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Learning German


Norrette
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As I've discovered just today that a great-grandfather was married in Berlin and that also his name appears 3 times in the German Casualty lists (Oswald Klapper), it would be a good idea to start to learn some of the langauge. If he was one of these casualties, it's really interesting for me that I have ancestors either side of no man's land.

Does anyone have any CDs or books that are useful for this? Also perhaps interpreting German script which is different from English.

Norrette

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Norette,

can't advise you on books or CD's I'm afraid, but this little table may help to at least being able to read what was printed 100 years ago.

I find www.dict.cc a very useful German-English online dictionary

post-107702-0-02156400-1418570788_thumb.

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Can't help with suggestions as to how to learn, but it is a nice language, and grammar apart, I reckon it is more straightforward for a native English speaker (especially if of Scottish descent!) to learn than French.

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Thanks all, and especially the alphabet - really useful for now.

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When was your Oswald born?
There are actually 6 entries in the Verlustlisten (if you look at http://des.genealogy.net/eingabe-verlustlisten/search as Ancestry only goes up to 1917 and the indexing is worse!) but they are for 2 different men - 4 entries for one, 2 for the other.

Both these Oswald Klappers were born in Scheibe/Glatz (now Kłodzko, Poland), one on 21/5/85 and the other on 21/6/86. The first served in Infanterie-Regiment Nr.51, the other in IR Nr.42.

The man with IR51 was reported wounded in the VL of 30.8.15, reported missing on 9.11.15, confirmed as POW on 24.2.16, and finally reported to be interned in Morschach, Switzerland, on 23.8.18.

The man with IR42 was posted missing 12.12.16, then on 18.12.17 he was confirmed as having been taken POW on 13.11.16.

These are the VL entries in chronological order (note that after about mid-1916 the regiment was not listed in the VLs):

Pr.314, 30.8.15: Infanterie-Regiment Nr.51, III. Bataillon, 10. Kompagnie: Klapper, Oswald (11. Komp.) - Scheibe Glatz - verwundet.
Pr.375, 9.11.15: Infanterie-Regiment Nr.51, 11. Kompagnie: Klapper, Oswald - Scheibe, Glatz - vermißt.
Pr.463, 24.2.16: Infanterie-Regiment Nr.51, 11. Kompagnie: Klapper, Oswald, Scheibe, bisher vermißt, in Gefangenschaft.
Pr.708, 12.12.16: Klapper, Oswald - 21.6.86 Glatz - vermißt.
Pr.1017, 18.12.17: Klapper Oswald - 21.6. Glatz - bisher vermißt, in Gefangenschaft 13.11.16.
Pr.1233, 23.8.18: Klapper, Oswald - 21.5. Scheibe - war in Gefangenschaft. Aimme[?], jetzt Morschach, Frohnalp.

The ICRC archives have POW records for both men:
http://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/3171224/1/2/
http://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/2349407/1/2/

Hope this helps!

Adrian

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Oooh Mr Seige Gunner has also posted an excellent crib sheet somewhere on the forum that also includes a handwritten alphabet as well as the typescript.

It's always good to know/learn a second language - the Battenberg's err Mountbattens did so too :ph34r:

Naughty! :D :D

I don't know why I am laughing. I should be ashamed of myself for being so linguistically lazy! I'll get my coat and go look for the script.

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When was your Oswald born?

Adrian

Thanks so much for this Adrian - I could only find 3 on my search (have just joined at the exorbitant worldwide rate - happy christmas to me!)

I had discounted them since I last posted, as my Oswald is not one of the Glatz Klapper at that time. Mine was born on 28 Oct 1879 in Berlin and his parents were also born there.

By staring at the marriage registration (which is the best I can do as the handwriting has foiled me completely) I have worked out that the first name is not his usual name - He is Oswald Arthur Richard Klapper, but he signs it Richard Klapper and his wife also uses her 3rd name as her known name - if you get my drift. So perhaps I should be searching for Richard Klapper.

It's a brick wall in my family as his daughter turns up in Hull in 1931 marrying my grandfather; but no trace of these, her parents. If anyone could help me with this two page registration document I would be eternally grateful. I guess I shouldn't post it up here being an Ancestry document. and off topic.

Norrette

...Ah but I now see there is a Richard from Berlin in that great link you gave me ----I will be some time!

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Congratulations on wanting to learn German! I started over 50 years ago and the process continues today, despite having lived in Germany for the last 40-odd years! If you want to research this ancestor you'll probably need at least a basic knowledge of the written language. The old-fashioned print script is not too difficult (I learnt it in school), but old hand-written texts in Kurrent (and even sometimes in the Latin style or a hybrid alphabet) can be a real problem, even with a crib sheet and especially if the writer was not particularly literate. It can be a real bu**er even distinguishing where one letter ends and the next begins...

As with most things here, the German language is highly regulated, but once you get the hang of the basic rules you should make decent progress.

I am agreat advocate of learning in a (small) group - so perhaps evening school??

Cheers

Colin

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I started over 50 years ago

Thanks Colin....not sure I've got that long :w00t: But I will at least get a book or two.

Here's a sample for those who haven't seen it.

post-13827-0-53865300-1418678774_thumb.j

The last word is Berlin - but that's from Ancestry's transcription - I cheated...

Norrette

Edit: PS to the mods - now that more German data is appearing online, at some point would it be worthwhile starting a section for German translation issues?

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I spend a lot of my day in the car and recently decided to take an audio language course. I went for Rocket French. So far really enjoying it but only a couple of weeks in so cannot make a recommendation. They also do Rocket German and you can take a free introduction.

http://www.rocketlanguages.com/german/premium/index.php?hop=semaphoric

John

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Norrette,

that little snippet you posted is relatively easy!

Try this one for size (from my thread "German postcard -translation help requested" )

IMG_20140705_0015a_zpsacdae639.jpg

If you want to have a translation of that marriage certificate you were "staring" at let me know. I'll see what I can do.

Just saw your PS : "Edit: PS to the mods - now that more German data is appearing online, at some point would it be worthwhile starting a section for German translation issues?"

That was my idea for a while : start a thread to help the pals with their German postcards, German letters, German documents, German war-diaries, German anything.

Reading/Translating German to English is relatively easy for me, ánd ofcourse we got a number of German members (who are obviously múch more versed in the German language than I am. My German teacher at highschool was called "Mr Nietzsche" - didn't stop me though from dropping German as a language from third grade.......)

So will you take the lead, or shall I ?



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To learn to speak the language, there is available somewhere a set of CDs called ASSIMIL. Professional interpreters use them to start a new language or brush up on one they haven't used for a time.

To learn to read, start with modern German, which is pretty much what ordinary English looks like, and then treat learning Gothic script as if it was old English.

The way they formed their letters in the 19th and early 20th century does look funny to us, but, believe me, French is just as bad to interpret (in fact, my National Archves ran a course on reading 19th century French script earlier this autumn. Sadly, I was away), I have spent many hours doing so, even though typed or modern French script I can read as fast as English.

19th century English can be just as bad as both.

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A brilliant idea on a new sub-forum! I too would like to amend my lazy ways and have been mulling over how to go about it. Reasons? Well, primarily, I would like to be able to read German. Sorry Egbert, but not so important for me to speak it. However, I do concede that the two would go hand in hand but my opportunities to practise speaking and listening would be pretty limited.

I know all beginners have to start somewhere but I get the feeling that if I enrolled on a course, it would be more geared towards holiday or business German and not really appropriate to my needs of reading WW1 era hand and typewritten texts and books. A private tutor seemed to have some appeal as the teaching might eventually be able to be channelled towards my needs...

Then I think perhaps I've just left it too late to learn another lingo and for me ze var is over with regard to learning German.

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Naming of a German translation subforum shall be

Ziss iz ze voiz ov Germany

Ant zere vill be no menzion ov ze var ! ;)

Now then, boys... :whistle:

I agree with Seaforth that it's not so important to learn to speak it, I don't know of any German speakers in my multicultural part of London. Healdav's idea sounds a good one for me. So many books out there I might try the library first.

Many thanks to JWK who, offline, has translated the wedding certificate I had. If we do get such a forum - there is a very useful Ancestry document which I can upload (or link to) - it's a guide to what you would expect to see in each box of the certificate - which helps enormously.

My thoughts on my German great-grandparents using the third of their forenames as their 'regular' name has been proven to me - so if you can't find your man on the casualty lists - try the other forenames.

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My thoughts on my German great-grandparents using the third of their forenames as their 'regular' name has been proven to me - so if you can't find your man on the casualty lists - try the other forenames.

In German official, personal documents it was (and still is) a legal requirement to show all a person's forenames in the order they appear on the birth certificate, but in the days when such documents were still hand-written it was normal practice to underline the name the person was normally known by/called - the Rufname. The person concerned could nominate any of his/her forenames as the Rufname and could use a different one whenever he/she felt like it, but in the main it was always the same one.

So, if you see an old ID card, passport, marriage/death certificate with a forename underlined, you can be pretty sure that is the name the person was known by - and conversely, if no name is underlinded the person was probably known by the first forename.

Cheers

Colin

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... Well, primarily, I would like to be able to read German. Sorry Egbert, but not so important for me to speak it. However, I do concede that the two would go hand in hand but my opportunities to practise speaking and listening would be pretty limited.

I know all beginners have to start somewhere but I get the feeling that if I enrolled on a course, it would be more geared towards holiday or business German and not really appropriate to my needs of reading WW1 era hand and typewritten texts and books. A private tutor seemed to have some appeal as the teaching might eventually be able to be channelled towards my needs...

Then I think perhaps I've just left it too late to learn another lingo and for me ze var is over with regard to learning German.

I quite agree Seaforths - there is no real need to learn how to speak or even write the language you need a reading knowledge of! I had to acquire a reading knowledge (by trial and error) of archaeological French, Spanish, Dutch, Rumanian and even a smattering of Hungarian in the course of researching my thesis - and that was long before the days of Google translate! And, as you note, it was the need to learn these in a rather specialised field for which there were no dictionaries at all (although I did much later find one for architects needing French, German, and Turkish, that helped with later work). Not being boastful on this, btw, it just had to be done! Heinrich Schliemann, incidentally, mastered some 14 languages in their written form while doing his research into the Trojan War, but never claimed to speak more than about five. His method? Read a text in German (e.g., 'War and Peace'), then read it in the language he wanted to learn with the German text to hand... I tried the same method using English and German versions of the same Asterix when I first started to live in Germany, and it helped!

In German official, personal documents it was (and still is) a legal requirement to show all a person's forenames in the order they appear on the birth certificate, but in the days when such documents were still hand-written it was normal practice to underline the name the person was normally known by/called - the Rufname. The person concerned could nominate any of his/her forenames as the Rufname and could use a different one whenever he/she felt like it, but in the main it was always the same one.

So, if you see an old ID card, passport, marriage/death certificate with a forename underlined, you can be pretty sure that is the name the person was known by - and conversely, if no name is underlinded the person was probably known by the first forename.

Cheers

Colin

Colin, that's a very useful thing to learn! Thanks!

Trajan

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