German Lessons



This week's lesson is all about exercise! When you think of "exercise" in the context of Yabla German, you might immediately think of language exercises, but we are now talking about die Übung in relation to der Sport or das Training. These are two common nouns for "the exercise" or "the workout," along with their related verbs: 


Ja, mehr Sport machen, drei Kilo abnehmen und eine Tätowierung.

Yeah, exercise more, lose three kilos and a tattoo.

Caption 31, Silvester: Vorsätze für das neue Jahr - Karlsruhe

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Ganz gemütlich, wir trainieren hier jetzt die Oberschenkel.

Very comfortably, we are training the thighs now.

Caption 68, TEDx: Lebenslange Fitness

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When people go to the gym (ins Fitnessstudio gehen), they may use particular machines or equipment. But there are lots of exercises that can be done just with a mat, or no equipment at all:


Ja, also, ich muss sagen, ich trainiere wirklich sehr, sehr gerne im Fitnessstudio, also wirklich auch im Freihantelbereich.

Yeah, well, I have to say, I really, really like to work out at the gym, really in the free weights area too.

Captions 54-55, Anja Polzer: Interview

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Er reagiert genauso auf Training wie dein Bizeps auf Hanteltraining.

It responds to exercise the same way like your biceps to dumbbell training.

Captions 9-10, Deutsch mit Eylin: Kreatives Schreiben

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Liegestütze, Kniebeugen... und solche Sachen.

Pushups, squats... and things like that.

Caption 48, Deutsch mit Eylin: Sportarten

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So, die nächste Übung ist auch wieder für die Beine, wir machen einen ganz weiten Ausfallschritt nach vorne.

So, the next exercise is also for the legs again, we make a very big lunge forward.

Captions 19-20, Workout mit Erik: Übungen für Arme, Beine, Po, Rücken

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Ja, was man auch machen kann, ist zum Beispiel, Sit-ups, Bauchtraining.

Yes, what you can also do are, for example, sit-ups, abdominal training.

Caption 33, Finanzassistentin: Sarah interviewt Cettina

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Of course, some people do not like gyms and prefer to get exercise outside or through team sports:


Es ist dreimal effektiver auch als joggen, das heißt, du verbrennst hier dreimal mehr Kalorien als beim Joggen.

It's also three times more effective than jogging — that is, you burn three times as many calories here than when jogging.

Captions 53-54, Rhein-Main Ferien: 360 Jump in Dietzenbach

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Further Learning
On Yabla German, you can watch Erik's workout video in its entirety to get a sense of how a sequence of exercises would be directed in German, or watch Eylin's video on sports to learn the German words for all sorts of sports. 

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Office Supplies, Part II

In Part I of this lesson, we talked about office supplies that are not specifically related to the ever-present digital devices in the workplace and at school. Let's take a look today at some more German names for office items that may be new to you.


Und ich habe auch noch jede Menge Filzstifte.

And I also have plenty of felt-tip pens.

Caption 63, Deutsch mit Eylin: Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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So while you probably already knew der Kugelschreiber (ballpoint pen), hopefully der Filzstift is a new entry in your vocabulary!


Was ich auch sehr gern benutze, sind Leuchtstifte, um Textteile zu markieren.

What I also like to use are highlighters, to mark parts of text.

Captions 11-12, Deutsch mit Eylin: Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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Der Leuchtstift makes sense for "highlighter," since the verb leuchten can mean "to give light," and the verb beleuchten means "to illuminate."


Aber wir sagen gerne Uhu, weil es der Kleber ist, den wir immer benutzt haben.

But we like to say "Uhu" because it's the glue that we've always used.

Captions 14-16, Deutsch mit Eylin: Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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The brand name Uhu is so common in Germany that it is often used generically to mean many kinds of glue (der Kleber, also der Klebstoff). The literal translation of der Uhu is the Eurasian eagle owl, a species of owl (die Eule) that lives primarily in Eurasia. "Uhu" also sounds like the hooting sound an owl makes!


Was ich auch immer habe, ist ein Radiergummi.

What I also always have is an eraser.

Caption 31, Deutsch mit Eylin; Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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Schoolchildren often use the slang word der Ratzefummel  for der Radiergummi, which originates from the slang verb ratzen ("to snore in your sleep") and the informal verb fummeln (to fumble). This makes a certain sense too, as you must have been fumbling around in your sleep to make a mistake you have to erase. Best to pay more attention when you're writing!


Du siehst, ich liebe Büromaterial, und ich liebe es auch, Ordnung zu halten auf meinem Schreibtisch.

You see, I love office supplies, and I also love keeping order on my desk.

Captions 68-69, Deutsch mit Eylin; Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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Office supplies, also commonly called der Bürobedarf, are indeed very nice. But looking at the chaos on my desk, I'd say that Eylin and I have differing opinions on that topic!


Further Learning
Make a list of the English office supply words mentioned above, then see if you can translate them correctly into German, paying close attention to the nouns' genders. Then go to Yabla German and watch Eylin's video above to get a better overview of the words you just learned!

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All about die Lage and die Stelle

In German, the nouns die Lage and die Stelle each have a few different meanings. First of all, die Lage can quite literally mean "the location," and die Stelle can be translated as "the position":



Sehr ruhige Lage, Bauernhöfe in der Nähe...

Very quiet location, farms nearby...

Caption 13, Nicos Weg: Auf Wohnungssuche

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Durch die Lage ist es häufig warm, und Weinreben können gut gedeihen, besonders am Kaiserstuhl.

Due to the location it is often warm and vines can thrive, especially in the Kaiserstuhl.

Caption 24, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Baden-Württemberg

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Als er sich umsah, merkte er allerdings, dass er an einer völlig unerwarteten Stelle gelandet war.

When he looked around, however, he noticed that he had landed in a completely unexpected place.

Captions 30-31, Die Raumsonde: Rosetta Kometenlandung

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Die Lage can also mean "the situation," or "how things stand."


Die Lage wird langsam hoffnungslos.

The situation is slowly becoming hopeless.

Caption 39, Es war einmal... der Mensch: Der Neandertaler

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Ich bin Alina und heute berichte ich über die Corona-Lage in Frankreich.

I'm Alina, and today I'm going to report on the coronavirus situation in France.

Caption 3, Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten: Corona im Nachbarland Frankreich

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The common construction in der Lage sein means to be in a position where something is possible, or simply "to be able to"/"can." 


Angenommen, unser Budget lässt es zu, sollten wir am Ende der Woche in der Lage sein, Ihnen die unterzeichneten Verträge zukommen zu lassen.

Assuming that our budget allows it, we should be in the position by the end of the week to send you the signed contracts.

Captions 56-58, Berufsleben: Probleme mit Mitarbeitern

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Seelöwen sind nämlich in der Lage, im Wasser zu schlafen.

Because sea lions are able to sleep in the water.

Captions 70-71, Evolution: Die Küsten

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The noun die Stelle also has the very common meaning of "the position," as in "the job."


Eine Frau, die ein zweijähriges Kind hat, bewirbt sich in Deutschland um eine Stelle.

A woman who has a two-year-old child applies for a job in Germany.

Caption 37, Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Einbürgerungstest

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With die Stelle, there are two common phrases to know. While an dieser Stelle is quite easily translated as "at this point," an deiner/Ihrer/ihrer/seiner Stelle is used to reflect on someone else's position and subsequent actions. It is perhaps not so different from "If I were you..." in English.


Und das hätte ich an deiner Stelle auch gesagt.

And I would've said that too in your position.

Caption 33, AnnenMayKantereit: Es geht mir gut

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And finally, when something occurs auf der Stelle, this means that it happens "immediately" or "then and there."


Auf der Stelle fielen die Besenstiele zu Boden und die Teppiche gehorchten.

Immediately, the broomsticks fell to the floor and the rugs obeyed.

Caption 76, Märchen: Sagenhaft Der Zauberlehrling

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Further Learning
There are many examples of die Lage and die Stelle in use on Yabla German, just do a quick search!

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The Queen and Other Royal Titles

In light of the recent death of Elizabeth II, Queen of England, we'll take a look today at the German words for royal titles. Just two days before her death, the Queen was still fulfilling her royal duties, meeting with former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his successor Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle.


Aber die Königin starb bald darauf.

But the Queen died soon afterwards.

Caption 11, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Schneewittchen

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Some languages, like English, have completely different names for male and female monarchs. In German, however, most noble titles take the masculine nouns and make their feminine equivalents by giving them an -in  feminine ending.


Bis 1806 trafen sich hier die Kurfürsten, um den deutschen König und Kaiser zu wählen.

Exactly. Until 1806, the electors met here to choose the German king and emperor.

Captions 68-69, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Hessen

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Der König is easy enough, but what is the difference between der König and der Kaiser? The notorious Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was forced to abdicate after the surrender of Germany in the First World War, was both the King of Prussia and the Emperor of the German Empire. Prior to the end of the monarchy in Germany, which was a result of losing the First World War, the country was comprised of many kingdoms. Each of these kingdoms was ruled by a king or a queen, but the highest ruler of the land was der Kaiser, the Emperor. The title Kaiser derives from the Latin name Caesar.


Until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, emperors were chosen by a council of nobles called die Kurfürsten. You can still see traces of this antiquated term in street names, such as the famous shopping street in western Berlin called Kurfürstendamm.


Der Prinz und die Prinzessin waren überglücklich und schnell war allen klar, dass sie sich ineinander verliebt hatten.

The Prince and the Princess were overjoyed and soon it was clear to everyone that they had fallen in love with one another.

Captions 85-86, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Dornröschen

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Der Prinz and die Prinzessin are quite easy for English speakers as the words are very close to their English equivalents.


Der bayerische Herzog Wilhelm IV war ein großer Freund des reinen Bieres.

The Bavarian Duke Wilhelm IV was a good friend of pure beer.

Caption 21, Deutsches Bier: 500 Jahre Reinheitsgebot

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The royal title ranking beneath der Prinz is der Herzog, or "duke." The feminine for "duchess" is die Herzogin.


Es gibt Schilderungen, da hatte eine Gräfin von Thun ihn angefleht, auf den Knien, dass er spielt.

There are descriptions where a Countess of Thun had begged him on her knees to play.

Captions 14-16, Ludwig van Beethoven: 250. Geburtstag

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Apparently Beethoven wasn't particularly fond of the aristocracy, since according to this anecdote, he refused to play for her based solely on her rank. The masculine equivalent of die Gräfin is der Graf: "the count."


Eine Lösung für dieses Mobilitätsproblem hatte Karl Freiherr von Drais.

A solution for this mobility problem was found by Baron Karl von Drais.

Caption 7, 200. Geburtstag: Die Geschichte des Fahrrads in 2 Minuten

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Der Freiherr is "baron" in English and feminine equivalent of "baroness" is die Freifrau. German also occasionally uses der Baron and die Baronin as well!


Further Learning
Extend your knowledge of German noble titles by reading the Wikipedia Adelstitel ("noble titles") page. Then you can go to Yabla German and search for some other videos using the words you learned for German titles of nobility.

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Reading for Fun

Although many people like to spend their free time with music, TV, films, and video games, there's nothing like settling down with a good book. This week, let's talk about all there is to read!


In German, a work of non-fiction is called das Sachbuch, whereas fiction is die Belletristik. The noun "literature" is very similar in German: die Literatur. When it comes to novels, there are the names for the different genres to learn, such as der Liebesroman (the romance novel) or der historische Roman (historical fiction). 


OK, interessierst du dich für Literatur?

OK, are you interested in literature?

Caption 9, Nicos Weg: Das macht mir Spaß!

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Und das wurde eben in diesem Science-Fiction-Roman beschrieben.

And just that was described in that science fiction novel.

Caption 73, Das 1. Newtonsche Gesetz: erklärt am Beispiel des Dodomobils

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Liest du gerne oder hast du viele Bücher, zum Beispiel Romane oder Krimis?

Do you like to read or do you have a lot of books, for example novels or crime stories?

Captions 11-12, Nicos Weg: Das macht mir Spaß!

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In German, a short story is die Kurzgeschichte. 


Dieses wunderbare Buch mit Geschichten über die Berge und...

This wonderful book with stories about the mountains and...

Caption 41, Heidi: Der Schultest

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In addition to fiction and non-fiction books, some people enjoy reading biographies or magazine articles:


Hinter all der großen musikalischen Revolution menschelt es in seiner Biografie - zum Glück!

Behind all the great musical revolution, there is humanity in his biography—fortunately!

Captions 30-31, Ludwig van Beethoven: 250. Geburtstag

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In einem von der Zeitschrift Bravo veranstalteten Konzert spielen sie in der Stadt, die sie entdeckte.

In a concert organized by the magazine "Bravo," they play in the city that discovered them.

Captions 21-22, Die Beatles: In Deutschland

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Hallo, Leon! Ich habe hier noch was für dich: einen Artikel über den Nemmers-Preis.

Hello, Leon! I have one more thing here for you: an article about the Nemmers Prize.

Caption 8, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

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The last category that should be mentioned is poetry, of course!


Der eine Bruder saß unter einem Baum und verfasste Gedichte.

The one brother sat under a tree and wrote poems.

Caption 12, Märchen: Sagenhaft Die drei Brüder

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Further Learning
Think about the last thing you read—how would you describe it? On Yabla German, you can watch the entirety of Nicos Weg: Das macht mir Spaß! to hear the vocabulary in context. 

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Office Supplies, Part I

Let's talk about office supplies that are not specifically related to the ever-present digital devices in the workplace and at school. With the shift to digital over the last 30 years, we don't use nearly as many office supplies (like paper) as we used to, and perhaps this is good for the environment in some ways. But it's still important to know the words for some of these everyday objects if you ever plan to go to Germany to work or to study! Some words, like der Kugelschreiber (ballpoint pen), you probably know already, so let's take a look today at some items that may be new to your vocabulary.


Fangen wir mal an mit dem Tacker. Das ist ein kleiner Bürotacker, mit dem kann man Seiten zusammenheften.

Let's start with the stapler. This is a small office stapler, with which you can staple pages together.

Captions 9-11, Deutsch mit Eylin: Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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The German word for "stapler" is der Tacker, and an office stapler is der Bürotacker. Der Tacker is what is called a false friend, because it sounds like an English word that has a different meaning: Although you use der Tacker to affix staples, the German word for "staple" is die Heftklammer. This can be especially confusing since the German word for "tack" is der Tack or die Reißzwecke, and a "thumbtack" is der Reißnagel. Note too, that the verb for the act of stapling something together is zusammenheften.


Und das hier ist Klebeband. Auf Deutsch sagen aber fast alle „Tesafilm“, obwohl Tesa eine Marke ist.

And this here is adhesive tape. In German, however, almost everyone says "Tesafilm," although Tesa is a brand.

Captions 68-70, Deutsch mit Eylin: Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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The noun das Klebeband can mean any kind of adhesive tape, thus it's easier to distinguish the clear adhesive type by calling it by its brand name der Tesafilm. It's usually just called Tesa for short, and in this form the noun gender is neuter. In American English, we often use "Scotch tape" for clear tape, and the British often use the term "Sellotape"—both of which are brand names too!


Das sind nämlich Haftnotizen, aber jeder sagt „Post-its“, weil wir eben auch ganz oft englische Wörter verwenden,

Specifically, these are sticky notes, but everyone says "Post-its" because we also very often just use English words,

Captions 40-41, Deutsch mit Eylin: Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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The German word for a sticky note is die Haftnotiz. It's also called der Klebezettel or der Haftzettel. But it's also nice to know that Germans often use the same word for the name brand Post-its that we often use for sticky notes. By the way, it's a neuter noun: das Post-it.


Schreibmaterialien wie zum Beispiel Briefpapier, Briefumschläge wie dieser oder Schreibblöcke sind aus Papier gemacht.

Writing materials such as, for example, stationary, envelopes like this one, or notepads are made of paper.

Captions 17-18, Eva zeigt uns: Materialien

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Gender-wise, these nouns are das Schreibmaterial, das Briefpapier, der Briefumschlag, der Schreibblock (also der Notizblock), and das Papier.


Und hier hab ich ganz viele Buntstifte: dicke Buntstifte, zum Malen oder etwas hervorheben.

And here I have a lot of colored pencils: thick colored pencils for drawing or highlighting something.

Captions 65-66, Deutsch mit Eylin: Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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This one is easy to remember, as you probably already know the noun der Bleistift for "pencil." So it's logical that the adjective bunt, which means "colorful," is paired to make the word der Buntstift.


Hier ist eine Schere, brauch ich auch immer, um irgendwas zu schneiden.

Here's a pair of scissors, I always need these, too, to cut something.

Captions 63-64, Deutsch mit Eylin: Dinge auf meinem Schreibtisch

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It's taken me years to make myself use a German singular verb with die Schere, because in English, we always use the plural "The scissors are..." and not "The scissor is..." But in German, die Schere is a singular feminine noun, so you always say Die Schere ist... By the way, scissors are not just a topic in office supplies, you will find them playing an important role in many classic German fairy tales, such as Rapunzel and Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot.


Further Learning
Make a list of the English office supply words mentioned above, then see if you can translate them correctly into German, paying close attention to the nouns' genders. Then go to Yabla German and watch the videos above to get a better overview of the words you just learned!

Continue Reading

Media and Entertainment

When it comes to leisure, we may engage in sports or other hobbies and activities, but most people also enjoy listening to music or radio programs, watching films or TV, and/or reading in their free time. This week's lesson is devoted to vocabulary related to media and entertainment. 



It used to be that music collections took up lots of space, but now this depends on how you listen. Many people still collect records (die Schallplatte, plural die Schallplatten), CDs (die CD, plural die CDs) or even cassettes (die Kassette, plural die Kassetten), but not all. 


Also, der hat ein Lied „Fireflies“ und habe ich mir auch gleich das Album gekauft.

Well, he has a song called "Fireflies" and I bought the album right away too.

Caption 33, Eva Croissant: Interview

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Die Nashville-LP „Could Have Been Mine“ ist die dritte Platte der Band.

The Nashville LP "Could Have Been Mine" is the band's third disc.

Caption 43, Ann Doka & Band: New Country aus dem Rhein-Main-Gebiet

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Komm, dreh noch mal die Kassette.

Come on, play the cassette again.

Caption 28, Max Mutzke: Welt hinter Glas

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Den Platz im Regal für diese kunststoffreichen Staubfresser kann man sich sparen, indem man Musik und Filme online streamt oder herunterlädt.

You can save the shelf space taken up by these plastic-rich dust collectors by streaming or downloading music and movies online.

Captions 36-37, WWF Deutschland: Tipps zur Vermeidung von Plastikmüll

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Movies and TV series are also often accessed through streaming services, but some people have DVD collections with their favorite films. Others think nothing compares to the big screen:


Ich schenke ihr eine DVD.

I'm giving her a DVD.

Caption 18, Nicos Weg: Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

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Wohin gehst du heute noch? Ins Kino. Es läuft ein neuer Film.

Where else are you going to today? To the cinema. A new film is playing.

Captions 35-36, Diane erklärt: Fragewörter

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For TV series, there are two nouns to know: die Sendung and die Serie. A season of a TV show is called die Staffel, and an episode is die Folge.


Ja, ein Team dreht hier bald eine aktuelle Serie fürs Fernsehen.

Yes, a team is filming a current series for television here soon.

Caption 15, Nicos Weg: Ein Praktikum beim Film

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Die meisten kennen mich wahrscheinlich aus der Sendung „Der Bachelor“.

Most of you probably know me from the series "Der Bachelor."

Caption 11, Anja Polzer: Interview

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Nochmal zu deiner Karriere. Germany's Next Topmodel, zweite Staffel, Platz zwei.

Back to your career. Germany's Next Top Model, second season, second place.

Caption 24, Peyman Amin: Der Modelmacher

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It should be noted that die Sendung is also used for radio broadcasts and shows. You may hear der Rundfunk instead of das Radio, but the word "podcast" remains the same in German and in English:


Wir zeigen denen, wie man eine Radiosendung macht, richtig professionell. 

We show them how you do a radio broadcast, really professionally.

Caption 59, Sallys Tortenwelt und Kochwelt: Backen mit Kindern & Auftritt bei Radio Rumms

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Schon jetzt gibt es Enkel, die ihren Großeltern einen Podcast aufnehmen,

There are already grandchildren who are recording a podcast for their grandparents

Captions 61-62, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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Further Learning
What do you like to do? Write down a few sentences about your habits related to music, radio, films, or TV. And don't forget that accessing these in German is a great way to learn the language. You can find a number of different fun series and interesting films, as well as great music to listen to on Yabla German.

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There she blows!

The phrase above, often written colloquially as "Thar she blows," comes from the classic 19th century American novel Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville. It refers to an exclamation made by whalers at sea in the 19th century when they spotted a whale to hunt, a practice now fortunately outlawed by most countries in the world. When whales—or dolphins—surface, some species blow air and water condensation into the air in a visible stream.


In German, the verb "to blow" can be translated with a variety of words, depending upon the context. You're probably already familiar with sich die Nase putzen, which means "to blow one's nose," literally "to clean one's nose." Let's take a look today at  some other German verbs that are often translated as "to blow."


Sie hören sogar einen Baum, der vor ihnen steht, weil der Wind, der um den Baum weht, ein Geräusch macht.

They can even hear a tree that is in front of them, because the wind that blows around the tree makes a noise.

Captions 47-48, Meine Freundin Conni: Conni schläft im Kindergarten

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The verb wehen is the usual term for the wind blowing.


Der Wind pustet ordentlich Sauerstoff in unsere verschmutzte Luft.

The wind blows lots of oxygen into our polluted air.

Caption 15, Piggeldy und Frederick: Aufräumen

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Here, the translator chose to translate the verb pusten as "to blow," but it could also have been translated as "to puff," a more common translation for this word.


Und weil in der mit 500 Metern über dem Meeresspiegel höchstgelegenen Stadt Hessens der Wind so kräftig bläst.

And since, at 500 meters above sea level, Hessen's city with the highest elevation, the wind blows so strongly.

Captions 5-6, Energiewende in Hessen: Windräder und Solarparks

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Here, the translator chose to translate the German verb blasen as "to blow," a verb related to the noun die Blase, which means "bubble." In fact, the blowhole of a whale is called das Blasloch, and the act of blowing out air and condensed moisture is called der Blas.


Zu spät, denn mitten in dem letzten Angriff pfeift Mr. Attwell ab und die Deutschen waren bedient.

Too late, because in the middle of the last attack, Mr. Attwell blows the final whistle.

Caption 27, Fußball: U21-Nationalmannschaft

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The verb pfeifen means to whistle, but it also means "to blow a whistle."  If a referee blows a whistle for a foul, you'd say er pfeift ein Foul. The verb abpfeifen above means "to blow a whistle to stop the play," "to signal the halftime," or "to end the game."


Wie schön ist doch die Welt, alles löst sich in Wohlgefallen auf.

How beautiful the world is, everything blows over.

Captions 43-44, Großstadtrevier: Alle für einen

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The idiom sich in Wohlgefallen auflösen literally means "to dissolve in pleasure," but is often translated with the English idiom "to vanish into thin air" or "to go up in smoke." Here, the translator nicely chose to use the idiom "to blow over."


Wenn's nach mir ginge, würde ich ihn lieber heute als morgen in die Luft sprengen.

If it were up to me, I would rather blow him up today than tomorrow.

Captions 62-63, Die Stunde der Offiziere: Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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The verb sprengen (as well as in die Luft sprengen) means "to blow up" or to explode something. Although murder is an extreme means of regime change, killing the person in the case above could probably be seen as justifiable, given the millions of lives at stake.


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and search for the verb "to blow" in a variety of conjugations, such "blow," "blows," and "blown." You can also expand your knowledge of how some of the other German verbs above can alternately be translated by looking up, in various conjugations, the verbs putzen, wehen, pusten, blasen, pfeifen, and sprengen.

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It is estimated that about half of Germany households have pets. The word for a house pet in Germany is das Haustier  or das Heimtier, while someone who owns a pet is der/die Tierhalter/-in or der/die Tierbesitzer/-in. 


Lisa sagt ehrlich, dass Dingos nicht für jeden als Haustiere geeignet sind.

Lisa honestly says that dingoes are not suitable for everyone as pets.

Caption 53, Die Top Ten: Die unglaublichsten Tiererlebnisse

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Experten appellieren an Tierbesitzer, für ihre Lieblinge vorzusorgen.

Experts appeal to pet owners to make provisions for their pets.

Captions 23-24, Für Tierfreunde: Wohin mit Tieren wenn Besitzer sterben

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The most common house pets in Germany are cats and dogs: 


Wir wohnen auf einem Dorf und haben zwei Katzen daheim und einen Hund.

We live in a village and we have two cats at home and a dog.

Caption 21, Anna: Am Strand in Mexiko

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Während Hunde und Katzen gute Chancen haben, weitervermittelt zu werden, sieht das bei Reptilien etwas anders aus.

While dogs and cats have a good chance of being rehomed, the situation is quite different with reptiles.

Captions 4-5, Für Tierfreunde: Wohin mit Tieren wenn Besitzer sterben

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However, there are also other typical favorites, particularly among small children: 


Die meisten Familien haben Fische, Katzen, Kaninchen, Schildkröten und Hunde. Also, ich selbst habe einen Hund.

Most families have fish, cats, rabbits, turtles, and dogs. Well, I myself have a dog.

Captions 5-6, Haustiere mit Duk Hee

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So, das ist ein Hamster. Hier ist er, der Hase von neulich. Ich setz ihn in den Käfig.

So, this is a hamster. Here he is: the rabbit from the other day. I'll put him in the cage.

Captions 6-7, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Engel kann man nicht besitzen

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And some people also have exotic birds, such as parrots or parakeets:


Wie heißt denn der Wellensittich? -Willi, wie Lilly.

What's the parakeet's name? -Willi, like Lilly.

Caption 40, Lilly unter den Linden: Eine schwierige Wahl

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Wir haben auch einen kleinen Vogel, einen Papagei.

We even have a little bird, a parrot.

Caption 5, Nicos Weg: Meine Heimat

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For people who live in rural environments, certain farm animals may also be seen as pets:


Im Sommer kann man auch Pony reiten, Kühe sehen, Schweine, Ziegen, Gänse und manchmal auch einen Esel.

In the summer one can also ride ponies, see the cows, pigs, goats, geese, and sometimes even a donkey.

Captions 21-22, Berlin: Domäne Dahlem

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Jede Ziege hat zwei Hörner und vier Beine.

Each goat has two horns and four legs.

Caption 13, Heidi: Der Schultest

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Dann trafen sie die gelbe Ente und den Hasen.

Then they met the yellow duck and the hare.

Caption 51, Janoschs Traumstunde: Ich mach‘ Dich gesund, sagte der Bär

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Further Learning
In addition to watching videos about wild and domestic animals on Yabla German, look up the following common (and less common!) house pets in a dictionary: das Meerschweinchen, der Igeldie Wüsternmaus, die Schlange, and der Leguan.

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Heat Wave

Many parts of Europe, including Germany, are experiencing a heat wave of unprecedented scale this summer. The United Kingdom experienced temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time in recorded history! Let's talk today about the heat wave and other aspects of hot weather — hopefully with some nice, cool air conditioning running!


Die Folgen sind schon jetzt in allen Teilen der Welt sichtbar. Es gibt verheerende Waldbrände wie im Mittelmeerraum und im Westen der USA, Überschwemmungen wie in der Region Ahr und Erft im Juli 2021 und Hitzewellen wie in Sibirien.

The consequences are already visible in all parts of the world. There are devastating forest fires, such as in the Mediterranean region and in the western United States, floods, such as in the Ahr and Erft region in July 2021, and heat waves, such as in Siberia.

Captions 20-24, Klimaschutz: Es geht um das Überleben der Menschheit

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The noun for "heat wave" (or "heatwave" in British English) is die Hitzewelle. The caption above was referring to 2021, and though there aren't any comparable major floods in Germany so far in 2022, the wildfires in the western US and southern Europe are continuing this year.


Ja, was uns bleibt, ist auf jeden Fall das heiße Wetter.

Yes, what remains for us, is certainly the hot weather.

Caption 13, Umfragen: Nach der WM

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Unfortunately, for many of us in many parts of the world, this remains the case.


Du hast bestimmt noch nicht sehr viel Erfahrung mit Hitze.
You certainly don't have much experience with heat yet.


One problem with such hot weather (die Hitze) in Germany is that the infrastructure has not been designed to withstand these record high temperatures. Most homes and many shops, offices, and schools have no central air conditioning. It's hard enough sitting all day at work or in school when it's sunny outside, but imagine doing so drenched in sweat!


Man musste den Ventilator anstellen...

You had to turn on the fan...

Caption 30, Kinder lernen: wie aus Wind Strom gemacht wird

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Living on the upper floor of an apartment building (often in Europe with no elevator) is also excruciatingly hot. From personal experience, the only means of getting to sleep at night is often to turn on a fan (der Ventilator). Noisy, but less hot!


In Griechenland ist es im Sommer sehr heiß. Ich mag zwar Wärme, aber keine Hitze. Also dann... Schweden vielleicht?

In Greece, it is very hot in the summer. I like the warmth indeed, but not the heat. So then... Sweden perhaps?

Captions 37-39, Jenny: Reiseziele

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Warm weather, or "the warmth" (die Wärme), is indeed preferable to the heat. Jenny is right about Sweden, where I just spent a week in mid-July. It was pleasant mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit temperatures, but I could have done without the constant rainstorms. Apparently, the high pressure from the Central and Southern European heat wave is causing more rain in Northern Europe. Depending on where you live, it seems there's either too much or too little summer this year!


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and search for terms like "heat" and "weather" to find more videos relating to hot weather. If you're experiencing intense sunny weather where you live, be sure and read our previous German Lesson Safe Fun in the Sun.

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German Computer Nouns

If you subscribe to Yabla, technology and computers likely play a significant role in your life. To augment a previous lesson on verbs related to computers, today we'll cover nouns related to computers and internet technology. 

First, let's look at the words for the various parts of a computer, such as the hard drive, the keyboard, and the screen. The noun der Rechner can mean both "the processor" and "the computer" depending on the context. Although many words have been adopted from English (such as der Computer or der Laptop), there's still a lot of vocabulary to learn:



Die Rechner könnten anschließend von Kriminellen zu einem Botnetz verbunden und ferngesteuert werden.

The processors could, consequently, be connected to a botnet by criminals and operated remotely.

Captions 28-29, Apple-Trojaner: Wie man ihn beseitigt

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Aber ist ja nicht schlimm, weil das Originalmaterial insgesamt gerettet wird, und das können die immer noch auf der Festplatte mal irgendwann ...

But that is not so bad, because the entire original material is saved and they can still, on the hard drive at some point...

Captions 30-31, RT Radiotonteam: Erinnerungen retten

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Wenn du auf deiner Tastatur keine Taste für die Umlaute hast, kannst du stattdessen notfalls auch Ae für Ä, Oe für Ö und Ue für Ü schreiben.

If you don't have an umlaut key on your keyboard, you can also, if need be, write Ae for Ä, Oe for Ö, and Ue for Ü.

Captions 20-21, Deutsch mit Donna Blitz: Das Alphabet

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Sieht man das dann auf einem kleinen Bildschirm oder hat man einen Riesenbildschirm?

Do you see it on a small screen then or do you have a giant screen?

Caption 4, Rhein-Main-TV: Interview mit Edmund Stössel

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In diesem Grid können tausende Forschungsinstitute und Universitäten ihre Datenspeicher und Rechner gemeinsam nutzen.

In this grid thousands of research institutes and universities can use their data storage devices and computers jointly.

Captions 38-39, Die Weltmaschine: Der LHC-Teilchenbeschleuniger

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Ich geh nicht eher, bevor du mir die Speicherkarte gegeben hast.

I'm not leaving until you've given me the memory card.

Caption 45, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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Sie müssen die Möglichkeit haben zu posten, mit dem Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop, immer und überall.

They have to be able to post with a smartphone, tablet, laptop — anytime and anywhere.

Captions 13-15, Nicos Weg: Das Internet

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Next, there is specific vocabulary related to the internet. Here, there is quite a lot of vocabulary adopted from English, so it's a matter of knowing the article and exactly how it's pronounced. 


Wenn ich das melde, dann stellt der Erpresser den Film ins Netz.

If I report it, then the blackmailer will put the video on the internet.

Caption 15, Die Pfefferkörner: Cybermobbing

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Sie will über das WLAN des ICEs im Internet surfen.

She wants to surf the internet via the ICE's WLAN.

Caption 66, Galileo - Zug vs. Flugzeug: Von München nach Berlin

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Wie die Internetseite National Geographic News berichtet, hat Cameron vor ein paar Tagen nahe Papua-Neuguinea eine Testfahrt unternommen.

As the internet site National Geographic News reports, Cameron performed a trial run a few days ago near Papua, New Guinea.

Captions 19-20, Expedition Marianengraben: Zum tiefsten Punkt der Erde

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An welche E-Mail-Adresse soll ich Ihnen die Unterlagen schicken?

What email address should I send the documents to?

Caption 30, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Further Learning
For help with pronunciation, go to Yabla German  and listen to the examples. Also, can you guess the meaning of der Router, die Maus, and das Lokalnetz?

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All the Pretty Horses

The title above is from a novel by one of the great American writers, Cormac McCarthy, and its German title is translated precisely as All die schönen Pferde. This isn't always the case with book and film titles in German. For instance, the Spaghetti Western classic Once Upon a Time in the West by Sergio Leone is titled Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod  in German—"Play Me the Song of Death"—not a bad alternate title. But this lesson is about horses, not noir Westerns, so let's hop back in the saddle!


A number of German idioms use horses as their subjects:


Wohl aufs falsche Pferd gesetzt, hm?

Probably bet on the wrong horse, hm?

Caption 19, Marga Engel schlägt zurück: Der Engel von Leipzig

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The idiom above happens to have the same meaning as its English translation, which is not always the case.


Die Griechen hatten ein riesiges hölzernes Pferd auf Rädern gebaut, zwanzigmal größer als ein richtiges Pferd.

The Greeks had built a giant wooden horse on wheels, twenty times larger than a real horse.

Captions 42-43, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Das Trojanische Pferd

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The idiomatic usage of "Trojan horse," which means to accept a gift (or story, etc.) that turns out to have negative effects, is used in both English and German. This is the opposite of the English idiom "don't look a gift horse in the mouth," which means you shouldn't be unappreciative or critical of a gift. If the Trojans had only looked that gift horse in the mouth, they might have won the war.


Solange wir keine Gewissheit haben, sollten wir die Pferde nicht scheu machen.

As long as we aren't certain, we shouldn't make the horses shy.

Caption 11, Großstadtrevier: Schatten der Vergangenheit

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This idiom sounds a bit odd in English, but die Pferde scheu machen means to cause unnecessary alarm. In this case, the police didn't want to tip off the suspects that they were on to their game.


Hans Schmidt ist das beste Pferd im Stall.
Hans Schmidt is the best horse in the stable.


There may be a horse somewhere named Hans Schmidt, but in the context of a person, the phrase das beste Pferd im Stall sein means that somebody is the best coworker or the best person in a group of people.


Wir kommen vom Pferd auf den Esel.
We’re coming from the horse onto the donkey.


The literal English translation of the German idiom above makes little sense, whereas a literary translation would be "We're falling on hard times" or "Things are going badly." But to conclude:


Ein Pferd bleibt immer Pferd.

A horse always remains a horse.

Caption 37, Monsters of Liedermaching: Ein Pferd

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As we have seen in the idioms above, when using the word "horse" metaphorically, it can mean everything but a horse!


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and search for "horse" or Pferd to see the different usages of the noun in context. You can also read about other idioms relating to das Pferd on the German language website Redensarten-Index. Meanwhile, we at Yabla wish you all a happy ride into the sunset...

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Taking care

This week, we'll look at German verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that relate to taking care and being careful. 


You may already know the word vorsichtig. As is normal for German adjectives, it is also an adverb, so it means both "careful" and "carefully."


Seid vorsichtig und macht bloß nichts kaputt.

Be careful and don't break anything.

Caption 47, Playmobil: Skispringen mit Familie Hauser

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Fahr vorsichtig, ja?

Drive carefully, OK?

Caption 35, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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Other words that can mean "careful" are sorgfältig, which implies a thoroughness or accuracy, and behutsam, which implies gentleness and caution.


Hast du die schon mal so sorgfältig bügeln sehen?

Have you ever seen them iron so carefully?

Caption 19, Playmobil: Skispringen mit Familie Hauser

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Wir alle sollten unsere Kontakte auch weiter behutsam einschränken.

We should all continue to cautiously restrict our contact.

Caption 57, Wir müssen über Corona reden: Mit Olaf Scholz, Luisa & Dr. Daniel Zickler

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Und ich nahm ihn ganz behutsam in die Hand

And I took it very gently in my hand

Caption 5, Nicole: Papillon

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Then there is also the word schonend. This relates to the verb schonen, which has a number of possible translations, including "to treat with care," "to protect," "to preserve," and "to rest" or "to go easy on."


Und es wird schonend mit dem Boden umgegangen, damit er viele Jahre Gemüse bringen kann.

And the soil is treated carefully so that it can produce vegetables for many years.

Captions 27-28, Berlin: Domäne Dahlem

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Um die Pferde zu schonen, werden die Vierbeiner übrigens selbst auch gedoubelt.

In order to treat the horses with care, by the way, these four-legged actors also have doubles.

Caption 21, Für Tierfreunde: Pferde beim Film

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Na ja, Frankfurt ist ja eine Stadt, die sehr früh als Großstadt politische Entscheidungen getroffen hat, Umwelt zu schonen

Well, yes, Frankfurt is a city that, very early on, as a major city, made political decisions to protect the environment.

Captions 50-51, Erstes Frankfurter „Schuljahr der Nachhaltigkeit“ Abschlussfeier

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Other verbs that relate to being careful or watching out are aufpassen and achtgeben, which can both relate to watching out for your own wellbeing or that of others. 


Da muss man aufpassen, wenn man die Straße überqueren will.

You have to be careful when you want to cross the street.

Caption 22, Shuah Auf der Straße in Berlin

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Kannst du auf die anderen achtgeben?

Can you watch over the others? 

Caption 12, Heidi Kann Heidi Peter retten?

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Further Learning
You can look up more examples with the words vorsichtig, sorgfältig, and behutsam on Yabla German in order to better understand the slight differences in their meanings. 

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Odd German Animal Names, Part III

In Part I and Part II of this series, we went through a lot of odd German animal names, looking at how the names may—or may not—connect directly to descriptions of the animals. Today, let's conclude our exploration of the wild and woolly world of odd German animal names!


Entschuldige, dass ich dich „Seehund“ genannt habe.

Sorry that I called you "sea dog."

Caption 26, Peppa Wutz, Sport

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The proper English name of the largest rodent in the world is "capybara," and it's formally das Capybara in German. The informal name of the capybara is "water hog," which is also the direct translation of the informal name in German: das Wasserschwein.


Wer ist das größte Wasserschwein auf dem Planeten?

Who is the biggest water hog on the planet?

Caption 98, heute-show Wasserknappheit: Verkauft eure Aktien und investiert in Wasser!

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This is a slang usage of das Wasserschwein, and is not referring to the animal at all! Just as you might tell somebody who is drinking up all of the water to "stop hogging the water," this video is referring to a Swiss company that is exploiting a lot of American water resources as a "water hog."


Schweinswale sollen direkt vor dem Badestrand gesehen worden sein.

Porpoises were reported to have been seen near this swimming beach.

Caption 32, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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The German word for "porpoise" is der Schweinswal, which translates directly to "hog whale" or "pig whale." That doesn't seem to make much sense, but the fact that they have a flat snout, unlike dolphins with their pronounced beaks, may have led to a comparison with pigs in German. And dolphins are in fact classified as toothed whales, although their nearest relative, going back 40 million years, is the hippopotamus!


Some other German animal names with -schwein include:
das Meerschweinchen (Guinea pig, literally "little sea pig")
das Seeschwein (dugong, literally "sea hog" or "sea pig")
das Stachelschwein (porcupine, literally "spike pig")


But the winner for the title of the oddest German animal name must be...


Eichhörnchen jubilieren nicht“, stellte Frederick richtig, „sie knacken Nüsse, Tannenzapfen, Eicheln und so weiter.“

"Squirrels do not rejoice," rectified Frederick, "they crack nuts, pine cones, acorns and such."

Captions 14-15, Piggeldy und Frederick: Tiere im Winter

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If you translate das Eichhörnchen literally from die Eiche and das Hörnchen, you wind up with either "little oak horn" or "oak croissant"! In fact, the origins of the word Eichhörnchen are uncertain, but the Eiche part probably goes back to an ancient Indo-Germanic word, aik or aig, that means "restless movement," which is certainly an apt description of the squirrel! German squirrels also have tufted ears that look a bit like little horns...

Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and watch the videos listed above to find out more about these animals in context.

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All about fertig

The German adjective fertig is especially interesting because of its slang usages. In standard usage, fertig is usually translated as "finished," "ready," or "done":


Nun brauche ich meinen fertigen Teig nur noch in die Form füllen.

Now I just have to fill my finished batter into the mold.

Caption 27, Apfelkuchen: mit Eva

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Die Apfelpfannkuchen sind nun fertig zum Servieren.

The apple pancakes are now ready to serve.

Caption 30, Apfelpfannkuchen: mit Alina und Sabine

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So, mein Apfelkuchen ist jetzt fertig.

So, my apple cake is now done.

Caption 37, Apfelkuchen: mit Eva

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But in its slang usages, fertig takes on different meanings. The phrase fix und fertig, for example, means to be worn out or exhausted:


Wir sind fix und fertig, hä?

We are worn out, huh?

Caption 4, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Der Relativsatz

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Simply saying fertig in certain contexts also has the same meaning:


Also, ich bin so was von fertig.

Well, I am so completely exhausted.

Caption 67, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

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The phrase fertig machen, which until the German language reform of 1996 was the freestanding verb fertigmachen, means “to get ready” or "to prepare" in its standard usage:


Ich muss noch duschen und mich fertig machen.
I still have to take a shower and get ready.


But in its slang usage, fertig machen has a range of meanings, from exhausting oneself all the way to the threat of physical violence:


Das macht mich fertig.

It's getting me down.

Caption 14, Deutsche Welle: Leben zwischen zwei Kulturen in Namibia

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Wenn er mit dem Zeug abhauen will, dann mache ich ihn fertig!

If he tries to make off with the stuff, I'll finish him off!

Caption 28, Die Pfefferkörner: Endspurt

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Further Learning
The adjective fertig is also a root word in a number of adjectives and adverbs that have very different meanings. Do you know the difference between leichtfertig and schlagfertig, for instance? If you are ready to go deeper into the topic, take a look at this extensive list of German words containing fertig—but be aware that there are a lot of them. Mach dich doch nicht fertig dabei!

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Meetings and Appointments

This week, we'll look at German nouns related to meetings, appointments, and gatherings, and their particular nuances. 


Ja, entschuldige noch mal, dass es gestern mit dem Treffen nicht geklappt hat.

Yes, sorry again that it didn't work out with the meeting yesterday.

Caption 14, Das Lügenbüro: Die Bewerbung

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The noun das Treffen may be the most commonly used word for a meeting or a gathering. However, there are circumstances in which die Besprechung (which can also mean "the talk" or "the discussion") or die Sitzung (which is more like "the session") might be more accurate. The noun die Versammlung generally refers to a larger assembly or gathering. 


Mein Mann ist noch in einer Besprechung. -Ah ja.

My husband is still in a meeting. -Ah, yes.

Caption 8, Mein Weg nach Deutschland: Auf Wohnungssuche

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Die Sitzung ist hiermit geschlossen.

The session is now closed.

Caption 72, Yabla Gerichtshof: Das verzogene Hündchen

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Diese Versammlung der Kardinäle beginnt normalerweise fünfzehn bis zwanzig Tage nach dem Tod

This assembly of cardinals normally begins fifteen to twenty days after the death,

Captions 6-7, Papst Benedikt Suche nach einem neuen Kirchoberhaupt

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The noun der Termin generally is translated as "the appointment," but can also refer to a deadline (der Abgabetermin). It generally emphasizes a specific date and time. When it comes to a doctor's appointment (also der Arzttermin), you always use der Termin, and not das Treffen.


Und dann könnten wir gleich einen Termin für ein Vorstellungsgespräch machen.

And then we can make an appointment for an interview right away.

Caption 28, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Nina hat morgen um acht einen Termin beim Arzt.

Nina has a doctor's appointment tomorrow at eight.

Caption 15, Nicos Weg: Emmas Tag

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The noun die Verabredung is a bit tricky in German, and doesn't have a precise translation in English — you might find it translated as "date," "appointment," "engagement," or "agreement." It is essentially an agreed-upon meeting between individuals (often just two people), and it can even be a date, but not necessarily. 


Es kann zum Beispiel bedeuten, dass jemand eine Verabredung nicht eingehalten hat.

It can mean, for example, that someone has not kept an appointment.

Caption 47, Eva erklärt: Sprichwörter

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It is perhaps because of this ambiguity that some Germans will even use the English word and say das Date to specify that there's romance involved. As you can see, it is capitalized in German. 


Wir warten. Du hast noch ein Date.

We'll wait. You still have a date.

Caption 56, Die Pfefferkörner: Endspurt

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Further Learning
You can find all of these words in many examples on Yabla German, which will help you get a sense of which contexts they are each used in. For der Termin and das Treffen, make sure that you memorize the gender of each word!

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All about plants

This week, we'll augment our series of lessons about animal names with some basic vocabulary related to plants. Yabla has many videos about the natural world, so it's not so hard to get a good overview. It is also most fitting to the season, with everything currently in full bloom in Germany.


Diese setzt sich aus Gras, Früchten, Wurzeln, Zweigen und Rinde zusammen.

This consists of grass, fruits, roots, branches, and bark.

Caption 30, Evolution: An Land

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Der perfekt getarnte Hühnervogel ernährt sich von Knospen, Samen, Beeren und Wurzeln.

The perfectly camouflaged landfowl feeds on buds, seeds, berries, and roots.

Captions 13-14, Die letzten Paradiese Schätze der Natur: Südtirol

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„Es heißt“, sagte Piggeldy, „Blume, Kopf und Stängel“.

"They are called," said Piggeldy, "flower, head, and stem."

Caption 12, Piggeldy und Frederick: Blume

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Like in English, some vocabulary is more specific to trees:


Jetzt bin ich hinter dem Baumstamm.

Now I'm behind the tree trunk.

Caption 12, Diane erklärt: Präpositionen

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Doch der Mäusebussard auf dem Ast hat die scheue Katze nur aufgeschreckt.

But the common buzzard on the branch just startled the shy cat.

Caption 22, Alpenseen: Kühle Schönheiten

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A leaf, whether it's the leaf of a tree, a plant, or even a leaf of paper, is das Blatt in German. The plural is die Blätter


Im Oktober fallen die ersten Blätter und der Herbst beginnt.

In October, the first leaves fall and autumn begins.

Caption 30, Deutsch mit Eylin: Wochentage, Monate und Jahreszeiten

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Dazu zupfe ich von meinem Basilikumtopf ein paar Blätter ab

For this, I pluck off a few leaves from my basil pot

Caption 30, Cannelloni: mit Jenny

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Es macht halt Spaß, und halt nicht vor ein einem Blatt Papier zu stehen, und jede Aufgabe zehn mal abzuschreiben.

It's just fun, and just to not be standing in front of a sheet of paper and copying each task ten times.

Captions 92-93, Nena: Das 1x1 mit den Hits von NENA

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Further Learning
If you have plants in your home or nearby, see if you can describe them with the vocabulary above from Yabla German. You can also read our lesson on gardening vocabulary

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Odd German Animal Names, Part II

In Part I of this series, we went through a lot of animals whose names end with -tier. In Part II, we'll continue to look at the root words of German animal names and see how they may—or may not—relate directly to descriptions of the animals. So let's further explore the wild and woolly world of odd German animal names!


Die Schildkröte steckt noch vollständig im Ölschiefer fest.

The turtle is still entirely stuck in the oil shale.

Caption 51, Ausgrabungen: Auf den Spuren der Dinosaurier

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Die Schildkröte combines the noun der Schild with the noun die Kröte, and literally means "shield toad." Imagine seeing a turtle for the first time: Its shell looks like a shield, and its face, with a bit of imagination, might resemble a toad—albeit a very large one!


Normalerweise gelten Waschbären als aggressive Wildtiere.

Normally, raccoons are considered aggressive wild animals.

Caption 2, Die Top Ten: Die unglaublichsten Tiererlebnisse

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You probably noticed already that der Waschbär, the German word for "raccoon," breaks down into "wash bear." That seems a pretty far-fetched description of the animal, which is known for washing food, but does not look much like a bear. In fact, it's possible that the raccoon shares ancestors with those of today's bears, although this is just one theory of several. An 18th century Swedish botanist was the first to make this connection, and since then a number of European languages contain the word "bear" as part of the raccoon's name. The French, however, were less kind—and less accurate—in naming the raccoon le raton laveur ("the washing rat")!


Wenn Fledermäuse so schlafen, dann bin ich froh, dass ich keine bin.

If bats sleep like this, then I am glad that I am not one.

Caption 41, Meine Freundin Conni: Conni schläft im Kindergarten

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Die Fledermaus seems to consist of the noun fledern ("to hurl something vigorously") and the noun die Maus. Thus you have a sort of "throw mouse" or "hurl mouse." But that's not where the word came from! Rather, it comes from the Old High German term Flattermaus, which is derived from the verb flattern, or "to flutter." Thus our root words search reveals the bat to be a "flutter mouse."


Etwa 20.000 Seehunde haben das Wattenmeer zu ihrer Heimat gemacht.

About 20,000 seals have made the Wadden Sea their home.

Caption 11, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Der Seehund, clearly a "sea dog" by its root words, is of course a seal. Funny that in English, "sea dog" is an old slang term for a sailor! The more proper German name for the seal is die Robbe.


Selbst ausgewachsen werden diese Tintenfische gerade mal 20 Zentimeter groß.

Even fully grown, these squid will only become 20 centimeters long.

Caption 28, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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From the German word for "squid" we can derive, from die Tinte and der Fisch, an "ink fish." The term is slightly confusing, since many varieties of octopus also, like squid, are able to release a dark "ink" to help escape from potential predators. Octopus, in German, is der Oktopus, although the more scientific name is der Krake.


Further Learning
In an upcoming lesson, we'll discuss a number of animals whose names derive from das Schwein, but who are not actually related to the pig family. In the meantime, you can go to Yabla German and watch the videos listed above to find out more about these animals in context.

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