German

Looking through more than one window

There is a Chinese proverb about learning languages which goes: “To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world”. For a few years now I have been learning German. Although I stopped formal lessons some time ago, I have a couple of

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Similar but Different

The early years of the 20th century seem to have promoted conflict in a number of countries, especially in Europe. As I’m typing this, I am travelling on a train from Belfast to Dublin, having spent a couple of interesting days in what is still a walled city. My first

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A Man Does What He Must

“A man does what he must,” begins a quote by Winston Churchill. Remembering my father’s stories, those six words seem to sum up his life. He lived much of his younger days hemmed in by rules and regulations, mostly unwritten, but always inflexible. He was brought up by his father

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The Traps of Translation

When I closed the door for the last time to my father’s house, I took with me boxes of documents, certificates, letters and bits of paper with scribbles on them. Most of these were either in German or Russian. I can order a coffee in German. I can count to

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