STUPIDLY I went and downloaded the most up-to-date PDF Broschüre for the course I have set my heart on.
I hate setting my heart on anything, because I might not get it. But I've set my heart on this. The desire to do it is eating me up inside. In fact I feel like I'm festooned with army ants and being eaten alive. I feel like a hydrogen bomb inside me is about to detonate at any moment.
This is what they say about the languages on offer, re the application process:
Für das Bachelorstudium besteht in den Sprachen Englisch, Französisch, Spanisch eine Zulassungsbeschränkung (Numerus clausus). Der NC-Wert ergibt sich für jedes Semester neu aufgrund der freien Studienplätze, der Abiturnoten, der Wartezeiten und der Anzahl der BewerberInnen. Eine Vorhersage über die für das jeweilige Zulassungsverfahren geltenden Grenzwerte kann daher nicht getroffen werden.
Als Zugangsvoraussetzungen für das Studium am FTSK sind neben der allgemeinen Hochschulreife oder einem äquivalenten ausländischen Abschluss fundierte Kenntnisse in Deutsch als Fremdsprache, Englisch, Französisch und Spanisch und Grundkenntnisse in Chinesisch erforderlich, falls diese Sprachen als Fächer gewählt werden.
Genaue Informationen zu den Eingangsvoraussetzungen für alle Sprachen entnehmen Sie bitte den Merkblättern der einzelnen Sprachen, die Sie auf der Seite http://www.fb06.uni-mainz.de/261.php finden.
Well I have to read it in German ~ so can you!!
To summarize, English, French and Spanish ~being so highly popular, are subject to entry restrictions in numbers. Being as English is my mother tongue and the only language over which I feel I have some genuine mastery, I don't have much choice in the matter. But I can avoid French by not applying for it, and doing Russian instead, as I've already decided. Some basic knowledge of Chinese is required. So I'm determined to trounce the other students by achieving A Level standard (or higher) before I even start.
As you cannot fail to have noticed, I have a genuine fascination for Chinese characters. I already know about 2-300. If I could multiply this by a factor of ten, I'd have a pretty good basic reading knowledge in Chinese.
I couldn't find any entry restrictions or requirements for Russian, but would feel compelled to reach at least GCSE (lower school certificate) level, simply to underline my interest (and distinguish myself from the vulgar hoardes I'll be up against in the application process). The greatest novelists of all time wrote in Russian ~ Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Turgenyev, Pasternak... imagine how amazing it would be to read those in the original?!
My biggest worry of all doesn't concern waiting lists because I'm English or beating others at Chinese: it's the German language test to which I'll be subjected. I tried on before on the Goethe Institut website (admittedly when my German was clagged up with 18-years of unpractised rust) and got a dreadful score.
As I shall point out, not having a teacher here, I have focused my energies on acquiring a passive reading vocabulary. And it's working amazingly. The novel I'm reading, Seegrund, which means Lake-Bed is a thriller about a dead body found... you guessed it. In a pool of blood in the snow on the banks of a frozen lake. I was astonished to comprehend the words for river-bank (das Ufer) and corpse (die Leiche) ~ both of which I've picked up and remembered in the past couple of months. So you see reading books and keeping my amateurish German blog has got me somewhere after all. There are many expressions for which I know two or three words in German, just as I do in English. I get a real sense of achievement from this. Especially as I DROPPED OUT of a languages degree in the early 90s in disgrace and despair, convinced I would never achieve any degree of mastery over German, let alone any other tongue. Somehow, amazingly, the magic has happened.
I think my turning point came one night as I listened to BBC World Service radio. I realized that across the world there are millions of people who have never set foot on Anglophone soil, who have learned to speak our language fluently by following radio broadcasts and slogging their way through English literature, dictionary in hand, referring and re-referring constantly to every word they're not entirely sure about. So I did this and look! I'm seriously considering applying to uni in Deutschland. How amazing is that. Six months ago I wouldn't even have been able to read the prospectus...
Well enough of my babbles.
It's 5:34. The clocks went back last night, meaning darkness now falls not long after 4pm. It's dead romantic ~ like a Siberian goods train yard full of onion-picking babushkas, with immigrant workers hiding in the cattle trucks smoking Cyrillic cigarettes and babbling away in Chinese. (I must fit the two new languages into this silly fantasy.) German, Russian and Chinese are also, of course languages of the former Communist Block. Life behind the Iron
Curtain has long held an enduring fascination for me. That was a big reason why I so loved German doing at school. When I started the A-level course Germany was separated by 200 yards of watch-towers, searchlights and tripwired minefields. By the time I actually sat the exams the wall had come tumbling down and a new world order was upon us.
What the future world order shall bring, I shudder to think. It's capitalism capitalism capitalism everywhere. I'm a capitalist, but I see excesses everywhere. And greed is not always good, despite what Gordon Gecko would have us believe.
Anyway I must ping. I wonder if anyone actually read this post to the end? If so, I commend you with a 金奖章 jīn jiǎngzhāng ~ a gold medal!
PS Here's an entertainment for you: the oldest recording JRR Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, et al... he appears in this early English Linguaphone course in units 13 "the wireless" and 20 "at the tobacconist's"! What a blast from the past. (He was well into his "pipe-weed" as anyone who's seen the films will know...)
Link: Sprache, Kultur und Translation - Chinesisch
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