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German Culture

March 6 2012 German Culture Newsletter

Last week we talked about the 'how to' of Schnitzel making, and this week it is time to experiment........and it is fun to experiment even with a breaded meat cutlet, which in Germany often comes in one of many traditional sauces or variations that are worth trying and are named after everything from Barons and Gypsies to Hunters and Blue Ribbons.

Here's the latest article from the German Culture site at


The Word This Week – NULLACHTFUENFZEHN - ‘08/15’ - (pronounced null-acht fuffzehn),
is one no one wants to be called.

It is often used to describe TV programs, while a deep depression, or a spell with a punch ball at the gym, will probably be the result if work someone just spent weeks putting together is described that way.

NULLACHTFUENFZEHN means ‘MEDIOCRE’, average or below average

The MG 08/15, a machine gun, was used during WWI and this is where the term originates.

It was a standard issue gun, used for drills, too heavy to be carried far and it became a synonym for nothing special. It worked to a certain level but was a bulky water-cooled weapon which required intensive training to use, accurate fire was difficult to achieve and was possible in short bursts only.

When Germany was at war again the MG 08/15 had to be put to use once more for some years, but better models had been developed in the meantime, especially for the Allies.

In the early 1950’s a trilogy was written by Hans Helmut Kirst, a former officer of the Wehrmacht, in which he described the suffering of the ordinary soldier in a war, and he used the phrase ‘08/15’ in the titles of his each of his three novels.

The vivid descriptions in his books just served to add to the negative image of the 08/15 - Mediocre. It did its job but no more than that.

And 'Nullachtfuenfzehn' - 08/15 - became part of the German language.

On you will find much more about life, living and the culture of Germany, and there is a forum:

If you have any comments or question I hope to hear from you, either in the forum or via email.

Francine McKenna,
German Culture Editor

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