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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Erlangen 91052 (1)—Billiger!

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square Series "Erlangen 91052" 
Click here for the "Erlangen 91052" Resource Center—All Posts Available 
One year ago on Round and Square (2013 02-02)—Asian Miscellany—Ancestral Reverence
Two years ago on Round and Square (2012 02-02)—The Emperor's Teacher: Talking Points (c)
[a] Selection RF

I have spent a great deal of time the last two weeks in my local supermarket. 

In some ways, I feel as though I have not done much else (other than to arrange my books and supplies in my new office and—of course—hang my almanac outside the door). As you can learn in the introduction to this series, I have had a whirlwind set of travels since August 2013, and they have taken me to southern China, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Beloit, Wisconsin, northern China, and, at last, to south-central Germany. 
[b] One opinion RF

I am now comfortably settled into my new home in Erlangen Germany, and this series will explore some of the cultural ins-and-outs of life in "Western culture." At the very least, I hope that these posts will destroy that facile idea completely. I'm in Germany, and what I hear about these days is the vast differences between people from Munich and those from Nuremberg. We haven't even traveled the distance from Rolla, Missouri to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and we have subtleties when it comes to the discussion of "culture." What a concept...

Oh, there are differences between Rolla and Eau Claire? Missouri and Wisconsin...both "Midwest?" Munich and Nuremberg—south and south-central?

Hmmm...I guess we'll consider that here.

In any case, I have mostly been stocking up and getting both my office and my apartment into pretty solid shape. I had to buy household supplies, stocks of spices and oils, vinegars, lean meats, cheeses (of course...I teach in Wisconsin), and both coffee and tea. I buy all of these at "Kaufland," which is just a three block walk from my convenient apartment building at Carl Thiersch Straße, Erlangen, Bayern, Deutschland 91052. 

The name "Kaufland" should really be a post of its own (and may well soon be one), but I will just translate it (sort of) for now as "Buy-land." That doesn't really do justice, but, then that is the whole point of this series. We are going to tease out a few things that might otherwise be buried—slowly, peeling the aubergine (I hate cliché, even at the risk of doing violence to the image) several layers down, Gunter

That is all analysis and interpretation ever can do. 

There is no core of cross-cultural "truth." 

If you have not done so not need to get over this.

Call me a Merlot-sipping, beret-wearing, Baudelaire-reading post-modernist, but I think that I have (yet) a leg upon which to stand. Smug objectivists don't, and never will. 

Yeah, I know that there are similarities and patterns and all sorts of ways that we can create a big (pseudo-) objectivist picture. I am not even against that (I love you, Jared...sort of). I just want to push back a little, and to say that "cheaper" in Fargo, North Dakota is not exactly the same as billiger in Erlangen, Germany. Sure, I embrace the comparative possibilities (why would I post the big list at the end if I didn't?)...but I want the nuance, too.

So let's use this series to tease out the peculiarities.

And what could be more buried in layers of meaning than every supermarket's shout-out that its things are less expensive? Yes, it is ubiquitous across the world. In Kaufland, rows and rows of products have discount labels that use this prominent German word with the basic translational meaning of "it's gonna cost ya less!" 
[c] Cheese-per RF

This is the way it looks on the shelves:

                25% Billiger!
              Discount! Billiger! 

This is good stuff, and it is often quite accurate. I got a jar of mustard for the equivalent of $0.50, and a very passable liter of French wine for about $2.10. If you doubt me, Beloit College colleagues, just know that it would be better than anything served at a chairs meeting...just saying. When I return in the fall, I might bring a case for our enjoyment at our next Academic Senate meeting. Twelve one-liter bottles will cost me about US $25.00.

My treat.

Now that is what I call—, Billiger!

 ***  ***
Translations adjective 
(= preisgünstig) cheap Preis low 
(= minderwertig) cheap 
⇒ billig abzugeben going cheap   ⇒ billiges Geld (informal(= leicht verdient) easy money   ⇒ etw für billiges Gel
kaufen to buy sth cheap   ⇒ billig davonkommen (informal) to get off lightly (pejorative) cheap 
Translations transitive verb 
to approve   ⇒ etw stillschweigend billigen to condone sth 

'Billig' in Other Languages 
Arabic: رَخِيص
Chinese: 便宜的
Czech: levný
Danish: billig
Dutch: goedkoop
French: bon marché 
German: billig 
Greek: φτηνός
Italian: conveniente 
Japanese: 安い
Korean: 싼
Norwegian: billig
Russian: дешевый
Swedish: billig 

Example Sentences Including 'billig' 
Ansonsten fällt der Speckgürtel Bremens via Bus ein, billig mit Bremer Kärtchen/ VBN-Tageskarte (mit bis zu zwei Erwachsenen und vier Kindern). Die Tageszeitung (1998)

So billig - das kann ja nichts sein ", beschreibt Michael Beumelburg, EDV-Leiter bei RTL München, seine anfängliche Skepsis. Der Spiegel

Solange sie nach der Devise essen Hauptsache viel, Hauptsache billig , wird ihnen niemand etwas Besseres anbieten. Siebeck, Wolfram Die Rosine im Kuchen

Unter dem Motto " Berlin - laut, billig , international " gibt es vom 2. bis zum 7. Juni Parties, Lesungen und Fernsehen " gegen Privatisierung, Sicherheitswahn und Ausgrenzung ". Die Tageszeitung (1998)

Wer will schon nach Helgoland fahren, um sich dort neppen zu lassen, ohne wenigstens billig qualmen zu können? Die Tageszeitung (1995)  

*From: Collins German-English Dictionary—available online.

[d] Diversity RF
Thursday, February 6
Rauchen kann tödlich sein
Smoking can be deadly.

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