time reversal

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Fantastic German Book from the 1930s

August 24th, 2008 by ruth

So, I want to learn German. I like the place, a lot of my family speaks the language, we’ve got friends in Germany, and learning a new language distracts me from the staggering lack of diversity in Boulder. And Bratwurst is delicious.

I’m reading this book my grandfather gave me, the Elementary German Series Graded Reader by Peter Hagboldt. It’s pretty cool — written all in German, starting with mostly cognate words, it uses repetition and brief English annotations to teach basic German in a very immersive and relaxed fashion. But every once in a while I come to a passage like this one (roughly translated):

Enough means not too much and not too little . . . People say, “A wolf never has enough”. Many men can never have enough. They are like wolves. They have a million dollars and it isn’t enough.

It makes for some entertaining coffeeshop reading. Little snippets of bitter German philosophy are mixed into these innocent children’s stories that are otherwise reminiscent of Dick and Jane. How awesome.

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