Am Anfang…

This is an exciting moment: the first post on a new blog. I’ve been looking for a way to keep engaged with German and Germany even though I’m not using it in my everyday work. This will hopefully eventually include posts about books, museum exhibitions, events, and meetups, but it will also be a glimpse into how my background in German informs my everyday life.

One of my favorite parts of teaching German (or any foreign language) is letting students in on little secrets, tricks, or bits of German they didn’t know they see every day. Not only can this approach help students feel less intimidated, but I think stories are also easier to remember and as a teacher I know that the more relevant information is to a student’s everyday life, the more motivated they’ll feel to learn it.

This little bit of German in NYC is perfect for a first post, because it has to do with the phrase Am Anfang, or, “In the beginning.” Just uptown of Columbus Circle, on the NW corner of Broadway and 61st Street, is the Museum of Biblical Art. The building is modern with a large glass facade. On the glass, the opening words of the Bible are etched in dozens of languages. Of course, German is among them.

Though it’s not a museum I’m likely to visit, I appreciate the stückchen of German I see many mornings as I’m beginning my day. (Besides, anfangen is a great, tricky verb – separable! compound! irregular!)


der Anfang – the beginning, the start

an|fangen – to begin (Achtung! Separable verb! “Ich fange an” not Ich anfange“!)

am = an + dem (dative masculine)

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