Saturday, September 10, 2011

Binders and Other German Updates

Did you know that in Germany, binders (for holding papers) only have two rings, not three? That's a Geometry postulate in action! How many points does it take to secure the hinge of a piece of paper?

(There is at least one advantage to doing the two-hole punch; your hole-puncher is smaller, and has a retractable frame that comes out to meet the full length of the paper.)

In other news, another interesting tidbit about Germany: If your baby is half German or more, you can only name them certain "acceptable German names" from a list. Yikes.

Also, liver is very popular here; something like a traditional fare. You have to be careful, because German words are long and if a word ends in leber it means it's some type of chunky liver dish.

I've started discussing current events weekly with my home room, just to gauge how they feel about certain things (and maybe in the long run, I can gently influence their opinions on some issues). We started yesterday with talking about how well over 500 cars have been set on fire in the city of Berlin this year, by arsonists, and why they think this is happening. Interesting stuff, because I don't think that adults have the answers to this question...


  1. In Jordan, we have 2 and 4 ring binders. the school store only sells 4 ring binders but there are only 2 ring punchers. hence why i don't use binders.

  2. heehee. I don't use binders either, but that's because I'm disorganized with papers. I do punch holes for kids on all handouts before I give it to them; here the copy machines only have 2-hole options. :)

  3. The part about first names is not quite correct. There are essentially two rules (not even laws) which are not absolute but vague with interpretations developing over the years.

    The first is that a first name must make the gender identifiable. The rule is not absolute as in "must be a male German name". For example, the German form for Andrew is Andreas and it has a female German counterpart, Andrea. However, in Italian, Andrea is the male version; so if there's is a reasonable connection to Italy (say, you have a family relation), you can name your son Andrea (I'm guessing that's what you alluded to with "half German", but the relationship can be significantly weaker, even beyond family relations).

    The other main rule is: the name should never ridicule the child or hurt it in other ways in its development. That's why you cannot name a child "Pumuckl"(look it up :)) or "Idiot" or "Ladies and Gentlemen". This is something that changes frequently with law suits establishing new rights and wrongs. For example, I think you still can't use "Cain" but until recently you couldn't use "Jesus" either. Again, there's no absolute (e.g., with Latin American heritage, Jesus would be ok).

    The biggest problem is that the regulations are ancient (essentially from the 19th century) and the interpretation rests with the clerks at city hall. If you're unlucky and you get an old fashioned clerk, you should better be aware of the legal situation...

    PS: As a German in the US, I definitely miss German binders -- much more efficient...

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