Thursday, June 18, 2015

Nicht ärgern, nur wundern

"Nicht ärgern, nur wundern" ist ein äußerst nützliches und nervenschonendes Motto. Die hier zu sehende Zeichnung hing jahr(zehnt)elang in "meinem" Zimmer im Elternhaus und wird ab sofort eine Wand in meinem Büro schmücken.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The little girl who fled the Nazis - and found a new sister and love here in Leicester

Very moving story in today's Leicester Mercury...

By Leicester Mercury  |  Posted: June 15, 2015
    A young Elise in Austrian costume
Elise Richter arrived in Leicester in 1939, a five-year-old refugee from Nazi-controlled Austria who found herself separated from all her family. This is her story.
Elise Richter, that's me. I was born in Vienna on November 15, 1933, the same year that Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. I lived with my mother and father, Franziska and Heinrich Richter, in a two-bedroom apartment in the centre of Vienna with my mother's parents.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Punctuation in abbreviations

The Oxford Dictionaries website offers clear and succinct guidelines re punctuation in abbreviations – see below. The wording (e.g. "you don’t need to") would suggest that, as is often the case for English, these are indeed 'just' guidelines, rather than the more prescriptive rules for German, for example.

Weltweit erste Briefverteilanlage 1965 in Pforzheim

Wer wusste, dass die erste vollautomatische Briefverteilanlage der Welt am 31. Mai 1965 in Pforzheim in Betrieb genommen wurde?


VDI Nachrichten, Düsseldorf, 29.5.15
Jubiläum: Am 31. Mai 1965 wurde im Beisein des Bundespostministers Richard Stücklen (Mitte) die weltweit erste vollautomatische Briefverteilanlage in Pforzheim in Betrieb genommen. Die Anlage mit drei Maschinen stammte von der Firma Siemens & Halske. Sie hatte eine Nennleistung von 14 000 Sendungen pro Sekunde je Maschine. In der „Zeitschrift für das Post und Fernmeldewesen“ vom 10. 8. 1965 schreibt der Ministerialrat und Ingenieur Franz Vierling begeistert, dass es erstmals „der Brief selbst ist, der als Datenträger mittels der ihm aufgedruckten Codeadresse seinen Weg durch die Maschine in das Verteilfach steuert. Bei allen anderen bisher bekannten und im Betrieb eingesetzten Maschinen steuert der Mensch unmittelbar über einmechanisches, elektromagnetisches oder auch elektronisch betätigtes Steuergerät die ihm vorgelegte Sendung in das zugehörige Verteilfach der Maschine.“ Allerdings gab es auch noch etwas für die Beschäftigten der Post zu tun: An Codierplätzen mussten sie die Anschrift lesen und in einen maschinenlesbaren Code umsetzen. Zum 50. Jubiläum der automatischen Briefverteilanlage gibt es einen Sonderstempel der Post. cer

Sunday, June 07, 2015

EU Referendum

My thoughts precisely re. the British EU Referendum!


Saturday, June 06, 2015

Caer Llyr – Why Leicester can be the true city of culture

Did you know that in Cymraeg, the Welsh language, Leicester is Caer Llyr – Lear's city? One learns something every day, doesn't one? 

Read more in the Leicester Mercury article under the heading Why Leicester can be the true city of culture. (Follow the link or read the copy below).


Thursday, June 04, 2015

Circa

https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&biw=1221&bih=843&site=imghp&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=circa&oq=circa&gs_l=img.3..0l10.19179.19179.0.19782.1.1.0.0.0.0.77.77.1.1.0....0...1c..64.img..0.1.75.lLgXSB5uNIc#imgrc=Rp_id_7pUJcLlM%253A%3BDf0fCg2z_G_iKM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Ffreemobileapk.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2014%252F09%252Fcir_ca.png%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Ffreemobileapk.com%252Fcirca-news%252F%3B300%3B300

German technical texts tend to be 'littered' with the abbreviation "ca.". For some reason, which escapes me right now, I used to have a preference for 'rendering' this as "approx." in English. However, this can be 'awkward' (i.e. too long) in tables etc. The New Oxford Style Manual has this to say on the matter:
"The Latin circa, meaning 'about', is used in English mainly with dates and quantities. Set the italicized abbreviation c. close up to any figures following (c.1020, c.£10,400), but spaced from words and letters (c. AD 44). In discursive prose it is usually preferable to use about or some when describing quantities".  
Further discussions with other linguists led to the conclusion that circa / c. is indeed mostly seen in relation to dates in English texts. See also relevant Wikipedia entry. More generally, it seems that the New Oxford Style Manual tends to be geared towards non-technical texts. So, back to "approx."...

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Tributes paid to Charles Kennedy

Received BBC Breaking News Alert at 06.13 this morning under the heading
"Ex-Lib Dem leader Kennedy dead at 55". Very sad. Tributes on the BBC website.


Update Wednesday 3 June – not surprisingly, today's papers are full of Charles Kennedy tributes. Here are some 'highlights':

Monday, June 01, 2015

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive


Some time ago (November 2012, to be precise), a whole-page advert appeared in VDI Nachrichten, the weekly newspaper for members of VDI (Association of German Engineers). I sent it to an energy-related mailing list, with the comment: "No comment". One of the list members replied: "There will always be reason for the pursuit of excellence".

Turner

Went to see Mr. Turner at the Phoenix in Leicester a while ago. Timothy Spall’s performance was indeed a tour-de-force, as described in the review on the Phoenix website:
What a glorious film this is, richly and immediately enjoyable - The Guardian” The new film from Mike Leigh stars Timothy Spall on Cannes Best Actor winning form as painter J.M.W Turner. Beginning in 1826 the film focuses on the last quarter-century of Turners’ life, from living in London with his beloved father and his career in the ascendancy, to his close relationship with a Margate landlady and his risking the wrath of the Royal Academy with his increasingly abstract and impressionist works. Spall’s performance is a tour-de-force, his grunting Turner is eccentric and humane, a world away from the priggish art-critics and snooty members of the Academy. A gorgeously textured biopic from the director of Another Year and Vera Drake.
Somehow, though, I wasn't quite in the right mood for the film and didn't fully appreciate it. Ought to watch it again some time.

However, it reminded me of a visit to the "Turner in Deutschland" exhibition in Mannheim back in 1995 or 1996 (alarming, how time flies!), and the exhibition catalogue reminded me how surprisingly extensively Turner had travelled in Germany. As it happens, the front cover of the exhibition catalogue features a detail of the painting entitled "Heidelberg mit einem Regenbogen".