Sei Mein Licht (Be My Light) by Unheilig (Unholy)

Unheilig (German for “Unholy”) is a German band with various pop and electronic influences. The band was founded in 2000 and now principally consists of singer Bernd Heinrich Graf – Der Graf (German for “The Count”) -, with his live musicians Licky, Henning Verlage and Potti.

I find that much of Unheilig’s music has a primarily Gothic appeal which doesn’t crossover well outside of Goth German culture. Some songs, such as sei Mein Licht (Be My Light), very much appeal to my ear both musically and lyrically.

Another such song by Unheilig is Geboren um zu Leben (Born to Live) — the following video provides the words so that you can sign along.

One of the things about German music that appeals to me is that it very introspective (which may explain why many believe the Germans are largely devoid of humor that is funny).

Below are a translation of the German lyrics:

Es fällt mir schwer
ohne Dich zu leben
Jeden Tag zu jeder Zeit
einfach alles zu geben
Ich denk’ so oft
zurück an das was war
an jenem so geliebten vergangenen Tag
Ich stell’ mir vor
dass du zu mir stehst,
und jeden meiner Wege
an meiner Seite gehst
Ich denke an so vieles
seitdem du nicht mehr bist
denn du hast mir gezeigt
wie wertvoll das Leben istWir waren geboren um zu leben
mit den Wundern jener Zeit
Sich niemals zu vergessen
bis in alle Ewigkeit
Wir waren geboren um zu leben
für den einen Augenblick
Bei dem jeder von uns spürte
wie wertvoll Leben ist

Es tut noch weh
wieder neuem Platz zu schaffen
Mit gutem Gefühl
etwas Neues zuzulassen
In diesem Augenblick
bist du mir wieder nah
wie an jedem so geliebten vergangenen Tag
Es ist mein Wunsch
wieder Träume zu erlauben
ohne Reue nach vorn
in eine Zukunft zu schauen
Ich sehe einen Sinn
seitdem du nicht mehr bist
Denn du hast hat mir gezeigt
wie wertvoll mein Leben ist

Wir waren geboren um zu leben
mit den Wundern jener Zeit
Sich niemals zu vergessen
bis in alle Ewigkeit
Wir waren geboren um zu leben
für den einen Augenblick
Bei dem jeder von uns spürte
wie wertvoll Leben ist

Wir waren geboren um zu leben…

It’s hard for me
To live without you
Every day at every time
Just to give everything
I so often think
Back to the past
To the lovely past day
I imagine
That you support me
And on every way
Are at my side
I think of so much
Since you don’t exist anymore
Because you have shown me
How valuable life isWe were born to live
With the miracles of time
Never to forget onself
Up to eternity
We were born to live
For the one moment
Because everyone of us felt
How valuable life is

It still hurts
To create new space
To allow something
With a good feeling
At this moment
You are close to me again
Like on that lovely past day
It is my wish
To allow dreams again
To look into future
Without regret
I see a meaning
Since you’ve been gone
Because you have show me
How valuable my life is

Grammar Nazis … once upon a time when I was younger

From an early age I studied foreign languages.

Perhaps they were not foreign languages to foreigners but they were to me. For example, once upon a time in fourth grade a Canadian family moved into the neighborhood. Their English was understandable … even though they were foreigners. (Or is Canada really just a stealth constellation of northern U.S. states that are too shy to openly …? Oh, never mind).

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My first love of foreign languages was French, until I went to France and found out that they all spoke horribly terribly bad French.

Much later in life I studied Latin as I wanted to improve my ability to read Spanish newspapers. It kinda works. The French helps too as I just slur any word that I don’t understand and then it all makes sense.

Anyway, have found the following video of great comfort over the years.

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Once I came of age to join the military (17) then I did. Noting my ability and desire to study languages, the Army gave me a test called a DLAB – Defense Language Ability Battery. Battery usually conjures up images of violence and foulmouthedness, however in this instance I had one hour to take a test and answer questions based upon a made-up language. Either you know how language parses or you don’t. (Later I found out that I don’t but somehow still passed the test).

After taking the test and getting the results back I was informed that I had done well enough to study almost any foreign language. English was excluded. I was instructed to make three choices, and I was to get one of those three choices.

My three choices were: Russian, German and French.

Russians were the kingsized bad guys in those days so I figured that there was a career in speaking Russian. Failing to get Russian, I had always wanted to travel to Germany … and since there were lots of American troops in Germany then speaking German would come in handy (and it did, but I had to learn it on my own from some longhaired dictionaries). My third choice was French since I already was capable of mangling the language and since France was near to Germany then pourquoi non?!

Several weeks later the Army sent military orders for me to go Monterey, California to study Czech. I was quick to point out that Czech was not one of my three choices. My study of language was essential training for entry into military intelligence. Quickly I realized that anything can be rationalized without much thought necessary: Czech sounded like Russian and I would be living in Germany, which was near to France, so in essence: learning Czech granted me all three of my wishes at once.

Later in life, after leaving Germany, I did finally study Russian in a proper academic setting. Along the way I self-taught myself Russian using the University of Chicago’s Russian for Czech Speakers handbook — which really is an easy transition in the context of already being a Czech speaker (although Czech listener would be a more appropriate description).

Throughout my travails as a student linguist I ran into many grammar Nazis: Mrs. Williams in French, Pan Benes in Czech, and … there were more.

It was Mrs. Williams and French however that made me feel most at risk of being a total failure in life. And so I dedicate the following video to my memory of Mrs. Williams, my eighth grade French AND science teacher — amazingly I passed French with a B but she flunked me in science and I had to go to summer school, which perhaps it is perverse to say that I enjoyed immensely as I’m a people person and I got to meet lots of new people.

View Grammar Nazi video — embedding of the video is forbidden so you will have to actually click the link. Apologies for the inconvenience. Damned Nazis.