Although languages are always changing due to influences of society, forms of government, and historical events, some elements of language, such as idiomatic phrases, have been preserved in languages for centuries. They come in handy in every context, for example, in the lyrics of Berlin hip hop/reggae band Culcha Candela.
Alles im Eimer...
Everything's down the drain [in the bucket]...
Caption 2, Culcha Candela - Schöne neue WeltPlay Caption
Let's look at something else that can be im Eimer (ruined; done for; broken).
Nachdem er das Auto gegen die Wand gefahren hatte, war es im Eimer.
After he had driven the car against the wall, it was broken.
You are probably familiar with the sensation of having a dry mouth. Well, Thomas Raudnitzky was experiencing just that while being awarded the Metropolitan Prize for hosting the trendy magazine RheinMain Szene.
... mir blieb auch irgendwie die Spucke weg.
... somehow the spit stayed away from me [idiom: at a loss for words].
Caption 4, Preisverleihung - Bestes MagazinPlay Caption
Now take a look at Lucas' "dry mouth" experience while test-riding a crazy new roller coaster in our video about Lucas' not so run-of-the-mill hobbies.
Da bleibt einem wirklich kurz die Spucke im Hals stecken.
For a moment, the spit really gets stuck in your throat [it's astonishing].
Caption 24, Lucas' Hobbys - Achterbahn und BungeePlay Caption
Figuratively, this expression means to be utterly surprised, stunned or at a loss for words. In biblical times already, it was observed that someone salivates less when afraid. This was interpreted as a sign of God that the accused was guilty, who, out of fear, was unable to say anything that could have saved him.
A great way to improve your listening skills is watching the clips first once without captions. This will help you to focus more on the audio. Then watch them again, this time with captions. Repeat these two steps a couple of times. Do you notice an improvement? Keep practicing!
aufheben: to suspend; to pick up
Have you ever longed to put the pedal to the metal? Car enthusiasts throughout the world dream of hitting the Autobahn in their favorite gas guzzler. In a recent move that has environmentalists upset and speed demons ecstatic, Germany has removed more barriers to high-velocity travel:
Das Verkehrsministerium hat einige Tempolimits aufgehoben.
The Ministry of Transport has lifted some of the speed limits.Play Caption
The infinitive of the verb in boldface is aufheben. As with many other German verbs, it has numerous meanings in different contexts. In this case it means to "suspend something", to "declare something as invalid."
Die Geldstrafe wurde aufgehoben.
The fine was cancelled.
Mit dem Ende der Apartheid wurde das Handelsembargo gegen Südafrika aufgehoben.
With the end of apartheid, the trade embargo against South Africa was lifted.
In our video about Karlsruhe's phenomenal ultimate frisbee team, we encounter another meaning of aufheben, "to pick up":
... und du würdest ihn einfach aufheben.
... and you'd simply pick it up.
Caption 19, Ultimate Frisbee - Oli erklärt das SpielPlay Caption
Have you heard the expression Viel Aufhebens um etwas machen? In the figurative sense, the expression means to "make a fuss about something." It originated from the language of fencers, who, prior to fighting, picked up their swords from the ground, accompanied by elaborate ceremonies and boastful words.
Keep an eye out for these and other uses of aufheben, an extremely versatile German verb!