Category Archives: Uncategorized

A thing- ich neige zu dem Ich. Ich sollte das veraendern.

As well as different languages, different people have what I call in my lexicon different lexicons. A lexicon consists of a bunch of words you normally use to describe certain things.Do these things become that named thing after you’ve named it a thing… or are only one of those names right? Or do possibly many names have different attributes that can, eventually, sort of point to the same thing?

(Replace the noun ‘thing’ for ‘feeling’, or ’emotion’, or ‘state’, as in ‘der Zustand’ and not ‘die Vereinigten Staaten’, and it gets harder.)

One such thing that has different attributes (if only because some people use certain words when they may actually mean a whole bunch of things only partly conveyed by that word) is the word ‘selfish’.

(Not that anyone has ever called me that. Well… OK, maybe they have and maybe I’m trying to figure out why if only because the initial idea of the word seemed to link with the context it’s used in a lot, which didn’t strike me as fair or what the word means.)

In other contexts however…

So I looked it up in my favourite dictionaries (not plugging here but is cool and, similar to Linguee, actually gives the use of words in contexts- perfect for this example) and in Linguee the results were:





With ‘less common’ translations being ‘eigensuchtig’, ‘egozentrisch’, ‘ichbezogen’, ‘selbstbezogen’, and surprisingly for me at least ‘rücksichtlos’ – reckless, which (at least the way I think about it in my lexicon) doesn’t necessarily come from being selfish (cause and effect – if you’re a reckless driver you might be seen as selfish because you could easily knock someone over and even potentially kill them while you’re still alive and OK in a car – yet if you’re selfish and you get into a car, it doesn’t directly imply you may not be a direct danger to other drivers and pedestrians- but that’s just my two cents. Oh, and there’s ‘inconsiderate’ as a translation for rücksichtlos, which might just help out here. Anyway…)

Here are the translations again in an order I kinda thought was useful and fun.

1.selbstsüchtig – coming from German ‘selbst’- self and ‘süchtig’, an adjective meaning addicted to – ie addicted to yourself. Or, less literally, self-serving. Even though everyone serves themselves to some extent, and needs to (you know, to stay alive), selbstsüchtig suggests serving yourself AND going out of your way not to not serve others. These two ideas don’t always have to be connected, but they are in ‘selbstsüchtig’.

2. Eigennützig – ‘own’-‘using’? – Appears to be more of an abverb (descirbing a verb) than selbstsüchtig, but it can also be used to describe nouns (ie: people, one of which I think is not me…)

3.Egoistisch- or Egoismus – coming  from the Latin word, ‘ego’, meaning the personal pronoun ‘Ich’, or ‘I’ -with the Greek-originated endings ‘ism’, ‘ismus’, ‘istic’ or ‘istisch’. So there’s Egomanie, egomania, which might also be a synonym (as far as words can actually mean the exact same thing) of ‘eigennützig’ and ‘selbstsüchtig’ if you were to make them into nouns.

Egomanie =/= Egoismus all the time.










Osterfilm – Die Hӓschenschule: Jagd nach dem Goldenen Ei

Image result for Die Haschenschule- Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei

Almost every child knows of the story Easter Bunny – a hare (not a rabbit) who goes around hiding colourful eggs, which the children then have to find on Easter morning. What many people may not know is:

  •  that the Easter Bunny was originally German!
  • There’s an old but classic 1924 German children’s book called ‘die Haschenschule’- about the school that trains young hares to become Osterhase – Ester hares
  • There’s a new film based off this book called ‘Die Haschenschule – Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei’ In February it was entered into the Berlinale –the German version of the Oscars, where films are entered to win prizes in each category-  and it showed in the German Kinos (cinemas) in March 2017.

So, yes – the Easter Bunny did actually originate in Germany.-  In at least the 15th century, from which we have the first Latin records of the Easter Bunny, German Protestants created the idea of a hare, to symbolise fertility, carrying coloured eggs, and sometimes even sweets and toys!

Image result for Osterei

Ostereien in einem Krbchen/ Easter eggs in a small basket

Why eggs, you might ask? Apparently, before fasting in Lent, people would preserve their eggs in order to be able to eat them afterwards, when the fast of Lent was over. The eggs would be decorated brightly as part of the celebrations. Although the German Protestants didn’t continue the fasting, they did continue with the tradition of eggs at Easter, including decorating them. In the 18th century, the story of the Osterhase- the Easter hare – was spread to the U.S – and the rest is history.

Image result for Osterhase

Eine Hase mit Ostereien/ A hare with Easter eggs

Noticeably, the Easter Bunny is *supposed* to be a hare, and not a rabbit. (However, they look similar- what’s the difference?) 😊 The Easter Bunny legend continued as parents told their children, in Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, the UK…

German Protestants created the idea of an Easter hare, to symbolise fertility, carrying coloured eggs, and sometimes even sweets and toys!

What about Australia, you might ask. Good question!

The Australians have an ‘Easter Bilby’ – Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby, was written in 1968,  created by a nine-year old girl.) The idea of the Easter Bilby is  used to raise awareness of the bilby and its protection – as the rabbit was brought to Australia from Europe, and competes for food with the bilby, an Australian native animal, causing the bibly to become endangered. To emphasise this point and help the bilby, some Australians wrote an added complication into the story – that the Easter Bilby had to fight off the evil rabbit army who tried to steal the eggs. So now you can find chocolate Easter Bilbies in Australia, instead of the Easter Bunny.)


Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei Trailer video

I mention that point because it’s in a way similar to this film. ‘Die Haschenschule’ is about young hare- die Haschen – learning how to become Easter hares in the titular Rabbit School (Hare School doesn’t have the same ring to it…sorry.), They also have to stop the foxes from stealing their eggs- particularly the magic golden Ei, also in the title.

(Synopsis in German here: –

The main character is a young hare called Max, who at first reads about the Haschenschule in a book – possibly the book in real life- meta! – and doesn’t believe the school really exists. Until he crash-lands into it one day on an out-of-control remote-control biplane.

Besides, Max wants to be the cool kid in the city with the ‘Wahnsinnig-Gang’, and doesn’t like rules and the quiet country life, which he at first believes is all the Haschenschule has to offer. But then he meets a new friend, Emmi, and discovers that more important than being the coolest, is helping your friends.

Das goldenen Ei (Clip about the golden egg, in German with English subtitles, on the Berlinale website.)

Image result for Die Haschenschule- Jagd nach dem goldenen Ei

And- oh yes- the magic golden egg in the Haschenschule? It gives the hares the power to disappear. They call this power, Der Verschwindibus – and have to stop the foxes from stealing the golden egg! But are the foxes really as wicked as they seem?

Here’s a cool trailer I found:


‘Fangt ihn mir!’ – catch him for me! – The Mutter Fuchs yells this, to try and catch Max as he flies past.

Ein Engel (0:35)- An angel – Max calls Emmi this, as he doesn’t know if he made it after the crash.

Schlafsaal – dormitory – (0:44)

Hinter Mond leben – to be behind the times (0:56)

Der Verschwindibus- (made up word) – the magic power that comes from the golden egg, allowing the hares to disappear- verschwinden

kreigen – to get, grab


The main character Max is voiced by Noah Levi, who also sings the title song – he was a contestant in The Voice Kids Deutschland.


The director is Ute Monchow-Pohl – She’s known for other German animation such as Laura’s Star (Lauras Stern), Lars der kleine Eisbӓr and Der Kleine Rabe Socke.

(the song by Noah Levi, created for the film) – Heir will ich bleiben (Home Sweet Home)

I can imagine Max, singing this to his new friends as he realises how much he needs them.

Ich hin lang hinter her

Auf der Suche für ne Platz für mich,

Am anfang war das schwer

veil ausprobeirt, nicht Sinn gekreigt

Ihr hat mir gezeigt, was man erreichen kann, wenn man Fruende hat,

Es ich Zeit euch mal zu sagen – es wie die Hammer sagt!

Hier will ich bleib mit euch und Zeit vertreiben


Hier will ich blieben

Gutes Gefühl im Bauch,

Ich gehore?  (herheir?)

Fühlst du was auch?


Hier will ich blieben

Ich sag’st dir ganz genau

Hab meinen Platz gefunden

Denn hier bin ich zu Haus!

(Home sweet home) – yup, in English


(My home sweet home)

(Home sweet home)


(My home sweet home)

Ich hab es jetzt kapiert?

Mit euch macht alles viel mehr Spass

Warum allein probieren

Nur gemeinsam sind wir richtig stark!

Egal ob  (Opfern? Ob fern??) , ihr sied da für mich, und ich für euch.

Es ist Zeit ob mal zu sagen: Es ist wie die besten Zeit!

(Ja, und ich wiess nicht was zu sagen…)

Hier seid mein Zuhause (Yeah-yeah)

Da wo ihr seid, gehӧr‘ ich denn

Heir seid meine Fruende, (Yeah-yeah)

Mach mit zu dem, da ich jetzt bin.



Hier will ich blieben

Gutes Gefühl im Bauch,

Ich gehore?  (herheir?)

Fühlst du was auch?

Hier will ich blieben

Ich sag’st dir ganz genau

Hab meinen Platz gefunden

Denn hier bin ich zu Haus!

Noah Levi: Home sweet Home

If you want to wish your German friends happy Easter, this is what to say….

Image result for Easter Frohe Ostern

Frohe Ostern, alles! 🙂

Das christliche Passionspiel für Oster – The Christian passion play for Easter


Image result for Passionsspiel

The stage in Oberammergau where the passion plays in Germany are performed/ Die Buhne in Oberammergau, wo die Passionspeile in Deutschland wird aufgefuhrt.


For Christians, the real meaning of Easter is nothing to do with chocolate eggs or Easter bunnies – it is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Christian tradition. That’s my religion, by the way. The story goes that Jesus, the son of God, died on the cross for the sins of humanity, and yet he rose again on what is now known as Easter Sunday.


In some places, there are plays to recreate this religious story, particularly in Germany (in the Oberammergau, which is a Gemeide (municipality or – roughly- town)  in the Landkreis Garmisch-Partenkirschen, in the south of the Bundesland of Bavaria.


The real meaning of Easter is nothing to do with chocolate eggs… – it is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ

However, the apparently slightly older tradition of performing passion plays is also to be found in Austria, in the Gemeide of Erl, which is in the Bezirk of Kufstein, in the Bundesland Tirol.


In 2015, German kids in the church performed the play.


However, adults normally perform the passion plays – as this trailer shows in Oberammergau:



Words from the children’s Passionspeil: (see if you can find them all)


Jesu Christi – Jesus Christ

Petrus – Peter (at 3:56, er verteidigt Jesu – aber er muss dreimal leugnen, dass er kennt ihn. – 5:34)

Judas – der Junge, der Jesus verratet

Pontius Pilate – Pontius Pilatus

Barrabas – ein Verbrecher

Simon – Ein Feld-Abreiter, der Jesu hilft, der Kreus zu tragen

zwei Verbrechen an Kreuz neben Jesus – two criminals on the cross next to Jesus





Die Orgel – the organ (not in the video, but it’s the instrument being played in the church)

Die Kirche- the church

Die Junge – the boys

der Schweiss – sweat

das Blut – blood

der Begrussungskuss- greeting kiss (der die Jesu verratet 3:30)

die Finsternis – the darkness

die Macht- the power

der Hof – the c1ourtyard

die obersten Preiste – the high Preists

Verbrechen – crime

die Spotkrone – the ‚crown‘ (to mock and ridicule)

der Spott – ridicule, satire?

die Dorne – thorns

Mitlied – sympathy

der Hugel – the hill (16:23)

der Leichnahm – the body

Grab – grave (25:00)

Sünden – sins (25:50 – Er hat uns von unseren Sünden befreit)



neider/knien – to bow

beten – to pray

geschesen – to happen

tropfen – to drip

vereinbaren – to agree (3:35)

festnehmen – to take prisoner

verteidigen- to defend – (3:56)

heilen – to heal

kraen – to crow, …wie ein Hahn.

leugnen- to deny

bezeugen – to testify (8:12)

frei/lassen – to let free

kreuzigen – to crucify (9:12 – The people yelled to Pilate to crucify Jesus – ‚Kreuzige ihn!’)

auf/peitschen  – to whip (10:40)

verspotten – to mock, ridicule (10:09)

jemanden anspuken – to spit at

schulgen – to hit (or to hammer to – 16:31)

hinausführten – to bring out (12:20)

sterben – to die

klagen – to mourn






Idioms/ Sentences – Sӓtze/Idiomen

Das Schwert zeugen – to draw the sword

Herauf damit! – Stop that!

Meine Kӧnnigstum ist nicht von dieser Welt – My kingdom is not of this world (8:07)

die Wahrheit zu bezeugen – to testify to the truth (8:12)

Gottes Sohn – God’s Son.

Jemand schuldig zu sprechen – to name someone guilty

zum Tode verurteilen – to jugde someone to death

Sei gegrusst, Konig! – Be greeted, king

Auf meinen Fled arbeiten – to work on my fields – 13:21

der Kreus tragen – to carry the cross

‘Weint nicht uber mich  – weint uber euch, und eure Kinder’ – (14: – Don’t cry about me, but cry about yourselves and your children.)

‚Hilft Euch selber, und steig hinab vom Kreus!‘ – (mocking) – Help yourself, and get down from the cross!

‚Heute noch, werdest du mit mir in Paradies sein‘ – Today you will be with me in paradise – (18:06)

‚Ich habe Durst‘ – I am thirsty (19:02)

Es war etwa zwolf Uhr mittags – It was 12 o clock midday.

Nach diesen Wortern, hauchte er den Geist aus – After these words, he breathed his last.

Jesus war tot – Jesus was dead.

‘Wir bitten fur alle Menschen, die anderen in Krankenhausen oder Altenheim helfen, dass sie wie Veronika Verduld und Verstandis zeigen.‘(27:36)

von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit – for all eternity




DorFuchs- deutscher Musiker-Mathematiker: (AKA- How to multiply two digit numbers in your head!)

Image result for dorfuchs multiplizieren

(Image from YouTube)


…And other cool videos. So, I was watching the videos of the awesome Vi Hart, one of my favourite mathematical YouTubers, the other day because I was late for Pi Day. (The link leads to Vi’s featured video Twelve Tones, about the musical constraint of using all twelve notes in a song.) Vi’s Pi Day videos are particularly interesting because usually they aren’t about celebrating Pi but its twice-multiplied, yet often-forgotten cousin, tau – more on which you can find in her videos.

Pi Day, for those of you who were unaware, is the 14th of March – because in the American calendar the number of the month (3, because March is the third month) is put in front of the day (the 14th) so 3(month)/14(day)/2017 – whereas in European calendars it is the other way around. (so Pi Day would be the 14th March, written as 14(day)/3(month/2017(year). And Vi Hart happens to be American, as well as the creator of Pi Day, Larry Shaw in San Francisco 1998. So they use the American calendar system. Which I guess is good for Pi, because there is no 14th month. It can have a whole day to itself.

Anyway -then I wondered if there were more mathematical YouTubers – and I came across DorFuchs. Like Vi, he is a ‘mathemusician’, who combines maths and music to teach people mathematical concepts.  After watching a few of DorFuchs’ videos I decided,’Tja, dieser Kerl gefallt mir’, and I went to see some more of his stuff! 🙂

One of DorFuch’s videos is a rap about multiplying two 2-digit numbers 11-19 in your head. At first I thought – ‘how?’ For example, how many people can answer this:

13 x 19 =

…in a few seconds  and completely ohne Tachenrechner – without a calculator?

Now watch DorFuchs’ video

Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what he just said.

So in the first few seconds, DorFuchs outlines the problem: Multiplying numbers is extremely useful, and multiplying one digit numbers such as 6×7 is super-easy. But multiplying 13 x19 for instance is so hard. But, he says ‘Lernen den folgene Trick’ – learn the following Trick – and  then you’ll probably be able to do it without a calculator! ‘Und dann schafft du dass veillicht sogar ohne Tachenrechner.’ (0:26)


Aber was ist das Trick?? DorFuchs singt es zu uns:


‘Nimm die erste Zahl, plus die letzte Ziffer von der zweiten.

Hang einer Null dran, und jetzt bist du bereit, denn

Wenn du das Produckt der letzten Ziffern addierst,

Dann bist du fertig und du werdest schneller wenn du das nochmal probierst.’-0:34

So I tried this out on a few numbers – of course I had to translate it first, just to check what DorFuchs was doing.

So: Nimm die erste Zahl, plus der lezten Ziffer von the imperative form of verbs. der zweiten.’ – Hmm, seems he’s using the Befehlsform or imperative forms of verbs – to tell us to do something. As mentioned here, the imperative is formed by taking the ‘stem’ of the verb’.

Nehemn – to take

Take the first number, plus the last digit from the second,

Hang a zero (0) next to it, and now you’re ready – then

When you add the product of the last units,

Then you’re finished – and you’ll be quicker when you try it again..


and so on.


Die Zahl – number     Der Ziffer-, digit

eine Null – a zero

das Produkt – product (the result of multiplying two numbers)

multiplizieren – to multiply

addieren -to add

probieren – to try

(notice ‘mal’ can mean both ‘again’, as in ‘Noch mal’ and ‘times’ as in 18 times 19 = 342)

As DorFuchs shows us, this trick always works with any number from 11 to 19.

13x 19, I hear you ask?


13 + 9 = 22 Nimm die erste Zahl, plus die letzen Ziffer von der zwieten

22 (*10)= 220  Hang eine null dran (bzw. mal zehn) und jetzt bist bu bereit, denn

+ (3×9=27) Wenn du das Produckt der letzen Ziffern addierst

220+27 = 247

Dan bist du fertig und du werdest schneller wenn du das immer mal trainierst.


(And just in case you want to check the answer, grab your Taschenrechner and check it out.)

Online Taschenrechner/Calculator


And at 1:06 – DorFuchs explains WHY it works.

‘Doch Achtung! – redet das Trick wirklich nur von Zahlen von elf bis neunzehn an?’ -1:14

an/reden – to speak of, to address.

Does the trick really only address numbers from eleven to nineteen? How can you change the song – aka the formula – to make it work for numbers from 21-29, or 31-39 or 71-79?  (That was an open question – comment away, those of you who are mathematically inclined. Meine Antwort befindet sich auf Englisch unten in den Kommentaren.)


‘Denn diesener gerade 10 plus irgendwie Ziffer von eins bis neun -okay.‘ – 1:18

Und wir rechnen ja jetzt – zehn plus a mal zehn plus b.‘ – 1:19

(10+a) * (10+b)

DorFuchs here makes the multiplication into a formula that can be true for all numbers from 11 to 19.

Any of these numbers is 10 (zehn) plus ‘irgendwie Ziffer’ – some digit from one to nine.

These unknown digits are called a und b (in English we pronounce it (Ay and Bee) – In German it’s pronounced (Ah und Beh) )

As ‘mal’ means ‘to times’ or ‘to multiply’, we are multiplying (10+a) x (10+b), so

(10 + (random number A)) mal (10+ (wahllosige Zahl B)).

1:23Das macht, wenn ich schon mal von Multiplizieren nichts übersehe,

(10*10 (+ (10*b) +(10*a) + (a*b)


DorFuchs comes to this conclusion by expanding die Klammern – like this

(10+a) *(10+b) = 10(10+b) + a(10+b)

(10(10+b) = (10*10) + (10*b)   – zehn mal zehn plus zehn mal b


a(10 *b) = 10*a + (a*b)  – zehn mal a plus a mal b  )


(10+a) *(10+b) = 10(10+b) + a(10+b)


(Da die Zehne den ersten drei so man aus Klammern geht,

Konnen wir machen unseren Trick als Formula steht!)




(10+a) *(10 +b) = 10x 10 + 10*a + 10*b + a*b


(10+a+b)*10 + a*b


Nimm die erste Zahl plus die letzte Ziffer von der zweiten

Hang eine Null dran (mal 10) und jetzt bist du bereitet

Wenn du das Produkt der letzten Ziffern addierst

Dann bist du fertig und du werdest schneller wenn du das noch mal probierst!


And… damit du kannst noch mal probieren…. DorFuchs made a whole video of other examples to try on his second channel, DuFrosch –

Danke schӧn DorFuchs, and I’ll definitely check out some more of your mathematical raps sometime!




Imperative forms: Because he’s telling us directly to do something, DorFuchs uses the imperative with verbs such as ‘Nimm’ and ‘Hang’ The imperative of ‘nehmen  is’nimm’ or ‘hangen’ to ‘Hang’.

Mathematical vocab: addieren – to add or – ‘plus’ +: but pronounced ‘P l UU s’ rather than English ‘p l uh ss’

multiplizieren – to multiply, or ‘mal’, to ‘times’, as in 6 times 7 = 42. Notice also ‘mal’ is used for times in other ways, such as ‘noch mal’ -I like to think of it as ‘still (another) time’

Die Zahl-(plural Die Zahlen) – number(s)

(And, just in case, eins(1), zwei(2), drei (3), vier(4), fuenf (5), sechs(6), sieben(7), acht(8), neun(9), zehn (10), elf, zwolf, dreizehn (13), vierzehn (14)… und so weiter…)

Der Ziffer – digit


(What does this have to do with PI Day? Check this out by DorFuchs- Pi ist irrational!

(I still don’t know why.)






Mein Woerterbuch

.word-gender-masc {
color: blue;

.word-gender-fem {

.word-gender-neut {

.nom {col




The Word Book – otherwise known by us English speakers as – the dictionary! Here it is.

   Das deutsche-englische Worterbuch

This is a work in progress. I’m going to mark every:

  • tense
  • word gender ( masculine , feminine , or neutral )
  • case ( nominative, accusative, <span class="dat" dativ and <span class="gen" genitive)
  • <
    , I mark this with colours, but also with HTML classes to be picked up by your screen reader if you're a screen reader user.


    Edit: this isn't working…yet….



Cloud poem competition

The Poetry Library and Cloud Appreciation Society Deadline for contributions – Friday 17 March 2017 Details: The sky is low, the clouds are mean – so said Emily Dickinson. Of course, it’s not always the case…

Source: Cloud poem competition

In collaboration with the Cloud Appreciation Society, book publisher Candlestick is offering budding poets a chance to see their poems about clouds published in one of their books – Ten Poems About Clouds.

I’m thinking of giving it a try…

When Interests Collide: Howards Ehrengedächtnis – Goethe

Plaques created by local children (and a few adults) during an arts workshop inspired by the English Heritage Blue Plaque scheme that took place at the Tottenham Ploughman “CloudFest” 2014.

Blue plaques in a fluffy cotton cloud – made by the children and adults around the old house of Luke Howard, the classifier of the clouds. From the Tottenham Clouds website.

Luke Howard, classifier of the clouds. 28 November 1772 – 21 March 1864

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), the celebrated German author and poet, was interested in clouds himself and wanted to learn more about the young Luke Howard.

Wie geht es, Leute?

So I’ve been searching around in the older forums I used to visit, and one of these is The Cloud Appreciation Society.

Not that long ago I was really interested in clouds, and they remain amongst my other interests to this day. I learnt about the different types of clouds through chatting with other people on the Society, looking at the photo they shared, and reading much more knowledge people than me attempt to identify the different types.

There are different types of cloud, and each type is given a Latin name -There had been other cloud classification systems, yet this one in Latin, the (‘educated’) ‘global language’ of the 16th century, allowed other scientists and meteorologists from around the world to also identify the cloud type.

There are many types of cloud, but the main types are:

Stratus (Latin for layer) – the lowest cloud, forming like layers of fog in a way. (In German- Sichtwolken – ‘layer clouds)

Image result for stratus clouds

Cumulus (Latin for heap) – can be found at medium height, the typical ‘candyfloss’ or ‘sheeplike’ clouds – with many different subtypes. (German: Haufenwolken or Kumulus.)

(Comes from the same Latin root as the English verb ‘accumulate’, to add on- like cumulus clouds growing bigger and more puffy)

Image result for cumulus clouds

Nimbus (Latin for ‘dark cloud’) – a prefix used for a rain cloud, typically the stratonimbus or the Cumulonimbus- the large rain cloud that may also bring thunderstorms.

Image result for cumulus clouds

(Cumulonimubs cloud – Photo by Kevin Knupp University of Illilois Cloud Catalog. Its the highest cloud and stretches its ‘plume’ above the other cumulus.)

Cirrus (Latin for a curling ringlet of hair)- the highest clouds, looking like wisps of hair, made of ice streak that streak across the stratosphere. (German: die Federwolken – ‘feather clouds)

Image result for cirrus clouds

So what does this have to do with German? Well, a good while after that, I discovered that the person who invented this Latin naming system for the clouds was called Luke Howard. He was a chemist living in 16th century East London, however he was fascinated with the clouds. I found that he had moved to Tottenham, the area where I’m from (link goes to another external article I wrote about another famous Tottenham landmark).

Luke Howard actually lived specifically in this house:

Image result for Luke Howard's house 7 bruce grove

(Caption- Luke Howard’s house in Tottenham, London, with a blue plaque on it.)

(Caption: Luke Howard’s blue plague reads: English Heritage. Luke Howard, 1772-1864, Namer Of Clouds, lived and died here.)

Luke Howard, classifier of the clouds. 28 November 1772 – 21 March 1864

The English Heritage organisation awards the Blue Plaque to mark where a famous historical person used to live. Here is a link to their website on the blue plaque. The fact that they recognised Luke Howard was amazing, however the building is old and needs to be regenerated. There is even a petition to call on developers to help save Luke Howard’s house. (link to Tottenham Clouds, another cloud-loving blog that aims to popularise the fact that the Namer of the Clouds came from its hometown.)

So that was a pretty amazing find, but what does this have to do with German? Well, then I found out that Goethe, yes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the famous German author and poet who wrote Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers and Dr Faustus, also wrote a poem for Luke Howard.

It’s called Howards Ehrengedachtnis, roughly translating as Howard’s honoured Memory. It was written in 1821 when Luke Howard was around 49

An article in German about it (

And I just had to bring all my interests full circle and translate Howards Ehrengedachtnis… So, I did.

(This is a work in progress. If you see a mistake or want to help out, leave a comment below.)

(Diese Übersetzung ist in Arbiet. Wenn Ihr einen Fehler merkt, oder Hilfe bieten wollt, posten Sie unten in die Kommentare!)

Credit to, where I found the full poem.

Howards Ehrengedächtnis – by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1821

[551] Wenn Gottheit Camarupa, hoch und hehr,

Durch Lüfte schwankend wandelt leicht und schwer,

Des Schleiers Falten sammelt, sie zerstreut,

Am Wechsel der Gestalten sich erfreut,

Jetzt starr sich hält, dann schwindet wie ein Traum,

Da staunen wir und traun dem Auge kaum;

When the god Campura, up and down,

Changes fluctuating through the air softly and violently

Of the veil’s folds collects, disperses them

In the changes of forms delights

Now rigid it holds, then disappears like a dream

Then we marvel and hardly believe our eyes.

Nun regt sich kühn des eignen Bildens Kraft,

Die Unbestimmtes zu Bestimmtem schafft;

Da droht ein Leu, dort wogt ein Elefant,

Kameles Hals, zum Drachen umgewandt,

Ein Heer zieht an, doch triumphiert es nicht,

Da es die Macht am steilen Felsen bricht;

Der treuste Wolkenbote selbst zerstiebt,

Eh er die Fern erreicht, wohin man liebt.

Now it boldly moves the picture’s own power

The uncertain established into certain

There threatens a lion, there weighed an elephant.

A camel’s neck transforms into a dragon,

An army is drawn, but not triumphantly

Because the power breaks between steep cliffs

The most trusted cloud message is itself scattered.

Until it reaches the faraway land, where we live.

Er aber, Howard, gibt mit reinem Sinn

Uns neuer Lehre herrlichsten Gewinn.

Was sich nicht halten, nicht erreichen läßt,

Er faßt es an, er hält zuerst es fest;

Bestimmt das Unbestimmte, schränkt es ein,

Benennt es treffend! – Sei die Ehre dein! –

Wie Streife steigt, sich ballt, zerflattert, fällt,

Erinnre dankbar deiner sich die Welt.

He, however, Howard, gives us with clear sense

New lessons of the most wonderful yield.

What doesn’t keep itself , can’t be achieved.

He tackles it, he first grasps the thought.

Ascertains the uncertain, narrows it down,

Names it aptly – Be the honour yours!

Like the patrol climbs, balls up, flattens, fallt,

I remember you thankfully the world


Wenn von dem stillen Wasserspiegelplan

Ein Nebel hebt den flachen Teppich an,

Der Mond, dem Wallen des Erscheins vereint,

Als ein Gespenst Gespenster bildend scheint,

Dann sind wir alle, das gestehn wir nur,

Erquickt’, erfreute Kinder, o Natur!

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When from the still water mirror plan,

A fog wisp lifts from the surface of the pond.

The moon combines with the undulations of the appearance?

Like a phantom seemingly ghostly forming.

Then are we all, we all only admit,

Refreshed, delighted children – O, Nature!

Dann hebt sich’s wohl am Berge, sammelnd breit

An Streife Streifen, so umdüstert’s weit

Die Mittelhöhe, beidem gleich geneigt,

Ob’s fallend wässert oder luftig steigt.

Then lifts itself up to the mountains, accumulating wide,

Stripes are on patrol, so it () far

The middle heights, however that way inclined,

Whether it falls as water or to the air will rise.


Und wenn darauf zu höhrer Atmosphäre

Der tüchtige Gehalt berufen wäre,

Steht Wolke hoch, zum herrlichsten geballt,

Verkündet, festgebildet, Machtgewalt

Und, was ihr fürchtet und auch wohl erlebt,

Wie’s oben drohet, so es unten bebt.

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And when to  the higher atmosphere

The capable content is called

The clouds stand high, wonderfully balled,

Announced, established, forceful might.

And, what you fear and also experience,

As it threatens over, so under it quakes.


Doch immer höher steigt der edle Drang!

Erlösung ist ein himmlisch leichter Zwang.

Ein Aufgehäuftes, flockig löst sich’s auf,

Wie Schäflein tripplend, leicht gekämmt zu Hauf.

So fließt zuletzt, was unten leicht entstand,

Dem Vater oben still in Schoß und Hand.

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But ever higher climbs the noble urge.

Redemption is a celestial lighter force.

A lumpy accumulation, itself flakily resolves

Like scurrying lambs, combed lightly to a heap.

So it flows finally, what below easily occurs.

To the Father still above in shot and hand.

[552] Nimbus

Nun laßt auch niederwärts, durch Erdgewalt

Herabgezogen, was sich hoch geballt,

In Donnerwettern wütend sich ergehn,

Heerscharen gleich entrollen und verwehn! –

Der Erde tätig-leidendes Geschick!

Doch mit dem Bilde hebet euren Blick:

Die Rede geht herab, denn sie beschreibt,

Der Geist will aufwärts, wo er ewig bleibt.

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Now let also downwards, through the earth’s force.

Be pulled down, what was on high.

In thunderstorms, angrily they fare,

Legions unroll themselves and blow away!

The Earth-active and Earth-suffering skill

But with the pictures you all lift your gaze.

There is talk of this, because it is described,

The spirit wants to go upwards, where he forever stays.

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