Hints: Text F
Text F, "Carmen hat ihn
verführt," is a very typical People
Magazine-type portrait offering a vignette from the life
of a local celebrity. Its sentences are fairly
simple: the text talks about the celebrity's house and
family, other possessions, and his (one-line) opinion about
why he is moving his art collection; the bulk of the
text is a kind of travelogue through this life of
privilege. If you chose this text as more
readable than the other, you may like to read "lifestyles of
the rich and famous" or at least be familiar with how
celebrity portraits are written.
This text, because it is such a travelogue, is very concrete. Yet it is not very readable to the outsider because the average reader outside Germany does NOT know why Thyssen is a celebrity. Why should the reader outside Germany care that his fifth wife (the "Carmen" of the title) has convinced him to leave his art to Madrid? The reader in Germany is likely to be more sensitive to the question of exporting national treasures than celebrity enthusiasts in the US -- and that Thyssen is a name attached to a major industrialist fortune and to a research foundation (like Carnegie or Rockefeller). That reader may, thus, find the text to be subtly critical of Thyssen -- more than a travelogue, because of its implications for current cultural politics.
The two texts are both concrete and of reasonable length (neither too short nor too long for the contents they hope to present), but they will ultimately differ in readability in terms of an individual reader's familiarity with or interest in a particular topic. The reader not familiar with the cultural politics of philanthropy may simply miss the implied irony of the Thyssen portrait: a superficially charming man is unmasked by implication as making a spectacle of himself (from the German point of view). The reader who does not like cars will not be motivated to note specific details about the virtues of the jaunty European cabriolet convertible. Familiarity with a topic motivates a reader's interest and desire to read more and more carefully.
TEXT PAIR 3, EXERCISE 1
TEXT PAIRS 4-6, EXERCISE 1