know. The author Tommy Jaud (a fellow Franconian) had already previous bestsellers with Vollidiot, Resturlaub and Millionaer. My personal favourite Resturlaub is currently being made into a movie – as I’ve just seen on Tommy Jaud’s homepage – http://www.tommyjaud.de/tommyjaud/home. Maybe when it’s out, we can persuade the Tyneside Cinema to do a special viewing for us.

Anyway, that’s it from me for today – if you can’t wait till 21 March for our next Stammtisch – let me know and I’ll ask the pub over the road here in Tynemouth if they’ll do us a very nice Schnitzel with Pommes.
Have a very enjoyable and successful 2011!

Warm regards


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Dear Stammtisch Friends

In just over six weeks, it will be Christmas again and we have of course planned another Christmas Dinner (Weihnachtsessen). The Mansion House will look after us this year on Monday, 6 December and on the menu will be Christmas goose and dumplings (Weihnachtsgans und Kloesse). The overall cost will be £20 for a three course dinner.

The evening will start at 7pm with a Glühwein reception, followed by dinner at 7.45pm. You will need to book in advance this time directly with the Mansion House (Tel: 0191 281 0863), where you can pay either by debit card or cheque (credit card payment will incur a 2.5% surcharge). Please note that places will be limited, so if you want to join us, let them know asap.

If you can’t wait until December, why not come along to the annual Christmas Bazaar at St James United Reformed Church on Saturday, 27 November from 11am to 2pm, which is organised by the Pfarramt Schottland/Nordostengland. Or if you want to travel a bit further for some Glühwein, Bratwürste or Plätzchen – in Edinburgh they have a fabulous traditional German Christmas Market which starts this year on Thursday, 25 November all the way through to 24 December. Visit www.edinburghschristmas.com for further information. West Brewery in Glasgow also keep it festive with their special Weihnachtsbierwww.westbeer.com.

Last year Newcastle’s Christmas market featured in a recent service reisen clip from Hessen TV (HR), which I received through Stammtisch member Michael Waugh. It’s all about travelling from Amsterdam to Newcastle, with a special focus on our regional capital and Northumberland.

Back in Germany, you may know that they like to use a lot of English in German advertisements. Stern Online recently let you do a test to find out how well Germans actually understand these slogans. If you want to find out how good your ‘Werbe-Englisch’ really is, have a go yourself.

And if you think your English or German skills need to improve, why don’t you check out language learning materials from Spotlight Verlag. Spotlight, Spot On and Business Spotlight provide interesting news and feature articles from English speaking countries, while Deutsch perfekt covers Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Interesting articles about Spain and Latin America are in Ecos, France is featured in Écoute and for Italian lovers it has to be Adesso. www.spotlight-verlag.de publishes a monthly magazine for each language, accompanying CDs, exercise/grammar booklets and has online resources.

German language skills might just come in handy for those who might think that employment opportunities are better on the continent. Last month Germany’s unemployment figures fell just below 3 million (well, there are also a lot of people retiring….), but future skills shortages seem to become a real issue. So it might soon be again ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’…..

But then again, wouldn’t it be nice to work in the comfort of your own home on a cold, windy day like today with no travel involved at all? Or enjoy more sunny hours in your garden or on the beach in our lovely region? Sensée is the UK’s leading homeworking specialist and last month the company started its first homeworking agent hub here in the North East. They are currently recruiting for inbound customer service for a major UK retailer, offering full-time positions for homebased agents. If you know somebody who might be interested, the website provides further details on current vacancies. All that’s required is a suitable workspace, PC, landline and broadband access.

See you soon at the Christmas Dinner on 6 December.

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Now that autumn has well and truly arrived, we can celebrate the Oktoberfest! This year it’s a pretty significant date, as the Wies’n celebrates its 200th anniversary.

For those of you who can’t make it to Munich – one of the North East’s pubs has embraced our Bavarian festivities and maybe you want to join us on Thursday, 14 October from 6pm onwards at the Brandling Villa in Gosforth. Please let me know who wants to come so that we can reserve a table. On their beer menu you can find many local beers, but also Erdinger Dunkel, Köstritzer Schwarzbier and Schneider Weisse. The food bar will offer typical Oktoberfest dishes such as Hendl (grilled chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Brezel (Pretzels), Knödel (potato dumplings), Bratwurst and Currywurst. For further information on the Brandling Villa, its Oktoberfest (14 – 16 October), directions and the menu, click here.

The Hilton in Gateshead, who hosted last year’s Oktoberfest, have a typical menu again up until 7 October. There you can get dishes such as Kartoffelsuppe (potato soup), Aufschnittsplatte (selection of meats/chees), Matjesfilet Hausfrauenart (herring with apples and cream), Schweineschnitzel mit Kartoffelsalat (pork cutlet and potatoe salad), Hähnchen “Cordon Bleu” mit Bratkartoffeln und roten Zwiebeln (chicken cordon bleu with roast potatoes and onions) sowie Bratwurst und Sauerkraut (grilled sausage and sauerkraut). And if you still have space for desert, there’s a choice of Zwetschenkuchen (plum cake), Apfeltorte (apple gateau) and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (blackforest gateau).

And if that has not satisfied your appetite, you can always head north to Glasgow, where the WEST Brewery and Bar run an Oktoberfest all through the month. They are even brewing their very own OktoberWEST and have the WEST Oompah Band playing live every Friday from 7.30pm onwards – www.westbeer.com.

Being a typical Munich event, I thought maybe you want to brush up on your language skills? The Oktoberfest site provides you with a lot of information about the event, the history and also the language: http://www.oktoberfest.de/de/navitem/Gaudi/. The online dictionary can also be downloaded as an app and you might also check out the Stern video about the best apps for the Wies’n.

If you want to work on your pronunciation, you might want also to listen to a real Bavarian band – the Spider Murphy Gang, who in the 80s were super successful. Another great programme promoting the Bavarian language was the 10-part series Monaco Franze, which played in Munich. If you can remember this fab programme and are feeling nostalgic, there are quite a few clips on YouTube and there’s even a very entertaining fan page on Facebook. Here’s one where Monaco Franze shows you how to drive a civil servant around the bend – click here.

Civil servants and food leads to another story that recently made the news in Germany – and hopefully both the Hilton and the Brandling Villa take note as it’s all about Schnitzels. A restaurant owner got into trouble with the tax man as he sold disproportionately large Schnitzels to his very hungry guests in Saxony. To read the full story on Reuters, click here.

However, some civil servants do have a sense of humour and Swiss Bundesrat Merz showed this when delivering a speech on a new EU law re a specific Swiss meat and ‘slightly’ lost his composure in the process. His ‘speech’ has now become a YouTube hit – click here.

Anyway, I hope you’re all in good spirits and we see many of you at our October meeting on 14th at the Brandling Villa.



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If you’re interested in cultural events, there will be a free poetry reading by two poets from Tübingen on Monday 1st November. The reading is at Durham Clayport Library (Durham City centre) and will begin at 7pm – with German and English readings.

Newcastle University also have a series of seminars as part of their German Studies Programme 2010/2011, Semester 1 that you might be interested in:

  • Sue Vice: Claude Lanzmann’s Einsatzgruppen Interviews
    Location: Old Library Building, Research Beehive, room 2.20
    Time/Date: 14th October 2010, 16:00 – 17:00
  • Christiane Williams: Excitable Minds. The Possible Use and Abuse of 18th Century South Pacific Travelogues as Erotic Writings
    Location: Old Library Building, Research Beehive, room 2.20
    Time/Date: 21st October 2010, 16:00 – 17:00
  • German-English Poetry Reading and Workshop with Henning Ziebritzki & carolyn murphey melchers (Tübingen)
    Location: ! Hatton Gallery ! (Quadrangle)
    Time/Date: 2nd November 2010, 14:00 – 16:00
  • Nils Langer: Language Policies and Language Suppression in 19th Century Schleswig-Holstein
    Location: Old Library Building, Research Beehive, room 2.20
    Time/Date: 18th November 2010, 16:00 – 17:00
  • Martin Pickard: Johann Nepomuk von Poißl and German Opera in Early 19th Century Munich
    Location: ! CETL seminar room, Armstrong Building !
    Time/Date: 1st December 2010, 16:00 – 18:00

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The University of Bristol and confused.com recently carried out a survey of what is the most confusing accent in the UK. Guess who came top? Exactly, it’s the Geordies who people seem to have most problems understanding.

If you are not from the region and have a funny story to tell about communication troubles in Geordieland, we’d love to read about it here. For the full story, visit Sky News

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It is interesting to compare the public’s concerns relating to social media such as  Facebook in both the UK and Germany.

In the UK, Facebook came under pressure to find ways how to protect young people from potential paedophiles. In Germany, however, consumer groups and the German government put pressure on Facebook to improve its data protection and even advised Germans not to use the social media platform.

Germany’s equivalent to Which magazine – Stiftung Warentest – also published a special edition in April and surveyed the various social media platforms. It also gave bad marks for data security. Click here to subscribe the test edition.

And Google’s Street View is in trouble as Germans are up in arms about having their property on the internet without their permission. People now seem to have the opportunity to opt out of the service before it goes online.

One of our fellow Stammtisch members also  forwarded us a letter that was sent to an MP on the new Digital Economy Bill. If you take into consideration that the Minister for Digital Britain (or his staff) does not seem to know the difference between Intellectual Property and Internet Protocol, it might be worth looking at what that Digital Economy Bill is all about  http://meeb.org/post/505849844/i-wrote-to-my-mp-two-weeks-ago-regarding-my-shock.

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The first Stammtisch event of the year will be at the Hilton in Gateshead on Rosenmontag (carnival Monday), 15 February. Our theme will be ‘Heaven & Hell’ (optional of course), with a carnival buffet on the evening at a cost of £15 per person.

We are delighted that the German Consul, Mr Wolfgang Moessinger will also be able to join us and say a few words. The event starts at around 6.30pm and the buffet opens at 7pm. Please let me know if you can make it, so that we have an idea about numbers for catering. It would be great to see you all.

In the forthcoming three months, the Tyneside Cinema will feature German, Spanish and French movies as part of the Language Café initiative. German movies will be shown on the following dates:

Tuesday, 19 January @ 17:45     Das Leben der Anderen
Sunday, 14 February @ 17:35     M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder
Sunday, 7 March @ tbc              Nirgendwo in Afrika

Following each performance, there’s also a free get-together where you can talk about the film in German. Click here for the full Tyneside Cinema programme.

If your New Year’s resolution includes to learn German, visit the BBC’s website for a taster. They have an entertaining German language section, which is also quite good fun for native speakers. In ten short videos, German comedian Henning Wehn explains ‘What’s so funny about German’. Let me know what you think J

Now that the snow fall in the UK has calmed down a bit, ‘Daisy’ has been causing havoc in northern Germany. The Stern magazine has some impressive photographs online.

Last, but not least – the Ruhr area/Essen is this year’s Capital of Culture. With daily flights from Newcastle to Düsseldorf, you might fancy a weekend trip to the celebrations – check out RUHR2010.

See you soon!

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A big thank you to everybody who supported our regulars’ table.  Since our first beer garden get-together in July, our group has grown quite considerably.

We are now working on an events/activities  schedule for 2010 and appreciate any suggestions/ideas.

The very first event for your diary will be our Rosenmontag Party (Carnival Monday) on 15 February. The Hilton in Gateshead has offered again the venue and is organising food & drink. There will be an optional carnival theme for Faschingsfans, which you will find out about more in the new year.

If you want to help a local initiative: Durham is currently bidding for City of Culture status in 2013. Winning the nomination could help bring a lot more visitors to the region – see www.durhamcityofculture.co.uk for details.

In the news was recently that DB (Deutsche Bahn) Regio will take over the running of the Tyne & Wear metro. For further details click here. Any comments/thoughts?

Great news from FlyBe! From March they offer direct flights to Hannover. The service will run three times a week. Click here for further information. This is in addition to the only other direct German connection to Duesseldorf, which is provided by Lufthansa.

You might know that around 100m people in Europe speak German as their main language. There are also many other regions around the world that continue to speak the language. Over the past 200 years, Brazil for example has seen many German immigrants and in Santa Catarina (Blumenau and Pomerode) around 60,000 people still speak German. In December president Lula visited Germany to strengthen economic relations. Some interesting facts: around 1,200 German companies are active in Brazil, generating ca 10% of the industrial GDP. ThyssenKrupp is the country’s major inward investor for decades, building a €4.5 billion steel works, Volkswagen has also revealed that they will invest around €2 billion over the next four years and companies like Siemens are keen to win contracts for the new high speed train linking Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (estimated cost €13.3 billion). The Football World Cup 2014, Rio Olympics 2016 plus findings of major new oil fields have brought Brazil firmly into focus. For further details see the Handelsblatt.

While talking about exports – one famous cultural export that came from Germany is of course the Christmas Tree. After the German Prince Albert married Queen Victoria, he introduced this tradition in the 1840s.. The picture of the Royal Family next to a decorated Christmas tree made it popular not only in Britain, but also later in the US.

On that note I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a great start to a prosperous 2010 – Frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch!

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The Hilton Hotel in Gateshead has organised a German Christmas Dinner on Tuesday, 8 December. We will meet first for some Glühwein and chats at 6.30pm and ‘Weihnachtsgans und Klösse’ (goose and dumplings) from 7.30pm onwards.

The venue is the bar area with fabulous views of the river Tyne. Everybody pays again for themselves, depending on what they’re having – the Christmas dinner is priced at £12.50/person.

Please email us to let us know if you’re coming and if you’re bringing anybody so that the Hilton knows for how many to cater for – info@lexica-communications.com. Thank you!

Other interesting events taking place:

From 26 November to 24 December

A traditional German Christmas Market will be in Edinburgh for the Christmas season. Eastcoast Rail also offers cheap tickets from £12.50 each way from Newcastle.

Saturday, 28 November

St James United Reformed Church (Northumberland Road, Newcastle – next to the City Hall is holding its annual German Christmas bazaar again from 11am – 2pm. If you want further information, please let me know and I’ll email it.

Monday, 7 December

The Sprachcafe meets again in the Gala Theatre in Durham from 6pm – 8pm – for anybody who wants to practice their German.

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