Die Überfremdung and PEGIDA

So sehen sie aus:  DÜGIDA

Man at PEGIDA demonstration with jacket bearing the words: “Unsere Regeln – Unsere Tradition” : “Our rules – Our traditions”. Photo by gruenenrw on

Guten Tag!

Often when I write posts about ‘untranslatable’ German words I try to include references to German culture (where applicable) or add in extra information relating to those words.

Today I’ve chosen a word that is relevant to the current political situation in Germany.

Die Überfremdung.

What does Überfremdung mean?
Überfremdung describes excessive immigration in a town, city, country, etc., or the excessive influence of a foreign culture onto one’s own.

What does Überfremdung literally translate to?
It consists of the words Über: Over/overly and Fremd: Foreign/strange. Together, and with ‘ung’ on the end, the word Überfremdung literally means ‘over-foreignisation’.

How would you use it in a sentence?
Ich habe Angst vor Überfremdung. – I am scared of Überfremdung.

What is the nearest English equivalent?
The terms ‘excess immigration’ and ‘foreign influence’ are thrown around a lot – but I’m no expert on it! So if anyone has any more appropriate terms to describe Überfremdung, please let us know!

Relevance to Germany today

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll probably have heard of the German political group known as PEGIDA. Over the past few months, Germany has been the centre of media attention due to this radical group’s activities in Germany.

Who are PEGIDA?

PEGIDA, which stands for Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West), is a German right-wing political organisation founded by Lutz Bachmann (who has since stepped down after a picture of him impersonating Adolf Hitler was leaked) in Dresden in October 2014. As its name suggests, its main focus is protesting against what it calls the ‘Islamisation’ of Germany and the West.

Pegida Demonstration in Dresden am 05.01.2015

PEGIDA banner urging people to “come forward” with their “missing” country. Photo by on

How did PEGIDA come about?

What started out as a Facebook group created by founder Lutz Bachmann became a series of weekly protests (which they call ein Abendspaziergang – ‘An evening stroll’), which soon attracted media attention. Though they started out with just a few hundred members, the number of protesters in support of PEGIDA peaked at 25,000 on January 12, 2015 – 5 days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. The group continues to march, and its huge presence has stirred up political debate regarding immigration in Germany.

Simply put, PEGIDA believes that the West is experiencing Überfremdung, and is trying to counteract it.

Anti-PEGIDA protests

There are many anti-PEGIDA groups across Germany and in other countries, and more often than not the number of people turning up to the anti-PEGIDA rallies by far outnumbers those in support of PEGIDA.

Vielfalt für Freiheit - Demonstration gegen Dügida 12.1.2015

Anti-PEGIDA demonstrators in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Photo by gruenenrw on

PEGIDA held their first UK protest in Newcastle on Saturday, February 28th. Here, too, they were outnumbered by anti-PEGIDA protesters: 2,000 to 375.

In Germany, the lights of the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) and the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) in Berlin were also switched off during PEGIDA protests in these cities in protest of the far-right group’s message, and to show that Germany is a peaceful country that opposes the ‘darkness’ that comes from racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia.

Vielfalt für Freiheit - Demonstration gegen Dügida 12.1.2015

“For tolerance and humanity” Photo by gruenenrw on

In PEGIDA’s words

Here are the first few lines from PEGIDA’s “About” page on Facebook, with a translation underneath:

“Wir möchten. dass alle Kinder in einem friedlichem und weltoffenem Deutschland und Europa aufwachsen können!

Wir sind nicht “politisch korrekt”…!
Wir beugen uns NICHT dem medialen Mainstream und somit auch nicht den “Gutmenschen”!
Wir nehmen unser verfassungsgemäßes Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung wahr.

JEDER Mensch, gleich welcher Nationalität oder Religion ist uns willkommen !!!

Wir wollen einfach KEINE GEWALT auf unseren Straßen wie z.B. in Hamburg oder Celle !!!
Unsere Städte, Dörfer und Gemeinden sind KEINE Orte zum Austragen von Stellvertreter- oder Glaubenskriegen!!!”


“We want our children to be able to grow up in a peaceful, liberal Germany and Europe!

We are not “politically correct”…!
We do NOT submit to the mainstream, nor the “do-gooders”!
We exercise our constitutional right to freedom of speech.

We welcome EVERY person, regardless of their nationality or religion !!!

We simply do not want ANY VIOLENCE on our streets, eg. like in Hamburg or Celle !!!
Our cities, villages and communities are NO place to carry out proxy wars or religious wars!!!”

The latest on PEGIDA is that they marched in Antwerp, Belgium on Monday 2nd March. The rally attracted just 200 protesters.

Whether it rises or falls from here on in, the effect that PEGIDA (and its anti-rallies) has had on Germany and German politics is undeniable.


Advanced Spanish Review Lesson 39 Rules of accentuation in Spanish (Part 2)

¡Hola! ¿Qué tal?

Hoy vamos a continuar practicando sobre cómo se acentuán las palabras.

Al final de este post encontrarás las respuestas a todas las preguntas de esta lección y puedes seguir el enlace de este post para ver el vídeo teórico original sobre el mismo tema.

To go back and watch the original video lesson please follow this link:

Advanced theory video lesson 39

Click here to view the embedded video.

1. Para empezar, voy a decirte unas frases con palabras que a veces necesitan y a veces no necesitan tilde. Dime si en este caso deben llevar tilde. Por ejemplo, con la palabra “mas”. Si digo “Necesito mas” Tienes que decirme que sí necesita tilde, ya que aquí “mas” funciona como un adverbio de cantidad.

MAS: No quiero escucharte mas.
SE: No se de qué me estás hablando.
AUN: Aun habiéndole escuchado con atención, no he entendido nada.
QUIEN: ¿Quien te ha dicho eso?
TE: ¿Quieres un te?
DONDE: No sé donde está María.
SI: Si quieres, puedes venir con nosotros.
COMO: Como estaba casado, me fui a dormir.
DE: ¿De dónde vienes?
MI: Mi hija se parece a mi.

2. Ahora crea tus propias frases usando estás palabras con su significado con tilde y sin tilde:


3. Por último vamos a practicar los cuatro significados de la palabra por qué/ por que/porqué/porque. Te voy a decir unas frases y me tienes que decir qué “porque” hay que usar: Junto o separado, con o sin tilde.

No entiendo el porqué/por qué/por que/ porque de tu reacción.
Dime porqué/por qué/por que/ porque te fuiste ayer.
¿Has venido porqué/por qué/por que/ porque estás aburrido?
La razón porqué/por qué/por que/ porque he venido ya te la he dicho.

Esto es todo por hoy.

En la próxima clase practicaremos un poco más sobre cómo acentuar las palabras.

¡Hasta pronto!

I hope you are enjoying my weekly interactive Spanish lessons. Follow this link for many more great resources to help you learn and practice Spanish.


MAS: No quiero escucharte más. SI
SE: No sé de qué me estás hablando. SI
AUN: Aun habiéndole escuchado con atención, no he entendido nada. NO
QUIEN: ¿Quién te ha dicho eso? SI
TE: ¿Quieres un té? SI
DONDE: No sé dónde está María. SI
SI: Si quieres, puedes venir con nosotros. NO
COMO: Como estaba casado, me fui a dormir. NO
DE: ¿De dónde vienes? NO
MI: Mi hija se parece a mí. SI

2. Respuestas posibles:
No quiero más.
No estaba muy cansado, mas pude dormir bastante.
Tú sabes a qué me refiero.
Me gusta tu abrigo.
Él me dijo que te vio ayer.
El hermano de Sonia vino a visitarla.
Esto es para mí.
Mi teléfono se ha estropeado.
Voy a decirle que sí.
Si quieres piénsatelo.
Me parece bien que le dé un regalo cuando se lo merece.
Este chico es de Madrid.
Sé lo que quieres decir.
Se lo he dicho veinte veces y no me ha hecho caso.
Voy a tomarme un té.
¿Te pongo un té?
Aún no he terminado.
Aun habiendo estudiado, no he hecho muy bien el examen.
¿Cómo estás?
Estoy como siempre.
¿Quién esta ahí?
Quien esté ahí no te ha oído.
Dime qué quieres.
Quiero que te vayas.
¿Dónde está Carlos?
Está donde siempre le ves.
¿Cuándo viniste?
Vine cuando me llamaste.

No entiendo el porqué de tu reacción.
Dime por qué te fuiste ayer.
¿Has venido porque estás aburrido?
La razón por que he venido ya te la he dicho.


Hinamaturi – Japanese Doll Festival for Girls

Many of the young girls in Japan are now looking forward to celebrate the Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri, ひなまつり、雛祭り)coming up next week, on March 3rd. Every year, on this day, parents along with their daughters celebrate their daughter’s happiness and health. It is a special day for a family with daughters, as they prepare for this day even a month ago.

One of the most important thing they prepare for this day is the special doll called, Hinaningyo, (ひなにんぎょう、雛人形). This is a doll only for March 3rd, Hinamatsuri.


photo from Nullumayulife on

Since the Edo period in 1600’s,  dolls such as above are displayed in imperial court costumes. The costumes symbolize the Heian Period (794-1192). Full scale display is usually, 7 tiers although it is common to only display the emperor and empress that you see on the top tier.

On the second tier, what you see are three ladies-in-waiting. They are called San-nin- Kanjo (さんにんかんじょ、3人官女).  On the third tier, you see the five male court musicians. They are called Go-nin Bayashi(ごにんばやし、五人囃子).

Ministers that are called, Sa-daijin & U-daijin (左大臣、右大臣) sit besides the food on the forth tier. On the fifth row, you see the 3 guards called Eji(えじ、衛士).

There days, there are many stypes of Hinaningyo(ひなにんぎょう、雛人形) out on the market. The one you see above is very traditional, full size, 7 tier display. However, there are many smaller versions of Hinaningyo’s such as the ones below.


photo from on


photo from omoon on

This coming March 3rd, if you have a daughter(s) at home, you might want to celebrate the day with her as a special day just for girls. Even if you don’t have Hinaningyo’s like this to display, you can still celebrate by listening or singing the traditional Japanese Doll’s Festival Song!

Click here to view the embedded video.





France’s Wine Regions and Terroir

Uncalno Tekno

From Uncalno Tekno at


One of the best (and most fun!) ways of getting to know France is through learning about its terroirsTerroir is a French loanword in English that you might already be familiar with — especially if you are an oenophile — that loosely translates to a “sense of place”. In other words, terroir is the special characteristics of a particular place that allows it to produce agricultural products like wine, cheese, tea, coffee, etc.

Of course, the term terroir isn’t only applicable to France. But France’s various terroirs are so distinct from one another and so culturally rich that understanding all of its geographical and agricultural diversity will only make you fall more in love with the country.

So today, I’ll be taking you on an introductory tour of some of the most important terroirs in France. And, as an oenophile myself, we will be focusing on the different appellations, or controlled regions, for wine production.

1. Languedoc and Roussillon

These two beautiful regions are on the Mediterranean coast and extend down to the border between France and Spain. Languedoc and Roussillon have been important winemaking centers for centuries, and the region has three times the area of vineyards in Bordeaux! In fact, there is evidence of grapevines in the region that date to the prehistoric era. This region is most famous for its reds and rosés and Roussillon in particular is known for its fortified sweet wines from areas such as Rivesaltes and Banyuls.

2. Alsace

Unlike in most other regions in France, wines made in Alsace (on France’s eastern border with Germany) do have the grape on the label rather than just the region. The most famous grapes in the region are Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurtztraminer. Most of the grapes grown in this region are white, although there is some delicious Pinot Noir.

3. Rhône

This region is situated in the Rhône River valley in southern France and is divided into the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. Syrah is the grape of choice in the Northern Rhône, while the sunny Southern Rhône section is more about blends of grapes, usually including Grenache. If you’ve heard of the appellations Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Hermitage, these are both in the Rhône region.

4. Champagne

Need I say more? Not all sparkling wine is Champagne, only the sparkling wine produced in the region of Champagne in the northeast of France. Winemakers in this region use the traditional method, called la methode champenoise, that is pretty labor intense and uses two fermentation processes to create delicious Champagne.

5. Loire

The Loire region follows the Loire River from Nantes on the Atlantic coast to Orléans in northcentral France. Near Nantes, Muscadet is the star of the show, a refreshing white wine. The Central Vineyards of the region are known for their Sauvignon Blanc and Sancerre is the most well-known and expensive appellation in the region.

6. Burgundy

To make it simple: “Red Burgundy” means Pinot Noir and “White Burgundy” means Chardonnay. Burgundy has had vineyards for centuries and the label on a bottle of Burgundy is inextricably linked with a particular piece of land in the region. This means that the land is split up into tiny parcels, owned by separate producers, and that this is reflected in the various labels of Burgundy.

7. Bordeaux

Did I save the best for last? Perhaps. The Bordeaux region  is known for producing the fanciest, most expensive, and (yes) most tasty wines in France (although this is debatable to some!). Why? Because Bordeaux first started classifying its wine estates in the region back in 1855 and all “growths” are tied back to this historical moment. This means that the grapevines in Burgundy are old…and expensive. Wine from Bordeaux is almost always made of blends of grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.


Conversational Fragments

Last week I wrote an article entitled Useful Conversational Rejoinders … well you asked for more, so here it is:

Setting: doctor’s waiting room.
State of mind: bored to the point of counting the cracks in the ceiling for the third time
Entertainment value: –10

suddenly … nothing happens!

uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei, ecc. ecc. ecc.

uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei, ecc. ecc. ecc.

but then … ubiquitous ring-tone … whose could it be? Not mine, not hers …

a man seated near the solitary radiator in the far corner reaches into the pocket of his leather jacket, pulls out a cell phone, stands, and walks across to the window.
It’s a vain attempt to find a private space in a small room containing 6 other bored patients (not even an old copy of Oggi to read). Forget the cracked ceiling, we now have a new source of entertainment.

Unanimously we feign disinterest ….

A one sided conversation … and its translation
ciao, allora, com’è?
ah sì?
no, no, d’accordo, sì
non lo so, devo sentire Carlo
davvero … ma pensa te!
ma no, non è detto
e Laura, cosa ne pensa?
così piccolo … ma pensa te!
e poi?
no, non ci credo!
ma scherzi?
dio buono, ma pensa un po’!
okay, ho capito
ho capito … ho capito
va bene, okay
sì, senz’altro…….
d’accordo … d’accordo
allora ci sentiamo in settimana
perfetto, okay, ciao caro, ciao ciao
hi, how’s it going?
no, no, sure, yes
I don’t know, I need to talk to Carlo
really … well I’ll be!
well no, not necessarily
and what does Laura think about it
that small  … well I’ll be!
then what happened?
no, I don’t believe it!
you’re joking?
good lord, well I never!
okay, understood
I understand … I understand
alright, okay
yes, definitely
okay … okay
so we’ll get in touch during the week
perfect, okay, bye mate, bye bye

Silence … 6 innocent faces gaze at the walls and ceiling as if the monumental piece of entertainment and intrigue had never taken place. Outwardly they seem completely engrossed in the act of counting the cracks for the fourth time, but 6 imaginations are now at work. Inwardly 6 different scenarios are gradually evolving and taking form as each of the occupants of the waiting room reconstructs their personal version of the unheard half of the conversation …

Dear Readers, where does your imagination take you? What was the person on the other end of the line talking about? Come on, don’t be shy, leave a comment … ;-)