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The End of the Tale?


– Not quite. There are plenty more generations still to come.

Whether those of us who peruse this booklet happen to be Linguists (German and English) who sometimes teach, or Teachers with skills in English and German, we will still face the challenge of Völkerverständigung for as long as German-speakers and English-speakers retain separate political identities and ambitions. Where does ‘Lebensraum’ begin and end?

Childhood is, of course, the time that mainly shapes our ‘Leben’ – our hopes, fears, prejudices, convictions and ambitions – but, as this collection makes clear, working ‘abroad’ for a year or so during our 20s also changes us profoundly, for good. Our ‘Leben’ is more than the endurance of Shakespeare’s ‘7 Ages’. Our ‘Raum’ is not just the ‘moral, social and cultural’ spheres, but also the ‘spiritual’. (Will the German Choir keep singing?)

Perhaps we may live by Plato’s wonderful though oddly fuzzy trio of virtues – Truth, Beauty, Goodness? Or perhaps under Revolution’s splendid banner: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité? Or maybe by Royalty’s discreetly simple: “Ich dien”? Or perhaps by St Paul’s most wonderful trio: Faith, Hope, Love? – which, in his case, is the outcome of those disturbing, disruptive, revolutionary and ultimately transfiguring claims of Jesus as Christ. — Irrespective of how our individual ambitions may be shaping our own particular Lebensraum, it is worth acting on Wisdom’s advice down the ages:

Respice finem, et age prudenter!

Gedenk dein lestiu dinc, so wirstu ewiclich nit sünden.

Be joyful. Keep the Faith. And make sure you do
the little things well.