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This page contains the following 2017 newsletters starting with the latest:

January, March,

Separated by

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The Newsletter of the Chartered Institute of Linguists German Society e.V.

 

March 2017

 

Letter from the Chair

 

Dear Members,

 

Our first event of the year was the AGM in Mainz, and we were delighted to welcome Jane Galbraith, CIoL Head of Membership. After the formal AGM, Jane gave us a very interesting and informative presentation about the current state of the Institute and its future plans. The Institute is keen to talk directly to its members and gain an insight into what people really want. The CIoL and GS are now working towards a more informal structure for the German society. This will not mean any changes to our annual events, but it will be easier for volunteer committee members if we do not have to have a formal e.V. status.

 

I will continue as Chair until the next AGM but then I will stand down, as I am returning to the UK on a permanent basis. Since both my daughters now live and work in the UK, I have made the decision to move. This was not an easy choice, having lived in Germany for over 30 years, and I’m not enthusiastic about Brexit, but I wish to be closer to my family. I still plan to attend GS events – they have given me so much over the years and I would be sorry to miss out on them.

 

At the AGM we discussed our plans for 2017 and 2018. Further details of the Study Weekend in Lübeck (15 - 17 September, deadline for priority booking 31 March) and the Translators’ Workshop in Berlin (11 November) can be found in this newsletter. Looking ahead to 2018, it is our turn to host the Anglophoner Tag, which will probably take place in June in Greifswald. The 2018 Study Weekend will be in Vienna in September. More details will follow at a later date. We’re deeply indebted to Jadwiga for organising so many events so successfully.

 

All the best from me and the committee

 

Stephanie

 

Page 2

 

Minutes of German Society of the Chartered Institute of Linguists AGM 2017

Saturday 4 March, Haus des Deutschen Weines, Mainz

 

The meeting began at 11 a.m. Chairperson Stephanie Tarling welcomed those present and introduced our guest from the CIoL in London, Jane Galbraith, Head of Membership.

 

1. Apologies for absence

Guglielmo Fittante

Ilse Freiburg

Ute Reusch

Brenda Scruby

Rowan Shaw

Angela Weckler (who took part via Skype)

 

2. Approval of the agenda

Rodney Mantle proposed approval, Gloria Buttress seconded. The agenda was

approved unanimously.

 

3. Approval of minutes of 2016 AGM

Mike Harrington proposed approval, Isabelle Thorman seconded. The minutes were

approved unanimously.

 

4. Chairman's report

Stephanie reviewed the events of 2016, thanking the webmaster and newsletter

editor for their respective services. She reported that the committee held regular

meetings via Skype.

 

5. Treasurer's Report

Rodney Mantle and Gloria Buttress had audited the books prior to the AGM, for

which they were duly thanked. Treasurer Jadwiga Bobrowska presented a

breakdown of the GS accounts and current financial situation.

 

6. Formal approval by membership of committee's actions

Frances Mechan-Schmidt proposed approval, Heidi English seconded.

The committee's actions were approved unanimously.

 

7. Formal approval by membership of treasurer's actions

Glynis Thompson proposed approval, Roy Virtue seconded. The treasurer's actions

were approved unanimously, with thanks for her excellent work.

 

8. Election of committee members (treasurer and secretary)

Both Jadwiga Bobrowska and Angela Weckler were willing to stand again.

Gloria Buttress proposed Angela Weckler, Rodney Mantle seconded. Isabelle

Thormann proposed Jadwiga Bobrowska, Frances Mechan-Schmidt seconded.

Both were re-elected unanimously.

 

Stephanie Tarling announced that she would be standing down as chairperson at the

2018 AGM, as she will be returning to the UK later this year. Vice-Chairman Norman

Ellis may also stand down then. After that, the structure of the German Society will

be on a more informal basis, in line with Institute plans for its various societies at

home and abroad.

 

Page 3

 

9. 2017 Study Weekend in Lübeck

Jadwiga Bobrowska reported on the current status and the number of registrations

received so far, reminding those present that up to 31 March, GS members only were

entitled to register, after which registration would be opened to interested parties who

are associates of GS members.

 

10. Other future events

This year's Anglophoner Tag, to be hosted by the ITI German Network, is to be held in

Chester. Details to follow as available.

The 2017 Translators' Workshop will again take place in Berlin, at the Sorat

Ambassador Hotel. Further details will be provided in due course.

In 2018, it will again be the German Society's turn to organise the Anglophoner Tag.

The proposed venue is Greifswald, with the topic 'Translating the Arts'. The proposed

date is June.

The 2018 Study Weekend will take place in Vienna.

 

11. Any other business

The newsletter editor encouraged members to make contributions on appropriate

subjects to the newsletter.

 

12. Date and place of next AGM

The provisional date is 3 March 2018, and the probable venue somewhere in the

Rhineland or Rhein-Main area.

The meeting concluded at 12.10.

 

Jane Galbraith, Head of Membership at the Chartered Institute of Linguists, then addressed the meeting on the Institute's activities and plans relating to members. The aim is for someone to visit each of the societies and divisions at least once a year, with a strong focus on ascertaining members' wants and needs. The Institute is also working on attracting younger members at the pre-professional stage. To this end, three new grades of membership have been established, and partnerships established with universities to reach out to language students. The new approach is proving successful so far.

 

Jane also explained the simplified procedures introduced to allow already qualified linguists to obtain Chartered Linguist status and to raise the awareness of the importance of using qualified linguists.

 

Page 4

 

With regard to the Divisions and Societies, there are plans in place to switch to a more informal structure, in recognition of the fact that these are all run by volunteers and that this is what members now prefer. The future basis will be guidelines rather than constitutions. The Institute is also trying to provide more support for the Divisions and Societies.

 

Jane's most interesting and valuable presentation concluded with a discussion of concession/retirement rates and how these might be graded and described, since, as one member put it, we don't stop being linguists once we retire.

 

We then adjourned for lunch, and those present had the opportunity to network and continue discussion of some of the issues raised. Those who had time subsequently made their way to the historic Citadel overlooking the town and visited an exhibition on Mainz and wine. The weather was kind to us, which made it all the more enjoyable.

 

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Anglophoner Tag 2017

Hosted by the ITI German Network in Chester

22 - 24 September 2017

 

Cherry Shelton-Mills writes:

 

I am pleased to announce that this year’s Anglophoner Tag will be held in the city of Chester, one of Britain's great heritage cities. The city is home to the most complete city walls in Britain, dating from Roman times. Other sights worth visiting are the Roman amphitheatre and the 1000-year-old Chester Cathedral, to say nothing of the half-timbered buildings and the unique Rows, two-tiered medieval galleries lining the beautiful main street.

 

It also boasts the oldest racecourse still in use, and this is where our Saturday workshop will be held. It is within easy reach of the train station. The closest airports are Liverpool and Manchester; train connections from Birmingham are also good. The tourist office can be contacted here: http://www.visitchester.com

 

The theme for the workshop this year is “Food for Thought”.

 

If you would like to give a presentation (in English or in German) on anything relating to this admittedly broad subject (agriculture, food hygiene, EU directives, farming, translating menus, recipe books, diet etc.), please contact me at the email address below. Please state how long you want to speak for (30-60 mins).

 

We will also hold a translation slam (or duel) and I will need four volunteers, two German and two English native speakers. Last time we held a slam it was very successful and positive, not the nervewracking experience some might imagine! I will send the texts for the slam a few weeks before the event. Please let me know if you’re interested in taking part.

 

Needless to say, there will be social events over the weekend (Friday and Saturday evenings, Sunday sightseeing and lunch). The event should finish by about 2.30 on Sunday afternoon. You are welcome to attend the whole weekend or just certain events. Registration has already opened. If you have any questions please contact me at mailto:itigermannetwork@gmail.com

 

Page 6

 

The editor's rag bag

 

We all regularly encounter poor translations from German into English and vice versa. They can be attributed to any number of causes – often, sadly, the person translating overestimating his or her abilities and knowledge of the language concerned, or the customer not appreciating the qualifications required for good translating and interpreting.

 

These errors are generally no more than amusing or irritating. At a recent theatre performance with German subtitles, for example, the word 'cruiser' was rendered as 'Kreuzfahrtschiff' – astonishing, since it was a highly moving documentary play about the Falklands War! However, a recent article pubished in The Guardian earlier this year highlighted how serious the fallout can be if something goes wrong along the way.

It concerned a young man who had been detained as a potential suspect following the attack on a Berlin Christmas market last December (he was not the attacker).

 

The person detained (whom I shall refer to as X) was a Balochi-speaking asylum seeker from Pakistan. He was interviewed after his release by a Guardian journalist, aided by a Balochi-speaking academic with good English. This English account was published in the newspaper and subequently appeared in translation in the German media, prompting an angry reaction from Berlin police. They felt that the latter reports had created 'a false impression that X had been subjected to undue force and detained too long'. The word 'slapped', for example, appeared in some German reports as 'geschlagen' (the police may slap away a suspect's hands if an attempt is made to cover the face when being photographed). The Guardian journalist responded by holding a long meeting with Berlin police, and the detainee was re-interviewed. It transpired that when first interviewed by the police, the interpreter was an Urdu speaker, but X merely understood some Urdu and didn't speak it! When X was re-interviewed by the police, the interpreter was a Persian speaker, and X was able to communicate in Persian.

 

The upshot is that the Guardian was completely exonerated of in any way misrepresenting the facts, and the criticisms of the police contained in some German media accounts were entirely unfounded. Yet how often do we read and believe things which may in fact be grossly inaccurate simply because of poor translation?

 

With sincere thanks to The Guardian for permission to quote from the article.

 

*****

 

A brief PS to my last about different British birth certificate formats: Scottish birth certificates are different again, so now that's five variations!

 

*****

 

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Stony ground

 

For some time now, I've been helping the family (in England) of an English friend who died here in Germany. They speak no German and understandably need help with formalities. I have explained many times that British translators do not as a rule translate into the foreign language, only into their mother tongue, outlining the professional ethical considerations involved. Recently, I added that they would soon need the services of a qualified legal translator into German. I explained how to find one, with specific reference to the Institute's Find-a-Linguist service, and also made a couple of personal recommendations. Their response was to translate the next letter to the German court using their computer software, and then ask me if the translation was acceptable. Oh how tempted I was … So henceforth your newsletter will be produced by a chimpanzee at a typewriter!

 

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GS Diary

2017

 

19 – 21 May

ADÜ Nord conference in Hamburg. For details please see

http://www.adue-nord.de/5-adue-nord-tage/

 

9 June - 8 July

Shakespeare festival Neuss. For details of this year's exciting programme, please see https://www.shakespeare-festival.de

 

15 - 17 September

GS Study weekend in Lübeck. The subject will be the Hanseatic League, and the venue is the Hansa Museum.

 

Speakers confirmed so far:

Dr Paul Richards, from King's Lynn on “England & The Hanseatic League Past & Present”. Christoph Sholl on "Lübeck and the Hansa during the Cold War – A personal memoir".

 

As always, there is a limited number of places, and these will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, with preference given to GS members. If you are interested in the weekend, please notify Jadwiga by 31 March at J.Bobrowska@gmx.net and she will subsequently let people know if there are places available for non-members, and send out further details.

 

22 - 24 September

Anglophoner Tag in Chester, organised this year by the ITI. For further details, please see p.4.

 

11 - 15 October

Frankfurt am Main book fair.

Special guest France.

 

11 November

Translators' workshop in Berlin. Once again, the venue will be the Sorat Ambassador Hotel. Further details in due course.

 

 

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The Newsletter of the Chartered Institute of Linguists German Society e.V.

 

January 2017

 

Letter from the Chair

Dear Members,

It's difficult to believe that another year has started. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2017. Hopefully this year will be less turbulent than the last one, although with President Donald Trump in America and the Brexit I'm not sure how it will turn out. However, the GS aims to provide continuity as we enter our fourth decade.

 

2016 was another successful year for us, and the final event was the excellent Translators' Workshop in Berlin. We had some fascinating presentations, ending up with a lively discussion on translating poetry. Some of the results are in the report on page 2. I had no idea that we had so many poets among our translators.

 

The first event of 2017 will be the AGM on 4 March in Mainz. We have chosen a more central location this year in the hope that more members will be able to attend. The agenda and other details are on page 6. Please let me know if you are planning to attend.

 

We now have more information about the study weekend in Lübeck in mid-September, and details are on page 8. Jadwiga has been putting together an interesting programme, and we look forward to hearing more about the Hanseatic League. It was quite an amazing achievement in mediaeval times to have a trading cooperation which stretched from the Baltic to east England and also included river ports such as Frankfurt an der Oder, which is some 200 kms from the Baltic Sea.

 

To brighten up the start to the year I have some new quotes from my English students. One of them was excited because she is going to be a big grandma. However, my current favourite was when a very respectable lady in her seventies said that they had a striptease table at home. A new variation of pole dancing or lap dancing? The explanation was quite a let-down, as she was only looking for a translation of Ausziehtisch … The perils of using a dictionary.

 

All the best from me and the committee                                                                  Stephanie

 

Page 2

 

Translators’ Workshop in Berlin, 5 November 2016

 

For this year’s workshop the German Society returned to the Sorat Ambassador hotel in Berlin. Once again the participants and speakers (21 in total) were well-looked after, and although the venue is near major tourist attractions (you can even see Berlin’s answer to Harrods, KaDeWe, from the hotel) the location itself is a quiet side street.

 

Stephanie Tarling, the GS chair, opened the proceedings by greeting everyone and mentioning that the workshop is almost as old as the German Society itself, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.

 

Our first speaker was Ilse Freiburg, who talked (in German) about “Internationale Befragungen – die Kunst, weltweit die richtigen Fragen richtig zu stellen.” Anyone who has ever filled in a survey or questionnaire will now be tempted to think that translating a few little questions can’t be that difficult. Far from it! International surveys are designed to gather comparable information from, for example, 45 different countries covering a wide geographical range. Every translator has their private thoughts about the quality of source texts from time to time, but the English questions that formed the starting point had obviously been formulated to be as non-country specific as possible and thus more readily comparable – but also vaguer. Working in a team of translators in order to arrive at the best solution for each question may seem like absolute luxury, but Ilse gave us some examples of where this is very useful.

 

A social survey, for example, asked respondents to indicate how far they trust their head of government. One translator rendered the concept literally and neutrally in German, one wrote Bundeskanzlerin – the workshop discussed which was better suited to the target audience and there was general agreement that “Chancellor” was much clearer to Joe Public; we were pleased to learn that the surveys’ makers had thought so too! A similar issue arose with Supreme Court – translated correctly in one case as Bundesgerichtshof and inaccurately as Bundesverfassungsgericht (constitutional court) in another. Interestingly, it emerged that the incorrect term had been selected, as most people in Germany would identify this court as the country’s most important and it was thus a better indicator of trust in the judicial system. Among other words which had produced headaches, this time in connection with workplace harassment, was “upset”, a versatile, deceptively easy word in English with no direct German equivalent (verärgert, betroffen, besorgt, belastet?) Varying sensibilities regarding ethnic origin also emerged. Whereas the English survey asked people to identify their “race or ethnicity”, the direct translation of race = Rasse is a big no-no in Germany, being too closely associated with Nazi ideologies. To get around this problem, Hautfarbe = skin colour was chosen. But in the English-speaking world, that would be considered an indelicate question. The time flew by and the lively debate it provoked carried into the coffee break.

 

The second topic was a talk by Christin Dallmann on arbitration, or Schiedsgerichtbarkeit, to give it the German title. Ms Dallmann is a trained lawyer and translator of legal texts. This talk (in German) offered crucial insights into the nature of arbitration in the framework of international and national law and provided, as one participant said, “some very useful vocabulary.” Christin explained that the parties have to agree to arbitration in the first place, but having done so, the arbitrator’s award is binding. The arrangement remains private unless one side feels impelled to turn to the national courts for execution. The original intention behind arbitration was to make resolving disputes cheaper, quicker and fairer by meeting in private and avoiding expensive legal fees. Frequently, each side will choose their own arbitrator, perhaps because of his/her specific expertise in a field like engineering, construction etc. and will agree on who the third arbitrator should be. There is no rule against having just one arbitrator. However, arbitration has had a very bad press recently and has been one reason continually cited by

 

Page 3

the opponents of CETA, the free-trade agreement between Canada and the EU. People fear that big business will take their cases to arbitration – by its very nature private and not public – and shady, secret dealings to the detriment of national governments and their citizens will be the result. However, CETA has adopted the 2014 UN convention on transparency in investor-state disputes. Art. 8.29 of CETA also states that the parties should strive to create a standing multilateral investment court with appeal options – something that is not normally part of arbitration.

 

This was a fascinating exercise in separating facts from fiction, and a clarification of the differences between arbitration and hearing cases at public courts. It required considerable concentration, so lunch was a welcome break.

 

Dr Isabelle Thormann is a sworn reviewer of linguistic products, called upon to appraise in an official capacity the quality of for example texts, translations, language teaching or proof-reading services, and she had chosen to share some of her most spectacular/interesting cases with us. Plunging straight into specifics, we looked at a legal dispute between a translation provider and a customer who was not satisfied with what he had received and was therefore unwilling to pay the full price. Many examples demanded specialist knowledge – which the translator had claimed to have – but confusing vegans with vegetarians or getting the decimal point wrong when stating the dosage are elementary mistakes that also reveal a lack of in-house quality control.

 

On one occasion Isabelle was asked to help test the quality of the five biggest online translation agencies based in Germany. She wrote a 3-page letter, purportedly from a lawyer to his client, dealing with complicated legal, technical and business issues. Isabelle highlighted the particularly tricky parts and how the agencies had dealt with them. It was interesting to see that the agency that was rated best charged a price in the mid-range of the fees demanded.

 

For light relief, we looked at some texts from profiling cases, i.e. judging how likely it was that a certain person was the author of a specific piece of anonymous writing. Some of them had highly original ideas on spelling! However, to arrive at an assessment of probable authorship or not, the reviewer has to look in detail at the mistakes of grammar, orthography etc. made in reference texts and the mistakes made in the anonymous letters. Modern technology complicates the issue by offering writers an automatic spell-checker! Finally, talking about commissions to assess the quality of proof-reading services, Isabelle reminded us of how important a comma can be. Let’s never make the mistake of writing, “It’s time to eat granddad”.

 

The final speaker, Alexandra Jones (Sandy), talked about poetry translation, “A music of words”. A book of her own Gaelic poems, Crotal Ruadh / Red Lichen, with English translations, has just won second place in the Donald Meek Award 2016 for the Gaelic Book of the Year.

 

For at least two of the participants this was the main motivation for attending the workshop. Sandy briefly introduced the philosophy of poetry translation, asking whether it is a betrayal of the original, given the constraints of form and the deliberate multi-layering or opacity of the original. A good translation, she concludes, will respect and reflect the original style, content, register and rhymes, both end and internal, making as few tasteful and well-judged compromises as possible. Herself an accomplished singer, Sandy feels strongly that the sound or music of the spoken word is too often sacrificed in translation. To demonstrate how well music and words complement each other, she sang a poem by Rilke “Das ist die Sehnsucht/This is longing” once in the original, and once in English translation – simply beautiful. It was new to many of us that Donald Swann – of Flanders and Swann fame – had composed melodies to texts that are a world totally apart from his

 

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famous Hippopotamus song. Sandy played an old recording of Swann singing another poem by Rilke and one of “Du bist die Ruh” (Rückert, music by Schubert) sung by Kathleen Ferrier.

 

Having just experienced how words and music fuse into a new artwork, it was our turn to show how well we’d done our “homework”. Ahead of the workshop we had received poems ranging from the intensely lyrical to classical to nonsense, and been invited to pick one or more and attempt a translation. Some poems were in English, some in German. The process of translation really underlined the difficulty of exactly rendering one language into another – stubborn rhymes, picking words that fit the metre but don’t sound quite right, or words that are right but won’t fit the metre. One young lady found a brilliant compromise and used an ab, ab rhyme scheme instead of the original aa, bb for her translation of an English poem into German. As several people remarked, this last session of the day really woke us all up again.

 

The general verdict on the event was, “So glad I came” and “really well organized.” Everyone returned home with a host of new insights and impressions. For those who weren’t there, here are some examples of translated poems.

 

Das ästhetische Wiesel                                The aesthetic weasel

Christian Morgenstern                               Christian Morgenstern

 

Ein Wiesel                                                     A weasel

saß auf einem Kiesel                                     floated on an easel

inmitten Bachgeriesel.                                   wearing stone-washed jeans from Diesel.

 

Wißt ihr                                                         Wanna know

weshalb?                                                        why?

 

 

Das Mondkalb                                               I was told on the sly

verriet es mir                                                 by a loony on

im Stillen:                                                      rum and lime

 

Das raffinier-                                                 The beast,

te Tier                                                            stylish at least

tat's um des Reimes willen.                           wanted a fashionable rhyme

 

Transl. Mike and Mair Harrington

 

Du bist die Ruh, by Friedrich Rückert

 

Du bist die Ruh,                                             You are my rest,

Der Friede mild,                                            My gentle peace,

Die Sehnsucht du,                                          My yearning quest

Und was sie stillt                                           And my release.

 

Transl. Kurt Müller

 

Ich weihe dir                                                  My joy and pain

Voll Lust und Schmerz                                  To thee I plight;

Zur Wohnung hier                                         Dwell thou, remain

Mein Aug und Herz                                       In my heart, my sight.

 

Transl. Alexandra Jones

 

Sehnsucht/Yearning, R.M. Rilke

 

Wenn wie ein leises Flügelbreiten                When like wings’ tender caresses

Sich in den späten Lüften wiegt,                   - A trembling fills the evening air

Ich möchte immer weiter schreiten               I would be he who onwards presses

Bis in das Tal, wo tiefgeschmiegt                 down to the vale, deep in whose lair

an abendrote Einsamkeiten                           of sunset-red lonelinesses

Die Sehnsucht wie ein Garten liegt.              lies Yearning like a garden there

 

Transl. Angela Weckler

 

Bilbo’s Last Song, J R R Tolkien

(Set to music by Donald Swann)

 

Day is ended, dim my eyes,                           Der Tag vergeht, die Augen trüb

But journey long before me lies.                   Doch langer Weg noch vor mir liegt

Farewell, friends! I hear the call.                  Lebt wohl Freunde, ich höre den Schrei

The ship's beside the stony wall.                   Das Schiff lieft schon am steinigen Kai

Foam is white and waves are grey;               Weißer Schaum, graue Wellen

beyond the sunset leads my way.                  Mein Weg führt hinter den Horizont

Foam is salt, the wind is free;                       Salziger Schaum, freier Wind

I hear the rising of the sea.                            Ich höre das Auf und Ab der See.

 

Transl. Alexandra Zens

 

One of our participants, Michaela Pschierer-Barnfather, was commended for her translation of a poem in the 2015 Stephen Spender Prize competition.

See http://www.stephen-spender.org/2015_prize/2015_Open_commend_MP_B.html

 

Page 6

German Society of the Chartered Institute of Linguists

2017 AGM

Mainz, 11 a.m., 4 March

Agenda

1. Apologies for absence

2. Approval of the agenda

3. Approval of the minutes of the 2016 AGM

4. Chairman’s report

5. Treasurer’s report

6. Formal approval by the membership of the committee’s actions

7. Formal approval by the membership of the treasurer’s actions

8. Election of committee members (treasurer and secretary)

9. Study weekend in Lübeck

10. Other future events

11. A.O.B.

12. Date and place of next meeting

 

We meet upstairs at the Haus des Deutschen Weines Gutenbergplatz 3-5, at the side of the main theatre and just across from Mainz cathedral, in time for a prompt 11 a.m. start to the AGM, after which we'll have lunch in the restaurant. It's about a 15-20 minute walk from Mainz main station. There is a multi-storey car park nearby.

 

For those interested, there is the option after lunch of visiting the impressive Mainz citadel, which offers good views over the town and beyond, to see a special exhibition in the Stadthistorisches Museum on 'Mainz und der Wein – Die Geschichte einer engen Beziehung'. Please state when registering for the AGM whether you also wish to visit the citadel. Transport will be provided for those reluctant to climb up the hill, and parking is available within the complex.

 

Please notify Stephanie in good time if you are planning to attend, so that we have an idea of the number coming, also whether you wish to visit the exhibition afterwards.

 

The editor's rag bag

 

The German Society is sad to announce the death in October of Angelika Jaeger, formerly of the Hesse BDÜ. Some of you will remember her from our joint workshops in Frankfurt and from various BDÜ and other events.

 

*****

Thanks to Heidi English for the following:

 

Wie de Engel gesaht hatt

 

Weihnachtsgeschichte Aus dem Evangelium nach Lukas – auf Hunsrücker Platt

 

Domols hott de römische Kaiser Augustus vorgeschrieb, dass alle Leit in seim Weltreich in Liste noteert were sollte. Es war die eerst Volkszählung, so ebbes war noch nie gewes. Unn das war, wie de Quirinius in Syrie so ebbes wie Landrat war.

 

Page 7

 

Do hott jeder misse in die Stadt gehn, wo sei Familie her komm is. Also hott sich aach Josef von Nazaret von Galiläa aus uff de Wääch gemach, unn weil er vom David abgestammt hott, musst er in die Provinz Judäa noh Betlehem gehn, wo mer die „Davidsstadt“ genannt hott. Do wollt er sich inschreiwe zesamme mit em Maria, mit der war er so gut wie verheirat. Die war hoch in Umstänn.

 

Unn wie se do ware, war's bei ehr an der Zeit, unn se hott ehr eerst Kind – en Buu – uff die Welt braacht. Se hott en in Winnele gewickelt unn in en Furekripp ge-laacht, weil se in der Herberch kä Platz krieht harre.

 

In der Gechend ware Heerte jous in der Flur, wo in der Naacht uff ehr Vieh uffgepasst honn. Do is uff ähmoh en Engel komm, unn se ware all mit dem im Liecht vum Hiemel. Se sinn aarich verschrock. Deshalb hott de Engel gesaht: „Dehr braucht kää Ängscht ze honn! Eich brenge Ouch die größt Freid for die Mensche: Hout is for Ouch in der Davidsstadt de Messias uff die Welt komm. Unn do draan könnt der’n erkenne: Dehr find't en nou gebor Kind, in Winnele gewickelt in ner Furekripp im Stall!“

 

Unn dann war uff ähmoh en ganze himmlische Schwarm von lauter Engel um se rum. Allegare honn se de Herrgott gepries unn laut geruf: „Ehr for Gott in der Höh unn uff de Erd Friere for all Mensche, wo er lieb hott!“

 

Wie die Engel wiere fort ware, zurück in de Hiemel, honn die Heerte unnernanner gesaat: „Komm, mer gehn noh Betlehem unn gucke uus die Sach emoh aan, was de Engel do versproch hott!“ Uff der Stell sinn se los un honn's tatsächlich genau so aangetroff: Maria unn Josef unn das Kind in der Furekripp. Wie se das Kind gesiehn honn, honn se verziehlt, was en von dem Kind gesaht wor war.

 

Un allegare, wo das gehort honn, honn gestaunt iewer das, was die Heerte do verziehlt honn.

 

Maria awer hott sich alles genau gemerkt. Se war tief getroff unn hott lang do driewer simmeleert. Die Heerte sinn wiere zurück bei ehr Vieh, honn de Herrgott gepries for das, was se gehort un gesiehn harre.

 

Es war jo alles genau so gewes, wie en de Engel gesaht hatt.

 

Josef Peil

*****

Amidst the stampede on the part of British people resident in Germany applying for German citizenship, it's interesting and rather surprising to find how requirements seem to vary from place to place. Moreover, in translating British birth certificates for people, I've discovered to my dismay that there are different formats with different wording – four to date!

 

However, if we thought things were difficult here, a British friend resident in a Belgian village tells a worse tale of woe: She has lived in Belgium for a long time, owns a house there and speaks the country's official languages, but because she works for an international organisation and thus pays no tax in Belgium, the authorities aren't sure how to cope with her application. One suggestion has been that she ask people in the village to confirm in writing that she plays an active part in village life!!

 

Page 8

 

A nod's as good as a wink

 

On top of this, officials have been forbidden to speak English to people unable to converse in French or Flemish, even if they (the officials) can speak English. The friend knows of one instance in which an official followed a frustrated member of the public into the car park and then apologised profusely in English, explaining that he wasn't allowed to speak English at work, but could do so in the car park. Another Brit, forewarned, went in and said to the official that he understood the ban on speaking English, but could the official respond to questions put in English by nodding or shaking his head? He could.

 

*****

 

Headline seen in a renowned British newspaper: 'Ten decapitated heads found in Mexico'. Hm. Surely it's the bodies that were decapitated?

 

GS Diary

2017

 

Saturday 4 March

GS AGM in Mainz.

For details and agenda see p.6.

 

9 June-8 July

Shakespeare festival Neuss. The programme will be available from 15 March.

 

15-17 September

GS Study weekend in Lübeck. The subject will be the Hanseatic League, and the venue is the Hansa Museum.

Speakers confirmed so far:

Dr Paul Richards, from King's Lynn on “England & The Hanseatic League Past & Present”. Christoph Sholl on "Lübeck and the Hansa during the Cold War – A personal memoir".

More details in due course. As always, there is a limited number of places, and these will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, with preference given to GS members. If you are interested in the weekend, please notify Jadwiga by 31 March, and she will subsequently let people know if there are places available for non-members.

 

11-15 October

Frankfurt book fair.

Special guest France.

 

No details are yet available on this year's Anglophoner Tag.