“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.”