Dem German Endings

You may get PTSD, but learning German is a good way to learn the grammar you forgot — or the grammar you never learned. German is as fulsome as it is fulsome in that respect, something like a built-in sentence diagram.

german.cases.cartoon

There are 16 ways to say “the” in German. Just as there are 16 ways to say “the” in English?

No. Each of the 16 ways in German tell you the gender, number and case of the following noun. So just IN CASE…

Having taught the language for decades I’ve found some tricks for avoiding German’s paradigms from hell, that’s what they are — and no mistake. Something they don’t tell you about until it’s too late to drop the class, I am hoping that this post serves as warning. It may be too late for me, but not for thee.

german-article-adjective-and-pronoun-chart-updated
I found this “visual aid” at the following site. It’s a genuine P-O-S in my humblest opinion — ein Stück Scheisse.

Take a look at the über busy “visual aid” to the right. It’s a genuine P-O-S in my humblest opinion — ein Stück Scheisse, ohne Zweifel.

Mark Twain learned German (Fraktur even!) and lived to warn his readers: The Awful German Language. Fraktur inventors even thought of making the letter ‘f’ nearly indistinguishable from the letter ‘s’. So that you have to recognize the damned words containing ‘f’ and ‘s’ before you can understand what you are reading? Yes.

Consider the first line that the crow below is about to peck. “This is the Leipzig Fraktur font”:

fraktur-font-copy

I didn’t begin learning German until becoming an adult, when I needed it to study in West Germany in 1971. Sheer good fortune found me rooming with the only German student in the building who did not speak English…

Okay, enough of that, enough of that. What’s this lesson plan you wish to share?

Before the Vikings invaded Britain, English was still inflected the Saxon (Sachsen) way. The German “chs” became the simplified “x”. They had a land to plunder, so they took the gordian option — replace all the sixteen shades of inflection for the so-called “strong endings”” from der, die, das, den, dem and des to “the” and replace all the twelve shades of inflection for the so-called weak endings” to “the” as well. Knot cut.

der.die.das.the

German inflections do not flourish in non-German soil well. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands — all of them pretty much did away with the meaning-by-inflection technique and applied the Viking way. Similarly, the Romance languages discarded the five declensions of Latin.

The only country that retained German (Nordic Branch) was Iceland. It has maintained all four cases and three genders for a millenium. Icelandic speakers can, with a bit of effort, read the Eddas. By the way, the Icelandic word for Iceland is Island — Iceland is land, is it not?

edda

Now then, how do those inflections work in German language? I’m calling the following lesson plan The Case of the “The” by Erle Stanley Gaertner:

  1. Über den Fluss und durch den Wald,
  2. Zu Großvaters Haus gehen wir;
  3. Die Pferde kennen den Weg, den Schlitten zu tragen
  4. trotz des dreckigen und tiefen Schnees.
  5. gegen den Regen und durch den Wald,
  6. zur Grossmutter und zum Grossvater gehen wir!
  1. Over [object of a preposition of relative position, accusative, masculine] river and through [preposition exclusively accusative, masculine, plural] wood,
  2. To Grandfather’s house we go;
  3. [subject, nominative, neuter, plural] horses know the way [direct object, accusative, masculine, plural] to carry [direct object, accusative, masculine, singular] sleigh
  4. Despite [object of a preposition governed by genitive, masculine, singular]white and drifted snow.
  5. Against [object of a preposition of relative position, accusative, masculine, singular] rain and through[object of a preposition governed by accusative, masculine, singular] wood,
  6. to [preposition and object of a preposition governed by dative, feminine, singular] grandmother and to [preposition and object of a preposition governed by dative, masculine, singular] grandfather we go!

Thanks for reading.

Two Words for Two Worlds

There is a thick line between veganism and the celebration of violence. The chasm between the desperately impoverished and the decadently entitled widens by the hour.  We witness the disparity at broadband speed and with the suddenness of a tsunami.

Africa is an enormous continent that gets depicted as approximately the size of Greenland on the very faulty default Mercator projection, used to depict everything from an extraordinarily specious perspective — one where the North Pole and the South Pole are infinitely large. This is to say that a single point with no dimension gets presented as limited only by infinity. Altogether all you need to know about the specie that finds Mercator’s single-purpose map indispensable to everything.

WorldMapper, it is scaled according to meat consumption.

meat.production.world

“Meat, as shown here, refers to all animal products that are consumed by people. Meat consumption per person is highest in Western European territories. Nine of the top ten meat consuming populations live in Western Europe. The anomaly in this ranking is New Zealand, a territory that is famous for its high ratio of sheep to people and the production of lamb. The most meat is consumed in China, a quarter of the world total. A fifth of the world population lives in China, eating on average 510 calories of meat per person, which is above the world average of 432 calories of meat per person.”

— WorldMapper

pangea_supercontinent_map

Two very different journalists on Korea.

First the vegan, Charles Newkey-Burden, author and journalist. He also writes for Shortlist, the Daily Telegraph and Four Four Two.

Offended by Koreans eating dog? I trust you’ve never had a bacon butty

“Yes, dogs are smart and friendly – but so are pigs. Researchers from Cambridge University found pigs are as smart as three-year-old humans. They can play computer games and recognise people they met several years ago. They develop trust and empathy like we, and dogs, do. Few people relish the thought of any animals being slaughtered so it’s normal for those who eat meat to try to justify it. Just as westerners get angry about people in Asia eating dogs and cats, many Indians get outraged by westerners eating cows. People shake their heads in disbelief at guinea pigs and alpacas being served up in South America.” — Source

How much is your approach to meat a reflection of inculturation? Whom does the culture incarcerate and whom does it traffic?

The next article is by the non-vegan Andrew Keh, an international correspondent, covering sports from Berlin. He has previously covered Major League Baseball and the N.B.A. and has reported from the World Cup and the Olympics.

An Olympic Challenge: Eat All the Korean Food That Visitors Won’t

At a restaurant near Gangneung Olympic Park, a colleague and I slipped on plastic gloves and each grabbed scissors. (When I’m president, scissors will replace knives on everybody’s dinner tables.) We pulled crab parts from a bubbling pot as deep and wide as a witch’s caldron. We broke our busy silence only to marvel at the ribbons of red and white meat dangling between our fingertips: They were feathery soft and, yes, so sweet. When all the legs were gone, we asked for a couple packs of instant noodles to repurpose the cloudy russet broth. The place also serves sannakji, raw octopus so fresh that the slices quiver on the plate. For non-Korean visitors, the dish exists almost exclusively as a dare. — Sourcehttps://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=unknown

If you have the stomach click on I have the stomach to eat menudo.
Is it ethical to eat an animal that is still alive when it arrives at your plate. Could you eat live octupus? Andrew Keh celebrates it. It’s not something that I can un-see, but as a vegan I must bear witness to the banal.

 

Thanks for reading.

To Serve Man

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a laudable mission statement signed in 1948. It’s a worthy list of inalienable rights. Unfortunately they are self-ordained by a single self-admiring specie for a self-admiring specie.  There were two billion humans alive in 1948, there were 7.6 billion by 2018. At least 70 billion animals who do not qualify for human rights will become “what’s for dinner” and other consumer products by this time next year.

http-::www.cartoonistgroup.com:properties:bizarro:art_images:cg50a3d418f0ac2

Universal rights? No. Membership is limited to just one specie.

Inalienable rights? No. I can violate them each and every day, with or without impunity. At a supermarket for example.

Can you name any species as selfish, self-serving, arrogant and violent? Humans excel at both inter- and intra- species exploitation. They are toolmakers who waste no time weaponizing every clever invention they devise into a long list of engineering marvels — to serve man. Damon Knight’s story is also set at the UN and is also a curious take on human rights.

Galaxy_195011

Humans domesticate every creature on this planet: inter- and intra- as well. They are toolmakers who can transmit their will at the speed of light, who recreate by watching blood sports and who domesticate their domestic realms with domestic violence. Do I hint at patriarchy here? Yes, it’s by design and by inheritance. How many matriarchal societies can you inscribe on the head of a pin?

Look at the Elephant in the Room as it looks back at you. The eyes have it.

theres.an.elephant.in.the.room

Built-in optical systems for locating sustenance and for detecting danger are not trivial physical characteristics. Eyes are something that homo sapiens have in common with other sentient beings who developed them during the Cambrian — about half a billion years ago.

we.dont.serve.your.kind.here

Creatures with eyes possess an astonishingly complex central nervous system that channels cognition to intention. Sentient creatures share a long list of extraordinarily similar organs, systems that pump lifeblood from the heart to each organ and back again — sentient beings possess extraordinarily similar oxygen-breathing mechanisms and waste elimination processes. Glance at the corresponding organs found in pig and in man.

If this all sounds a bit like a rant, initiating a discomfiting mood, I provide the following bit of reading material that contains much more “conventional wisdom” on the state of bacon in contemporary American thought on comfort food:

Where bacon comes from on a pig

for.sheer.horror.thanksgiving

Here is where I found the Dan Piraro (fellow vegan) cartoons. You may also wish to visit Dan’s website, Bizarro dot com

Thanks for reading.

It’s All About Meme

a wise meme once said

About 10,900,000 results (0.40 seconds) 

Did you mean: “a wise man once said”?

No, but thank you for the algorithm, G. Oogle. I didn’t mean that.

Did you meme: “a wise woman once said“?

Thank you Mr. Oogle, but those results are more helpful. Your bots do fine fast work.

Disinformation_vs_Misinformation
Memetics is a term invented by Richard Dawkins (1976: The Selfish Gene) to describe how information propagates in a network. The internet permits you to inform and misinform as rapidly as web-crawling bots can jump from here to anywhere.
A borg in Macedonia, a bot in Minnesota or a Shakespeare-typing monkey may be squinting at a computer screen as you read this.
Misinformation
Mr. G.O. Ogle, what’s a “meme generator”?
About 1,270,000 results (0.53 seconds) 
Why an all-caps serif-free dishwater-grey font? Personally, I would prefer Henry Ford black.meme.font
Why would Gandhi quote Martin Luther King on Einstein’s memories of Logan Paul?
Thanks for reading.