Saturday, 10 January 2009

Certified German!

I have finally finished and got my results for the distance learning Open University course for the Certificate in German, which I have been taking for the past two years. And I have passed! This means I am supposedly proficient up to CEFR level B1, or the eqiuvalent of the Goethe-Institut Zertifikat Deutsch.

It also means I can use the letters Cert German(Open) after my name, apparently certifying that I am an open German. This is an improvement on when I passed their Introduction to the Humanities course, when I was allowed to put Cert Human after my name. Yup, I'm certainly human!

It has been an interesting and vigorous course, but I think they missed out a few essentials of German language and culture; namely:

  • Dialogue to use when phoning up a plumber and asking them to repair your central heating.
  • How to fill in an Anmeldungformular for registering residency.
  • How to get your gas, electricity, and water connected.
  • The correct use of 'genau' in every other spoken sentence.
  • The importance of giving the exact change at the check-out, and the meaning of 'Hmm?'
  • The dustbin collection system, Pfand, and gelbe Säcke.
  • How to operate a Deutsche Bahn Fahrscheinautomat (ticket machine) without ending up with a return ticket to Zagreb.
  • How to politely tell acordion players, Strassenfeger (Big Issue) sellers, or East European women with babes in arms asking 'do you speek eenglish?' that whilst I would like to help with their welfare I don't have any Kleingeld (change) just at the moment so would you mind just going away please?
  • What exactly is Schlager music and how can it be avoided?
  • The importance of the TV programme Tatort in popular culture (ditto Unser Sandmännchen, Bauer sucht Frau, and the cook with the unfeasibly enormous curly moustache).
  • Vocabulary for asking for a haircut so that you don't come out with it bright red, or with a mohican or mullet (the default options for women and men respectively).
  • How to survive Silvester with your nerves intact.
  • CDU, FDP, Die Linke, SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen usw. . . what's the difference between these parties? After all, I'll be having to vote for one of them later this year.
  • Cindy aus Marzahn. I mean, what?!

Maybe the course co-ordinators are reading this, and these points will be covered in the next presentation of the course. Or maybe not.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on passing! That's brilliant.

    My degree in German also left me totally unprepared for any of the things I had to face on arrival in Germany. Mind you... if they'd told me in advance about the Anmeldeformular then I'd probably still be living in Britain!

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