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Michael
November 11th, 2006, 12:47 PM
Hi overthere, it's Michael from Germany looking for contacts in NYC for writing in English and talking about your town and more. Aside from my miserable english, I offer talkings about interesting things from Germany and Europe respectively.

If someone is interested, simply write a private message to me!

Michael

Michael
November 13th, 2006, 09:04 AM
Ok, no replies then, right. I think I have to start in an other way, without the private message thing! So, I'm Michael, I'm from Germany, which is a small country in the middle of Europe. Europe is on the other side of the big water you call the 'Atlantic Ocean'. I call it 'Atlantischer Ozean' because my mother tongue is German. And now I have to learn English, I'm doing a basic course at a language school, but they're all Germans there. That's why I'm writing here. I want to exchange thoughts and ideas of our countries and along the way improve my english. Writing this fews sentences took me nearly 10 minutes, because I've have to think over which words to use very hard.

I'm an electrical engineer and I was supposed to study technical english at the university. It was a very interesting study, we talked about politics and how to describe the parts of any electronical device. But, when I'll visit NYC, I don't want to sit in a bar talking about 'fractional bandwith', no, I want to talk to you people there in a way which is understandable. OK?

Any questions about Europe, Germany, Berlin or France, maybe?

Greetings,
Michael

daver
November 13th, 2006, 09:32 AM
When are you planning to visit NYC? What is the purpose of your visit? How long are you planning to stay? Where are you in Germany?

Michael
November 13th, 2006, 11:40 AM
Hi daver,

I'm planning to come to NYC next spring or early summer, it depends on my working schedule then. The purpose is holidays, I'm very interested in travelling to big cities, so I visited nearly all big towns in Europe, I've been in Moscow, too. A very interesting town! Yet I cannot say how long I'll stay, but I reckon it will be four or five weeks. Challenging a new town takes it time :). And there's this language barriere. For me it's very hard to speak english, Although I learned English at school (a long time ago...) and reading english books all the time, I'm still a passive one - understanding a lot, writing after a fashion, but speak too little.

Here in Germany I'm in Berlin, which is a nice town, too.

And what are you doing in NYC?

Michael
November 15th, 2006, 02:07 AM
Hello?

Michael
November 18th, 2006, 06:59 AM
Hmmm, nothing? Maybe I should start a monologue? .... Yes think this would be great... I could soliloquise a bit. Perhaps about my hometown! What should people on the other side of the great water interest? What should they know about Berlin? Maybe something about the wheater. Yeah, this would fit: OK, the wheather! It is similar to your wheather! We have sometimes blue skies here, sometimes cloudy skies. Sometimes it is raining. Right now it is a mixture of white and dark clouds. The current temperature is 13°C, which is in Fahrenheit... a moment, pls, a... umm, factor is ... ((Celsius × 9 ) / 5 ) + 32, which is 13 x 9 = 117 / 5 = 23.4 + 32 = 55.4 °F... am I right? Puuuhhh, this is looking hot for an average European.

The reason why I'm writing here is to learn more English, you know, I'm not good in English writing and speaking, because this has to active. But I'm not an active one, in fact I'm a passive person. Possibly someone could correct my English here? I would appreciate that.

lofter1
November 18th, 2006, 10:06 AM
Hello Michael ...

You're doing very well with your English writing lesson. A few corrections are all that are needed:




Hmmm, nothing? Maybe I should start a monologue? .... Yes think this would be great... I could soliloquise a bit. Perhaps about my hometown! What should people on the other side of the great water interest? [ What might interest people on the other side of the great water? ] What should they know about Berlin? Maybe something about the wheater [ spelling: weather ]. Yeah, this would fit: OK, the wheather [ sp: weather ] ! It is similar to your wheather [ sp ]! We have sometimes [ sometimes have ] blue skies here, sometimes cloudy skies. Sometimes it is raining. Right now it is a mixture of white and dark clouds. The current temperature is 13°C, which is in Fahrenheit... a moment, pls, a... umm, factor is ... ((Celsius × 9 ) / 5 ) + 32, which is 13 x 9 = 117 / 5 = 23.4 + 32 = 55.4 °F... am I right? Puuuhhh, this is looking hot for an average European.

Note: The weather has been odd in NYC for the past several weeks. We are well into autumn, but temperatures have been in the 60s and 70s. Happily :) today it is in the 40s, which is much more in line with the season.

We celebrate a great American holiday next week: Thanksgiving.

The main event on that day is a large meal, often starting in the mid-afternoon (Americans usually eat our largest meal later in the evening). In the fantasy version of this holiday meal happy & loving family and friends gather together around a large, beautifully laid-out table and eat a lot of rich food. Traditionally the meal includes roast turkey with gravy, some type of bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts (or green beans with creamy mushroom sauce), candied yams and all sorts of delicious pies for dessert -- pumpkin, apple, pecan & mincemeat are my favorites. There are often (and hopefully) enough left overs from the meal so that no one has to cook again until the beginning of the following week (except to make a big pot of turkey soup from the remains of the roast turkey :) ).

Almost everyone consumes too much. But that is the way we celebrate our thanks for the bounty we have received ;) .

Do you celebrate an autumn harvest day in Germany?




The reason why I'm writing here is to learn more English, you know, I'm not good in English writing and speaking, because this has to active. But I'm not an active one, in fact I'm a passive person. Possibly someone could correct my English here? I would appreciate that.

Keep writing here and you'll get lots of "active" practice.

Michael
November 18th, 2006, 02:15 PM
Hello lofter1,

thank your for your reply and thank you for the corrections!



Note: The weather has been odd in NYC for the past several weeks. We are well into autumn, but temperatures have been in the 60s and 70s. Happily :) today it is in the 40s, which is much more in line with the season.

This sounds funny! When here in Germany somebody says, he's in the 60s or 70s, then he means, that he's in that centuries 1960s, 1970s respectively. But I think, in English 'to be in his 60s or 70s' means, that someone is older than 60 or 70?



Do you celebrate an autumn harvest day in Germany?


No, not really - not as you described your festivities at Thanksgiving - which sounds very interesting to me. Germans are consuming that much on Christmas only. Christmas is the feast in the year unbeaten!!!!

But we have our Thanksgiving, too, it is called "Erntedankfest" and it's a little bit bewildering, because there are different dates to celebrate. The evangelistic churches are celebrating on the sunday following September, 29th, the free evangelistic and the catholic churches are celebrating on the first sunday in October. But there's no feast like Thanksgiving in the US. Except the south of Germany, where people are deep catholic, the church has no great meaning to the people here.

People all over the country, especially the young ones like to celebrate other opportunities like Halloween. That Halloweenday swapped over to us and every kid is running from door to door and claims "Süßes oder Saures", I don't know what this is in English.

By the way... I always thought you call the autumn fall?



Keep writing here and you'll get lots of "active" practice.

Yes, I'll do and I would like to get corrections, if that is not a tall order?

I wish a "happy Thanksgiving" to everyone who's reading this posting!

;)

lofter1
November 18th, 2006, 05:25 PM
Your english writing is getting better already. Hardly a correction required ...




When here in Germany somebody says, he's in the 60s or 70s, then he means, that he's in that centuries 1960s, 1970s respectively. But I think, in English 'to be in his 60s or 70s' means, that someone is older than 60 or 70?

If one says "he's" in 60s or 70s then that would apply to age.

However if one says, "he's so 60s" (or 70s) that would be in reference to the decade (and usually in a derogative way).

If one says "it's" in the 60s or 70s then generally that would apply to temperature.




Germans are consuming that much on Christmas only. Christmas is the feast in the year unbeaten!!!!

I could correct this last sentence to read something like "Christmas is the foremost feast of the year", but that sounds very formal -- and I like your construction better ;)

Americans eat just as much on Christmas day as we do on Thanksgiving :eek: . The food we eat for the Christmas feast is very much like the Thanksgiving meal, except it doesn't necessarily include turkey (maybe a ham or a roast beef or a goose).




... there's no feast like Thanksgiving in the US. Except the south of Germany, where people are deep catholic, the church has no great meaning to the people here.


The first of my fore-fathers (and fore-mothers ;) ) were Protestants who came over from Germany in the early 1700s to escape the Catholics :eek: ...

In 1709 they escaped to England where the Protestant queen at that time, Anne of Great Britain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_of_Great_Britain), gave them shelter, of sorts -- they camped out in a tent city that looked somethng like this:

http://members.cox.net/jnordyke/palatine/images/woodcut.gif
Contemporary Woodcut, showing the Palatines
encamped on Blackheath outside London.

After one year in London they were "sold" by the Queen to some of her colonists in New York Colony, where after their arrival they had to work off their indentured servitude by harvesting pitch tar from pine trees along the Hudson River -- in the case of my family this was at Livingston Manor in what is now Columbia County, New York.

They were from the Palatine: a little village called Gross Aspach in Wurttemberg. We've traced this part of my family in that area as far back as 1550 (but then, people didn't move around much in the late Middle Ages ;) , so our roots probably go even deeper in the ground over in that neck of the woods).

I have only discovered this information in the past couple of years and have never visited Wurttemberg, but it's on my list of places to go -- some day.



People all over the country, especially the young ones like to celebrate other opportunities like Halloween. That Halloweenday swapped over to us and every kid is running from door to door and claims "Süßes oder Saures", I don't know what this is in English.

That sounds like it's the same as our "Trick or Treat", which means "give me something really good & sweet to eat, or else I'll ... (choose one or more):

1. Throw eggs at your house.
2. Toss rolls of toilet paper all over the branches of your trees (also called "TP"-ing ).
3. Rub soap all over your windows.
4. Put some dog poop in a paper bag, place it on your doorstep and light it on fire :eek: .




By the way... I always thought you call the autumn fall?

We call it both -- I thought it would be less confusing to use "autumn", but I'm not always correct :o

Michael
November 20th, 2006, 11:45 AM
That was a very interesting lesson, I love to learn those little differences in languages like that you've explained! Thank you! I guess there must be hundreds of such gimmicks in English?!! Sometimes I do not really know, when to use 'these' or 'those' or when to use 'this' and 'that'.....
and I find it really weird, that I would like to form a sentence in the way I'd like to, but then the right words or idioms are missing and I begin to circumscribe the thing with simple words in simple sentences. I'd like to be more complex in putting words.
Maybe it is not possible to learn a foreign language outside the country in which this language is spoken?



Americans eat just as much on Christmas day as we do on Thanksgiving :eek: . The food we eat for the Christmas feast is very much like the Thanksgiving meal, except it doesn't necessarily include turkey (maybe a ham or a roast beef or a goose).

In Germany many people are being crazy about Christmas stollen - 'stollen' is the same word in German. Do you know it? It is a cake being baked after an old recipe coming from Dresden ( the capital of Saxonia ). Those stollen are available in many price categories and - funny - the cheapest are in a mysterious way the best.

We'll have three days with different meals on Christmas. First day, the 24th, we're going to eat goose, a really crisp goose prepared by myself. Second day, we'll enjoy pork roast and on (hmm, at, on ???) the third day we'll eat carp. That food sequence is tradional in Germany, sometimes the order varied.



The first of my fore-fathers (and fore-mothers ;) ) were Protestants who came over from Germany in the early 1700s to escape the Catholics :eek: .......

That story is very thrilling, I'm wondering about how you found out? The Palatines are a very famous people inside Germany, because Dr. Helmut Kohl, who was chancelor for sixteen years (called himself the "Chancelor of the Reunion") is a Palatine! His favorite dish is "Pfälzer Saumagen" - in English it is something like "Palatine sod stomach" :D. And another famous character from Palatinate is http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liselotte_von_der_Pfalz, she was 'abducted' against her will from her palatine "home court" to Versailles to be maried with Philipp I., brother of the 'roy soleil' Ludwig XIV.
My ex-wife derives from Goeppingen, a small village not far away from Großaspach. As you know, Germany is a federation (we have 16 federal states) as the US, "your" federal state is Baden-Württemberg, the capitol there is Stuttgart.

Do you really plan to visit Germany?

A few years ago I also tried to find roots of my fore-fathers and discovered, that I'm a real frenchman! My fore-fathers moved in the early 1900s from France (from a small village called Lurs-en-Provence) to East-Prussia and than, after 30 years, to Berlin.... but with all respect: that French is not for me! I tried hard at school to learn French - no change! I'm really untalented in languages, so I have to learn hard and a lot and that writing here costs a lot of time, because I have to think about the construction and the words and sometimes have to look after them in a dictionary. But if this here would be in French -> no way, rather a shame...

That is so much the worse, because France is our neighbor..... and Poland, too. Did you ever tried to understand Polish?

Actually, there are so many different languages all over Europe - unbelievable. Overthere in America, that looks better. You have English, Spain, Portuguese... that's it - okay, the're many local dialects and languages, too - but these three main languages fit. And - better - Spain and Portuguese are very similar!

Ah, "Trick or Treat" sounds familiar to me - I heard it in films - watching DVDs in English is one of my ways to learn English... as I now noticed, there must be some progress in it! When I first watched "Star Trek TNG" season one, I couldn't understand Riker - all he said was not understandable - meanwhile there's no problem. Along with that goes the phenomenon, that I understand song lyrics more and more. And I have to suppose, that sometimes english song lyrics are just as well 'bright' than German songs are...

and - did you recover well from Thanksgiving?