Schatten von vorgestern (German Edition)
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The following tables give you some basic rules on how to form plurals. When the nouns in the following two tables become plural, they take either -n or -en. A majority of German nouns fall into this group, including most feminine nouns. The nouns in this group never take an umlaut in the plural; but if they already have one in the singular, it is retained. When the nouns ending in -e, -el, and -er in the following table become plural, they take -n.
All nouns referring to female persons or animals ending in -in double the n in the plural form before adding the plural -en. This convention keeps the i sound short—no mutation here, my friend! The nouns in the following table take no ending in their plural form. Some of the masculine nouns in the group undergo a vowel modification as they have since lost their ending , as do the only two feminine nouns in this group.
When the nouns in the following table become plural, they take the ending -e. All neuter and feminine nouns that end in -nis double the s in the plural form before adding -e, again, ensuring that the i sound remains short. The plurals of the nouns in the following table end in -er. Wherever possible, vowels are modified. Note that all the words that follow have only one syllable. Practice Those Plurals You are spending your first day in Berlin. Example: You need some peace and quiet. You are looking for parks. Ich suche die Parks.
You need to have your wisdom tooth removed. You ask someone where you can find dentists in Berlin. Tell this person that you need the names of a few dentists. You want to relax somewhere and drink a cup of coffee. Stop at a kiosk and ask the man at the counter if all German newspapers have weather forecasts. Ask where you can find them.
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You enter the lobby of a hotel. Ask the receptionist for the room rates. As a Rule Compound nouns combine two or more nouns into one. They are written as one word in German and take the gender of the last noun in the compound. Likewise, compound nouns, being governed by the right end of things, take the plural form of the last noun. Because Arzt comes last, it is the only part of the compound noun that becomes plural. In the following ads, which employers are seeking male employees? Which are seeking female employees? Which ads are open to applicants of both sexes? Eine Ausbildung in diesem Bereich ist erforderlich.
Achtung Some nouns in German are used only in their plural forms. They always take the plural article die. Restaurant sucht Koch zur Aushilfe. Wir betreiben ein Apfelweinlokal in Frankfurt und suchen umgehend einen Aushilfskoch. Gehalt nach Absprache. As a Rule A few nouns in German usually words ending in a, i, or o take an -s to form the plural, as in das Lotto die Lottos. Plural forms of nouns should be learned along with the noun and the definite article.
Before we start, we should probably warn you that this chapter introduces some new grammatical concepts and that it just might take some time before you fully understand them. More understanding will come with time and exposure to the language. We all know that learning grammar can be about as exciting as watching grass grow, but lots of people have done it and are now happy, German-speaking individuals.
In English, once you have the subject, the verb, and the direct object, forming a sentence is easy enough; you put the words in the right order and start talking. German nouns, pronouns, articles, adjectives, and prepositions are inflected; that is to say, they have overt markings showing grammatical relations.
Cases are the form articles, adjectives, pronouns, and a few nouns take in a sentence depending on their function. When we speak of cases and nouns, we are speaking of their articles, since the article that precedes a noun is the primary indicator of its gender, number, and—you guessed it—case. German uses four cases to express grammatical relations between sentence parts: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive.
In a nutshell, the nominative case indicates the subject of a sentence, the accusative case indicates the direct object of a sentence, and the dative case indicates the indirect object of a sentence. In German, cases enable you to vary the order of nouns and pronouns without changing the overall meaning of the sentence, allowing you to place focus on whatever element of the sentence you like! Case The form articles, adjectives, pronouns, and a few nouns in German take depending on their grammatical function in a sentence. Despite the position of the nouns, the noun markers remain the same in both sentences, clearly indicating that the fish is being eaten by the girl, and not that the girl is being eaten by the fish.
Starting with the Nominative Case Nominative is the case of the subject of the sentences—that is, of the noun or pronoun performing the action or undergoing the state of being of the verb. The direct object tells you to whom or what the action of the verb is being directed. You also use the accusative case with time and measuring data that specifies how short, how soon, how often, how much, how old, and so on.
Nominative Subject. Indirectly: The Dative Case The dative case can be used instead of a possessive adjective with parts of the body and after certain verbs, prepositions, and adjectives. It is used primarily to indicate the indirect object, however. The indirect object is the object for whose benefit or in whose interest the action of the verb is being performed.
Think of giving, helping, pleasing, and such—an animate object is receiving the action, and usually something else the direct object , to boot! As English lost most of its inflectional endings reflecting this case, it relies on word order and prepositions, such as to and for to express the dative function.
Word order The position of words in a sentence contributing to the meaning or sense of a sentence. Declension The pattern of changes occurring in articles, adjectives, pronouns, and a few nouns in each of the four cases. The genitive case indicates possession. Most of the time, however, German marks possession on both the noun marker the article or adjective preceding the noun and, with neuter and masculine nouns, after the noun with - e s. Why not latch on to that idea in German?!? Paradigm A grammatical chart, organized in a regular way so that new information may be plugged in and easily assimilated.
Declension refers to the patterns of change followed by different groups of words in each case. Declension in German is pretty much limited to articles and a few instances of nouns. True, adjectives take an ending, but it is readily and simply determinable from the word preceding the noun if there is one. In addition, pronouns change form according to their function, but this change is very similar to English: he versus him, and such. Be sure that when you are looking up a noun, you look for it under its base form— not its plural or possessive form.
The nominative singular is the form under which nouns appear in the dictionary. The Case of the Definite Article German has four possible declensions for each definite article remember, definite articles are used when you are speaking about a particular person or thing. In addition, the plurals of der, die, and das have separate declensions. Commit this chart to memory, rewrite it on a card, use a different color for each case, do anything and everything to help yourself conceptualize the case system. In addition, you will be able to plug in new information as you go along.
Masculine Nouns Using the same paradigm—the same setup of cases in descending order of nominative, accusative, dative, followed by genitive—we can plug in actual masculine nouns. Notice the noun endings in the genitive case and with the monosyllabic noun in the dative case. Nothing like a little consistency, eh? Remember those antiquated noun classes that tried really hard to die out? Well, another leftover occurs with a few masculine nouns that take an - e n ending in all cases except the nominative.
Notice that feminine nouns, unlike the masculine ones, do not need endings. They remain unchanged. Neuter Nouns And now for the neuter nouns. Just like the masculine ones, the monosyllabic neuter noun takes that vestigal -e ending in the dative and - e s in the genitive case. Plurals Coming now to the right side of the original paradigm, we can plug in the plural nouns for father and child, only augmenting them with an n in the dative case. Indefinite articles are used when you are speaking about a noun in general, not about a specific noun.
Now look for correspondences in the masIndefinite article Articles culine and neuter. German is simple, after all! Subject Pronouns Before you can form sentences with verbs in German, you have to know something about subject pronouns. A subject pronoun is, as its name suggests, the subject of a sentence—the who or what that performs the action. You can link this bit of information to what you already know about cases. The case of the subject is nominative, so you can also think about these pronouns as nominative personal pronouns. The German subject pronouns in the following table have a person first person is I, second person is you, third person is he, she, or it just as subject pronouns do in English, and a number singular or plural.
So what is second person all about? It involves directly addressing someone—talking to someone. As a Rule It used to be considered polite in German society to use the third-person plural to refer to someone you were talking to. Hence, the German formal pronouns are exactly the same as the third-person plural pronouns. Less to learn! See whether you can figure out which of the following questions you would address to your teacher and which you would use to initiate a conversation with a fellow student. What would happen if pronouns were outlawed?
Are they meeting you there, or are you meeting them later? We Are Family Stepping back into the not-somythical linguistic past, both English and German used to decline nouns. Our English possessive -s is a remnant. All nouns in German and English used to take an ending. You may thank your lucky stars that in present-day German, only trace vestiges of this complex system remain.
In the fifth century, neuter and masculine monosyllabic nouns were members of the same class of nouns, and reflective of this history, an -e ending remains with neuter and masculine monosyllabic nouns in the dative case. This practice of declension is gradually falling by the wayside, yet fossilized in such fixed expressions as im Jahre, zu Hause. Pronouns streamline your speech. You can also use pronouns to replace the name of a common noun referring to a place, thing, or idea. Whereas in English we use the blanket pronoun it to refer to anything inanimate, the gender of the pronoun in German must correspond to the gender of the noun.
Er, Sie, Es? Imagine that your boss marries a woman young enough to be his granddaughter. You attend the wedding reception with your best friend.
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Toward the end of the Feier fayuhR , his ex-wife barges in and takes a hatchet to the wedding cake. Eventually, she is subdued and escorted to the door. The guests recover their poise, and the festivities continue. Which pronouns would you use to talk about the in-laws? Which pronoun would you use to talk about the hatchet? Die Schwiegereltern tanzten.
Die Musik war heiter. Die Mutter des Ehemanns weinte. Der Onkel der Ehefrau war betrunken. The verb indicates whether the pronoun sie is being used as third-person singular or thirdperson plural. The formal Sie pronoun is always capitalized. The gender of the pronoun must correspond to the gender of the noun. In the preceding chapter you learned about determining the gender, number, and case of nouns, and you were introduced to German pronouns.
Verbs, the Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the language set, convey action in a sentence. To communicate, you must have a basic understanding of verbs. You sign up for a special travel package to Germany that includes hotel accommodations and airfare. Imperative form The form a verb takes to express a command, request or directive.
This form is easily deduced from the conjugated second-person verb. In the imperative form, the understood subject is always you. You want to take quiet, relaxing strolls through churches and parks. To express what people want to do, you need verbs, and verbs, of course, require a subject: You want to take quiet, relaxing strolls through churches and parks. When a sentence takes the imperative form, the form of a command, the subject you is understood: Go shopping! Subjects can be either nouns or pronouns that replace nouns: The man ate the entire pizza.
He ate the entire pizza. As a Rule Unlike German nouns, which are capitalized no matter where they appear in a sentence, most pronouns take a capital letter only when they begin a sentence. This makes a lot of sense if you think of personal pronouns as representing nouns—not quite achieving noun status, and thus not attaining upper-case orthographic status. The only exception to this rule is the pronoun Sie the polite form for du and ihr , which is capitalized no matter where it appears in a sentence. The upper-case spelling of the formal Sie helps distinguish it from its lower-case twins, sie and sie.
The same is true of verbs. Here are some basic things you should know about verbs before you start using them. The stem of a verb refers to what you get when you remove the ending -en from the German infinitive. The stem vowel refers to the vowel within this stem. In English, for example, when you conjugate the verb run I run, you run, she runs , it retains the same stem vowel throughout the conjugation, marking the third-person singular with the addition of the inflectional suffix -s.
Conjugation refers to the changes the verb undergoes, internally and externally by the addition of inflectional endings , which keep the verb in agreement with the subject. Conjugation The changes of the verb that occur to indicate who or what is performing the action or undergoing the state of being of the verb and when the action or state of being of the verb is occurring: in the present, the past, or the future. Verbs in Motion If you were given a week of absolutely commitment-free time, what would you do with it?
Would you go scuba diving?
Would you chase butterflies? Or would you ride through Italy on a tandem bicycle? No matter what you do, you need verbs to express action, motion, or states of being. When you acquired English, you very readily discerned the difference between being able to add a little something to a verb to express yesterday, as in pushed and pulled, and changing the verb internally: sing, sang, sung. Little did you know it then, but you were differentiating between two classes of verbs: weak and strong. Perhaps you learned to refer to them in school as regular and irregular. In German as well, the most common way of grouping verbs is weak schwach , strong stark , or mixed schwark.
When verbs are conjugated, a relatively predictable pattern of endings is attached to the stem of weak verbs, as occurs in English -ed in the past tense. Strong verbs have a relatively predictable pattern of endings when they are conjugated in the present tense the form a verb takes to indicate that action is occurring in the present , but the stem undergoes a sound change in the past tense. Mixed verbs have features of both weak and strong verbs, hence the term schwark.
The rest of this chapter examines schwach and stark verbs in the present tense. Weak verbs are verbs that, when conjugated, follow a set pattern of rules and retain the same stem vowel throughout. Think of them as being too weak to alter the patterns they follow. Most German verbs fall into the category of schwach verbs see the following table.
But schwach or stark, the present-tense inflectional endings remain the same. Only one paradigm to learn, lucky you! Your first step is to determine the stem of the verb. Second, add a little something to this stem, as in adding the -s in English third-person singular. Why add that -e? Free that stem from the infinitive, add an -e to that stem, and then go wild with those same inflectional endings you used with leben. The Endings of Weak Verbs Think of weak verbs as timid, law-abiding creatures that would never cross the street when the light is red.
The great thing for those of you who want to learn German about weak verbs is that they obey grammar laws and follow a predictable pattern of conjugation. To conjugate weak verbs, drop the -en from the infinitive and then add the endings shown in the following table. See whether you can use the correct form of the verbs in the following sentences.
Remember, the verb must agree with the subject! Weak verbs Verbs schwach that follow a set pattern of rules and retain the same stem vowel throughout their conjugation. Compare this pattern with the English verbs that form their past tense with the addition of -ed. In the following table, you will find some of the most commonly used weak verbs in German. Read the list a few times and try to commit these verbs to memory. The only way you can distinguish between them is to memorize them as such. Of course, as an English speaker,. We Are Family English and German share many features when it comes to strong verbs.
The irregular forms—such as take, took, taken or drink, drank, drunk—date back more than 6, years! This pattern becomes readily evident in the past tense recall pushed versus drank. With the sehr starke verbs, vowel alterations occur only in the second and third person in the stem vowel.
Although everything in German might seem to be an exception, all German verbs actually stem from seven older C. So take heart; vowel changes follow a limited number of patterns. The following tables illustrate the stem changing of some sehr starke verbs.
Note that the stem -e changes to -ie only in the second- and third-person singular! Other verbs incurring this stem change include lesen, befehlen, empfehlen, and geschehen. Other verbs incurring this stem change include blasen, fangen, halten, laden, lassen, raten, schlafen, tragen, wachsen, and waschen. Conjugation Although most starke verbs do not incur a sound change in the present tense, you might as well become well versed in the few that do.
Accepting the challenge, see whether you can conjugate these very strong verbs in the following sentences: 1. Achtung The infinitives of a few verbs take -n and not -en. The conjugated form of these verbs in the firstand third-person plural is the same as the infinitive form. Strong verb A verb whose stem vowel undergoes a change or a modification when conjugated in the past tense. Only some strong stark verbs undergo a vowel modification in the present tense sehr stark.
The following table lists some commonly used strong verbs. Read through them a few times, as you did with the weak verbs. The very strong verb vowel changes are indicated in parentheses after the infinitive. There are only three types of stemvowel changes and you have to learn the stem changes associated with strong verbs only once because adding a prefix to a stem does not alter the conjugation. Ask Me Anything Okay, now go back to where you were at the beginning of this chapter, planning a trip.
Stick to the easy questions— the ones that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Making Friends.
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To do so, speak with a rising inflection. Du denkst an die Reise? Dew denkst An dee Ray-zuh Are you thinking about the trip? Nicht Wahr? One easy way of forming questions in German is by adding the tag nicht wahr niHt vahR to your statements. Inversion The final way of forming a question is by inversion. Inversion is what you do when you reverse the word order of the subject nouns or pronouns and the conjugated form of the verb. We use inversion all the time in English with the addition of do as a helper to the verb. Statement: He eats pie. Question: Does he eat pie? The following examples will give you a feel for how inversion works.
Du gehst nach Hause. Remember that whether you are using intonation, nicht wahr, or inversion, you are asking for exactly the same information: a yes or no ja oder nein answer. See whether you can use inversion to provide the questions for the following statements. Example: Das Flugzeug fliegt um 10 Uhr. The plane leaves at Answer: Fliegt das Flugzeug um 10 Uhr? Das Ticket kostet DM. The ticket costs DM. This is the terminal for international flights. Die Flugnummer steht auf dem Ticket. The flight number is indicated on the ticket.
Es gibt Toiletten auf dieser Etage. There are bathrooms on this floor. Inversion Reversing the word order of the subject, noun, or pronoun and the conjugated form of the verb to make a statement a question. Der Flug dauert zwei Stunden.
The flight is two hours long. Das Abendessen ist inklusiv. The evening meal is included. To answer in the affirmative, use ja yah and then give your statement. Sprichst du Deutsch? Or if your time is valuable and you are constantly being harangued to do things you have no interest in doing, you should probably learn to say no. To answer negatively, use nein nayn at the beginning of the statement and then add nicht niHt at the end of the statement. Rauchen Sie? Rou-Chuhn zee.
You can vary the forms of your negative answers by putting the following negative phrases before and after the conjugated verb. Refer to the lists of weak and strong verbs earlier in the chapter for help. Up, Up, and Away! You can use these phrases to start conversations and to expand your vocabulary. In the previous chapter, you learned how to create simple German sentences using subject nouns, pronouns, and verbs and how to ask basic yes or no questions.
You are sitting alone on an airplane, admiring the view of clouds and sky through the window. The person in the seat next to you is German; you want to use this opportunity to test some of your newly acquired language skills. Your question will probably be taken seriously. You may find the following conversation openers useful. It is worth noting, however, that younger generations are tending more and more to use the informal du form. Guten Tag. Guten Abend. Wie geht es Ihnen? Danke, sehr gut.
Danke, nicht schlecht. Danke, es geht so. Good evening. Sir Miss, Mrs. My name is … What is your name? How are you? Thank you, very well. Thank you, not bad. You can now use the following phrases: German. Wie geht es dir? Was machst du so? Ganz gut. Ich kann nicht klagen.
Mal so, mal so. Na ja. So so. All right. What Planet Are You From? If, after you have made your initial introductions, you decide to continue the conversation with your seatmate, you will probably wonder about his idiosyncrasies—the peculiar lilt in his voice when he speaks, certain gestures you have never seen anyone make before, and his use of idioms.
Eventually, you are going to want to know where this person is from. You also are going to want to respond correctly when he asks where you are from.
To continue this conversation, you will need to familiarize yourself with the strong verb kommen ko-muhn. Take out your verb-ending chart, lop the -en off the infinitive to produce the stem komm- , and try to come up with a match to the following table. Woher kommen Sie? Informal use: Woher kommst du? Ich komme aus … iH ko-muh ous … I come from ….
Keep in mind that most countries, towns, and cities are neuter nouns and take the article das. Making Friends When you use countries, cities, or towns with the neuter article, drop the article das: Ich komme aus New York. The articles are not dropped, and they must be declined correctly that is, they must take the appropriate case.
Die USA, which is plural, takes the dative plural article den, as it follows aus, which is a dative preposition: Ich komme aus den USA. Achtung Using informal language to address someone with whom you have not established a friendship or bond is generally considered quite rude. To dutzen dew-tsuhn someone—in other words, to use the informal du form of address with a person—may alienate the stranger, distant relative, or business acquaintance you are addressing.
Ich komme aus der Schweiz. To Be or Not to Be? See the following tables. Sein One of the four irregular verbs in German. Different from the strong verbs which follow a regular sound-shift pattern in vowels , since consonants, as well as vowels, change in the truly unpredictable irregular verbs. Formal: Was sind Sie von Beruf? VAs sint zee fon bey-Rewf What is your profession? Informal: Was bist du von Beruf?
VAs bist dew fon bey-Rewf What is your profession? I am a waiter. As a Rule In German the indefinite article ein e is generally not used when a person states his profession unless the profession is qualified by an adjective. We Are Family Have you noticed how the endings for professions in both English and German are often -er? This goes back to way back when, as both languages share the same lexical morphology for forming agentive suffixes. When you learn a new language, you often revert to what feels like a somewhat infantile state of existence.
You have a limited vocabulary and, at best, a somewhat sketchy understanding of grammar. One advantage of learning a new language is that you can get away with acting a little childish. So get nosy. Start asking about everything. Make faux pas. As a Rule The interrogative pronouns wen and wem are used with a preposition to refer only to persons. The interrogative pronoun was refers to things and ideas. As an object of a prepositions, was may be replaced by a wo-compound: wo- is added as a prefix to prepositions, as in womit?
Getting Information the Easy Way A good-looking person is sitting across from you in a train. He or she has been glancing over in your direction for some time now. Here are some other ways to break the ice. As a Rule To express directions of motion, the her- and hin- may be used with the interrogative wo to suggest motion toward the speaker woher, where from or motion away from the speaker wohin, where to.
In spoken German the question words wohin and woher are often separated: wo is placed at the start of the question; hin and her appear at the end: Wohin geht Christine? In a statement, hin and her occupy the last position in the sentence, like a separable prefix verb: Gehen wir hin. Ask Away Each of the following statements is an answer to a question. Try to ask the questions that the statements answer. In the first example, use the informal du to ask questions about Klaus. In the second example, use the third-person singular sie to ask questions about Beka. Ich reise gern.
Sie reist einen Monat lang durch Deutschland. The greetings you use depend on your familiarity with a person. By now you should be well on your way to introducing yourself and your friends to other people. But what if your mother, father, uncle, and in-laws are all traveling with you, peering over your shoulder every time you strike up a conversation? Perhaps the best thing to do is to find people to introduce them to so you can sneak away and finally have a really intimate conversation with someone.
One approach is to ask the objects of your curiosity what they think about themselves: Do they consider themselves to be creative, intelligent, sensitive, or adventurous? And to use adjectives correctly, you must attach the appropriate ending to them so that they agree in gender and case with the noun they are modifying. This is my wife. Of course, if you find yourself putting your foot in your mouth in German, you can always claim that you are still learning your vocabulary.
Start practicing now with the words for family members in the following table. Are You Possessed? There are two principal ways of showing possession in German: by using the genitive case and by using possessive adjectives. Which answer is correct? German English Beschreib You must write approximately 40 words in German. You must write approximately 90 words in German. Write something about each bullet point. You must write approximately words in German.
Write something about both bullet points. Write four sentences in German about the photo. German English Buchstabe der letter buchstabieren to spell 3. Wie lang e? How long? Wie viel e? How come …? Where from? Where to? What with? All the best Bis bald! See you later Entschuldigung! Merry Christmas Gern geschehen! Congratulations Prost! Good luck 3. What time is it? Indeed, I can imagine that even within our fast-moving Europe, some dull, sluggish races would need half a century to overcome such atavistic attacks of patriotism [Fatherland-ism] and attachment to their soil and to return to reason, that is to say, to "good Europeanism.
But what good does that do nowadays! This is the age of the masses: they lie prone before anything that smack of the masses. And so also in politics. They call "great" a statesman who builds for them a new Tower of Babel, some monstrosity of an empire and power: "the fact is that we, the more cautious and more reserved, in the meantime do not give up the old belief that it is only the great thought that gives greatness to an action or cause. Was it perhaps insane to want such a thing?
But maybe all that is great was at first just as insane! Not great! This process of the evolving European , which can be held back in its tempo [speed] by great relapses, but which will perhaps precisely through them gain in vehemence and depth — the still-raging storm and stress of "National Sentiments" for example, and also the now-emerging Anarchism —: this process will probably lead to results which its naive promoters and apologists , the apostles of "modern ideas," would be least inclined to anticipate.
The same novel conditions which typically give rise to an equalization and mediocritization of man — a useful, industrious, variously usable, and clever herd-animal man —, are in the highest degree also suitable to give rise to exceptional men with the most dangerous and attractive qualities. I meant to say: the democratization of Europe is at the same time an involuntary organizing process for the breeding of tyrants , — in every sense of that word, even the most spiritual.
I hear with pleasure that our sun is moving rapidly in the direction of the constellation Hercules : and I hope that men on the planet will do like the sun. And we at their head, we good Europeans! There was a time when it was customary to call the Germans "profound" by way of distinction: now, when the most successful type of the new Germanness thirsts for quite different honors and perhaps wishes that anything profound were more "dashing," it is almost fashionable and patriotic to doubt whether we were deluding ourselves about our earlier reputation: to wonder, in short, whether German profundity is not basically something else, something worse — and something from which, thank God, we are on the verge of successfully getting rid of.
Let us try, then, to relearn about German depth: all is needed is a little vivisection of the German soul. A German who would have the audacity to assert, "Two souls, alas, within my bosom dwell" would be grossly violating the truth, or, more correctly, would be falling short of the truth by many souls. As a people made up of the most tremendous mixing and mingling of races, perhaps even with a preponderance of the pre-Aryan element, as the "people of the middle" in every sense, the Germans are more incomprehensible, more vast, more contradictory, more unknown, more incalculable, more surprising, and even more frightening to themselves than other peoples are: — they elude definition , and for that reason alone they are the desperation of the French.
Niese, Charlotte 1854-1935
It is characteristic of the Germans that with them the question: "What is German? Kotzebue certainly knew his Germans well enough: "We have been acknowledged," they cried jubilantly to him, — but Sand too thought he knew them. Jean Paul knew what he was doing when he declared himself incensed by Fichte's false but patriotic flatteries and exaggerations, — but it is probable that Goethe thought differently of the Germans than Jean Paul did, even though he agreed with him about Fichte.
What did Goethe really think about the Germans? It is certain that it was not the "Wars of Liberation" , any more than the French Revolution , that made him look up more joyfully, — the event that made him rethink his Faust, indeed the whole problem of "man," was the appearance of Napoleon.
The German soul has within itself [a maze of] passageways and interconnecting paths; there are caverns in it, hiding-places, and dungeons; its disorder has much of the charm of mystery; the German understands the secret paths to chaos. And like each thing loves its likeness, so the German loves what is clouded and everything that is unclear, evolving, crepuscular, damp and shrouded: he feels as "deep" whatever is uncertain, unformed, shifting, and growing.
The German himself is not, he is a becoming , he is "developing" himself. Foreigners are astonished and transfixed by the riddles which the conflicting nature at the bottom of the German soul present to them riddles which Hegel reduced to a System , and Richard Wagner has in the end set to music. The clumsiness of the German scholar and his social tastelessness gets on frightfully well with his inner rope-dancing and nimble boldness, of which all the Gods have learnt to fear. See how the noblest and the commonest stand here side by side!
How disorderly and how rich is the whole constitution of this soul! The German drags his soul along, he drags along everything he experiences. He digests his experiences badly; he is never finished and "done" with them; German profundity is often only a difficult, sluggish "digestion. The German lets himself go [likes to relax] , and as he does so he gazes out with true blue empty German eyes — and foreigners immediately confuse him with his leisure wear [external appearance]! It is clever for a people to be taken for, to allow itself to be taken for profound, clumsy, good-natured, honest, and foolish: it might even be — profound to do so!
The "good old" time is past, it sang itself out in Mozart — how fortunate are we that his rococo still speaks to us, that his "good company," his tender enthusiasm, his child-like delight in chinoiserie and ornament, his politeness of the heart, his longing for the graceful, the enamored, the dancing, the tearful, his faith in the south may still appeal to something left in us!
Ah, some time or other it will be over with it! Beethoven is the intermediate event between an old mellow soul that is constantly crumbling, and an overly-young future soul that is constantly approaching ; upon his music lies that twilight of eternal loss and eternally dissipating hope, — the same light in which Europe lay bathed when it dreamed with Rousseau , when it danced around the Revolution's Tree of Liberty and finally almost worshipped before Napoleon.
But how quickly this feeling is now fading away, how hard it is today even to know about this feeling, — how alien to our ears sounds the language of Rousseau, Schiller , Shelley , Byron , in whom together the same destiny of Europe found its way into words, that in Beethoven knew how to sing! Or Marschner's "Hans Heiling" and "Vampyre"! This music has died away, even if it has not yet been forgotten. Furthermore, all this Romantic music was not noble enough, not musical enough to maintain its legitimacy anywhere but in the theater and before the crowd; it was second-rate music from the start, to which true musicians paid little attention.
It was different with Felix Mendelssohn , that halcyon master who, on account of his lighter, purer, more cheerful soul, was quickly celebrated, and just as quickly forgotten: as a beautiful intermission in German music. But as for Schumann , who took things seriously and was also taken seriously from the start — he is the last composer who has founded a school —: do we not now consider it as a stroke of good luck, a relief, a liberation, that this particular Schumannesque Romanticism has been overcome?
Schumann, fleeing into the "Saxon Switzerland" of his soul, his nature half Werther-like , half Jean-Paul-like, certainly not like Beethoven!