Das Nachdenken und die Selbstachtung

I found a German movie in our library this week and watched it last night. “Marx und Coca-Cola” tells the story of a romance in the year after Germany’s reunification. A real-estate developer from the west is eager to find opportunities in the newly opened east. The young woman he encounters in the east is suspicious. The scale and rapidity of change has shaken her. His wealth contrasts with her poverty. He lives in a big house in Hamburg. She runs her grandparents’ little farm.

German is full of compound words. It is fun for me to watch a movie, guess the meanings of unfamiliar words by taking them apart, and then
check the dictionary that I hold on my lap. Last night, I heard the word “Selbstachtung.” “Selbst” means “self” and “Achtung” can be an order (“attention!”) but it can also mean “respect.” “Selbst + Achtung = Selbstachtung = self-respect.” Political and economic change has taken away everything that made the heroine feel important. She is seeking a new place for herself.

Another important word in the story that was new to me was “nachdenklich.” “Nach” is “after” and “denken” is “think,” so “nachdenken” is “to think after, to reflect.” Reflection helped the characters recover dignity. “Nachdenklich” is the adjective that applies to the people in this story.

Well, I am not a teacher of foreign languages nor a student of film,
but it’s fun pretending!