German Lessons

Topics

Using wohl

This week, we'll take a look at the word wohl and its different usages in German. 

 

The word wohl by itself is used to create a tone of assumption or affirmation in a sentence, meaning "indeed," "likely," "probably," or "apparently." Understanding the exact level of certainty or affirmation involved will require looking at the verb tenses and other context clues in the sentence. 

 

Und das wird wohl auch erst mal so bleiben.
And it will first also likely stay like that.
Caption 19, Andreas Bourani: Startet durch

 

Am Ende hat es dann doch wohl gepasst.
In the end, it did indeed fit well.
Caption 65, Clueso: ist endlich erwachsen

 

Relatedly, the phrase jawohl means "yes, indeed":

 

Ich finde, hier ist es besser. Jawohl!
I think it's better here. Indeed!
Caption 23, Pettersson und Findus: Pettersson zeltet

 

At the same time, the word wohl also refers to well-being. We often see the verb sich wohlfühlen, which means to feel "well," "happy," or "comfortable." 

 

Die Rote Meerbarbe fühlt sich seitdem in der Nordsee wohl.
The red mullet since then, has felt just fine in the North Sea.
Caption 22-23, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

 

Alle fühlen sich hier wohl, ist aber nicht ganz meine Musik.
Everyone's feeling comfortable here, but it's not really my type of music.
Caption 38, Deutsche Sporthilfe: Ball des Sports

 

As you may have guessed, this meaning of wohl relates to the phrase zum Wohl, which is often used in toasts. 

 

Wenn wir anstoßen, sagen wir „zum Wohl“ oder einfach nur „prost“.
When we clink glasses, we say "to health!" or simply just "cheers!"
Caption 18, Tisch decken: mit Eva

 

Further Learning
Look for more examples with the word wohl on Yabla German and see if you can integrate it into a sentence the next time you converse or write sentences in German. What do you think the words das Wohlfühlhotel, der Wohlfühleffekt, die Wohlfühloase, der Wohlfühlort or der Wohlfühlanzug might mean?

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Reflexive or not?

Reflexive verbs have a substantial presence in the German language. There are quite a few verbs that are not reflexive in English, but always reflexive in German, for example, sich beeilen ("to hurry"). It is important to know which verbs require a reflexive pronoun in German, but also that certain verbs may sometimes be reflexive and sometimes not, which then affects their meaning. 

 

For example, sich umziehen means "to change clothes," while umziehen means "to move":

 

Dann würde ich sagen, gehe ich mich mal umziehen. Hast du Klamotten für mich?
Then, I'd say, I'll go and change. Do you have some clothes for me?
Caption 13, Ultimate Frisbee: Oli erklärt das Spiel

 

In wenigen Wochen werden Kato, Scratch und Lina ganz in den Zoo Neuwied umziehen.
In a few weeks, Kato, Scratch and Lina will move full-time into the Neuwied Zoo.
Caption 38, Wie süß: Drei Löwen im Wohnzimmer

 

Similarly, sich hinlegen means "to lie down" in the sense of going to bed, but hinlegen simply means "to set down" or "to put down." 

 

Ich muss mich beeilen, damit ich mich bald hinlegen kann.
I have to hurry so that I can go to bed soon.
Caption 68, Bewerbung: das Vorstellungsgespräch

 

Hm, ich weiß genau, dass ich die Schwimmer hier irgendwo hingelegt habe.
Hm, I know for sure that I put the floats down here somewhere.
Caption 10, Pettersson und Findus: Pettersson zeltet

 

Vorstellen means "to present," whereas sich vorstellen can mean either "to introduce oneself" (with the accusative pronoun) or "to imagine" (with the dative pronoun). 

 

Hallo, heute werde ich dir die Schultern, die Arme und die Hände vorstellen.
Hello, today I'll present the shoulders, the arms and the hands.
Caption 2, Der menschliche Körper: die Arme

 

Ich könnte mir gar kein Leben ohne Kinder vorstellen.
I couldn't imagine a life without children at all.
Caption 15, Cettina interviewt: Mütter

 

Könnten Sie sich uns kurz vorstellen und beschreiben, was Sie hier machen?
Could you quickly introduce yourself to us and describe what you do here?
Caption 6, Feuerwehr Heidelberg: Löschfahrzeug

 

Further Learning
Take a look at this helpful table and see if you can find some of the verbs on Yabla German.

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Types of Rain

After some very pleasant summer weather, the last week has been very rainy in Germany. Like English, German has many words and expressions to describe different types of rain. Let's take a look at some examples from Yabla German

 

In Berlin, we most often only have vereinzelte Schauer (what we refer to in English as "scattered showers"), but in other parts of the country flooding can become a real problem: 

 

Heutiger Hochwasserstand: wieder mindestens zehn Zentimeter.
Today's flood water level: at least ten centimeters again.
Caption 44, Die Klasse: Berlin '61 

 

Even when it isn't dangerous, rain can create a lot of complications: 

 

Der Dauerregen drückte zwar nicht auf die Stimmung...
The constant rain didn't dampen the mood...
Caption 7, FC Bayern München: Triple-Feier im Dauerregen

 

The Piggeldy and Frederick cartoon linked below has quite an exhaustive list of types of rain: 

 

Es gibt Platzregen, Dauerregen, Sprühregen, Nieselregen, Eisregen, Landregen, GewitterregenSommerregen, Winterregen und Bindfadenregen.
There are cloudburstsconstant rain, misty raindrizzle, freezing rain, steady rain, thundershowerssummer rain, winter rain and pouring rain.
Caption 10-12, Piggeldy und Frederick: Regen

 

One other word to know is der Niederschlag ("precipitation") which is often used in weather reports:

 

Von Westen her kommen dann wieder Tiefausläufer, die dann eben auch Niederschlag mit sich bringen können.
Low-pressure areas are then coming from the west again, which can also then bring precipitation with them.
Caption 22-23, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell: Der Frühling ist da 

 

Further Learning
What kinds of rain are common where you live? Try to find the equivalent in German. For a challenge, watch this weather report for last week from der Spiegel.

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Verschwenden and Verschwinden

Every language has words that sound similar and are easy to mix up for non-native speakers, so this week we will look at the verbs verschwinden ("to disappear") and verschwenden ("to waste"). 

 

Wieso verschwinden sie?
Why are they disappearing?
Caption 8, Abgedreht: Heinrich und der Tassendieb

 

Ich mag es nicht, Lebensmittel zu verschwenden.
I do not like to waste food.
Caption 50, Werbung gegen Realität: Kunstprojekt Fertigprodukte

 

The past participles of the verbs are also important to memorize. The past participle of verschwinden is verschwunden, and the past tense uses the auxiliary verb sein rather than haben:

 

Heute sind sie nahezu verschwunden.
Today, they have almost disappeared.
Caption 22, Flipperautomaten: Kunstwerke für flinke Kugeln

 

Verschwendet, which is the past participle of verschwenden, requires the auxiliary verb haben. However, it is often also used as an adjective and there is also the noun die Verschwendung.

 

Diese Zeit des Suchens ist so eine Zeit, die ich verschwendet finde.
This time spent looking for things is a time that I find to be wasted.
Caption 18, Tapetenwechsel: Barbara Becker mag es aufgeräumt

 

„Welch eine Verschwendung von Gelb!", sagte Piggeldy.
"What a waste of yellow!" said Piggeldy.
Caption 36, Piggeldy und Frederick: Gelb

 

Further Learning

 

Create your own devices to make sure you don't confuse the words (For example, you can remember that verschwinden and "disappear" both have an "i" in them) or their past participles. And you can always look for additional examples on Yabla German.

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Das Perfekt with sein

The German present perfect tense is mostly used in cases where we would use the simple past tense in English, although sometimes it has the same meaning in both languages. You likely know that it is most often formed with the auxiliary verb haben and the past participle of the main verb:

 

Und wir haben über die Themen Iran und auch den Nahen Osten gesprochen.
And we spoke about the topic of Iran and also the Middle East.
Caption 58, Angela Merkel: Gemeinsame Pressekonferenz mit Barack Obama

 

However, with many verbs that either express movement or a change of state, a conjugation of sein is used as the auxiliary verb rather than haben

 

Für zwei Wochen bin ich durchs Land gereist.
For two weeks, I traveled across the country.
Caption 20, Grete: eine Freiwillige in Israel 

 

Ich bin nach Berlin gekommen, um ein Praktikum zu machen am Theater.
I came to Berlin to do an internship at the theater.
Caption 21, Fine: sucht eine Wohnung

 

Hier ist auch alles gut, aber da ist etwas Komisches passiert.
Everything is also fine here, but something strange has happened.
Caption 44, Das Lügenbüro: Die Bewerbung

 

Um dreizehn Uhr dreißig... die Beatles sind aufgewacht... etwas früher als zu Hause.
At one-thirty p.m., the Beatles woke up... somewhat earlier than at home.
Caption 11, Die Beatles: in Deutschland

 

What is quite tricky is that some verbs can be used with either sein or haben depending on the context, and may take on different meanings. The second sentence below implies that the person didn't just fly in a plane as a passenger, but was at the controls themselves.

 

Wir sind zum Mond geflogen
We flew to the moon
Caption 2, Christina Stürmer: Seite an Seite

 

Hat vieles selber gebaut, was er geflogen hat.
He built a lot of that which he flew himself.
Caption 54, Lokalhelden: Mini-Aeroplane

 

Further Learning

Learn the definitions and past participles of the following verbs, which also take sein rather than haben in the present perfect: gehen, laufen, einschlafenrennen, joggen, wandern, klettern, fallensteigen, fahrenreiten, umziehen, fliehen, gleiten, springen, kriechen, aufstehen, sinken, schleichen, eintreten, schwimmenrutschen. Once you learn the past participles, search for them on Yabla German to see them used with the auxiliary verb sein in context.

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Der Imperativ

The German imperative mood, or command form, can be very difficult or very easy depending on whom you are addressing. This week, we'll look at some various examples from Yabla German to highlight what you'll need to keep in mind. 

 

For a person or group of people that you would address as Sie, the command form is quite easy. You will simply say the root of the verb with -en added (in most cases this will be identical to the infinitive) followed by Sie:

 

Nehmen Sie bitte Platz, Frau Sonntag.
Please have a seat, Ms. Sonntag.
Caption 35, Das Lügenbüro: Die Bewerbung

 

Bitte, seien Sie jetzt ganz still.
Please, be completely silent now.
Caption 60, Magie: Die Zaubershow

 

For a group of people you would address as ihr, you will simply use the present tense conjugation. The subject ihr, however, is no longer included in the sentence. 

 

Gebt mir die schönen Sätze. Jacob beginnt.
Give me your nice sentences. Jacob will begin.
Caption 20, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Relativsätze mit Präpositionen

 

The most difficult imperative sentences to form are those for people you would refer to as du, because there are several different patterns they can follow depending on the characteristics of the verb. For weak verbs, the form will be the verb's stem, although an  "e" is added to the end with certain consonants. For strong verbs, the imperative will take into account any changes to the root that occur. In any case, du does not usually appear in the sentence. 

 

Atme ganz tief ein
Breathe in very deeply
Caption 43, Christina Stürmer: Wir leben den Moment

 

Aber schau mal hier.
But look here.
Caption 23, Bubble Beatz: Supertalente vom Schrottplatz

 

Vergiss es! Das wird nicht passieren.“
"Forget it! It won't happen."
Caption 74, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Hans mein Igel 

 

Sei ruhig, Findus, ich bin ja noch gar nicht aufgestanden.
Be quiet, Findus, I indeed haven't gotten up yet at all.
Caption 13, Pettersson und Findus: Eine Geburtstagstorte für die Katze

 

Komm, bleib kurz stehen, nimm meine Hand
Come, stand still for a brief moment, take my hand
Caption 5, Michelle: Paris

 

Further Learning

 

For more information on the du imperative, look at this website or this website. If you wish to make flashcards, use the second column of the table on this page, which shows the du imperative for a number of common strong verbs. 

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Bodies of Water

It has been a somewhat temperamental summer in Germany, but there have certainly already been a number of hot days. Germans flock to rivers, pools, and lakes to swim, not to mention the North Sea and the Baltic Sea! Let's look at the German words for various bodies of water.

 

Der See ist fast einhundertneunzig Meter tief.
The lake is almost one hundred ninety meters deep.
Caption 5, Alpenseen: Kühle Schönheiten

 

Achtung: Der See means "the lake," but die See means "the sea." Das Meer is also a common word for "the sea." 

 

Fünf kleine Pinguine schwimmen durch das Meer.
Five little penguins are swimming through the sea.
Caption 22, Kinderlieder zum Mitsingen: Fünf Pinguine

 

Like in English, an ocean differs from a sea:

 

Mein Goldfisch, der heißt Friedolin und wohnt im Ozean.
My goldfish, he's called Friedolin and lives in the ocean.
Caption 25, Pänke: Friedolin

 

There are some rivers in Germany that are approved for swimming, but if not you can always go to a swimming pool. In the summer, outdoor pools (Freibäder) are particularly popular. 

 

Der Neckar ist ein Fluss, der durch Tübingen fließt.
The Neckar is a river that flows through Tübingen.
Caption 16, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Der Relativsatz

 

Das ist quasi so ein offener Bereich mit einem Schwimmbad.
That is, so to speak, an open area with a swimming pool.
Caption 25, Reisen: Dalís Haus

 

Ponds and streams are not as popular for swimming, but we'll include them for the sake of vocabulary expansion!

 

Es war der Teich und am Rand stand die violette Blume.
It was the pond and at the edge stood the violet flower.
Caption 51, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Jorinde und Joringel

 

Bald ist der Bach überschwemmt mit Eiern.
Soon the stream is inundated with eggs.
Caption 25, Alpenseen: Kühle Schönheiten

 

Further Learning

 

Make sure you have memorized the gender of these vocabulary words. What do you think are the genders of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea? You can also start learning the German names for famous bodies of water. Can you guess what das Mittelmeer and das Rote Meer are? Look them up on Yabla German!

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Taking a Break

Ich fahre heute in Urlaub und zeige euch, was ich alles mitnehmen werde.
I'm going on vacation today and I'll show you everything that I'm taking with me.
Caption 2, Christiane: fährt in den Urlaub

 

Did you know that the summer vacation for some federal states in Germany is only beginning now? In many states, it doesn't start until mid-July. This break is called die Sommerferien. This is an exciting time because many people plan their Urlaub. Der Urlaub also means vacation, but implies travel. Look at the last example of this newsletter for clarification on the difference between der Urlaub and die Ferien

 

Of course, in order to take a vacation, you have to have time off work. In German, the expression for this is frei haben.

 

Timo Uetz hat frei und verdient schon sein eigenes Geld.
Timo Uetz is off work and is already earning his own money.
Caption 72, Deutsche Welle: Lieber Ausbildung als Studium

 

Sobald ich mal frei habe, könnten wir vielleicht alle zusammen essen gehen. -OK.
As soon as I have a free day we could all go out to eat together. -OK.
Caption 30-31, Eva erklärt: temporale Konnektoren

 

Some people don't get time off, and have to make do with taking short breaks at work. The phrase for this is eine Pause machen.

 

Na gut. Wir können ja eine kurze Pause machen.
Well, OK. We can indeed take a short break.
Caption 17, JoNaLu: Ein Tag am Meer

 

When the evenings are long and the weather is nice, der Feierabend is particularly enjoyable. This word has no direct equivalent in English, but it basically describes the leisure time after the work day is over. 

 

Hast du wieder 'nen Zahnarzttermin? -Ich mach' Feierabend.
Do you have another dentist appointment? -I'm stopping work for the day.
Caption 21, Mama arbeitet wieder - Kapitel 3: Papa ist weg

 

Timo Uetz hat endlich Feierabend.
For Timo Uetz, it's finally the end of the work day.
Caption 60, Deutsche Welle: Lieber Ausbildung als Studium

 

Further Learning

 

Make sure you have memorized the gender of der Urlaub and die Ferien, and look for more implementations of the expressions frei haben, Pause machen, Feierabend machen and Feierabend haben on Yabla German

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Mahlzeit!

Zu Beginn der Mahlzeit sagen wir „guten Appetit“.
At the beginning of the meal we say "Enjoy your meal."
Caption 19, Tisch decken: mit Eva

 

Die Mahlzeit is the German word for "meal." This week, we'll look at the details of the verbs and nouns used to indicate different meals, and a few relevant phrases. 

 

You likely already know the nouns das Frühstück, das Mittagessen, and das Abendessen. Remember that frühstucken as a verb is not separable, whereas the verbs mittagessen and abendessen are. 

 

Jetzt frühstücken wir erst mal.
Now, we'll eat breakfast first.
Caption 31, Pettersson und Findus: Aufruhr im Gemüsebeet

 

Und dann essen wir zusammen mittag.
And then we'll eat lunch together.
Caption 44, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Relativsätze mit Präpositionen

 

Another important word to know is das Abendbrot, which is used quite often instead of das Abendessen, particularly when describing a light or cold supper:

 

Nach einer entspannten Fahrt steht das Abendessen an.        
After a relaxing ride, dinner is next on the agenda.
Caption 26, Vollmondfahrt: Rhätische Bahn

 

Er machte ein heißes Feuer im Ofen für den guten Fisch zum Abendbrot.    
He made a hot fire in the oven for the good fish for supper.
Caption 36, Janoschs Traumstunde: Post für den Tiger

 

The phrase essen gehen is similar to ins Restaurant gehen

 

Wird dann auch gemeinsam gekocht oder gehen Sie essen?
Do you then also cook together or go out to eat?
Caption 39, Weihnachtsinterviews: Diane in Karlsruhe 

 

If you are lucky enough to hear the phrase Ich lade dich ein, be happy. It is not just an invitation to go out to eat together, it means that someone wants to pay for your meal!

 

Ich hab' ihr ja schon hundertmal gesagt, sie soll ihn endlich mal zum Eisessen einladen.
I told her already a hundred times she should just invite him to eat an ice cream.
Caption 53, Die Pfefferkörner: Eigentor

 

Further Learning
Scroll down on these webpages to take a look at these thorough lists of the conjugations of the verbs frühstückenmittagessen, and abendessen from Duden.

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The verb schaffen

Every language has certain words that are used often in everyday life, to the extent that they may seem to shape the language and the culture. One such word in German, with a myriad of implementations, would have to be the verb schaffen.

 

The verb schaffen can mean "to do," "to manage," "to achieve," "to cope with," or "to successfully complete something," to "make it" or "make it work."

 

Oh, aber das schaffst du doch auch alleine!
Oh, but you'll manage it alone after all!
Caption 64, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

 

However, it can also mean "to create," "to make," or "to bring something into being."

 

Es ging eigentlich darum, Wohnraum zu schaffen in der Stadt.
It was actually about creating living spaces in the city.
Caption 20, Umweltbewusstes Wohnen: Architekturpreis „Green Building“

 

There is one thing to watch out for with the verb schaffen, and this is that the two meanings are reflected with two different participles when it is used in the past tense. Here we see the past participle for the first definition:

 

Juhu, dann haben wir's geschafft!
Yahoo, then we've done it!
Caption 41, Deutschkurs in Tübingen: Weil oder obwohl

 

Damit hat man also den ersten Schritt im Bewerbungsverfahren geschafft.    
With that, you have succeeded with the first step in the application process.
Caption 42, Eva erklärt: Bewerbungen

 

Whereas geschafft would refer to something being successfully done or achieved, geschaffen refers to creation:

 

Hier, mitten im Zentrum von Berlin, haben sich BMX-Fahrer und Mountainbiker ihr Eldorado geschaffen.
Here, in the center of Berlin, BMX riders and mountain bikers have created their El Dorado.
Caption 4-5, Pumptrack: Radfahren, ohne zu treten

 

Mit Höckern und Bänken sollen Verschnaufmöglichkeiten für Senioren geschaffen werden.
With stools and benches, places for seniors to rest and catch their breath will be created.
Caption 45-46, Bespielbare Stadt: Griesheim

 

Further Learning
Here is a list of the conjugations of schaffen, including the preterite schaffte and schuf. See which of these conjugations you can find in use on Yabla German!

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Advantage or Disadvantage?

In English, we talk about events or circumstances having "advantages" or "disadvantages," or the "pros and cons" of a situation. Let's take a look at the vocabulary used to express these qualities in German.

 

Der Vorteil can be translated as "the advantage" or "the benefit":

 

Vorteil: Schließt man den Schirm, ist die nasse Seite innen.
Advantage: If you close the umbrella, the wet side is on the inside.
Caption 9, Erfindung aus Japan: Der verkehrte Regenschirm

 

Der Nachteil can be translated as "the disadvantage" or "the drawback": 

 

Die Musik ist manchmal ein bisschen zu laut. Das ist der Nachteil.
The music is sometimes a little too loud. That is the drawback.
Captions 52-53, Rockfabrik-Open-Air: Love Street Interview

 

Here we can see the plural forms of both of these words:

 

Das hat viele Vorteile, aber auch Nachteile, gesteht der Sänger im Interview.
That has many advantages, but also disadvantages, the singer admits in the interview.
Caption 9, Andreas Bourani: Startet durch

 

To say that something is "advantageous" or "beneficial," we can use the German adjective vorteilhaft. The opposite of that would be nachteilig or unvorteilhaft. We can also create an adjective by including the word von before the noun:

 

Und es wäre dann schon von Vorteil zu sagen: OK, ich kann die Vorlesung halt eben auch daheim anschauen.
And it would then be advantageous to say: OK, I can also just watch the lecture at home.
Captions 25-26, KIT, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie - Umfrage: Was bedeutet barrierefrei?

 

Further Learning
After you've looked at these examples on Yabla German, try to figure out the meaning of these additional phrases and sentences:

 

beiderseitiger Vorteil 
finanzieller Vorteil 

erheblicher Nachteil
Es gibt sowohl Vor- als auch Nachteile.
Die Vorteile überwiegen die Nachteile.

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The Good Old Days

When we describe events in the past, we often use temporal adverbs to give a more specific sense of what exact time period we are talking about. Are we talking about events of yesterday or something that happened thirty years ago? In the German language, both the present perfect and the preterite tenses indicate a finished action or state, but more information is often required for clarity's sake.

 

Generally, when we see in der Vergangenheit ("in the past") we know that it is not a matter of something that occurred in the recent past, but rather a long time ago.

 

Aus meiner Sicht: Ich fühle mich nicht schuldig für das, was in der Vergangenheit geschehen ist.
From my point of view, I don't feel guilty for that which happened in the past.
Caption 10, Konstantin: ein Freiwilliger in Israel

 

We can also use damals and früher to indicate that something happened in the past. Both of these temporal adverbs indicate an action or state that has been concluded for a while. They can be translated as "back then" or "previously." 

 

Früher haben hier die amerikanischen Soldaten gewohnt.
Previously, American soldiers lived here.
Caption 6, Berlin: der alte amerikanische Sektor

 

Damals schwor ich mir, dass mir das nicht wieder passieren sollte.
Back then, I swore that something like that wouldn't happen to me again.
Caption 49, TEDx: Der Supermarkt der Zukunft

 

Internet? Was ist das? Das kannten wir damals gar nicht.
Internet? What is that? We didn't know that at all back then.
Caption 35, Mittelalterlicher Markt: Mäuseroulette

 

Sometimes, we want to emphasize that a state was constant or an action was repeated multiple times in the past. For this, we often use the phrase "used to" in English. Below, you can see how the word früher can function in a similar way in various contexts:

 

Weißt du noch, wie's früher war?
Do you still remember how it used to be?
Caption 8, Christina Stürmer: Wir leben den Moment

 

Und du tanzt nicht mehr wie früher.
And you don't dance like you used to anymore.
Caption 4, AnnenMayKantereit: 21, 22, 23

 

Ich ging früher im Urlaub immer reiten.
I used to always go horseback riding during vacation.
Caption 16, Konjugation: Das Verb „gehen“

 

Further Learning
You can search for more examples with früher and damals on Yabla German or take a look at this website for a more extensive list of different types of adverbs. 

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Relationship words - Romantic relationships

This week, we will look at words for indicating various types of romantic relationships. 

 

First, let’s start off with marriage (die Ehe). Often, a person will refer to their husband simply as mein Mann or their wife as meine Frau. There are, however, more formal terms that you also might hear, in particular der Ehemann / die Ehefrau and der Gatte / die Gattin.

 

Und so lernte die Prinzessin ihren Ehemann kennen.
And this is how the Princess made her husband's acquaintance.
Caption 35, Märchen - Sagenhaft: König Drosselbart

 

Herr Blöhmann, helfen Sie Ihrer Gattin gelegentlich?
Mr. Blöhmann, do you occasionally help your spouse?
Caption 55, Loriot: Die Eheberatung

 

For long-term relationships where the marriage aspect is not necessarily relevant, there are a few words to know as well: der Lebensgefährte / die Lebensgefährtin and der Lebenspartner / die Lebenspartnerin

 

Ich bin Corrys Geschäftspartner. -Aha. Und ich bin Corinnas Lebenspartner.
I am Corry's business partner. -Uh-huh. And I am Corinna's life partner.
Caption 49, Mama arbeitet wieder: Kompromisse zu finden ist nicht einfach

 

So far, most of the words have had an -in ending for the feminine versions. Note that this is different with der Verlobte ("the fiancé") and die Verlobte ("the fiancée"), as only the article changes. You may remember that this is similar for der Bekannte and die Bekannte ("the acquaintance").

 

As noted last week, der Freund / die Freundin can either refer to a friend or a girlfriend or boyfriend. It is necessary to notice the context in which the word is being used. 

 

Ich würde mir wünschen, dass ich mit meinem Freund verheiratet wäre.
I hope that my boyfriend and I will be married.
Caption 56, Bewerbung: das Vorstellungsgespräch

 

Further Learning
If you missed last week's lesson on platonic relationships, you can look at it and other past lessons here. Memorize the vocabulary words from both lessons using flashcards, and practice constructing sentences with those that are most relevant for you.

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Relationship words - Platonic relationships

For the next two lessons, we’ll look at vocabulary for expressing different types of relationships in German. This week, let’s take a look at platonic relationships.

 

In professional settings, we often hear der Kollege / die Kollegin. This means “the colleague” or “the co-worker.”

 

Das ist der Kollege, der zusammen mit Jannik Sternberg auf dem Gerüst gearbeitet hat.
That is the colleague who was working with Jannik Sternberg on the scaffolding.
Caption 41, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

 

For young people who attend school together rather than work together, der Klassenkamerad / die Klassenkameradin is a term that means “classmate.” In university settings, der Kommilitone / die Kommilitonin is a common word for referring to one’s fellow students. 

 

Ich hab' zusammen mit meiner ehemaligen Klassenkameradin einen Abiturientenlehrgang besucht.
Together with a former classmate of mine, I visited a high school graduate seminar.
Caption 8-9, Die Klasse: Berlin '61

 

You may already know that der Bekannte / die Bekannte indicates an acquaintance, whereas der Freund / die Freundin means “friend” or in some cases even “boyfriend”/“girlfriend.” In this case, the context becomes very important. 

 

Und dann laden wir viele Bekannte und Freunde ein.
And then we invite a lot of acquaintances and friends.
Caption 18, Mode: mit Niklas

 

To indicate a close relationship, enger Freund / enge Freundin (“close friend”) and guter Freund / gute Freundin (“good friend”) may be used. Men might also refer to a close friend as der Kumpel, which is more like “buddy” or “mate.”

 

Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, ebenfalls Oberst im Bendlerblock, ist enger Freund und Mitverschwörer.
Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, also a colonel in the Bendler Block, is a close friend and co-conspirator.
Caption 4-6, Die Stunde der Offiziere: Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

 

Dann hat mein Kumpel gesagt: „Na, vielleicht wollten wir doch abhauen.“
Then my buddy said: “Well, but perhaps we indeed wanted to take off.“
Caption 9, 25 Jahre Mauerfall: Radtour durch die Geschichte

 

Further Learning
We’ll be back next week with vocabulary for various types of romantic relationships. In the meantime, you can learn the plural versions of these words (masculine and feminine), look for other examples on Yabla German, and practice any of the vocabulary above.

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Von großer Bedeutung

If you take a German class, you likely know the verb bedeuten from the question Was bedeutet X? This can be translated as "What does X mean?" The noun die Bedeutung, often translated as "the meaning," is used in two different contexts that you will come across on Yabla German.

 

Die Bedeutung often can be translated as "the meaning," as in "the definition."

 

Versteht ihr die Bedeutung?
Do you understand the meaning
Caption 74, Deutschkurs in Tübingen: Weil oder obwohl

 

Die richtige Bedeutung werde ich euch natürlich im Anschluss verraten.
I will, of course, reveal the correct meaning to you afterwards.
Caption 16, Eva erklärt: Sprichwörter

 

However, it also just as often can be translated as "the meaning," as in "the importance" or "the significance."

 

Von internationaler Bedeutung war und ist das Wiener Musikleben.
Viennese musical life was and is of international importance.
Caption 15, Reisebericht: Wien

 

Die Biodiversität ist etwas, was in ihrer [sic, seiner] Bedeutung unglaublich unterschätzt wird.
Biodiversity is something which is being unbelievably underestimated in its importance.
Caption 14, Angela Merkel: beim Nachhaltigkeitsrat

 

Hat der Tag eine besondere Bedeutung für Sie?
Does the day have a special meaning for you?
Caption 40, Valentinstag: in Karlsruhe

 

Further Learning
Look at other examples of die Bedeutung used on Yabla German. Identify the context in which they are being used  and notice how the word is structurally integrated into each sentence. 

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Rightfully so!

If you ever go shopping in a German-speaking country, you will likely be surprised at the extent to which the sales personnel will leave you alone. However, there is one question you will often hear, which is Kommen Sie zurecht? The words das Recht and recht are used in a variety of contexts in German, so let’s take a look at some of these with the help of examples from Yabla videos. 

 

1. You may know the noun das Recht from legal or political contexts. It means not only "the law," but also "the legal right."

 

Hier in Deutschland zum Beispiel ist es vielleicht schon selbstverständlich, dass jedes Kind Recht auf Bildung hat.
Here in Germany, for example, it may already be a given that every child has a right to education.
Caption 62-63, Rat für nachhaltige Entwicklung: Mode gegen Armut

 

2. The phrase recht haben, however, simply means "to be right" in German. 

 

Du hast recht“, hustete Frederick, „diesen Weg gehen wir nie wieder.“
"You're right," coughed Frederick, "we will never go this way again."
Caption 19, Piggeldy und Frederick: Wanderdüne

 

3. The word recht is used as an adverb meaning "quite" or "rather" in order to add emphasis.

Aber im Vergleich zum gesamten Universum ist unser Sonnensystem noch recht jugendlich.
But in comparison to the entire universe, our Solar System is still quite youthful.
Caption 30-31, Zeit: Die Vergangenheit und Zukunft von allem

 

4. The phrase zu Recht means "rightly" or "deservedly."

Wahrscheinlich kommt sie vors Jugendgericht. -Zu Recht.
She will probably appear in juvenile court. -Deservedly.
Caption 33, Die Pfefferkörner: Cybermobbing

 

5. Finally, let's take a quick look at the verb mentioned at the top. Zurechtkommen is a separable verb that means “to get along,” “to get by,” or “to cope.” The verb zurechtfinden is similar, but is also used in terms of orientation, as in “to find one’s way.”

 

Die Ex von Fußball-Legende Lothar "Loddar" Matthäus kommt offenbar auch alleine ganz gut zurecht.
The ex of football legend Lothar "Loddar" Matthäus apparently is also getting along really well on her own.
Caption 2-3, Im Höhenflug: Ariadne (die Ex von Lothar Matthäus)

 

Asylbewerber sollen sich ja ganz schnell im Alltag zurechtfinden.
Asylum seekers, indeed, need to very quickly find their way in daily life.
Caption 16, Flüchtlingskrise: Deutschkurse für Flüchtlinge

 

Further Learning
Look at the examples provided from Yabla German and make sure you understand the different structures in terms of spaces and capitalization (Here is some help from Duden). Practice conjugating zurechtfinden and zurechtkommen in both main and subordinate clauses. 

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Using während

The German word während means "during" or "while." If you have learned this word, you likely also learned that it is a preposition used with the genitive case. In fact, this is not always the case. But there are two common structures for the implementation of this word, so let's look at some examples.

 

The genitive case is required when während is used with a noun that expresses a period of time. 

 

Und wie ist das passiert? Während des Trainings?
And how did it happen? During the training?
Caption 33, Jenny und Alena: Handball

 

Während der vierzigtägigen Fastenzeit durften sie nur eingeschränkt essen.
During the forty-day fasting period, they were only allowed to eat limited amounts.
Caption 18, Deutsches Bier: 500 Jahre Reinheitsgebot

 

However, there are instances where it is correct to use the dative (See the link provided in "Further Learning"). Moreover, it is not uncommon to also hear the dative case used with während in colloquial spoken German. The dative case may be used with nominalized verbs, for example: 

 

Und jetzt geb' ich während dem Rühren nach und nach die Eier mit dazu.
And now I'll gradually add the eggs while stirring.
Caption 14, Sallys Tortenwelt und Kochwelt: Apfelkuchen mit Marzipan und Mandelsplittern

 

Während is also implemented as a subordinating conjunction that connects a subordinate clause to a main clause. In this case, remember that the conjugated verb will be at the end of the subordinate clause.

 

Während ich weg bin, musst du das Haus fegen, Feuerholz hacken und den Kessel mit Wasser füllen!
While I am away, you must sweep the house, cut firewood and fill the kettle with water!
Caption 22-23, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Der Zauberlehrling

 

So, während ich die Tafel putze, überlegt euch mal Verben mit Präpositionen.
So while I clean the blackboard, think about verbs with prepositions.
Caption 5, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Relativsätze mit Präpositionen

 

Danach sterben sie, während überall sonst endgültig der Bergfrühling einzieht.
Afterwards they die, while everywhere else the mountain spring finally moves in for good.
Caption 14, Alpenseen: Kühle Schönheiten

 

Further Learning
To learn about instances in which the dative is used rather than the genitive, refer to the "Usage Notes" at the bottom of this page. You can review the declensions for the genitive and dative cases here. Then write your own sentences with the word während, or search for more examples on Yabla German.

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An experience or life experience?

For this week's lesson, we will look at the nouns das Erlebnis and die Erfahrung, and the related verbs erleben and erfahren

 

Consider the three examples below:

 

Das ist einfach das beste Erlebnis, das man als Künstler haben kann.
That is simply the best experience that you can have as an artist.
Caption 17, Helge Schneider: Auf der Bühne geht's mir gut

 

Also, das war eigentlich eine sehr tolle Erfahrung.
Well, that was actually a really great experience.
Caption 21, Eva Croissant: Interview

 

Ich bin selbst Mutter von zwei wundervollen Kindern und spreche aus eigener Erfahrung.
I myself am the mother of two wonderful children and speak from my own experience.
Caption 5-6, Cettina interviewt: Mütter

 

In English, the word "experience" has a few definitions. In the first two sentences, the speaker is referring to a particular instance of encountering or undergoing something. In the third sentence, they are referring to the knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what they have observed, encountered, or undergone. In German, it is possible to use both das Erlebnis and die Erfahrung to describe this first kind of "experience." However, when we are talking about life experience, only die Erfahrung is appropriate in German. 

 

The verbs erleben and erfahren similarly can both indicate the process of experiencing something:

 

Ein Ort lebendiger Demokratie soll es werden, ein Haus für jeden, der Politik hautnah erleben will.
It should become a place of living democracy, a building for everyone who wants to experience politics up close.
Caption 16-17, Berlin: Hauptstadt des vereinten Deutschland

 

Jeder muss für sich selber wissen, wo er hinfährt und wie er da ist und welche Länder und was er dort erfahren will.
Everyone has to know for himself where he's heading and how he is there and which countries and what he wants to experience there.
Caption 41-42, Anna: Am Strand in Mexiko

 

However, erfahren is also often used to express learning of or finding out about something new:

 

Wir haben nichts gefilmt. -Niemand wird davon erfahren.
We didn't film anything. -Nobody will find out about it.
Caption 30, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

 

Further Learning
Conjugate erfahren and erleben and search for the various conjugations (erfahre, erfährst, etc.) on Yabla German to find more examples of the verbs used in context. Try to guess what the words das Erlebnisbad, das Erlebnisgeschenk, der Erlebnispark, erlebnisreich, and die Erlebniswelt mean now that you have an understanding of the word Erlebnis. 

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