29 September 2007

Österreich ist schön = Austria is beautiful.

"Österreich ist schön"
By Franzobel

Österreich? Ist das schön. Und hundertmal und überhaupt. Österreich ist schön, und schon schön ist Österreich. Ich bin hundertmal verliebt in Österreich. Und Österreich ist sehr schön, das lernen wir, hundertmal, dass Österreich richtig schön ist, und das ist das Schöne an Österreich, dass hundertmal schon die österreichischen Schulkinder lernen, wie schön und überall dieses Österreich nun ist, damit sie es nur ja nie mehr vergessen. Ist das schön. Und überhaupt. Die Sonne. Und damit sie es nur ja nie mehr vergessen, wie schön, schön Österreich ist, müssen schon die österreichischen Schulkinder hundertmal, hundertmal schreiben, Österreich ist schön. Ist das schön. So schön ist ¨Österreich, dass schon die Schulkinder es aufschreiben müssen. Müssen schreiben: Österreich fängt schön an, und schön hört Österreich auf. Ja. So ist das mit Österreich. Durch und durch schön. Hundertmal.

Austria! Is that beautiful. And a hundred times over, absolutely. Austria is beautiful and beautiful is Austria. I have fallen in love with Austria a hundred times over. And Austria is very beautiful, we learn that a hundred times, that Austria is truly beautiful, and that is the beauty of Austria, that the Austrian school children learn a hundred times how beautiful this Austria is, so that they never again forget it. Is that beautiful. And completely. The sun. And so that they never again forget how beautiful, beautiful Austria is, the Austrian school children must write a hundred times, a hundred times over, Austria is beautiful. Is that beautiful. Austria is so beautiful that even the school children must write it down. Must write: Austria begins beautifully and Austria comes beautifully to an end. Yes. So is it with Austria. Beautiful through and through. A hundred times.

This text was read in combination with two other critical texts about Austria at the closing ceremony of our teaching assistant orientation this week. The other two texts dealt with stereotypes of Austrian food and clothing, as well as with the mish-mash language affectionately called “Deut-lish” (part German, part English) that is familiar to many non-Natives in both German- and English-speaking countries.

Everyone knows—even the Austrian school children—that Austria is beautiful. From the Alps to the Neusiedler Lake to the hills of the Sound of Music, Austria offers enough beauty to please every palate. Austria truly lives off of its tourist industry. Yet it is interesting to hear the Natives’ perceptions of the tourist industry. Austrians are proud of their culture. The Sound of Music is not their culture. Austrians are proud of Mozart, of Schnitzel, of wine, of skiing, even of universities (and academic titles, of course). They are not necessarily proud of their past, especially leading up to and through WWII, but the tourist industry romanticizes all of that. Beautiful is Austria and beautiful it will remain.

Word of the Day: schön = beautiful


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