Oral presentations

At yesterday evening’s class, we had the oral presentations. This meant that each one of us has prepared a 10 minute presentation, on a medium of our choice. Most of my classmates chose to do powerpoint, although word, prezi or posters would also have been possible.

The point of this is to learn to express ourselves in German, and to make a clearly structured speech, over a topic of our choosing. I think it’s nice we get to pick the theme, because in this way we are able to speak about something we are passionate about, or that we enjoy, and share it with the class!

Yesterday we learned about Iran, Peru, Spain, Bioluminescence, Halal Food, Internet of things and other interesting topics. It was very fun to see a little bit of the world where the other class participants come from, or to learn about their hobbies and passions. And even though I am sure I made plenty of mistakes while speaking, it was a good experience, and one we all should definitely repeat as often as we can, as with each presentation we get better.

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Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen: fun way to learn them

So last week we started learning about Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen (Noun-verb connections), which, when you get to B2.1, will see is a long list of items right at the back of the book. Uff! Some are quite intuitive, while others need a bit of getting used to.

There are two types of Nomen-Verb-Verbindungen, ones whose meaning is very similar to the noun in the sentence, so sort of like a verb turned into a substantive, for instance: Interesse wecken für = jmd. interressieren für. The second type is a bit more tricky, because the meaning has nothing to do with the words in the expression, as in unter Druck stehen = gestressed sein.

Since they are quite a long list to remember all at once, our teacher prepared for us a very fun game. She made little cards, on which she separated the verbs from the nouns, so that we would puzzle them back together, and review the list of expressions at the same time. After we put all the pieces back together, she would come by and check that we did the match correctly. Then each of us had to make up five questions, including the expressions we had just reviewed and go around and ask other members of the group, in a fun interactive speaking game.

The Eistraum – Skating at the Rathaus

Along with the cold season, comes a beloved tradition in Vienna – putting together the skating rink and connecting alleys at the Rathausplatz. The skating area is huge, and there are also places where you can get a snack or a hot beverage, while you rest a bit, and enjoy the spinning skaters.

There are lights and beautiful decorations around, and you can’t help but feel that cozy wintery feel while you’re having fun with friends or your special someone. The admission price for adults is 7.50 €, and if you want to rent your skates there, it is an additional 7 €.

Keep a lookout, cause The Eistraum opens on 17.11.2017, and is at your skating disposal until 4.03.2018. Have fun and see you out there!

The Giant Pandas

Vienna has plenty of rare sights, but perhaps none cuter than the Giant Pandas found in Schönbrunn Zoo. They became part of the zoo in 2003, as a symbol for the friendship between China and Austria, after many negotiations and planning.

Wondering where you can find them? The panda enclosure is very close to the zoo’s main entrance. After the ticket barrier, go straight ahead and look to your left. There’s a large outdoor area, so you can’t miss it. You might, however, find them in the same exact place three hours later, if you catch them in an inactive period.

I first saw them last summer, on a trip to the zoo, but would gladly see them again anytime!

Austrian Airlines

First contact I’ve had with Austria, even before actually stepping foot in the country, was with Austrian Airlines, the airline group that’s flown me safely in Vienna every time. I enjoy their service and how they treat customers, as well as hearing the German language around me.

Austrian occupies a leading position in Austria’s aviation industry, and since 2009 it has become a part of Lufthansa. One aspect that I felt gave a differentiation was the fact that they played classical music on board, when you boarded the plane. So after standing in line for a while, or lugging your baggage around and all the other stress related to travel, you would waltz in, as smiling faces greeted you. It was always a nice feeling for me and am looking forward to my next Austrian flight.

Maria Theresien Platz

Just north of the Hofburg, you can find the Maria Theresien Platz, a square that was created in the 19th century. In the middle of the square there is a huge monument of the Empreress, in whose memory it was named Maria Theresien Platz.

After doing a bit of research, as well as after a visit to Schönbrunn, I found out that Maria Theresa was an Austrian archduchess, and Holy Roman Empress of the Habsburg Dynasty. She reigned from 1740 to 1780 and was also mother to Marie Antoinette, of which you may have heard as being the last Queen of France before the French Revolution.

Maria-Theresien-Platz is bordered by two majestic museum buildings, which mirror each other: Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) and Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History), which I already told you about in a previous article. They are both constructed in neo-Renaissance design with large domes, very pleasing to the eye and attractive for tourists.

The area in between the two museums is inviting and quite exquisite, consisting of formal gardens, statues, fountains and nature, at the center of which stands the colossal monument. The day I visited it for the first time, even though it was pretty cold and rain clouds were threatening, it was such a serene atmosphere, children laughing, families spending time together, street artisans playing with huge bubbles. Quite lovely, don’t you think?

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Deutsch vs Österreichische Wörter

So, you’ve probably figured out by now that the Hoch Deutsch differs in many aspects from the Österreichische Deutsch you hear once you step foot in the streets of Vienna. The accent, the word shortenings, the words replacements, they are all part of making the Viennese dialect so fun to learn and hear. I have heard that the spoken Austrian is closer to or identical with the Bavarian and Alemannic dialects.

For me it seems more melodic and jollier than Hoch Deutsch, I can just see the faces of the locals light up as they initiate a conversation with you. With that in mind, I thought it’d be fun to present to you some differences between German and Austrian day to day words, and maybe if you know more, you can post them in the comment section below.

Kasten (wardrobe) instead of Schrank

Sessel (chair) instead of Stuhl.

Vorzimmer (hallway) instead of Diele.

Ofen (oven) instead of Kamin.

Polster (pillow) instead of Kissen.

Topfen (quark) instead of Quark.

Marille (apricots) instead of Aprikosen.

Sackerl (bag / shopping bag) instead of Tüte.

Grüß Gott versus Guten Tag

Semmel versus Brötchen

Erdapfel versus Kartoffeln

Paradeiser versus Tomate

Klo versus Toilette

Mahlzeit versus Guten Appetit

a bisserl versus ein bisschen

 

Naturhistorisches Museum Wien

On my very first visit to Vienna, in February 2017, I got the chance to see the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien. You can find it on the Ring Straße, the visitor’s entrance being by Maria-Theresien-Platz, a wonderful outdoor area with a big statue of the Austrian Empress.

The museum is really big and the tour is quite long, so it will take you most of the day. Its history is shaped by the passion for collecting of renowned monarchs, the endless thirst for knowledge of famous scientists, and the spirit of adventure of travelling researchers. There are several wings, which host categories such as geology, sea creatures, dinosaurs, butterflies, mammals and even a planetarium, which I enjoyed tremendously.

We also stopped for a bite to eat and a refreshment at the inside Café, which has an impressive architecture and being one of the first buildings I saw in Vienna, it made me pay attention to the architecture of the city as a whole.

Vienna – Biking City

For me, one of the most pleasant aspects of Vienna was how bike-friendly the city was. It is the 16th bike-friendly city in the world, and 4th in Europe. Vienna has over 1.300 km of cycle paths, some of which are in areas with hardly traffic. There is a public bike rental system – Citybike -available to rent in order to get around, and several other bicycle rentals and bike sharing providers, which makes biking the most exciting way to discover Vienna.

Within my third visit to Vienna, I invested in a bike here as well, which now, after my move,  I use every day to get to class and from class, and during the weekend, sometimes I take the Donau Kanal route, which is so great and freeing, to pedal alongside the water and the nearby floating ships.

The Ring Straße also has a wonderful route, which I bike on the way to the Donau Kanal. It was a pleasant surprise to see how many people are biking in Vienna, certainly an improvement to my homecity. It was also an adjustment, to pay attention to other bikers in traffic, and to be mindful of pedestrians, or even more so, as a pedestrian, to make sure to avoid the bike lanes. Funny story: sometimes, I’m so used to standing at the traffic light on the bike spot, that as a pedestrian I sometimes find myself in the same spot and say “oooh, wrong isle”.

How do you like the biking culture in Vienna?

The Vienna Stadt Oper

Right across the street from the DeutschAkademie is the Vienna Stadt Oper, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and a historical landmark.  The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstraße and as difficult as it is to believe now, it received a lot of opposition from the locals, when it was just in project, back in 1861.

The plans for the beautiful building were drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll.Its construction lasted 8 years, until 1869, and it consisted of Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka.

The first play ever to be hosted in here was the opening performance of Don Giovanni on May 25, 1869. Don’t you just wish you could be there? This historical building has suffered some damages towards the end of World War II, when the opera was under bombardment.

Nowadays, it sits in all its glory, after being restored, and millions of guests walk through its doors every year. The tickets are usually quite expensive, but I recently found a local tip, that you can get standing tickets, starting from 3 €.

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Tips for Vocabulary learning

Do you know those long Vocabulary lists, that you have to memorize by heart? Most people find them hard, and yesterday so did my class. So we did some brainstorming together, what possible ways of learning new words might be and I thought it would be cool to share it with you guys as well. Interested? Here we go

Learn with a partner. Read through the words and try to memorize them as best you can on your own, but then have someone else quiz you on them. Most of the time, when you just read through them, you think you’ve mastered them, but when you don’t have them before you anymore, things get trickier.

Flash cards. You can write the word on one part, the meaning on the back and do a similar process as described above, by yourself.

Putting the new words into sentences. This is a valuable tool, because your brain remembers associations better, and not just words on their own.

Audio lessons. Usually you hear the word, and then the speaker uses it in a sentence. It’s really good for learning pronunciation too.

Watching movies and TV shows in German. Can be with / without subtitles, as per your preference, or you can rewatch some that you already know, for better understanding.

What other tips for learning do you know? Share them in the comment section. Happy learning!