Our host Peter Craven talks with writer and auditor, David Bergmann about the Easter Bunny, balance sheets and the trials and tribulations of learning German.
David Bergmann has one true love: the German language. In 1996, the American traveled to Germany to study the idioms of his ancestors. He decided to stay and had the misfortune of learning some of German’s most difficult linguistic lessons the hard way. Meanwhile, he became so invested in the German language and all of its pitfalls that he wrote two amusing books about it. Because German, he claimed in all seriousness, is truly a difficult language, but most of all, it’s fun. David Bergmann also works as an auditor in Hamburg. He describes his vision as an author quite simply: "I would be happy if from now on, I heard this much more often: ‘Man, that was funny. Typical German, even!’"
David Bergmann was born and raised on a farm near the small town of Maria Stein in the US state of Ohio. The oldest of four sons, the family is the seventh generation from German immigrants who settled in this part of the American Midwest. His ancestors came from northern Germany, sailing from Bremerhaven to the United States sometime between 1830 and 1840.
As a child David Bergmann was fascinated by numbers, so instead of becoming a farmer he studied business administration and history. At the age of 23 he moved to Chicago and began working as an accountant. In 1994 he took his first German class at the Goethe-Institute and from then on he began to intensively study the German language. For the 37-year old it has been the key to discovering his roots. His grandmother still spoke a dialect of German even though she was born and raised in the US as did many of others of her generation. David Bergmann did not have that knowledge handed down.
Nevertheless during his first visit to Germany, he felt completely at home—the German mentality was something familiar to him. It made his decision to study the language in Germany all the easier. In 1996 David Bergmann moved to the university town of Göttingen. For one semester he enjoyed the life of a student—studying German and attending some economics seminars. Then he went back to work—finding a job as an auditor in Hamburg where he continues to live and work today.
Not long after moving to Germany, he began to write short stories which he sent to his family and friends in the United States to let them know how he was getting on here. And to explain what life is like in Germany. Soon enough there were certain stories which he could only write about in German and which his German friends and acquaintances found amusing. His writings in German began in 2002. By 2006 he had enough material that he contacted a publisher and not much later his first book in German was published. Now he has second book in which continues to capitalize on having learned some of German’s most difficult linguistic lessons the hard way. Because German, he claims in all seriousness, is truly a difficult language, but most of all, it’s fun.