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All Quiet on the Western Front

Updated: Apr 10

There are a few topics that I tend to avoid in our German lessons; the war(s) for example. However, “All Quiet on the Western Front” is a rare example of an account of WW1 from the German point of view - it was banned by the Nazis for reasons which are obvious when you read/watch it. You will have heard that the latest remake is being nominated for all sorts of awards.

Herzlichen Glückwünsch! (Congrats!)

The German original is called „Im Westen nichts Neues”.

There are so many teaching points in this one short title:

* All compass points are masculine, but “in” plus “dem” (which is masc dative) becomes “im”.

* West- only exists as a prefix in German, and commonly makes a compound noun: “in Westengland” = in the west of England

* Westen is the stand-alone noun for ‘the west’

* Reading liegt westlich von London (using the adjective now) = Reading is (lies) to the west of London

* Nichts = nothing (nicht = not)

*If you add an adjective to “nichts” it starts with a capital letter and ends in –es.

Nichts Interessantes = nothing interesting

Nichts Dummes = nothing stupid

So, „Im Westen nichts Neues“ literally translates as “Nothing new in the west”

Andrew Wenger, SameSky Languages

I am delighted to say that there are now SameSky Language groups for German, French and Spanish at all three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. We also offer Italian and Japanese tuition, either in small groups or one-to-one.

Now is a good time to sign up. We have only just started the new courses, so you won't have much to catch up on.

Most are taught on Zoom, but we are opening up more and more in-person groups - at various salubrious venues in the Reading and West Berks area.

Please contact me here if you would like to find out more about taking up a new language, or brushing the rust of an old one.

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