Deutsch 101 Kultur-Texte & Videos

Instructions for Kultur Assignments:

0. You will post your responses to the Kultur texts in Canvas Discussions. Test

1. For each chapter, there will be a list of roughly 4-6 short articles, videos, or links on topics related to the culture of the German-speaking countries. In addition, you will see the list of “Brennpunkt Kultur” boxes included in the chapter. Spend about 40-45 minutes watching the videos, and reading the articles and the Brennpunkt Kultur boxes. (Note: the Brennpunkt Kultur info will be tested on the chapter tests. The articles will not.)

2. Then spend about 15-20 minutes writing a post (in English, but include as much German as you like!) with your reactions to what you read, and maybe some favorite quotes. It’s great if you can include images, or links to other relevant articles, videos, or websites (some, or even most, of your post can be about these related materials, if they’re relevant).

3. There is no length requirement, but your post should give your instructor the impression that you spent the suggested length of time reading the articles and writing your post.

4. You should not have to subscribe to or pay for anything to see the articles and videos. Please let your instructor know if you have any access issues. In particular, for New York Times articles, an alternative link is provided to allow you to access the article via the UofM Library’s NYT subscription. Note that UofM students can currently register for free NYT subscriber access via CSG (Central Student Government):


Kapitel 1

Weinermobile photo

Kapitel 2

Sign encouraging optimism over pessimism

  • Deutsche Welle Video: Afro Germany – being black and German Stop (if you can…!) at 19:30
  • What we can learn from the German approach to parenting Stop at “[German children] get early lessons in using fire and sharp knives.”
    • OPTIONAL: The article mentions that homeschooling is illegal in Germany (it has been since 1919). If you are interested, take a look at Why is Homeschooling Illegal in Germany? which describes good reasons for this law, and good reasons to reconsider it. [This is an internet archive link.]
  • The texts in the next two bullet points, and a number of Kultur texts for Kapitel 3-11, were written for the website of the news magazine Der Spiegel as an introduction to Germany for visitors to the 2006 soccer World Cup. They remain relevant and interesting ==> please ignore the occasional outdated references! These articles often include some humorous exaggerations for entertainment’s sake ==> if something seems like an exaggeration to you, it probably is. Visual detail: on my computer, these articles currently (Sept. 2020) look better in Firefox and Safari than on Chrome.
  • Brutally Honest: “Have You Gained Weight?” 
    • Here is a humorous take on German directness, by Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz. Stop at 2:50.
    • The point of this article is that when Germans are direct in this way, the intention is NOT to be offensive, but rather, simply to be honest and direct. As the article says at the end, “you may have to talk about it,” i.e. the additional directness also opens the door for discussion.
    • Note that certain kinds of hate speech are explicitly illegal in Germany. Nevertheless hate speech happens, and has become more visible in recent years in Germany, as in other parts of the world.
  • Always yammering: Why Germans love to complain
  • Lesen Sie “Brennpunkt Kultur” in V: Seite 47 (“German immigration to North America”) und Seite 76 (“Types of universities in Germany”)
  • OPTIONAL (but HIGHLY recommended): “The Germanic Stare Down”: Watcha Lookin’ at, Granny? OR Easy German 369: Why do Germans stare? [roughly from 1:00-7:20]

Kapitel 3

Currywurst photo

Kapitel 4

Fahrrad mit der deutschen Fahne gemalt

  • Audre Lorde’s BerlinIf you are blocked from reading this by the NYT paywall, here is the UM Library link to “Audre Lorde’s Berlin” [you will be prompted to log in]. The NYT version of the article includes some great photos of Lorde and of Berlin.
    • OPTIONAL: If you are interested, click around the websites of ISD and ADEFRA, two organizations the article mentions which Lorde helped to found.
    • OPTIONAL: For a look at contemporary activism in Germany, check out Utopia Europa. The site seeks to encourage new perspectives on the ongoing “refugee crisis” by the poster campaigns “What crisis? What fears? What borders?” Scroll to the “purplish” section of the page to check out short German and English texts exploring questions such as “What constitutes the crisis? Who alleged the crisis? Is crisis just another word for change? Fears: Which fears are we talking about? What do we fear? Borders: The shutting of borders will change the concept of Europe radically. Will the fortress Europe, which was liberated in summer 2015, be boarded up again? What other visions do we have?”
  • German Streets that Honour Murderers and Racists
  • Two-Wheeled Teutons: Stay Off the Bike Path!
  • The Red Dictator: Crossing the Strasse
  • Fare-Dodgers Beware: There’s No Such Thing as a Free Ride
    • This is Manni’s problem at the beginning of Lola rennt: he’s boarded the subway without a ticket, and when he sees the “Kontis,” it’s his reflex to get off the train – aber er vergisst die Tasche.
  • Lesen Sie “Brennpunkt Kultur” in V: Seite 123 (“Studienmöglichkeiten für Deutschlernende”), Seite 145 (“Rad fahren”), Seite 150 (“Mit der Bahn fahren”), Seite 157 (“Mit dem Auto fahren”) und Seite 159 (“Frankfurt am Main”)
    • Note some inaccuracies in the Frankfurt text: Frankfurt’s airport is only the third busiest airport in Europe, and neither Deutsche Bahn nor Lufthansa has its headquarters in Frankfurt. It is, however, absolutely true that Frankfurt is the hub of Germany’s banking and business community, and the location of Germany’s stock market.
    • Note that Germany has in recent years introduced “Begleitetes Fahren ab 17”, allowing 17-year olds to drive in the company of an adult over 30 who has had a driver’s license for at least 5 years. This has been a success in terms of reducing the number of accidents by beginning drivers, and so there have been discussions of lowering the age limit for “Begleitetes Fahren” to 16.

Kapitel 5

Beate Uhse shop picture

Kapitel 6

vierartiges Mülltrennen
In Deutschland gibt es viele verschiedene Tonnen, in denen man den Müll und das Recycling genau sortieren und trennen muss, damit Materialien gespart und die Umwelt geschützt werden.