Das Ännchen von Tharau
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Ask students to write down a definition of the word "folksong."

Put some of their ideas on the board. Tell students that folksongs are commonly conceived as popular songs usually of unknown origin, known for their simple structure, plain language and unsophisticated melody. It can further be said of folksongs, that they are a cultural thread woven through centuries of time, connecting people of a common language through music and poetry. The changes of a society are reflected in their folksongs. Recurring themes are love, joy, sorrow, patriotism, nature, occupations and political trends.


Give students background on the folksong Das Ännchen von Tharau

In 1636, a young girl (17 years old, named Anna Neander) was getting married to a minister, Johannes Partatius. Simon Dach, a baroque poet who was born in Memel, (1605-1659), was invited to the wedding. He fell in love with Anna Neander and wrote a poem about her: "Ännchen von Tharau."

The original poem was written in Plattdeutsch, and was later put into Hochdeutsch by Johann Gottfied Herder in 1778. Simon Dach's works were also translated into Lithuanian.

In 1912 a statue of Ännchen von Tharau was erected in honour of the poet, Simon Dach in Klaipeda (Memel). It got lost (destroyed) during the war and was replaced by a bust of Hitler in 1939. In 1989 members of the "Ännchen von Tharau Verein" (club), founded by "vertriebenen Memelländern", (Germans who were driven out of the Memelland) and exiled Lithuanians, erected the new statue of Ännchen von Tharau.

Introduce the song one phrase at a time to the students and repeat until they have learned the song. Die folgende VOKABELLISTE könnte nützlich sein.

Bitte beantworten Sie diese Fragen:

  1. Vergleichen Sie das Plattdeutsch mit dem Hochdeutschen. Welche Ähnlichkeiten können Sie sehen?
  2. Bitte übersetzen Sie die Verse ins Englische (in Gruppen)! 
  3. Im letzten Vers beschreibt der Dichter die Voraussetzungen für eine gute Ehe. Was sind sie?
  4. Dieses Gedicht wurde im siebzehnten Jahrhundert geschrieben. Finden Sie, daß diese Vorraussetzungen für eine gute Ehe noch heutzutage gelten? Bitte erklären Sie!
  5. Was, meint der Autor, macht das Leben zur Hölle?
  6. Wie stellen Sie sich Ännchen von Tharau vor? Beschreiben Sie dieses Mädchen in vier oder mehr Sätzen, oder malen Sie ein Bild von ihr!

REFLECTION (Standards Targeted)
1.1 Students use language, to answer questions about the folksong.
1.3 Students work in groups and present ideas & pictures they've drawn to class.
2.1 Students learn about customs in Germany - folksongs.
2.2 Students read and interpret "Plattdeutsch."
3.1 Students will become familiar with map of Europe and determine location of "Tharau" in 1600s and today. (Geography/History)
4.2 Students discuss male/female relationship in German society as presented in the song and compare it to American society then and now.
5.2 Students enjoy learning a folk song thereby using the language for enrichment.
Page updated and maintained by Donna C. Van Handle.   Last modified on April 27, 2003.