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Key Words and Phrases from Chancellor Merkel's Speech, Part 2

Last week, we offered you Part 1 of the vocabulary in Chancellor Merkel's televised speech about COVID-19, and today we're giving you the second and last part. It's pretty rare that a German chancellor appeals directly to the nation on television like this, and we think her message has many aspects that are valid for everyone during this crisis, regardless of where you live. You may not hear some of the words she uses in everyday casual speech, however, so it's important that you focus on some key words to effectively extend your German vocabulary.


Ich möchte Ihnen erklären,

I would like to explain to you

wo wir aktuell stehen in der Epidemie,

where we currently stand with the epidemic

was die Bundesregierung und die staatlichen Ebenen tun,

and what is being done at the Federal Government and state levels

um alle in unsrer Gemeinschaft zu schützen

to protect everyone in our community

und den ökonomischen, sozialen, kulturellen Schaden zu begrenzen.

and limit the economic, social, and cultural damage.

Captions 29-33, Coronavirus - Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Die Ebene has three distinct definitions in the German Duden dictionary: the first is an area of flat land, the second a geometry or physics term usually translated as "plane" in English, and the third definition is the one used here, "level." Der Schaden means "the damage". This is easy to remember as it correlates to a German adjective you are probably already familiar with: schade ("too bad"). 


Zeit, damit die Forschung ein Medikament und einen Impfstoff entwickeln kann.

Time, so that researchers can develop a drug and a vaccine.

Caption 49, Coronavirus - Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Aber noch gibt es weder eine Therapie gegen das Coronavirus

But there is still neither a treatment for the coronavirus

noch einen Impfstoff.

nor a vaccine.

Captions 43-44, Coronavirus - Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Hopefully for all of our sakes this situation will change soon, but in the meantime der Impfstoff ("the vaccine") is an important word to know.


Wir müssen das Risiko, dass der eine den anderen ansteckt, so begrenzen,

We must limit the risk of one person infecting another

wie wir nur können.

as much as we can.

Captions 22-23, Coronavirus - Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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The German verb anstecken means "to infect" and is a separable verb that takes a direct object. The less we have to do with any anstecken, the better!


Die verschärften Grenzkontrollen und Einreisebeschränkungen

The tightened border controls and entry restrictions

zu einigen unserer wichtigsten Nachbarländer in Kraft.

on some of our most important neighboring countries have been in force.

Captions 42-43, Coronavirus - Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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The 6-syllable noun die Einreisebeschränkung, or the "travel entry restriction", has been used often in the last few years as part of the ongoing debate about emigration, since the level of such restrictions determines who is allowed or forbidden entry to a country.


Alle staatlichen Maßnahmen gingen ins Leere,

All government measures would come to nothing

wenn wir nicht das wirksamste Mittel

if we didn't employ the most effective means

gegen die zu schnelle Ausbreitung des Virus einsetzen würden.

of keeping the virus from spreading too quickly.

Captions 9-11, Coronavirus - Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 3

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The noun die Ausbreitung may also be translated into English variously as "propagation", "dissemination", or "distribution", depending upon the context.


Further Learning
Watch the Chancellor's speech on Yabla German and listen for these key words and phrases. The city of Berlin website has set up a news feed under Nachrichten with updates on the crisis in German and in English. Try reading an article in German, such as their recommendations of what is allowed during the Easter Holiday, then check your comprehension by going to the top right-hand corner of the page and choosing the English version of the article. Best wishes from Yabla to you and your family during these times of crisis.

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