German Lessons

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Windy Days

For this week, Yabla has released a video reporting on recent extreme winter weather conditions in Germany. You may have noticed that, like English, German has several words that describe different types of wind. 

 

The easiest to remember is “der Wind," although the German word for "the breeze" is quite similar as well: 

 

Der Wind muss nur ein wenig drehen, dann steigt die Luft an den Bergen auf.
The wind has to change direction, then the air rises up the mountains.
Caption 9, Alpenseen: Kühle Schönheiten

 

Die leichte, die frische und die steife Brise...
The light, the fresh, and the stiff breeze...
Caption 12, Piggeldy und Frederick: Der Wind

 

Die Böen, the plural of die Bö, refers to stronger wind, and can be translated as "squalls" or "gusts." 

 

Also lokal sind auch orkanartige Böen mit dabei.
Thus, in parts, hurricane-like gusts will also be present.
Caption 24, Wettervorhersage: Winterwetter

 

The words Orkan and Hurrikan are both used to describe storms caused by traveling low pressure areas. Generally, Hurrikan will refer to tropical storms, while Orkan is a general term for a fierce storm. 

 

Im März dieses Jahres ist der Orkan Niklas über Deutschland hinweggezogen.
In March of this year, Hurricane Niklas passed over Germany.
Caption 5-6, Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft: Naturgefahrenreport

 

However, extreme winds in Germany are relatively rare. If you ever live or study in Germany, you’re much more likely to hear this sentence:

 

Mach aber die Tür richtig zu, es zieht immer so! -Hm.
But close the door well, it's always so drafty! -Hm.
Caption 23, Monopoly: Geheime Tipps und Tricks

 

The use of the verb ziehen ("to move") is related in this case to the word der Luftzug, or “draft of air.”

 

Further Learning
Watch the classic German cartoon Piggeldy und Frederick: Der Wind in its entirety, as it features many types of wind and some nice adjectives to describe them.

 

You can also go onto Yabla German and look up examples with any of the following verbs, which are used to describe how wind blows: peitschen, blasen, wehen, pustenrauschen.

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