Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Monday, 5 November 2018

Witty...



Since October the new semester at the Freie Universität Berlin - short: FU - has started.
As you know I do "Dutch studies" - the philology of the Netherlands -so  I learn Dutch as a language, but also about history, literature and linguistic analysis.

I love it!

Learning the language comes easy to  me (though of course I have to work a lot - but I enjoy that). Sometimes it is confusing - e.g. when I search for my blog for an English word - but Dutch turns up! (Which reminds me of the fabulous short story Cicerone by Atte Jongstra. He is a postmodern Netherlandish poet, who in that story compares his brain to a warehouse, where the salespersons run to bring him his memories - but they are sometimes unruly - take a long time, get lost in the storeys or the cellar, or turn up deliberately with other items than those he asked for.
Postmodernism wants to show that language or a text is not "plain truth" - every reader puts his own interpretation into a text.
As we all know when we talk to someone, or write something, and are misunderstood. (N'est-ce pas, Tom?)

Arriving at the university on an early (very early) crisp November morning is bliss.

And I am utterly proud (and have to brag a bit about it) that I connected easily with the young students (I was the only silver-back among 22 young people, the oldest (haha) of them being 25, the youngest 18).

That is one of the big nice surprises in my advanced life!

The wooden sculpture of the little fox which you see above - and which I love as a symbol of "intelligence" - has gone. Vanished.
(I will not overdo it - but it reminds me of a book by Cees Nooteboom's Nachts komen de Vossen" - "the Foxes come at Night". I hope this one does it too! )
So the campus looks in the early morning a bit void - but still beautiful.






15 comments:

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    1. I think so - last semester the tip of his tail was stolen (and replaced), then they put a construction site fence around it (but also did construction work in the area) - now I don't know where it is.

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  2. It has been stolen for firewood by migrants.

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  3. You must e having a good time with all those younger people in class. You will learn from them as they learn from you.

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    1. Yes, it is fun, Emma - and the exchange works well!

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  4. Je voudrais remercier la personne qui a inventé le langage. Cela rend le monde tellement plus amusant. I wish I knew what I just said.

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    1. Oui, Geo., c'est un grand bonheur de parler et comprendre des languages differentes! The fun thing is that though the words seem to describe the same, they stand in the context of a nation - thus giving insights into the way they see life.

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  5. You are so very fortunate Britta that learning different languages comes easily to you. Apparently people who struggle to learn foreign languages have brains that are wired up differently or is that simply an excuse?
    The symbolism of the fox for intelligence comes, I believe from the Celts, who honoured him for his great wisdom - lets hope that he soon returns back to his spot on the campus.

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    1. I think there are differences in the ability to learn a language easier or not - same as the capability to learn and understand mathematics. But apart from that I think it is a lot of working through grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation for everyone (and I laugh about people who brag at school that they never had worked to get those excellent results ... because theseoften were the pupils whose parents complained about the long working hours till midnight for their poor children... :-)
      I did not know about the Celt symbolism - thank you!

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  6. I am not good at languages myself but (perhaps because I am a musician?) I am always curious about the sound they make. I have a Dutch friend and when he's talking to people on the phone I am always astonished by the sound Dutch makes to my English-tuned ears! It always makes me want to speak it (but life is too short).

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    1. Dear solitary-cyclist (I like that blogtitle even better than "...made out of words"!) - yes, the Dutch language is a very fascinating - and strange sounding, but that is fun! - language. I can do those fricatives etc - and enjoy it (many of the Germans find it difficult). And well: I say "Life is too short to stuff a mushroom" - but learning a language? Better than crossword-puzzles :-)

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  7. I am full of admiration for you Britta ...... and, being with 18 - 25 year olds keeps you young !!! XXXX

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    1. Thank you! All my life I had that contact - as study-adviser I worked with over 30.000 of them, all between 17 - 25; as you say: it keeps you young (and honestly: they are the most fun! You can laugh and giggle with them). XXXX

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