Presentation on theme: "A PERSONAL ESSAY PRESENTED BY LUC MOISAN Why Learn German?"— Presentation transcript:
A PERSONAL ESSAY PRESENTED BY LUC MOISAN Why Learn German?
Stereotypes According to the Onions Our Dumb World atlas, The average German is comprised of twelve right angles and six 45 degree angles. They are known for their rigid appearance, which they attain each morning by ironing their shirts, pants, hats, and skin to achieve the sharpest possible creases. Meanwhile, the same book characterizes Austria as the birthplace of Muzak and Hitler, and Switzerland as place to wear lederhosen atop a picturesque snowcapped peak. These over-exaggerated stereotypes dont make cultural interactions with Germanophones seem very appealing, but they do make me laugh and actually want to learn more about these cultures. I want to find out more the history of lederhosen, the German obsession with ironing, and, yes, even, Muzak.
My Interests I am not actually all that interested in lederhosen, ironing and Muzak; my real interest are history, geography, travel, architecture and real music, all of which are enhanced by the study of German. In the past century, the German-speaking world has been a center of these three areas. With two world wars taking place on its soil, many notable inventions and discoveries originating within its borders, and with its centrality to the European Union, Germany has played a major role in shaping the history of the twentieth century. I have a very strong interest in history and geography – two of my best subjects in school. If I were to learn German I could read primary source documents about historical events, which would be really interesting. I also have a passion for architecture. I have read extensively about the Hundertwassserhaus in Vienna, the Bauhaus movement, and of course Neuschwanstein castle. I hope one day to be able to visit Berlin and see the mixture of Third Reich and post-modern architecture. Tourists dont need to know how to speak German in order to visit these places, but it doesnt hurt, and Im sure it would make my travel experience more meaningful. German culture also appeals to me because of my interest in music (not Muzak). Throughout time, Germany and Austria have been the site of major musical movements and innovations. I play the bagpipe, the French Horn and the piano. The first of these isnt a German instrument of course, but through the other two I have come to enjoy classical music, especially Wagner and Bach.
More About Me My dad is French, and so, consequently, I am able to converse in French. Knowing the language gives me a deeper appreciation of my French-ness. I am able to watch the news in French and understand what is going on. Because my grandparents live in Brittany, I have traveled to France many times to visit them as well as to other places around Europe in their camper van. I have been to England, Scotland, and Belgium, where language was not a barrier, but I have also been to Holland and Italy and Greece, where I did not speak the language. I found it frustrating to not know how to communicate. I have wanted to travel to Germany for a long time, and I hope that will be our destination next time we go back to Europe. I also hope Ill be able to speak some German. As mentioned before, I am very interested in music –I especially like to play the piano and the bagpipe. I am a member of a Scottish pipe and drum corps, which has taught me how to be disciplined, to practice, and to be part of a team. I think all of these are good and useful skills for learning a language. I am also passionate about geography and recently won the Iowa State Geography Bee (I am heading to the National competition next week). This interest and passion is also helpful I think for learning languages. I dont know what I want to do when I grow up, but I do know that world travel and finding out about different cultures will be my lifelong passion. And perhaps one day I will find myself atop the Alps ironing my lederhosen while listening to Muzak.