My Life in English
Das Krimiautoren-duo des Bestsellers „Kluftinger“erzählt uns von beängstigenden Taxifahrten in Miami und wie sie ihren Kindern bei den englischen Hausaufgaben helfen.
Volker Klüpfel and Michael Kobr
What makes English important to you?
Kobr: For me and my family, English is the one language that enables communication all over the world. As we love travelling and also have family in Canada, it helps us a lot. By watching US TV series and by reading American news, we are always trying to improve our English. By the way, our two daughters have been in English classes since they were five years old — and love the language, too.
When was your first English lesson, and what can you remember about it?
Klüpfel: I remember that my first English teacher, Mr Urowsky, always said: “Hubert likes to read.” For a very long time, I asked myself why it was always Hubert who wanted to read, until I found out that the teacher was actually saying: “Who would like to read?”
Which person from the Englishspeaking world would you most like to meet and why?
Kobr: That would be Bruce Springsteen. He’s a smart and pretty cool guy and, of course, I love his music. His live performances are great.
Have you ever worked in an Englishspeaking environment? If so, for how long, and what was it like?
Klüpfel: I worked for The Baltimore Chronicle, a monthly newspaper in Baltimore. This was really one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a lot — about the country, the people, the media. And I found dear friends who enriched my life and still do.
When did you last use English (before answering this questionnaire)?
Klüpfel: Yesterday, while watching the final episode of Westworld.
Kobr: I helped my daughter with her homework today — doing a little vocabulary test.
What was your best or funniest experience in English?
Klüpfel: Both the funniest and most frightening was when a cab driver in Miami began making strange movements as he was driving me to my hostel. At first, I didn’t know what was happening. Then I realized he was falling asleep. I talked to him to keep him awake. He said he had to work long hours because he’d had a terrible accident the year before — when he fell asleep at the wheel of his cab.
Which English word was the hardest for you to learn to pronounce?
Klüpfel: My own name. Volker is very German, and if you do not pronounce it clearly, it might sound like f***er. At first, some people were puzzled when I told them my name — until I learned to say it more carefully.
Kobr: I never got used to the correct spelling of “business” until my final exam at school. I always wrote “buisness”. Very embarrassing!
Is there anything in your home from the English-speaking world?
Klüpfel: A diner booth. Banknotes. Subway tokens. Photographs. Letters...
Kobr: A lot of things we’ve bought while travelling: we eat from Canadian dishes, and our walls are full of paintings, posters and photos from Canada or the US. Lots of our clothes are from America, too. And my wife and I adore shoes by John Fluevog (see left), a Canadian shoe designer. Of course, there is a Weber-stephens barbecue in our backyard as well.
What would be your motto in English?
Kobr: Everything is possible. Just do it! But don’t follow the beaten path. Never give up and enjoy the ride.
Klüpfel (right on photo) and Kobr are on a reading tour around Germany. For dates, go to: www.kluepfel-kobr.de