Das ist Frau Ehlers. Frau Ehlers steht vor dem Herd. (1)

page 10-11

When I was teaching at a school in Tipton, I found a copy of the textbook “Sprich Mal Deutsch!” and had a flick through. The school had bought a set of these textbooks in 1981; this was the second edition, the first edition having come out in 1967. The methodology is very old-fashioned, which was surprising enough (I remember having used Longmans Audio-Visual French at school back in the seventies, which was space-age stuff by comparison), but what was more shocking and/or funny was the blatant stereotyping.

page 16page 17

The book’s author, William Rowlinson, was a senior lecturer in Education at the University of Sheffield. He got out of the textbook game and into the dictionary game, which isn’t surprising, given the Victorian style of this book.

page 22-23

Rowlinson could almost be Walter Abish. (How German Is It came out in 1980.) We shall end our first glimpse into the world of the Ehlers with a little story:

page 24
page 25


3 thoughts on “Das ist Frau Ehlers. Frau Ehlers steht vor dem Herd. (1)

  1. Hilarious. This reminds me of something I once read about Eugène Ionesco. He is supposed to have found the inspiration for writing his absurdist plays by coming across similar language instruction manuals. Somebody should turn the idea on its head, and make *intentionally* absurd Assimil books…

  2. We had that book at school, too, until it was swapped for more GCSE friendly stuff in about 1987. i always will remember the ‘Spiegelei’ which ‘fallt zu Boden’ 🙂

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