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All You Need Is Liebe

Did you know that the Beatles, owing in part to the time they spent in Hamburg at the start of their career, released a version of "She Loves You” in German? Its title is „Sie liebt dich.

The German noun and verb for love (Liebe, lieben) are used with more variety of meaning than “love” in English. So, liebe (dear) Yabla subscribers, let’s see all of the different ways we can make love work for us in German!

As illustrated above, the adjective liebe/lieber (dear) is used as an informal form of address. We see this usage in the following Yabla video, starting at the very top: with God.

Du lieber Gott, welchen Weg müssten die denn abends zurücklegen, wenn Köln Gulu wäre?

Dear God, which way would they have to travel in the evening, if Cologne were Gulu [a city in Uganda]?

Caption 47, World Vision: Wolfgang Niedecken

Working our way down from God to tattoo exhibitions, we find: 

Liebe Zuschauer, es fand eine Tattoo-Ausstellung in Frankfurt im Hotel „Roomers" statt.

Dear viewers, a tattoo exhibition took place in Frankfurt at the Hotel Roomers.

Caption 1, Tätowierungen: Tattoo-Ausstellung

If you would prefer your Liebe to mean more than merely "dear," listen to how Thomas uses a variation of the root word (lieb) to mean “rather” or “preferably”:

Aber ich glaube, ich nehm' mir lieber ein Taxi.

But I believe I'd rather take a taxi.

Caption 49, Melanie und Thomas: treffen sich

This can work to express superlative preferences as well: 

Am liebsten vermutlich eine Sendung…

Most preferably, presumably, a broadcast…

Caption 54, Frauenfußball-WM: Der Bundespräsident am Ball - Part 1

If you prefer popularity to love, add the be- prefix for a refreshing change of meaning: 

Orangensaft ist sehr beliebt in Deutschland.

Orange juice is very popular in Germany.

Caption 11, Jenny beim Frühstück: Teil 1 - Part 1

Add -haber to lieb to stir up some enthusiasm:

Machst du ja auch Auftragswerke für Kunden oder für Interessenten und Liebhaber.

You also do contract work for customers or for potential buyers and enthusiasts.

Caption 2, Lokalhelden: Art House - Part 2

Liebhaber can also mean “lover” in the more intimate sense:

Tristan und Isolde waren Liebhaber.

Tristan and Isolda were lovers.

And in the end, it is best to make love, even while preparing for war: 

In zwei Sekunden Frieden stiften, Liebe machen, den Feind vergiften…

In two seconds make peace, make love, poison the enemy…

Caption 3, Andreas Bourani: Alles nur in meinem Kopf - Part 1

So you see that in German, the word for “love” (Liebe) is the basis for a number of different expressions ranging from “dear” to “preferably” to “enthusiast” to the actual object of one’s desire. 

Vocabulary

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