Taste the language!

Are you curious about how German works? Do you want to learn a few phrases for your trip to Berlin? Do you crave some hearty German food?

If so, then this is the event for you: Aston’s university-wide language programme UWLP is offering lunchtime language tasters all of next week, 1-2pm in MB757. The cover fee of £5 includes the language taster and a buffet lunch of typical German food.

For more information, and to sign up for this great event, go to: http://www1.aston.ac.uk/staff/aspects/people/language/


Wir sind Songcontestsieger!

For many, admitting that they watch the Eurovision Song Contest each year may be a sure sign that they have reached a certain age… However, there is just something about this cheesy annual sing-off that lifts the spirit – usually connected to the amount of spirits inbibed 🙂

Ein Hoch auf den Songcontest! After 28 years, Germany – represented by 19-year old ingenue Lena – once again managed to sing itself to the top of the European pop music heap. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to Lena’s winning song, “Satellite” which has also reached no. 1 in the download charts in 5 European countries and has become somewhat of a sensation across the continent.

DEU Eurovision Song Contest Musik

Aston is THINKing GERMAN!

We are all doing our best to promote German as an exciting option for study not only at uni, but also at secondary school level.

Go here to read about our fantastic German Day, organised by Routes into Languages at Aston University earlier this year. It was attended by sixty Year 8 students who learned about Germany, Austria and Switzerland and went away with fabulous prizes sponsored by the Goethe-Institut.

To learn more about similar projects around the country, go to:

Think German Logo

Stefan Manz: A history of German migration to the UK in the 19th century


In his informative and well-received book, Dr. Stefan Manz looks at migration patterns of German immigrants to the UK in the 19th century:

Für deutsche Migranten des 19. Jahrhunderts war Großbritannien eines der wichtigsten Zielländer innerhalb Europas. Zum ersten Mal wird eine der zahlreichen deutsch-ethnischen Kolonien einer mikrohistorischen Untersuchung unterzogen. Die Perspektive erlaubt quellengestützt genauere Aussagen zu Themenkomplexen wie Wanderungsverhalten, Berufsstruktur oder ethnischer Selbstorganisation. In Glasgow bildete sich ein dichtes Netz an ethnischen Vereinigungen, das sich nach Kriegsausbruch unter dem germanophoben Druck der britischen Öffentlichkeit sowie staatlichen Maßnahmen wie Internierung, Repatriierung oder Enteignung fast vollständig auflöste. Die Glasgower Fallstudie wird durch zahlreiche Querverweise auf andere Regionen und Länder in einen größeren migrationsgeschichtlichen Rahmen eingeordnet.

“…an outstanding piece of scholarship, whose strengths lie in all its facets. […] deserves a very wide readership.” (Scottish Historical Review, April 2006)

“…an important contribution to European migration history in the Atlantic context.” (Vierteljahresschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 92/2, 2005)

“Scholars as well as informed members of the general public who read German will enjoy this well-researched work.” (History 298, April 2005)

“Anyone conducting research into Germans in Britain will have to refer to this book in the future. Through its theoretical approaches the study constitutes an important contribution to historical migration research.” (Jahrbuch für Europäische Überseegeschichte 6, 2006)

“convincing…meticulously researched…intriguing…impressive” (English Historical Review, December 2006)

1. Deutsches Currywurstmuseum

Many cities and regions in Northern Germany lay claim to the invention of the Currywurst, a grilled sausage smothered in tomato sauce and sprinkled with curry powder. From Herbert Grönemeyer’s popular 1980s hymn to the “Currywurst” to Uwe Timm’s canonical 1993 novella “Die Entdeckung der Currywurst”, this spicy dish has inspired writers, songwriters and comedians for years and is now considered the most German of snacks. Not surprising, then, that it has even been used to teach German, although the lesson is to be taken with a pinch of salt 🙂


In August 2009, Germany’s first museum dedicated to the Currywurst opened its doors in Berlin. The interactive exhibition includes an overview of the history of the Currywurst as well as of fast food in general; it explains how eating habits have changed over the years and traces the pop-cultural influence of this staple snack in German literature, TV and film. Visitors are invited to step into a typical Currywurstbude, to smell the different spices that give the curry sauce its typical flavour, and to try their hand at the Currywurst arcade game.


In der Currywurstbude-klein








Herta Heuwer-klein







While the museum is as entertaining as it is instructive, when our intrepid explorers were there in early May, the entrance fee of €11 seemed a little steep for what the museum offers – disappointingly, visitors didn’t even get to taste a real Currywurst. However, complaining seems to have done the trick: since May 7, visitors are now invited to try different versions of this German institution.




Watch a short video about the museum.

And another clip about the museum (in English), by Deutsche Welle

Aston PhD graduate interviewed by “Die Zeit”

Yvonne Henze and supervisor

Yvonne A. Henze, a former colleague, who taught at Aston from 2002 to 2007, has now completed her ph.d and graduated as Dr phil in March (supervised by Dr. Claudia Gremler).

Yvonne’s thesis focused on the deployment of overseas employees in German multinational companies and on the cultural challenges they face when coming to work in the German headquarters. Yvonne’s research specifically looked at the implications of intercultural training measures for these employees, asking questions such as “How are these people prepared for their stay in Germany and at the headquarters? What are the problems they encounter and how can intercultural training alleviate them?”  Her thesis revealed a complex interplay of national and corporate culture that develops when people arrive from an overseas subsidiary – and sometimes have to realise that working for a company they think they knew well can lead to unexpected challenges.

Yvonne now works at the University of Göttingen where she conducts intercultural competence trainings for students and staff and teaches postgraduate courses on intercultural communication. She was recently interviewed by major German weekly “Die Zeit” in an article on the experience of culture shock.