België is meertalig, maar de Belg nog niet!

Laat me toe mezelf even voor te stellen. Ik ben in België in een Franstalig gezin geboren, maar in een tweetalige omgeving. Meertalig zijn komt niet zo vaak voor in België, hoewel het een drietalig land is. Dat is jammer omdat die talen een groot potentieel betekenen op cultureel vlak en ze slechts in kleine mate worden benut. Dit is niet voor iedereen het geval. Zelf heb ik mijn hele jeugd met twee talen gejongleerd en dit heeft de persoon die ik vandaag ben, gevormd. België bezit volgens mij een grote troef waaruit we meer zouden moeten halen.

Het Atomium in Brussel
Het Atomium in Brussel

Een klein en toch ingewikkeld land

België telt drie officiële talen. Uiteraard is er het Frans en het Nederlands, maar daar hoort ook nog het Duits bij! Hoe leuk en simpel dit ook lijkt, België is een heel ingewikkeld land. Laten we het dus enkel over Brussel hebben, daar is alles officieel tweetalig. Maar in de feiten zal je heel weinig Nederlands horen als je in Brussel rondloopt. In de Belgische hoofdstad wonen vooral Franstaligen, die er met tien keer zo veel zijn dan de Nederlandstaligen. Dit verschilt sterk met de rest van België waar de Nederlandstaligen de meerderheid vormen. Je snapt het, Brussel is een héél moeilijke stad.

Moeilijk gaat ook!

Deze situatie is nooit een probleem geweest voor mij. Mijn ouders hebben mij van jongs af aan in het Nederlands willen onderdompelen, door me naar en Nederlandstalige school te sturen. Het leren ging voor mij gelukkig moeiteloos, ook omdat mijn familie tweetalig is. Mijn grootvader was namelijk Nederlandstalig. En daar zit je dan: een 12-jarige tweetalige die naar het secundair trekt. Ik besloot dit in beide talen te doen. Enkele scholen bieden de fantastische kans om in het Frans én in het Nederlands te leren! In feite had ik ongeveer een derde van de lesuren in het Nederlands.

Een ideale wereld bestaat niet… Of toch?

Stadhuis op de Grote Markt in Brussel
Stadhuis op de Grote Markt in Brussel

Hoewel dit systeem niet perfect en zeker niet gemakkelijk te implementeren is, is het zeker en vast een boeiend concept. Bovendien levert het positieve resultaten op. Daardoor heb ik na de lagere school nog verder in het Nederlands kunnen studeren terwijl ik ook mijn moedertaal, het Frans, kon verbeteren. Volgens mij zou de volgende stap moeten leiden naar enkel maar tweetalige scholen vanaf de kleuterklas. Door deze specificiteit van ons land in de praktijk toe te passen, zouden kinderen van jongs af aan tweetalig kunnen zijn zonder enige inspanning te leveren! Als het kind later dan een derde taal wil leren, wordt dat een simpele klus, omdat het brein al lang getraind zijn op het leren van talen. Volgens mij valt er enkel winst te rapen!

Ik ben me er natuurlijk van bewust dat dit makkelijker gezegd is dan gedaan. Het kan ook heel naïef lijken om op 21-jarige leeftijd te beweren dat tweetalig worden eenvoudig is. Niettemin heeft men nu alvast kleine stapjes in de goede richting genomen. De volgende stap is er misschien eentje van een reus!

Het Atomium, zicht van onderaan
Het Atomium, zicht van onderaan

Author & Pictures: Aurélie Gillain

Fan fiction

Have you ever read a book that became much more than just a book? That smells like home every time you open it and immediately transports you back into a familiar world where everything is as it should be? This article is about what happens after “happy ever after”.

Fanfiction

A reader’s problems

I close the book and my eyes, and try to let the last sentence linger a little longer. Just like the sweet taste of chocolate long after you’ve swallowed it, the last sentence of a book stays with you for some time. But even while you enjoy this perfect conclusion of your adventures, a sweet, stinging melancholy fills your heart because now you have to say goodbye to the characters you’ve got to know so well. You’ve become comrades-in-arms now, best friends, or even a family. It’s not surprising that many avid readers refuse to let go of this world – this home away from home.

From reader to writer

So what can you do if the story is over and your favourite author just decides: that’s it? No more books, no more adventures, no more pointed jokes and delicate romances between your favourite characters. Just an excruciating “The end” that leaves a gaping wound in your story-filled heart. Well, if you don’t want the story to be over, then you have to make it continue, right? This is where you enter the wondrous world of fan fiction! Let the journey begin…

Fan fiction

Every big story, no matter if it’s a book or a movie has its own fandom, and therefore its own fan fiction. The internet’s full of blogs that only serve this purpose and many of these amateur writers have created their own small communities. What they do is create alternate endings, sequels or simply continue a story, but the important thing is that they provide their readers with more stories about their heroes and heroines. A little more time in a magical world – an attempt to avoid the imminent, final goodbye.

‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

The author, Rainbow Rowell, has even written a book about fan fiction. ‘Fangirl’ is about a girl who writes continuations of her favourite fantasy novel on her own blog. She’s gained a huge number of fans, but no one knows who she really is, since she publishes her stories using a pen name. As you read the book, you understand just how much effort these amateur writers put into their worlds, although most of them don’t even make any money out of it. They only write for their own pleasure, but once they acquire an extensive community of readers, the pressure grows. They receive the first negative criticism, and readers expect plots to match their own expectations. Continuing a story can get really hard at times, but the massive response proves that it’s worth their while. And, in the end, they remember why they started to write in the first place: to be able to lose themselves in a magical world for just a little longer.

 

Text: Vanessa Hoffmann
Picture: Vanessa Hoffmann

Augsburg’s Christkindlesmarkt

Ah, it’s that time of the year again! The air is full of the scent of gingerbread and mulled wine, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fir trees and Christmas… Wait! Oh gosh, I forgot to buy the last presents! If you recognize yourself in this scenario, don’t panic. I’ve got some ideas that will not only help you to find a last-minute gift but also involve a bit of fun…

The time is running out…

Only four days left until Christmas Eve and you have to buy some last-minute gifts for your family and friends. So it begins… hustling through the crowded shops with thousands of stressed-out shoppers who – yes, you got it – have forgotten to buy them, too. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

Augsburg’s Christmas market – something for everybody

fairy_lights-min

But lucky you, in Augsburg there’s the annual Christmas market, called Christkindlesmarkt by Auxburger. There are plenty of things to do and buy! On entering, you’ll see all kinds of booths which have even more products waiting. There are, for example, some stalls with beautiful ornaments for your Christmas tree, some of them 100 per cent handmade; and if your tree also needs some lighting, there’s another booth which sells fairy lights in various fancy designs. 

If you’re more into decorating a Christmas crib, you won’t be disappointed either! There are a million ways to give your grandma’s old one a complete update. For the more spiritual among us, there are stalls that offer all kinds of angel figurines, too. If you have kids, a trip to the Christmas market will probably make their eyes light up like the star of Bethlehem. At the Moritzplatz tram stop, there’s a tiny children’s Christmas market for your little ones. It even has a little merry-go-round! And at the main market, they can write Santa a letter at the postal office.

Countless ways to satisfy your hunger

After you’re done with your last-food_and_drinks-minminute shopping, you’ll certainly be hungry. No problem, because food is everywhere! So-called Weihnachtsfladen (similar to Lángos), a breadroll filled with sausages, all kinds of sweet dishes and candy are only a few examples of what makes your mouth water when only reading about it. My tip: try out the so-called Dampfnudel, if you haven’t already! The vanilla sauce tastes yummy! The market is also famous for all kinds of hot alcoholic beverages, but the most famous one is mulled wine. As an alternative for the kids and those who don’t drink, children’s punch is a big deal as well!

Let this thoughtful time come to its finest

As you can see, there are many ways to either get your missing gifts or just spend the evening getting into the Christmas spirit. Try not to waste these last few days in a state of exhaustion!

Happy holidays! 😊

Author: Denise Bieber | Pictures: Katharina Dück

Life’s not always Simpel

It’s Saturday night and you’re bored to death. How about solving this problem by going to a special cinema: Thalia. It’s one of the three cinemas in Augsburg which are popular for showing rather unknown movies. Thalia, Mephisto and Savoy, are known as the “Kinodreieck”, and can be found between the Rathausplatz and the cathedral. They’re easy to get to – just take the tram (number 2) and exit at “Dom/Stadtwerke”.

ThaliaThalia rocks!

Thalia is the cinema we like best because you can meet up with your friends just for coffee. In case you get hungry, they also do breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. And if you feel like it – after your coffee – just pick a movie and lean back. The Kinodreieck also organizes special events like Lechflimmern, movies in the original language, Augsburger Filmtage and many more.

Simpel – the movie

Recently we went to Thalia to see the new German movie, Simpel. It’s based on the book with the same name by Marie-Aude Murail. Since it won the 2008 German Youth Literature Award and we‘ve both read the book, it seemed like a good idea to see the movie as well.

In case you don’t know the story, we’ll give you a short summary of the movie.
It’s about two brothers in their early 20s, Barnabas alias Simpel (David Kross) and Ben (Frederick Lau), who are inseparable. Simpel has been mentally disabled from birth so someone always has to look after him. Their family situation is quite complicated, too. The mum (
Anneke Kim Sarnau) dies at the beginning of the movie and the dad (Devid Striesow) left the family when both kids were still little. A few days after the mum’s funeral, Simpel is taken away to a mental home by the police and freaks out. Brother Ben never wanted this to happen and, on the spur of the moment, decides to run away with Simpel. It’s going to be quite an adventure with many problems, but we don’t want to spoil anything…

Our opinion

We liked the movie because it deals with really important topics such as responsibility, disability, friendship and family relations. The basic story in the book is well done, although some significant scenes don´t go into depth. We would have liked some more details about Simpel´s and Ben´s life, instead of having such an eventful movie. The actors are well cast, though. Star actor David Kross’ performance is stunning as a disabled character – we believed him in every single scene. Frederick Lau’s (Simpel’s brother) role is also made for him.

Simpel the movie is on until Christmas, so don´t wait too long. Enjoy it or just go to Thalia, the bookstore, and get the book there.

Text & Pictures: Isabel Mair & Carmen Bauer