LKE 1  95/96  13,1  1. Klausur  25/10/96                            Textaufgabe

Nessie and the Wolperdinger1

Scotland, to many Englishmen, is a bleak, somewhat uncivilized part of Britain, maybe a bit quaint and certainly good for the balance of payments because of the inexplicable attraction it exerts on dollar-laden Yanks, camera-toting Japs or beer-bellied Krauts, but at bottom a country best given a wide berth, inspite of its “rugged mountains towering grim and menacing above steep glens, its tree-clad gorges and picturesque villages, filled with the soft scent of peat smoke”. Hardly surprising then that in England Dr. Samuel Johnson’s2 dictum that “the only good thing in Scotland is the road to England” is well remembered.


To this day it is a widely held belief in England that strange tribes dwell in the Highlands, people who can easily be spotted by their utterly ludicrous costumes and customs. As for the former, mention must be made of the kilt – a sort of pleated skirt, woven from thick, coarse wool – as the most unbecoming piece of garb ever stitched together for men! And what about the notorious variety of Scottish “music”, a cultural phenomenon hard to overlook, or rather to “over-hear”? Well, the so-called bagpipes make the blood of many an Englishman curdle, melodious as they may sound to the perpetrator of these noises. The average Englishman – “Sassenach” to the Scots – simply winces at these piercingly braying sounds and resorts to plugging his eardrums in mere self-defence. And, switching from melody to melodrama, what about the Scotsman’s excessive inclination to drain several glasses of whisky at one gulp? Whisky, so etymologists tell us, means “water of life”. Very telling indeed! Whenever the ferocious (or should it be “vociferous”?) supporters of one of the two leading Glasgow football clubs accompany their teams on a away match, especially abroad, they can easily be picked out from the rest of the crowd – and this is where the “melodrama” comes in – by being so inebriated that they are hardly able to crawl back to their chartered planes. The unsavoury scenes on board one is reluctant to imagine, particularly as liquor is sold duty-free! Since we are on sports, one should also mention the Highland Games, which are an exhibition of the weirdest assortment of competitions the world has ever witnessed. Not only are there pipe-bands trying to “out-pipe” each other, there is also a contest called “tossing the caber”, which the Scots claim involves strength and skill, while to the “Sassenach”, who might well be forgiven a certain feeling of unease in view of the blatant disregard for all safety precautions, it would seem as if some athletic clown was galumphing about, trying to balance a telegraph pole. But back to wining and dining, because so far we have only dealt with the “wining” aspect. In other words, what about Scottish food? Well, how do you feel about haggis, Scotland’s  culinary contribution towards tickling the gourmet’s palate? You have no idea what this Scottish delicacy might be. It is the traditional Scottish dish, a pudding made of the heart, liver or other intestines of a sheep or calf, minced with suet3 and oatmeal, seasoned and boiled in the stomach of said sheep or calf. Haggis is also interesting from a linguistic point of view: this word, just like “caber” above, shows that the Scots may speak some sort of language, but it is certainly not English.


But half a tick! Is there not another, equally obstinate and outlandish tribe that is characterized by the very same features as the ones described above? Its members live in drowsy mountain villages, are said to be ill-mannered, if not plain rude, are prone to drink beer, which they call “liquid bread”, in prodigious quantities, subsist on Blutwurst4 go  in for Fingerhak’ln5, wear Lederhosen6, are well versed in yodelling, have dismantled many a football stadium and converse in a guttural vernacular that makes it well-nigh impossible for their fellow countrymen – Saupreiß’n7 to them – to understand them. You have three guesses as to which “tribe” we are talking about here. But what about Nessie, the Scottish monster, made all the more intriguing by its elusiveness? Surely, there isn’t a corresponding mythical beast in yonder Bavaria! Of course, there is! It is called Wolperdinger1, an animal that purportedly only ventures forth from its secluded den when there is a full moon. Needless to say, it has never been actually seen by anybody either.


The conclusions we are to draw from the parallels above, contrived though they may seem, should be obvious.



1) Wolperdinger (or: Wolpertinger): fabled Bavarian animal

2) Dr. Samuel Johnson: 1709-1784, English lexicographer, critic and conversationalist. Dr. Johnson’s original statement – according  to his biographer James Boswell – runs as follows: ”The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads to England.”

3) suet: the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep and other animals, used to make foods (= “Nierenfett”)

4) Blutwurst: dark sausage with content of blood (literally = “blood sausage”)

5) Fingerhak’ln: contest between two competitors, involving the use of one’s fingers (cf. tug-of-war)

6) Lederhosen: leather breeches or leather shorts

7) Saupreiß’n: politically incorrect expression! (≈ “dirty/stupid Prussian”, cf. “Sassenach”)







I. Paraphrases: Give paraphrases of the following passages. Use your own words as far as is appropriate. Do not use the underlined words or words derived from their stems.


1) .... spotted by their utterly ludicrous costumes (line7/8)                                                                                    4p

2) .... the unsavoury scenes .... one is reluctant to imagine (line 18) )                                                                  4p

3) ....made all the more intriguing by its elusiveness (line 35)  )                                                                           4p


II. Questions on the text: The idea is to answer these questions as briefly and concisely, as possible. Very often two or three sentences may be enough. Use your own words as far as is appropriate. All quotations must be marked as such.

first part:

1) What is the effect Scottish music has on the English or Sassenachs”?                                             6p

2) What accounts for the “certain feeling of unease” (line.21/22 ) on the part of the Sassenachs”?          6p

3) What are the similarities and differences as regards the “wining and dining” of the     two “tribes” mentioned in the text?                                                                                                  10p

second part: STYLE

4) How would you describe the general tone of this text. Is it the same tone all the way through?       6p

5) How is that tone brought about? What obvious stylistic features and/or devices are used? Find three such different features/devices, giving their technical term and commenting on the effect achieved by them. (Please, give the lines.)                                                                                                            18p

III. Mini-Translation: Translate the first sentence of the text into good, idiomatic German Stick to the stylistic level of the original. (lines 1 – 4)                                                                                                             12p

IV. (slightly) Beyond the text: What are those “obvious conclusions” we are to draw from the many parallels the text contains? (cf. line 38) Please, answer this     question in not more than two or three sentences. This is not your essay topic!                                                                                                             10p  

V. Essay/Comment: Write about 150 words on one of the following topics. You can write more, but you do so at your own risk. This “Klausur” is fairly comprehensive and you have to be economical with your time In any case, please count your  words at the end!                                                                                                                30p

1) National prejudices and clichés die hard and it isn’t always old people who fall victim to them. Discuss.

2) Some cynics say that it is a misconception to believe that mass tourism has done away with  national prejudice. On the contrary, they contend, mass tourism tends to confirm existing  prejudices. Discuss.

3) In France, which with 60 million tourists annually is one of the most attractive tourist destinations worldwide, the Green Party is waging a national campaign for strict limits on tourism. A special target of the party’s wrath is the rampant spread of seafront hotels. Gerard Onesta, a Green Party official went so far as to say: “The tourism industry has managed what Hitler couldn’t: build a concrete  wall along the Atlantic.” Are environmentalists, not only in France, overanxious or does mass tourism indeed pose a grave danger to the environment?

4) Is staying at home an attractive alternative to travelling? Discuss. (LKE Abitur topic 1995!)

[VI. Vocabulary: What’s the German? (This part has got nothing to do with the actual test!)

1) engagiert; 2) Vertrag; 3) Kriegsdienstverweigerer; 4) seicht; 5) eingefleischt; 6) gerichtlich verfolgen; 7) austrocknen,

verdörren; 8) Verleumdung (schriftlich); 9) überschwenglich; 10) Abzugshahn, Auslöser; 11) spürbar, fühlbar; 12) Ent-

zugserscheinungen; 13) gesunder Menschenverstand; 14) Spalier, Gitter; 15) eine verirrte Kugel; 16) Wiederaufforstung;

17) festgefahren, blockiert; 18) Nachteil, „Haken bei der Sache“; 19) verfallen, heruntergekommen („Gebäude“);

20) Wechselstrom.

(Taken from “Revision” 1 – 3, “Mount Everest” and “New York Revision“1 – 2)]

 [Again, like in the preceding "Klausur", this VOCABULARY SECTION is of no interest to "the general public". Still, wouldn't it be great if you knew all these useful words and expressions listed above?]




More tests/"Klausuren" will follow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!