Business correspondence

A short phrasebook for secretarial business correspondence has been published in my name. I was somewhat surprised when it was brought to my attention. I’m pretty sure it extracts the key phrases from a large collection of letters I wrote about 12 years ago, edited down by the publisher a few years back to bring out the ‘essence’ of each letter. I’m grateful for the additional publication, but frankly, my input here was limited.

The slim phrasebook is a “Prämie”, or bonus, offered online to attract customers, with a “Schutzgebühr”, or nominal or token fee,  listed on the cover. It’s also on offer on online marketplaces for €14,95, but would anyone really pay that much in this day and age?

I do find looking up complete phrases to be very helpful. I needed some formal French correspondence phrases yesterday to write to a gallery, and found the right phrases online. Sometimes it’s a special grammar form you need, and more involved phrases such as the ones in the 16-page booklet are more liable to include such extras.  So here’s wishing you a bit of serendipity – incidental, fortunate, unexpected discoveries – as you go through business correspondence phrases!

Cornelsen Basis for Business C1

How exciting – the book I worked on for a year, with Carole Eilertson writing the practice sections, has just been published. I’ve been lucky to work with inspiring people and a great team, with Janan Barksdale editing, and now the book is public. There will be a teaching guide by Andreas Grundtvig and a workbBasisCook by Mindy Krull coming out soon. Here’s hoping learners find it useful. I wish everyone who uses this book very productive and enjoyable learning sessions! Do let me know what works well for you, and what doesn’t.

Onkel-Braesig-Strasse

Scratch off the wallpaper in the front room upstairs, and out comes Taut’s blue. Fantastic. I’d love to just leave it as is, but I’m worried it will be too busy. Many of the walls in this room and in others are all patched up from new wiring. So I’ll make a window of sorts wherever the original color shows through, and then match the color with silicate paints and try to reconstruct the look, for this room for sure and perhaps for some of the others. This blue room is going to be my and Helmut’s home office. There’s a great view of the buildings across the street from here, the walls of which show up in the oxblood red and ocher yellow Taut used. It has the feeling of true primary colors. One of the downstairs rooms was originally painted a dark green. He was clearly not one to be cautious about wallpaint.

Our house

onkelbraesigHelmut and I have decided to move to the Hufeisensiedlung / Horseshoe Estate in Berlin, a social housing estate designed in 1925-33 by architect Bruno Taut, municipal planning head Martin Wagner, garden architect Leberecht Migge and Neukölln gardens director Ottokar Wagler. It is one of the earliest such estates in Germany, a physical metaphor of the utopian ideals that its planners had for communal living in Weimar Germany. The estate was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2008 as one of six Berlin Modernism Housing Estates, and since 2010 has been listed as a garden monument.

We’ll be renovating for a while before we move in, and have to budget and plan and get permissions and select a builder and coordinate schedules. Exciting. Continue reading Our house

Thank you

Thank you for help with Cornelsen Basis for Business C1:

  • Helmut Burger for being my first sounding board
  • Janan Barksdale for being so patient and thorough and making something that seemed impossible work
  • Carole Eilertson and the advisors Mindy Ehrhart Krull, Andreas Grundtvig, Gabi Hirthe, Marion Karg, Karen Richardson and Miriam Zeh-Glöckler for being constructive, though faced with an emergent book
  • Anna Batrla and the Cornelsen team for doing it
  • Claire Hart for presenting the book at ETAS in September.
  • The secret role models for Azra, Ben, Jörg, Carla, Doris and the all the other characters
  • A Nivea PR brochure provided the team for 1A+B
  • Thank you, Jens Kröger and Endress + Hauser for 1C
  • Amazon Marketplace provided the model for 2A
  • Thank you, Tobias (+ Beate) Ziegler for input on 2B
  • Jens (and Rose) Galdiks, thanks for 2C
  • Thanks Christian Koch, for introducing me to Scrum and explaining how proposals work
  • Thanks, Dad, for all of the proposals you wrote when I was little. 3A + B
  • Thank you, Gabriele Vollmar, for 3C
  • Thanks, Khushi Pasquale, for telling me about Eisenhüttenstadt for 4A, and for the story about the deer
  • Thanks, Thomas, for sharing difficult emails for 4B
  • Thanks, Gill Woodman and Andreas Grundtvig, for 4C
  • RWE and Fuhrländer, I mined your online publications for 5A
  • Siemens Financial Services is the model for the services pitched in 5B
  • Jan Jaehrling, Ingrid Pradel, Andrea Schwarz, Alexandra Goller and of course Simon Moroney of Morphosys, thank you for sharing for 5C
  • Thank you to the advisors for 6A, which seemed to get everyone on board.
  • Thanks, Helmut Burger, for help with 6B
  • Thank you, Franz-Josef Nuss, for 6C
  • Udo + Claudia Böhm-Awiszus, thank you for 7A
  • Thanks to Mindy Ehrhardt, Ash (Lucy Mellersh’s husband, why do we do this last name business, anyway?) + Jürgen Strauss for very helpful input for 7B
  • Thanks, Carsten Baumgarth re marketing and kudos to Sara Rosso for World Nutella Day, 7C
  • Respect to Raveena Aulakh and the other investigative reporters in the wake of the Bangladesh factory fire. Compliance hotlines at BASF + CISCO, and a press conference by NZ Fontera also inspired 8A
  • Patagonia is the true Alpia in 8B
  • Thanks, Christian Hodgson, for inspiration for 8B+C
  • Thank you, Eamonn Fitzgerald, formerly Spotlight Online, for letting me practice three paragraph essays

The ones that got away:

  • Zoe Carruthers for inspiration re sales – even if that didn’t make the book
  • Dietmar Müller of Adflow – I’m sorry we didn’t feature your company
  • Niclas Gondorf and Herr Finke of Dyson – very sorry we couldn’t feature your company
  • Uli Botzenhardt, Alexander Nast, Claudia Engelhardt, Dung Huong, Bill Chaney … : Many thanks for your support, contacts and advice

Tomi Ungerer

Tomi Ungerer has just been honored with a long-overdue homage film. I was once very close to seeing him live at an opening of his drawings in Munich, but there was a drunk down in the subway in serious danger of falling off the platform and killing himself who needed saving, so in the end I didn’t get to the venue in time. It seems fitting to have missed Ungerer due to such a physically and mentally challenging experience, somehow. Ungerer is so real, knows the human condition, is unblinking and always has an undertow that is both funny and violent. He seems to have been forgiven for the erotic drawings that from 1970 made him a persona non grata. It was simply unthinkable at the time that a children’s author could also have a dirty mind. I don’t like those pictures myself, but I can’t deny his unbelievable creative genius. Now many of his books with his immediately recognizable drawings, including his fantastic Vietnam protest posters, are being republished. Here is a preview of the film. I’m adding two animations of one of the books I remember well, The Three Robbers, from 1972 and from 2007. My favorite is “Otto”.

Tomi Ungerer is good in any language.


Tomi Ungerer – Les trois brigands The Three… by baraqueafritz

Presenting the speakers at ELTABB

I’ve been volunteering as Events Coordinator for ELTABB e.V., the English Language Teachers’ Association of Berlin-Brandenburg, for the better part of two years now. We have had some wonderful events recently (Andreas Grundtvig, Marjorie Rosenberg). Here’s the line-up of highly respected speakers who will be honoring us with their presence in the coming year: Ian Badger, Nick Bilbrough, Lindsay Clandfield, Rebecca L. Oxford and Penny Ur.

ELTABB2014

In addition, the EAP Day 2014 is being hosted by the University of Potsdam on 10 May – a collaborative effort between reps of four different local universities and ELTABB. The speakers will be determined in November.