Die Liveperformance von „Call me yesterday“ (Uraufführung 19. 5. ZKM, Karslruhe) entstand in Zusammenarbeit mit den „Maulwerkern“ und Steffi Weismann, Video. ca. 60 Minuten.

Antje Vowinckel


I collected the recordings in 2004. Some of them I found on flew markets, some I got from friends, some I found in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

Thanks to Alessandro Bosetti, Giorgio Bosetti, Sandrine Castelot, Walter Filz, Giuseppe Ielasi, Eddi Rogers, Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

You hear the voices from tape and vinyl and:

Gilles Aubry, Nikolai Franke, Marie Goyette, Diane Greenwood, Jens Jarisch, Annette Krebs, Michael Lissek and Jacqueline Macauly.

All music is played and composed by Antje Vowinckel with the exception of the string part after „the sound of m“ (played by Benedict Bindewald, Cathrin Romeis and Josa Gerhard), the musette walse in the French course and the vocalists in the hypnotic course (from the courses).

The texts „This is a bird“ , „House –street – car- garden“ and „The dormitory“ are written by Antje Vowinckel

„The Japanese Man“ is documentary speech, recorded in Mali.

The development of the piece was supported by „filmstiftung nrw“.

The production was first broadcasted on September 22nd, 2005, Spain.

Further broadcastings: DRS Switzerland, NDR, BR, WDR, SWR

I  „circola“

Z :  <s> <wh> <wi> <bs> <wi> <bs> <bs> <w> <circola> <mjas> <man> <man>

Z:  <woman> <the woman> <grocer>  <lieschip> <staircase> <the doctor>

Z: <ctor> <the res> <dych>  < -*> < – *> <k> <bs> <bs> <k> <this> <k> <bs>

Z: <> <bs>     <this>      <>   <k> <this>  <th> <>        <ws>        <> <>      <wi>

Z:  <>  <>   <ks> <xie>   <>    <>           <bs>       <w>        <>    <>

you’re going to do a little experiment now.              place your open hand

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on your throat, so that your thumb rests under your ear.  now say the

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following words after me and notice wether you feel anything in your

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throat, when you pronounce the „t-h“-sound thin, thin thick, thick, thanks.


II  learning „th“

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now did you hear the difference in sound between the „th“ in „thin“ and the

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„th“ in „this“? Right! you get a kind of buzzing sound when you make the

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„th“ in „this“ and at the same time you feel a vibration in your throat.

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You’re making the vibration in your throat with your voice, when you say


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this, that, those. And now that you know that you use your voice to make the

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„th“ as in „this“ let’s see how your tongue, teeth and lips work together with

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your voice. Put the tip of your tongue between your teeth. Hold your tongue

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between your teeth lightly, but don’t let it slip away from your teeth. Now




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pressing lightly on your tongue use your voice to get this humming

Z:    <>      <>       <>        <>    vibrating sound of „th“.

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III „This is a bird“


F1 This is a bird.

It could have been a dog, but it is a bird.

It could have been a black barking biting dog, but it is a bird.

If it  wasn’t a bird, it would be a ball, maybe.  – Yes, a ball. This is a bird, that could be a ball.

It is an English bird.

It is coming from England.

England has many birds.

There are also French birds, but this is an English bird.

A red English bird.

It could have been a green French bird, but it is a red English one. And that is a little difference.

It is a difference in colour and in nationality.

If it  wasn’t an English bird, it could have been a French bird, and being a French bird, it would have been green.

And wouldn’t  it be nice to have a red English bird and a green French bird? A red one and a green one? And another red one and another green one. And another one and another one ?

If we like to have  them, we can have them.

We are wanting a thing and we can have that thing.

We can have birds, balls, gardens, butterflies, we can make the sun shine, we can have grass, and bees. And whenever we want, we can meet nice people. „Guten Morgen“ Very nice people.



IV  „welcome“




„good morning“

„listen, do not speak“                      „hallo“                                             „hallo“

„hallo“     „hallo“ „Ca va helhier“

„hallo“ „ciao“  „listen do not speak“

„Is Anne here?“ „Is Anne here?“

„Hallo“  „Hallo“ „I wonder, if I could speak Mr Mead“

„Mi chiamo Peter“  „Ich heiße Robert“

„Je m’apelle Marie“          „I’m Mrs Green“

„Ich möchte Ihnen….“     „Freut mich Sie kennenzulernen“        „Sie heißt Marie“ .

“Er heißt Peter“      „Sie ist krank“     „Hallo“      „Was f..“     Sie hat….“

„Mr Simpson is here“     „Ma che sorpresa“  „Enchanté“   „Good morning, John“.

„Was..“   „Sie hat…“ „Das tut mir leid…“ „Das freut mich“.  „Ich möchte Ihnen..“

„Who is that?“„Mr Simpson. David Simpson“ „Ciao“ „May I introduce myself“.

Very  pleased to meet you.How do you do.Che piacere. Fine thank you.

That’s miss Green. My name is John. Good morning , Sir. Haben Sie Kinder,  wie alt

ist Ihre Tochter, wie heißt Ihre Schwester. wie heißt Ihr Bruder, sind Sie verheiratet?

Wie alt sind Sie, wie alt ist Ihre Frau, wie alt ist Ihr sohn. wo wohnen Sie, Wie alt ist

Ihr Sohn. I’m Mrs clark, Je m’apelle Marie.

Pierre. John. Anne.


V Walter and Connie

I’m William. Hallo  William. And I’m Richard. Hallo Richard. I’m Walter. Which is

Connie? I’m Connie. She is Connie. She is my  wife. Your wife. Yes. His wife.    I’m

her husband. Connie is Walters wife. She is his wife. Connie. Walter is Connies wife.

Connie is Walters husband. …….

We are Walter and Connie. We are husband and wife.


VI  house –street- car


F2 Now it is this, but sooner or later it will change. It will have another shape. It will sound like..

F1 That?

F2 Yes, like that. Sooner or later it will sound like that. And than it will change again and it will sound like

F1 Those?

F2 Yes, it will sound like those.

F1 But then it will sound like anything.

F2 This is at least something. And sooner or later it will change again and it will sound like…

house – street – car – garden – table – beer  – work – fence –repair/repeat!

F1       house – street – car – garden  table- beer-work –  fence – repair –repeat!


VII   The farmer in the field


book  book

hook hook

bush bush

bullet bullet

hook hook

cup cup

bus bus

hut hut

gun gun

plug plug

box box

clock clock

lock lock

fox fox

socket socket

book  cup box  book cup box

brook bus clock brook bus clock

bush hut  lock bush hut lock

bullet gun fox bullet gun fox



Here is a book –  here is a book? Is it a book? Yes- it is.

Is it a  cup? – No, it isn’t

There is a cup. Is it a cup?  Yes it is.

There is a clock. Is it a clock?  Yes it is.

Is it a book?

Is ist a book?

Is  it a book?


Mike is lighting a pipe. Mike, look! Smoke! Here is a pipe! There is a lighter. Take the lighter. Light the pipe. Smoke! Peter,  eat! Mike,  look! Tim, drink! Tim, look! Tom, look! Paul look! There is a bush. There is a fox. Here is a bullet. Here is a gun. Fred is firing a rifle. Load the rifle. Fred look! Fire the rifle. Here is a rifle. There is the target. Load the rifle.

Fire the rifle. What  is Fred doing? Light the pipe. Fred look! Fire the rifle!



This is a flower. Is it a flower?

That is a girl. The girl is in the garden.

This is a farmer. The farmer is in the field.

Fred is loading the rifle. Fred is firing the rifle.


VII This is a door


(Türklopfen) This is a door.

No-Yes. No-Yes. No – Yes. No-Yes.


Yes, this is a door.

This is a window. And this is a chair.


This is a bottle.


This is a box. That  is a bottle.


This is not a bottle.  This is an umbrella.

An umbrella.

This is a box.   This is not an umbrella.

This isn’t an umbrella.


This is a clock.

This is a window.

This  isn’t a door.       What is that?

That is a door.               This is a lamp.

What is that?

This is not a lamp. This isn’t a lamp.

This is an iron.

This is an umbrella.

This is my umbrella. My umbrella.          My

Yes, Connie, that is your umbr.

This is a rasor.

That is my rasor.

My umbrella.

That is my umbrella

my  rasor

my umbrella

This  is my umbrella.

This is my umbrella.   My umbrella.

That  is your rasor

your rasor


My rasor.

my  umbrella

It is your rasor.



Is this a clock?  Yes, It is.

Yes, it is.

My umbrella.


Is that a clock? No it isn’t.

My um, my umbrella, my umbrella, my um, my umbr.

My um. No.  My umbrella, my umbrella. my um, my umbrella




Z: „One day a Japan man told me, „Namamugi –namagumi- namatamangu“. I really don’t know, what they mean. They sayed, „Namamugi -namagumi namatamangu. I really don’t  know the meaning of their phrase. I was very, very angry these day. Namamugi -namgumi -namatamangu. That’s what he said. He said, „Hey! Namamugi-„.He was with his girlfriend, I think. They were two people. A man and his woman. They were talking together and when I went next them, they said: Namamugi namagumi namatamangu. I asked them. I prayed them to explain me the meaning of their words. They refused“.


(Weiter: O-Töne….)


Namamugi und so weiter….

Namamuginamagumi namatamangu// N’ Afrikaner  //n’Africaner is   PERC. der Japaner?

Namamuginamagumi  namatamangu

Namamuginamagumi  namatamangu

Z es waren zwei Japaner? /Namamuginamaguminamatamangu

Z2   Das klingt nicht japanisch.

Z One day a japan man told me hey! zu wenig  is drin     n’ afrikanischer dialekt

F1                                 He said hey!

M2                             a man and a woman

Z vielleicht kreol             Also, der Afrikaner hat sich zwei Japanern genähert und die haben

M1                       they refused


Z ihm mit einem Wort geantwortet. //Mana und Mango//          Wir haben auf Französisch

Z2         I really don’t know, what they mean



Z yamamotokaderatosapetokü//they said   namamuginamaguminamatamangu



Z yamamotokaderatosapetokü

/Z2 PER I don’t know the meaning of their phrase

M2 He said hey!




Z Vielleicht, wahrscheinlich hatte er gar kein Japanisch sprechen können , äh, der japanische Mann

Z2                                                           very very angry



Z une expression, qui resemble a une expression japonaise comme yamamotokaderatosapetokü


Z namamuginamaguminamatamangu   Der japanische Mann hat einen Satz auf Japanisch gesagt,

M1       namamuginamaguminamatamangu     sapetokü

M2           Kü


Z I asked them// das hat aber der afrikanische Mann überhaupt nicht verstanden und dann hat

Z          das der japanische Mann immer wieder wiederholt und dann hat wahrscheinlich

F1     they, they refused


Z und ich denke, dass der Japaner Japanisch gesprochen hat, dass aber der Afrikaner irgendetwas

F2                                   they were talking together


Z  gesagt hat, das wie Japanisch klingen sollte, aber irgendwie eher Afrikanisch geklungen hat. Ich

F1     he said hey!

F2   sapetokü


Z  glaube eigentlich sogar, dass der Afrikaner etwas gesagt hat, dass wie Japanisch klingen sollte.

M2 he said


Z aber eher Afrikanisch geklungen hat. Nein! Ich glaube sogar, dass der japanische Mann,

M1 namamugi namagumi namatamangu

M2  namamugi namagumi namatamangu


Z Afrikanisch sprechen wollte.            A japan man told me PER

Z2 Der afrikanische Mann hat einen Satz auf Japanisch gesagt


Z: Percussion durchgehend



IX  Mandarin Primer

Chinese Course composed with sinewaves and vokal chords

X „The really bad sound“

Pronounciation training on the phone


XI  The sound of M


The sound of „m“. Whenever you see „m“ it has the same sound. Just like the „m“ in „mama“ or „me“ or „my“,  „tomato“, „tomorrow“, „bump“, „martini“. Pronounce the m just as I do.






































































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XII  “ il a une tete ronde“



Voir ici  le tete de pierre v. il est fort!  il a quatre  … robuste.

Un) Je suis grand. Je ne suis pas petit.

Deux) Tu est grand. Tun’est pas petit. Vous etes grandes. Vous n’etes pas petites. Trois) Il est grand. Elle est grande. Elle n’est pas petite.

Un) Nous sommes grands. Nous ne somme pas petits.

Deux) Vous etes grands. vous n’etes pas petits.

Trois) Ils sont grands. Ils ne sont pas petits. Elles sont grandes. Elles ne sont pas petites. Repetez:

dixsept, Bonjour Jaqcues.

Dixhuit. Bonjour Paul. –

dix neuf. comment va tu?

Vingt. Je vais tres bien. (Pas. )


Il instituto geografico de novara presente: il frances per tutti. corso programmato die lingua francese, registratione uno, parte prima, unite uno, conversation.


musette  total


XIII   The dormitory



I wanted to say „Buenas noches“ or to excuse myself,  or something like that, but when I opened the door, I saw, that the light was already switched off. I undressed myself, I organized my bed very softly and I put myself in it. I couldn’t see almost anything, but I think  there were still two beds unoccupied. Few minutes later, the door opened, and another woman came in. She also undressed in the dark, took the bed next to me and went to bed without saying a word. In the room it was warm and quiet. You couldn’t hear anything but the far away traffic. I started to relax. As I was trying to fall asleep, the woman who just came to sleep beside me, started breathing. She took her breath of air through her nose very loudly. She did it so loudly that I got scared. I thought she would start snoring, but it was no snoring.  She took air again after eight seconds, that’s more than a breath, isn’t it?   The she started again after nine seconds. This noise was so loud, that I couldn’t fall asleep. I was wondering, if she was awake and doing it on purpose. Which language did she speak? When she started to do it again, I started imitating her. I wanted to show her, that I could hear her. I was following the rhythm of her breath exactly.  I found it tiresome and thought, that on no account it could be a snore. more a contemptuous snort. I would have liked if she started wonder, what is that  weird noise, imitating me, or that she asked herself or asked me actually directly why I was imitating her breathing like that. But nothing happened. She didn’t say a word. She was taking air, I was taking air. It lasted for a bit.


Du willst eine fremde Sprache lernen. Du willst die von dir gewählte  Sprache  perfekt und schnell  lernen. /DU willst/ Du willst die fremde Sprache /Du willst/  ohne jede Mühe lernen. Du willst sie lernen während du schläfst. Du wirst bestimmte Töne hören. Und alles, was du nach ihnen hörst,  mußt du gut in dich aufnehmen. Du erinnerst dich dann immer daran. Sowohl morgens beim Aufwachen  als auch in der Zukunft. Immer/immer/immer


The next morning I didn’t remember how it all ended. I mean, did she understand or did I simply fall asleep?


J’avais l’intention de dire « buenas noches », « pardon », ou quelque chose comme ça, mais en poussant la porte, j’ai vu que dans le dortoir les lumières étaient déjà éteintes. Je me suis déshabillée, j’ai préparé mon lit le plus doucement possible et je me suis couchée. Je ne pouvais presque rien voir, mais il me semble qu’il y avait encore deux lits qui étaient occupés.Quelques minutes plus tard la porte s’ouvrit et une autre femme entra. Elle se déshabilla aussi dans l’obscurité, et se coucha sans dire un mot dans le lit à côté du mien. La pièce où il faisait chaud était tranquille, on n’entendait que le doux bruit lointain du trafic routier. Je me détendais. Alors que j’étais en train de m’endormir, la femme qui était arrivée après moi, aspira l’air d’un seul coup à travers le nez, elle le fit si bruyamment que cela m’effraya. Je pensais qu’elle commençait à ronfler, mais ce n’était pas un ronflement. Elle reprit l’air au bout de 8 secondes seulement, c’est plus qu’une bouffée d’air, non ? Puis elle réitéra au bout de 9 secondes. Ce vacarme m’empêchait de m’endormir. Je me demandais si elle était éveillée et si elle le faisait exprès. Quelle langue parlait-elle ? Lorsqu’elle aspira l’air une fois de plus, je me mis à l’imiter. Je voulais lui montrer qu’on pouvait l’entendre. Je suivais et imitais avec exactitude le rythme de sa respiration. Je trouvais qu’elle respirait péniblement et que ça/cela ne pouvait tout simplement pas être un ronflement. Plutôt un soupir méprisant. Je voulais qu’elle s’étonne de l’écho nocturne bizarre ou qu’elle se demande, ou même me demande, pourquoi je respirais comme je le faisais. Mais il ne se passa rien de spécial. Elle aspirait l’air, j’aspirais l’air. Cela dura un certain temps. Le lendemain matin, je ne savais pas comment tout ça avait pris fin. Je veux dire, m’avait-elle comprise ou m’étais-je endormi ?



Why didn’t you ask your boss ?

Because he doesn’t listen to me. Why didn’t you check with me first ?


Call me yesterday

I didn’t remember your number. Fill out this form. It was too long.


Why didn’t you fill out this form ? Because it was too long. Fire her. She needs the job.


Why didn’t you fire her ?  Stopin to say hallo. We were busy all day.








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