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Monday, April 20, 2015

Musik Monday - MfG by Die Fantastischen Vier

Musik Monday is back!  And this week is one of my favorite songs.  I have about 10 songs on my phone, and this is one of them.  It's so clever and fun to listen to and sing along with/mess up many of the lyrics. 
Die Fantastischen Vier (Fanta 4) have been around for a while - officially since 1989 to be exact.  They are a German hip-hop group that was the first to really reach the top of the music charts in 1992.  Their music employs a lot of comedy, but later in the group's career, some of their songs became more serious.  Fun fact: they voice the Penguins in the German-dubbed Madagascar films.  

The group is still making music, but this song is from 1999.  The song is MfG, which is an acronym for "Mit freundlichen Gruessen," which translates literally to "with friendly greetings"; it's a way to end a letter before signing your name, like "sincerely yours". *Warning: Some adult themes*

If you know the German alphabet, it might sound a little like random letters being rapped then a chorus of actual words thrown in.  It's not random at all though.  First, the title itself is "text speak" and a way that people shortened words to make things quicker and easier.  The other letters in the song all go in groups of 3 as well, and each group of 3 stands for something.

Going even further into the song, each line of 3 acronyms is its own grouping.  The sets of 3 all have something in common.  I took a Deutsches Popmusik class when I studied in Heidelberg and we had a worksheet where we had to try to fill in each group of 3 letters while listening to the song.  Then, after we reviewed those, we tried to figure out what each acronym stands for.  Some were easy, because they're used in English as well as in German.  Others we knew because of learning German.  But the remaining ones were total guesses if we put anything down.  We started seeing patterns though, which is extremely interesting.  I'd urge anyone to try to figure out what the acronyms are before looking at the chart in this link.  I'm a bit of a nerd, but it's kind of like a puzzle and really fun:

While some groupings immediately make sense (i.e., EDV, IBM, and WWW are all computer related), some require a little research or additional knowledge to understand.  For example: KMH, ICE, Eschede refers to the Inter-City Express trains (ICE) known for their speed (KMH), one of which crashed in a town in Lower Saxony (Eschede) in 1998.

This is a great tool for teaching adults who are beginning to learn German.  It could also be useful for high school students, but there are some PG-13 themes in the song that a teacher might not want to explain to younger students (or their parents).  Most of all, it's a fun, clever song.

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