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'Racy' song upsets Kiwis in national German exam

Published: 20 Nov 2012 17:20 GMT+01:00

The exam was staged at schools across New Zealand last week, the news portal stuff.co.nz reported on Monday.

It included a song by the acappella group Wise Guys. The five-man group has often been invited on international tours by the Goethe Institute, has played at several major church gatherings, and is generally considered mild stuff in Germany.

The Year 12 students - aged around 16 and 17 - were played the song Relativ in their exam, something which in itself appears to have been an innovation.

The lyrics are from a man's point of view, running through a list of comparisons, claiming to be relatively smart compared with Heidi Klum, but relatively stupid compared with Steven Hawking - relatively tall compared with a piece of gravel, but relatively small compared with a cliff.

He then talks about liking the object of affections, "relatively a lot", but being incapable of expressing his feelings.

He continues to talk about how the person he is singing to is, "nicer than my neighbour, and I expect that in bed with you, quite a lot would be possible."

It was this line which reduced some students to laughter - and others to tears as they failed to work out what was happening. One teacher told stuff.co.nz she thought the song was "totally inappropriate" for Year 12 students - although she also said she had had difficulty understanding the song herself.

The New Zealand exam authority's deputy chief executive Richard Thornton said the song had been chosen because "it was felt it would engage the candidates" and had been chosen with 16- and 17-year-olds in mind.

Further national language exams are due soon in Spanish and French - with teachers across New Zealand wondering what their students should expect.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:42 November 20, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
>One teacher told stuff.co.nz she thought the song was "totally inappropriate" for Year 12 students

oh please. talk about somebody having her knickers in a twist...

this is all really pretty tame. There are much grittier things going on in the heads of typical 16-year-olds. Let alone the fact that many of them have already actually had sex.
21:03 November 20, 2012 by lucksi
For the next exam, they are going to translate "Bück Dich" oder "Du hast" by Rammstein I guess
02:52 November 21, 2012 by crastin
This is something that is so embarrassing about Anglophone cultures.... grow up. Why can non-Anglo cultures talk about sex like any other topic and we approach it like it is always a horrible secret.

Sad.
06:27 November 21, 2012 by grimbax
Oh my god, are you f... serious? This song is so sweet and baby pooh innocent that you could torture people with it if you use it like these sesame street songs at guantanamo.

The whole song contains children talk like "I like you a little" , "I like to walk with you hand in hand"... Thats so lame. How should anyone learn a language if you serve them infantile contents that noone wants to hear. The music is not bad though.

Come on, this is not a news! There should be more important things to write about!
15:04 November 21, 2012 by MaKo
Because in my German language education I was made to listen to and sing a song about a kitty cat and her kitty cat husband and their lost umbrella, I am feeling vaguely ripped off right now.
17:08 November 21, 2012 by herr_james
as the original article suggested, before being cut and pasted here, more students complained about the low quality of the recording used in the exam, and the backing vocals on the track contrasting with the main lyrics while being sung simultaneously. this is also why people thought it innapproriate for a translation/comprehension exercise.

@iseedaftpeople & @crastin you are aware germany banned rammstein's last album cover for portraying a spanking, right?

@grimbax nz allows a wide range of opinions in a (fairly) open society. those who might have said "yeah, that song was a bit of a joke" aren't gonna make the news, obviously.

@mako - tell me about it. freizeit stomp, anyone?
18:20 November 23, 2012 by Cincinnatus
How far education has fallen. Is it any wonder that the world's stoners far outnumber the world's productive citizens. Certainly kids probably talk to each other more about sex than anything else. But - is that the reason to inundate them with MORE sex talk? It appears that education propaganda has taken the low road to becoming another form of entertainment rather than education. The inmates are running the institution.
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