In School in Germany/ Genre of the Week: Pelmanism- From the Novel: Don’t Try This At Home by Paul Reizin

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This Genre of the Week looks at a novel that may look ordinary to some readers who go through the whole book (or even half of it before putting it down for another one) and judge it as textbook style- where the protagonist gets caught in a situation where he has to find his way out.

The novel “Don’t Try This At Home,” by Paul Reizin looks at the protagonist from a first person point-of-view, who ends up being entangled in a mafia, getting in trouble with the law, and in bed with several girls in the process. All of these are by accident; all of these despite his attempts of getting himself out of the situation, only to end up digging himself even deeper in a hole until his wit, quick thinking and a little romance got himself out in the end.  How it all happened and what his personal life was like is worth reading and interpreting yourself. 🙂

Yet Reizin’s novel also features a few unconventional games that are worth trying, if you knew how they were played and done it wisely. Pelmanism is one of those games mentioned and described in the novel.

And while in the book Pelmanism had experiments with different types of alcohol while guessing what they were without looking, the game itself can be a useful one that provides the players of all ages with valuable learning experiences in all subjects of study.

Especially, when learning foreign languages!!!! 😀

I’ve been using this game for all my English classes since 2004- most of the time when we have our last course meeting as a group before the semester ends and we part ways for other commitments in life- and the game features words that are sometimes forgotten by some and unknown by others. It also presents some of the typical things and characteristics of some students. All it takes is some guessing what the objects are and who they belong to.

 

The object of the game is simple. You need:

A sheet of paper and a writing utensil

A timer

And a bag with ten personal items- the items should be small enough to fit in a cloth bag (not a see-through plastic one)

 

How the game is played goes like this:

One student grabs a bag and places the contents on the table in the middle, while other students close their eyes and/or look away as the contents are being taken out. Once all the items are on the table, that student signals the rest of the group to open their eyes and look at the table and the objects.  At this point, students have one minute to identify the ten items on the table in their working language, namely the foreign language they are learning. At the same time, they should guess who these objects belong to.

Once the teacher, who runs the timer, says “Stop!”, the students are called on upon random to name the objects and who they belong to. The student, who gets all the objects right as well as the correct person, will be the next one that chooses another bag, and repeats the same procedure.

This whole process continues until all the bags are used up or the teacher ends the game for time reasons.  There is no clear winner, but the objective of the game is to get the students to “reactivate” their brains to remember the words they learned in the past. At the same time, they also have an opportunity to learn new vocabulary- much of which may need to be listed on a sheet of paper with the native language equivalent, should the foreign language level range from beginner to intermediate (A to B level, according to the Common European Framework). In some cases, small devices that are new to the students will need to be explained by the person who brought it with the other objects.

 

I’ve had some weird but interesting examples that warranted explaining, for instance:

A can of deoderant that is actually a capsule for fitting a small object for hiding in geocaching, a pen that functions as a light, laser pointer and hole puncher, small books full of quotes, USB-sticks with company logos, stuffed animals (also as key chains), pieces of raw material (wood, rock, metal), postcards, pictures and poems. If you can think it, you can present it and be genuine at the same time. 😉

As mentioned earlier, Pelmanism can be played by all ages, regardless of language knowledge, and if you can have at least four participants (the more, the better), you can treat yourself to an evening of fun for either the whole family or friends. If you are a teacher in an English class, you will find this useful and fun for the students; especially if you participate in the game yourself.

Pelmanism is one of those games found in a book, where if modified for use in the classroom and mastered properly, it can be a fun experience for those learning new words, especially in a foreign language. It reactivates your brain and gets you reacquainted with words learned in the past (but seldomly used in the present), while at the same time, encourages active learning and acquisition of new words into an ever-expanding vocabulary. It is a fun game for everyone, and if you are as lucky as the protagonist in the story, you might come out with more than what words you learned in the game. 😉 ❤

Thanks, Paul!

 

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Dining in Stein in Schleswig-Holstein: Some More Tongue-Twisters in English

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Actors, singers and comedians have done it. Teachers and professors as well. In order to better articulate their words to the audience, they had to practice speaking with a wine cork in their mouths. Situated in a vertical position between the upper and lower jaws, this technique has been proven effective in getting their mouths to move, while stretching it in a vertical position.

This exercise is also quite useful when learning English. 🙂

There are several words, whose endings produce the “ahhh” sound, in particular the endings of I+ consonant+ E. Regardless of which consonant you choose to insert, they all have the same result- a sound you produce while your mouth is in a vertical position. The difference is simply the different intonations you use.

And therefore, using the theme of dining in Stein, in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, here are some tongue twisters for you to practice, with the goal of getting you to stretch your mouth and better pronounce the words in English.

So without further ado….. 🙂

 

-INE/-EIN:

Two swines dine in Stein

Stein is in Holstein

Two beer steins

From Schleswig-Holstein

Enshrined in Turpentine

Like a serpentine

Whining to the swine

While dining with wine in Holstein.

 

 

-IDE/ -YDE / -Y/ -IE:

Clyde dyed his hide with dioxide

Clyde died from carbon monoxide

Dr. Hyde dyed his hide with peroxide

Dr. Hyde died from carbon dioxide.

Where are Clyde and Dr. Hyde?

They hide and confide to Heidi

And take pride from the dye on the hide

That they died from dioxide and not peroxide.

 

-IBE:

Jeff scribed a jibe

Geoff subscribed to Jibe

Jeff conscribed a bribe

Geoff unsubscribed

Jeff prescribed Geoff to Gibe

Now Geoff starts to describe

How Gibe circumscribes a bribe

And describes to a tribe

How Jibe and Gibe describe

How to circumscribe a bribe.

 

-ICE:

Three mice stole the dice

The dice had spice on ice

Three mice had lice on the ice

Who gave advice at a price.

The lice sliced the ice

And the mice were nice

And traded allspice with the lice for spice

To put on the ice.

Now the mice and the lice

Are eating ice with spice

And gave advice for allspice

Eaten while on ice.

 

 

-IME:

Two mimes chimed in.

A crime was chimed at bedtime

A mime did a crime at dinnertime

A mime chimed about a crime at nighttime

When bedtime chimed for the mime

It’s crime-fighting time at daytime

When a mime chimes about lime

Stolen at lunchtime by a mime

That lime was worth a dime

Was it worth a crime for a mime to steal a lime

When it was lunchtime and halftime

Of a football match between mimes?

 

  -ILE:

Three juveniles pile a woodpile

Two crocodiles are in the Nile

Somewhile a mile of crocodiles

Saw a pile of reptiles

While the juveniles reconcile

To the two crocodiles in the Nile

Who are bile and riled

Because the reptiles became Gentiles

Who tiled the mile of crocodiles

While the two crocodiles swam into the Nile.

 

 -IPE

Two pipers swiped bagpipes

Two bagpipes were wiped by snipers

They griped about the bagpipes’ stripes

And wiped the pipes with blowpipes.

Now the pipers griped about the blowpipes

The handypipes are way too ripe

The striped bagpipes look like cesspipes

The gripes turned to tripe

The pipers piped their bagpipes

And blew the snipers into the stovepipe

They gripe no more because the pipes are stripe

And tripe no more they try.

 

-IZE

We organize to unionize

And socialize to romanticize

And personalize to institutionalize

And nationalize to legitimize

And equalize to legalize

And overcapitalize to monopolize

And overspecialize to modernize

And overdramatize to outsize

And overemphasize to moralize

And robotize to radicalize

And vandalize to terrorize

And universalize to unrealize

And vitalize to vocalize

And spiritualize to memorialize

And stabilize to visualize its size of

a globalized  society.

 

How’s the mouth stretching now? If you feel a pull, then it’s working wonders. Keep practicing until you can hear the difference. Good luck. 😉

 

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Stein is a resort town in Schleswig-Holstein. Located east of Kiel along the Baltic Sea coast, it has a population of 830 residents and belongs to the district of Plön. For more on the town, please click here to the town’s website. 🙂

 

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We need to talk……Or should it be chat?- The difference between talk, chat, speak, say and tell

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Imagine this situation: four girls are sitting on a log in the middle of the river, communicating about boys in their lives, philosophy, parents getting on their cases for not doing their chores, teachers’ pets and the like. They sit there for hours on end, letting time fly until one of the girls’ parents hollar their names. Turning around, they see a rather irritated person whose first but most important sentence reads:

“We need to talk, young lady!”

One could also interpret this as:

I need to speak with you.

I have something to tell you.

I have to chat with you about this.

or even

I have something to say to you. 

But is there an underlying difference between say, tell, speak, chat or even talk?

Believe it or not, there is and here’s how:

TELL:

  1. Tell is used to convey a message directly to the person, both in written as well as orally.
  2. Here, we use a person as an object and requires no preposition
  3. Examples:
    1. I have something to tell you.
    2. Did David tell Cara about the news?
    3. Sheila told the teacher that she was late because of a traffic jam.

TALK:

  1. Talk is used to exchange information or have a conversation between two or even more people. It can range from light-hearted conversatio to something serious.
  2. When using a person as a direct object, the preposition of to is needed. Otherwise, as an outsider looking in, with or between is commonly used when looking at two people discussing something. If it involves a theme and not between two people, about is used.
  3. Examples:
    1. Eileen, I want to talk to you about this.
    2. Frank had a talk with Ben about this project
    3. The talk between Dorothea and Carrie bore no fruit.
    4. Stephanie, we need to talk.

SPEAK:

  1. Speak is used in two ways. In the first one, it deals with one-way communication and focuses on serious matters. As the person(s) is the object, the preposition of to is used here. With is also used when talking about what two or more persons spoke about, also in a direct form.
  2. Speak can be used to look at the person’s ability to speak languages. Here, no preposition is needed.
  3. Examples:
    1. Jeremiah, I need to speak to you after class.
    2. The chancellor spoke to the audience about the plan. (Here you can replace speak with address but minus the preposition)
    3. Corrina can speak six languages fluently and is working on her seventh!
    4. The professor spoke with the dean of academic affairs about the complaint today.

SAY:

  1. Say is used to convey an announcement and/or fact and does not address someone directly. Therefore a preposition is not necessary.
  2. If using say directly to a person, the preposition of to is a necessity.
  3. When using say + that, it refers to something being addressed indirectly, although one can forego the luxury if addressing it directly to the person in a form of a command is needed.
  4. Examples:
    1. Matt had something to say to the proposal but didn’t have a chance to say it.
    2. My junior officer has something he wants to say to you.
    3. Mike said that Sara would cover for you while you were away.
    4. I said get that remote control!

CHAT:

  1. Chat can be used as an informal way of discussing a topic- similar to a talk, but most of the time more light-heartedly.
  2. When addressing a person directly, a preposition of with is needed. A topic, it’s about.
  3. Examples:
    1. I hate it when those two chat about nonesense during breaks.
    2. How about a chat over coffee?
    3. You love to chat! I don’t!- When a German says this to you, this is the cue to end the conversation and move on without delay.

 

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Any questions at this point? 🙂

Exercise 1: Complete each sentece with either talk, speak, chat, tell, or say. Please keep in mind that a preposition may be needed in some of them. Also pay attention to the verb tenses, as they are written in either present, past or future (will) tenses.

  1. Chuck __________ Jasmine about the car being sold.
  2. The teacher _________ something about the field trip yesterday.
  3. How about a ________ over a beer at a pub down the street?
  4. I want to _________ you about your grades. I’m worried about you.
  5. The ________ between Crystal and Anna helped solve some key problems.
  6. Martin _________ that the golf course would be hosting the tournament this year.
  7. Why didn’t you __________ me about this? I could have helped you there!
  8. You wanted to __________ to me, Mr. Stone?
  9. Ian ________ you sent the letter off, yesterday. Is that true?
  10. Bridget ____________ you about the project next week.
  11. Dad and Paul _________ the whole night about everything.
  12. Stacey ____________ Marcus about the wedding proposal.
  13. Carolyn ___________the incident on the school bus this morning.
  14. The reporter __________ that the train wreck happened outside of town last night.
  15. I __________ don’t do it, but you did it anyway! Why?

 

Exercise 2: Use the set of words below and conjugate the sentences using speak, talk, say, and tell. Some words need to be added, some omitted.

1. Patty/scholarship/win

2. Holly/Brad/new car/ buy

3. Albert/Charles/becoming a new doctor

4. Conductor/ passengers/ train/ delay (or arrive late)

5. Teacher/ students/ dance/ Saturday night/ take place

 

Exercise 3: In each sentence, there is one error. Find that error and correct it.

  1. I want to say you something, Papa.
  2. I chatted to you to clean your room! Why didn’t you do that?
  3. Patrick spoke at the council about the proposal being bad.
  4. The two gentleman had a great say at the get-together
  5. Mama had a speak with her daughter about the birds and bees.

 

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Ted is Ded: The English Guide to Regular Verb Endings

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Here is a well-known fact: There are nine different types of verb tenses in the English language, more than in other Germanic languages, but not as many as in Latin. We have past (simple and continuous), perfect (present and past), present (simple and continuous), and future (will, going to and perfect). And even when we look at past simple tense, there we have two different types. There is the regular verb tense- verbs that carry “-ed”, and there are the irregular verbs, which like Latin, you need to learn it by heart, for each verb follows its own set of guidelines for past and past participle forms. A link with the entire irregular verb tenses can be found here.

Regular Verb tenses follow a stringent set of guidelines, both in terms of word structure as well as in terms of pronunciation that learners of English will find it easier to remember than with the irregular counterpart.

In terms of word structure, regular verb tenses follow five simple guidelines:

  1. Words ending in one or more consonants require solely the “-ed” ending.               Examples include: Wanted, Rejected, Opened, Visited
  2. Words whose ending is “-e” but it is silent only need a “-d” at the end.                   Examples include: Bribed, Dined, Phoned, Died, Lived
  3. Words whose ending is a vowel+ y only require “-ed” at the end.                                      Examples include: Played, Destroyed, Betrayed, Delayed, Stayed, Buoyed
  4. Words whose ending is a consonant + y require the replacement of the “-y” with the “-ied”. Examples include: Carried, Buried, Hurried, Studied, Married
  5. Some words, whose consonants end in m/n/t/b/p/g/l require a double consonant plus “-ed” at the end. Examples include: Banned, Slammed, Crammed, Travelled, Levelled, Rubbed, Dubbed, Stopped, Flopped, Butted (out), Jogged. 

In terms of pronunciation, regular verb tenses follow three key rules:

D-form: words with  l/ v / n / m / r / b / v / g / w / y / z / and vowel sounds have a pronunciation ending with “-d”.  Most of these endings have a voiced sound, especially with words with the endings b/g/l/m/n/s/z. In other words, if words have a buzz, they’re responded with a “duh!” 😉  Examples of such words include the following:

advised (ad’vaiz) + d,  agreed, allowed, answered, appeared, arrived, believed, belonged,
burned, called, carried, changed, cleaned, closed, covered, cried, damaged, described, 

died,  dried, earned, encouraged, enjoyed, entered, explained, explored, filled, 

followed, happened, interviewed, imagined, jailed, killed, listened, lived, loved, measured, 

moved,
opened, planned, played, performed, pulled, realized, remembered, rained,

repaired,   saved, shared, shaved, showed, signed, slammed, stayed, snowed, 

studied, tried, traveled, turned, used, welcomed, whispered, worried, yawned

T-form: words with  p / k / s / ch / sh / f / x / h are pronounced with “t” at the end. Most of these words have voiceless endings. That means if a person in the library says “Shhhhhhh!,” you can respond with “-it”, meaning…….. 😉   You can imagine what would happen if you were to do this in reality……. 😉

Here are some examples to practice:

asked, baked, brushed, cooked, cracked, crashed, danced (da:ns) + t, dressed, 

dropped,
escaped, finished, fixed, guessed, helped, hoped, hiked, joked, jumped, knocked, 

kissed, laughed (læf)+t, locked, looked, missed, mixed, packed, passed, picked, pressed, pushed
pronounced, relaxed, slipped, smoked, stopped, shopped, talked, typed, 

walked, washed,  watched, worked

Ted is Ded form:  words whose consonant ending is either “d” or “t” have the “-ed” that is pronounced as “-id”. As a chime, you have this sentence: Ed needed Ted but Ted is Dead (ded). Cruel but effective way to remember this……. 😉

Examples to practice include:

accepted, afforded, attended, arrested, collected, contacted, counted, decided, 

defended, 
demanded, divided, ended, expanded, expected, exported, flooded, graduated,

hated
hunted, included, invited, invented, landed, needed, painted, planted, printed, 

presented,  pretended, protected, provided, rented, repeated, reported, 

respected, rested, scolded
skated, started, shouted, treated, visited, waited, wanted, wasted

Unlike irregular verbs, where index cards are the necessary approach to learning verbs and their past equivalent, there is no real solution except to practice saying the words at home by yourself or with your friend or loved one. One can also try a few of these exercises below, while at the same time, compare how past tense in your own country is different to this one.

http://www.pearsonlongman.com/ae/download/spectrum/pdfs/book2/sp2_pronpuzz.pdf

http://www.autoenglish.org/gr.edpron.pdf

While past tense is not as severe as in Latin, it is much more difficult than in many other languages, whose rules are simpler to follow, like the German past and perfect forms, which are not subdivided. 🙂

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The Shunned: A guide to suffixes with -ion, -ial, and -ian

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The word “shun” is one of the worst words a person practicing Christianity can say when practicing their religious faith. To shun someone means to exclude him or her from a religion or club for actions considered a violation of the code of conduct. Martin Luther was shunned by the Catholic Church for his publication of his 95 Theses in 1517, questioning the Pope in Rome about the way people believe in Christ, the sale of Indulgences, and excluding people from the Church, giving the rights to read the Bible in Latin to the privileged ones. In other words, his accusation against the Church for its exclusion ended in his own excommunication.

Look at the last sentence closely: accusation, exclusion and excommunication. While the first word means to defer responsibility to the Church for its actions, the last two mean the same as shun. However, in grammatical terms, they all share one common denominator: they all ended in “-shun!”

It is sometimes difficult to find out the rules involving suffixes for all words in the English language because even though they change the grammatical function of the words (derivation between nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs), the rules of pronunciation and the meaning of the words after adding the suffixes are different, thus making it difficult to work with this topic.

 

There are some suffixes, like the “shunned ones-” the theme of this article, where one can look at the pattern behind the spelling of the words and how they are pronounced. This is the case here. The “shunned ones” feature words, whose suffix endings consist of the following:  -tion, -sion, -cation, -zation, -sation, -cial, -tial,  -tian, -cian,  and in a couple cases, -science.

Examples of such words are found below:

special, nation, technician, organization, realisation, and conscience

Note the endings marked in cursive.  With the exception of nation, all of the aforementioned comprises of a root word, plus a “shunned” suffix, whose pronuncialtion starts with an “sh-” sound. Hence the word shun.  😉  As a general rule, regardless of the number of syllables in each word with a shunned one, the stress is always at the second to the last syllable, as seen in the examples below:

special, technician, organization, communication, commercial

In German, because many words have similar meanings, especially with those with “-ion”, the stress is at the end of the word. However, as some words have -sierung- as equivalents, the “-sier-” portion is stressed, not the “-ung.”

Here are some exercises that will help you practice your pronunciations with the “shunned ones.” Enjoy! 😀

 

Exercise 1.  Practice pronouncing the following “shunned words” and determine the meanings in your own words, and (in some cases), your own native language. Notice the difference?

-cian/-tian:  physician, pediatrician, mathematician, logician, politician, electrician, mortician, optician,  magician, musician, Christian

Note: These endings indicate that they represent personal nouns.

 

-tion:  evolution, emancipation, citation, devotion, emotion, station, annexation, devastation, commotion, procrastination, affirmation, confirmation, explanation

-sion:  confusion, inclusion, exclusion, expulsion, introversion, conversion, inversion, diversion, division, recession, procession, percussion, concussion, collision, commission

Note: These endings indicate that they are nouns that represent events.

 

-zation:  utilization, organization, memorization, internationalization, localization, regionalization, urbanization, McDonaldization, rationalization

-cation: classification, clarification, gratification, personification, unification, implication, medication, fortification, identification, modofication, vacation

Note: These endings deal with nouns representing process. The German equivalents are mostly -sierung, but there are some that end with -barkeit.  A link to McDonaldization is highlighted. 

 

-cial: beneficial, special, social, crucial, official, judicial, psychosocial, facial, multiracial, spacial, financial, glacial, artificial, provincial.

-tial: confidential, spatial, celestial, preferential, presidential, essential, exponential, torrential, potential, residential, martial, differential.

Note: These endings function mainly as adjectives, although a few of them function as nouns. 

 

Exercise 2. Tongue Twisters:

The emancipation, regionalization, localization, annexation, proclamation, creation of a nation creates great communication.

The obsession of a procession makes a concussion caused by collision due to inclusion by the commission.

She was essential, she was special, she was residential, she was social, she was an official.

Vacation is the best medication against gratification of the mummification not mortification nor gasification nor petrification nor personification of the co-worker.

The unionization of an organization makes rationalization an Americanization through the categorization of the barbarianization of the generalization of the republicanization of this country.

How many physicians, pediatricians, mathematicians, logicians, politicians, electricians, morticians, opticians,  magicians, beauticians, and musicians do we need to make a good Christian?

Evolution makes pollution; revolution makes execution; prostitution makes prosecution; distribution makes resolution; dillusion makes institution.

Shunned means the exclusion, expulsion, excommunication, circumvention, polarization, isolation, decomission, rejection, elimination of a person from an institution because of a revolution, insubordination, insurrection and damnation of its organization.

 

And for the record, that was what happened to Martin Luther in 1517. But he lived to start the revolution that led to the establishment of the Lutheran Church. 😉

God bless that man. Amen!

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Genre of the Week: Mein Enkel

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Communication- the key to eliminating misunderstandings, solving problems and bringing people together. When one thinks of communication, we think of two things: a letter to a penpal or best friend living hundreds of kilometers/ miles away and talking to friends and family in a closed setting. I also think of communication as enjoying a cup of coffee while getting to know new people, talking with colleagues over lunch in a cafeteria like this one (this photo above was taken at the University of Bayreuth during my time as an English teacher in 2010), or even talking to parents and family members over the phone to see how life is like back home in Minnesota.

When the term communication comes to mind these days, we have the Smartphone, facebook and instagram. While they are meant to bring us together, they also separate us by not allowing the healthy face-to-face verbal communication. And while many in the older generations, especially the Baby-boomers have tried embracing the new technology, others have considered them the instrument of evil, especially when the computer language is English and it has penetrated many native languages, resulting in a bit of Denglish. 😉

And this is what takes us to this Genre of the Week, entitled “Mein Enkel.” Produced by Sebastian23, based in Cloppenburg, the short film was released in 2012 with a setting being in a semi-empty restaurant in Bochum. The characters in the film consist of three people in their 60s (specifically, the older version of the Babyboomers), a grandmother (Mathilda) and two of her male friends (Eduard and Roland), one of whom is into sugar and has problems catching up with the conversation with the other two. One of the characters (Mathilda) starts off the conversation of her grandchild registering on facebook and her being added to his friends’ list, which sets the conversation in motion about social networking using pure Denglish. Have a look at this rather “flustig” scene below:

This film has been used as a platform for many conversations and presentations on the pros and cons of social networking, specifically, who profits from this new form of communication and whether social networking is destroying the way we communicate with other people or if it a supplement to oral and written communication. Especially when Denglish (a combination of German and English) is becoming a hot subject among linguists and teachers of foreign language as many in these circles have debated on how inappropriate the language is. Personally speaking, Denglish is an informal form of communication which is best understood when people know both English and German and can speak it outside the work environment. However it is very funny to see how the language is used and therefore, there is an exercise for you to try.

  1. Decipher the conversation among the three characters in the story. What was the story about?
  2. Why do they consider the grandson’s registration on facebook to be an “epic fail?”
  3. What does Mathilda do with her grandson’s facebook page? Does she add him or not?
  4. What other social networks do they mention? Which one got the LOL by Mathilda?
  5. Why does Mathilda say “Opfer” after her granddaughter leaves to go play? What’s the meaning behind this?
  6. Who loves the sugar in the coffee? 
  7. Discussion: What are some advantages and setbacks towards social networking?
  8. Discussion: When should a child have a social network page, like facebook, and under what conditions?
  9. Discussion: Would you introduce or even allow a friend or family member of the Babyboomer generation (like the three) to social networking? If so, how would you teach them how to use it? If not, why not?

 

Please note, this is good for people learning German or English as a foreign language. 🙂

You can click to the website of Sebastian23 here to see more about the German slam poet and musician: http://sebastian23.org/

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When Cleopatra was a Goddess

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Part Two on the series on Personal Nouns looks at the role of the female in the English language. To start off this article I would like to ask this question: If there is a god, why is there not a goddess? After all, some women deserve to be called a goddess for their part in influencing and helping lives of others. 😉  I knew one from my days in college who was into poker and had a great sense of humor. Still, everyone called her a goddess.

But aside from that, how many personal nouns carry this well-esteemed “-ess,” honoring the feminists from the days of the Middle Ages and even further back to the waning days of the Roman Empire?

Nichts leichter als das: zu wenig!  While every German ending of a feminine noun ends with “-in” in singular and “-innen” in plural, not more than 200 personal nouns carry the feminine form. While we have the most common words, like actress (for actor) and waitress (for waiter), do we know that words, like aviatress, creatress, empress, governess, mistress, postmistress, sorceress, stewardess, titaness and veteraness even existed? Believe it or not, even though many of these words are becoming part of a memory, they are part of the English vocabulary that honors the women both rich and poor and regardless of which period these words came from. The conversion from the masculine version to the feminine version is simple: -ess after the ending with -r, -n, or in some cases, -ch. A guide on which feminine words exists in English can be found here.

So keeping this in mind, let’s have a look at the following:

Part A.:  Which of these words have a feminine form? Mark with an f and write on the side what they are.

SPORTSCASTER            DUKE            ADVENTURER       AUTHOR        CREATOR      DEMIGOD       PRINCE           DIRECTOR           HOST            ENGINEER           TEACHER           PROFESSOR         PEER  PORTER          TIGER          FEMALE           WRESTLER            PROPHET

Part B.: Matching.  Use the words marked in bold print in the text above and complete the sentences below.

  1. Amelia Earhart was the first _________ to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
  2. There were many more _____________ who fought in the Vietnam War than in World War II.
  3. J.K. Rowling is the ___________ of the wizard, Harry Potter and his friends.
  4. Cleopatra was the only known _________ of Egypt, and one who killed herself in protest of the Roman Conquest. (GQ: How did she take her life?)
  5. Yet many historians considered Cleopatra to be a _________ because of her god-like powers over much of her empire and beyond.
  6. In Salem, many women were burned at the stake for being __________ during the infamous 1692 witchhunt.
  7. If you see a ___________ on your next jetliner, say hi to her and tell her how much you appreciate your service.
  8. While a _________ loves affairs, a _________ does her formal affairs by delivering mail in sparsely populated places.
  9. While Angela Merkel is Germany’s chancellor, Nikki Haley is one of a handful of ___________ in the US. She is in charge of affairs in South Carolina.

 

Part C.: Odd man out.  Which one is the odd man out? Underline the word.

  1. Businesswoman     Policewoman     Congresswoman    Adventurer
  2. Adulteress     Mistress      Trophy Wife       Countess
  3. Idolatress    Goddess    Demigoddess   Worshipperess
  4. Lioness    Tigeress   Leopardess   Catess
  5. Highness    Heiress     Femaleness   Huntress

Do you know some other feminine words in English that should be added? Please add them in the comment section of the Files both here as well as on its facebook pages. I bet there are more than what are mentioned here. After all, women deserved to be recognized for their work over the centuries, right?

I think so. 🙂

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