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.

Spotlight - - CONTENTS -

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:

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