'Sexy' styled prize for German scholars

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 16:12 30/11/2012
T-shirt
AWARD: T-shirts like this are to be given to excellence achievers in year 12 German.

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T-shirts with the slogan ‘Deutsch ist sexy’ await  year 12 students who get excellence in this year's controversial German NCEA exam.

German cultural organisation the Goethe-Institut came up with the idea both as a way to congratulate the successful students, and as a way to promote the German language.

This year’s exam caused an outcry among some students, teachers and parents owing to the inclusion of a German song called Relativ by the band Wise Guys.

There was upset at the song owing to lyrics of a sexual nature and because the use of a song in the exam was unexpected with students unprepared for it. There was also concern at the quality of the recording used.

When translated into English the questionable lyrics meant something like: You're nicer than my neighbour, and I assume we could do a lot in bed.

Some students were reported to have been so perplexed that they left the exam in tears.

Judith Geare from the Goethe-Institut said she had heard concerns from teachers that a song had been used.

"For some teachers and students the issue was the use of a song. For some it may be that there were some lyrics they may have objected to," she said.

"If they managed an excellence in that exam, they deserve a tee-shirt from us."

She expected serious discussions to be held about the use of songs in exams.

While some people may find words easier to hear in a song, others could find it harder.

"We didn't like the idea of children leaving the exam in tears," Geare said.

The slogan on the tee-shirt - which translates as German is sexy - was also a play on comments made by the mayor of Berlin that the city was broke but sexy.

"Perhaps this does mean Deutsch is as sexy as we always felt it was," Geare said.

A movie called Broke But Sexy had also been made about New Zealand artists living and working in Berlin.

In Germany, there has been bemusement that lyrics of a song by a band which plays at church events should cause offence.

Wise Guys singer Daniel Dickopf told news magazine Spiegel online that he never meant to make students in New Zealand cry with the lyrics of the song.

Relativ was released four years ago and the band had never received any complaints about explicit lyrics, he said

The song made fun of its writer's frequent use of the word 'relatively,' and touches the subject of sex only very briefly.

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"If there was criticism before, it was always because people thought that our songs were too nice and innocent," Dickopf said.

- Stuff

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