Deutsch lernen durch Straßenbahnen ~ Friday, May 16, 2008
Having studied German for a bit, and having wrestled with the classics in College (ok with Goethe, but always found Thomas Mann a bit daunting!), but reverted pretty much to the level I achieved in high school, I'm always on the lookout for material to practice with that's simple enough that I can understand it, but interesting enough that I'll actually want to read it. (And that's a sentence which would be very interesting to translate into German).
A Zürich tram driver named Thomas Schenk has an online column that fits the bill for me pretty well. He also has a website and has published some of his columns in a book, Im Tram, which I think I'll eventually try to get a copy of (shipping books from Europe seems to be a lot more expensive than shipping N scale models from Japan!).
A recent column described the travails of mothers getting strollers onto (traditional, pre-low-floor) trams, and was forwarded to me by a friend who has frequently dealt with this predicament!
If you don't know German (or if you do, but you want to cheat), you can read it via Google Translation. It seems to work pretty well (and I say this as someone who works in the field of speech engineering, at a company that considers Google our cross-town rival), but still poorly enough to be somewhat amusing.