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wenden and sich wenden

In our recent newsletters about giving directions and driving, one verb that hasn't come up yet is wenden. This verb and its reflexive form sich wenden an have different meanings and a multitude of possible translations. 


The verb abbiegen means "to turn," for example when you are in a car and have to turn left. But when it comes to turning the car around completely, you would often use the verb wenden. It signifies a turnaround, reversal, or shift.


Filmpferde müssen viel können: steigen, sich verbeugen, blitzschnell wenden oder todesmutig vor ein Motorrad galoppieren.

Film horses have to be able to do lots of things: rear up, bow down, turn lightning fast or gallop undaunted by death in front of a motorcycle.

Captions 1-2, Für Tierfreunde: Pferde beim Film

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It also comes in handy when you talk about turning something over, like flipping a pancake or, in this case, a sausage: 


Ein anderes Highlight in Walter Günthers Werkstatt: ein Grillrost, der die Würstchen automatisch wendet.

Another highlight in Walter Günther's workshop: a grill that automatically turns sausages.

Captions 24-25, Erfinder: Nie erfundene Erfindungen

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This may have already occurred to you, but the noun die Wende is indeed related. It is used to talk about the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and subsequent changes after 1989. 


Warum nennt man die Zeit im Herbst neunzehnhundertneunundachtzig in der DDR die Wende?

Why do you call the time in the fall of nineteen hundred eighty-nine in the GDR "the turnaround" ?

Captions 10-11, Bundesrepublik: Deutschland Einbürgerungstest

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The noun can generally be used to describe a "turn of events," like in this caption: 


Während die Männer ihren Doppelsieg feiern, nimmt das Damenrennen eine dramatische Wende!

While the men are celebrating their double win, the lady's race takes a dramatic turn!

Captions 58-59, Knallharte Sportler: Ironman in Frankfurt

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Now let's look at sich wenden an, which has a more figurative meaning of "turning to" someone:

Autofahrer, die am Unfallmeldedienst teilnehmen wollen, können sich dafür an ihren Autoversicherer wenden.

Drivers who want to participate in the accident reporting service can contact their auto insurance company to do so.

Captions 45-56, Sicherheit im Straßenverkehr: Versicherer entwickeln automatischen Notruf für alle Autos

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Du kannst dich natürlich auch direkt an mich wenden.

You can also, of course, reach out to me directly.

Caption 60, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

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Further Learning
Look at the placement and integration of sich wenden an in sentences on Yabla German and try to construct your own sentences. 

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