NeinQuarterly: Taking German to the Twittersphere


NeinQuarterly: Taking German to the Twittersphere

Eric Jarosinski is an assistant professor of German at the University of Pennsylvania and the brains behind the popular twitter feed @NeinQuarterly.
by Caitlan Carroll

“You might be able to get a German word in edgewise, but certainly not lengthwise,” reads one NeinQuarterly tweet. Another says, “In English you play with words. In German you bend them to your will.”

Jarosinski combines humor with his knowledge of German language and culture to create succinct, saucy and sometimes cynical remarks for the twittersphere. His feed’s racked up almost 40,000 followers in over 130 countries.

In an interview published on Strollology Berlin, Jarosinski explains why he spends so much time tweeting:

“This twit­ter thing, as silly as it is most of the time, does pro­vide an oppor­tu­nity for me to really think about a lot of these things in a much more con­scious way … about what I can do with Ger­man or with a spe­ci­fic expres­sion. What I like about it most is the unex­pec­ted dis­co­very of a con­nec­tion bet­ween words, some play on words or just a rela­ti­onship that one wouldn’t have other­wise – mainly because when you‘re dea­ling with such a small amount of text, you get to know it dif­fer­ently, more closely.”

Jarosinski is an expert in Weimar-era literature, culture, and philosophy. He’s taught courses on Marx, Nietzsche, the Frankfurt School and German Modernism. But, as he explains to Charlie Crespo in a Little Utopia interview, his tweets also serve as an important teaching tool:

“As silly as this venture is, I’ve often been surprised to see NQ accomplish some important things. From the feedback I’ve received, I know it’s encouraged some people to learn German, study abroad, or simply to Google some of the words or concepts I’m playing with. I’ve also been really pleased to hear from a number of teachers and professors who use my material in class.”

Jarosinski plans to launch a NeinQuarterly blog this October. What will it be about? He explains it this way on his website: “It's Nothing. For Something…Words. Thought. Art. Umlauts. Despair.”


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by Caitlan Carroll