“With Pleasant Swab in the Anterior Nasal Region”; or, Traveling in Europe During Omicron

In the Before Times, I often travelled internationally. But I have not left the United States in over two years. Until last week. For the December holidays, my sister invited me to visit her, my brother-in-law, and niece in Switzerland – where they live. Since I no longer take international travel for granted, I decided to

Mann, wer hätte das gedacht, dass es einmal soweit kommt #PlagueSongs, no. 21

The balloons are not red, and there is no toy shop. The narrator doesn’t dream of red balloons either. But, like its English-language counterpart (“99 Red Balloons”) Nena’s “99 Luftballons” (1983) is about an accidental, apocalyptic war triggered by 99 balloons. Luft means air, and ballon means balloon. So, literally, a luftballon is an air

Ruth Krauss in German

How do you translate children’s colloquial speech – with its flexible syntax, unusual diction – into another language?  In celebration of Ruth Krauss’ 119th birthday (or what she would have called her 109th birthday), I’ll sketch two possible answers to that question by looking at A Hole Is to Dig in the language her grandmother spoke: German!

Fight Stupidity; Keep Reading: A Dispatch from the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (on KSU English blog)

Over at Kansas State University’s English Department blog, I have a post on my three months at the Internationale Jugendbibliothek in Munich.  I’ll excerpt a little bit here (the first paragraph, and the conclusion) but go over there to read the whole thing (and to see more photos). Since the first of September I have