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More sagen root words

In a previous Yabla lesson, we discussed verbs using sagen ("to say") as their root word, all of which had to do with speaking. Today let's take a look at a couple of other words using sagen as their root word that are not related to speaking—though at first glance, they may appear to be!

 

Doch wenn es etwas stürmischer wird, versagen viele Modelle ihren Dienst.

But if it gets somewhat stormier, many models fail to do their job.

Caption 5, Erfindung aus Japan: Der verkehrte Regenschirm

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Es besteht die Gefahr, dass im entscheidenden Moment Ihre Nerven versagen.

The danger exists that your nerves will fail at the deciding moment.

Caption 67, Die Stunde der Offiziere: Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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Es tut mir leid, dass ich versagt habe.

I am sorry that I failed.

Caption 28, Küss mich, Frosch: Für immer Frosch?

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Leider haben wir da sehr, sehr oft vorm Tor versagt.

Unfortunately, we failed many, many times before the goal line.

Caption 47, Fußball: Saisonpremiere

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Perhaps versagen originally had sagen as its root word because people "failed" to carry out something they had promised. There is also a noun form of the verb for a person who fails:

 

Ich bin ein Versager, weil ich mich doch nicht traue.

I'm a failure because, after all, I don't dare.

Caption 15, Cro: Bye Bye

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The next word with the root word sagen also has negative connotations:

 

Am liebsten würd ich ihn absagen.

I'd actually prefer to cancel it.

Caption 10, Nicos Weg: Freizeitstress

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Du kannst doch nicht einfach eine Weiterbildung absagen.

You can't just cancel a training program.

Caption 59, Großstadtrevier: Neben der Spur

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Letztes Jahr wurde ein Event abgesagt.

Last year an event was called off.

Caption 29, Traumberuf: Windsurfer

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Ich will wissen, warum du unser Treffen abgesagt hast. -Ich habe das Treffen nicht abgesagt.

I want to know why you canceled our meeting. -I didn't cancel the meeting.

Captions 15-16, Nicos Weg: Der Umzug

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There is no German noun for somebody who cancels a lot, but there is a noun derived from absagen

 

...die radikale Absage an Putin, an die Gasimporte.

...the radical rejection of Putin, of the gas imports.

Caption 3, Umweltbewusstes Wohnen: Zu Besuch in einem Wiener Passivhaus

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The noun die Absage can be either a cancellation or a rejection, depending upon the context.

 

Further Learning
Go to German Yabla and find other examples of the verbs and nouns discussed above to get a better feel for the contexts in which they can be used. 

German Verbs: sagen, ansagen, or besagen?

The verbs sagen, ansagen, and besagen appear similar when written in their infinitive forms, but have quite different meanings. In common English usage, there are a number of examples where all three might be translated with the English verb "to say," although for besagen the English verbs "to state," "to imply," "to mention," or "to mean" are usually more accurate, and for ansagen, "to declare," "to introduce," or "to present" are usually better.

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Here is the verb sagen in its present perfect (German Perfekttense:
 

Sie haben mal gesagt, dass sich erfolgreicher Fußball in erster Linie durch Schnelligkeit und Präzision auszeichnet.

You once said, that successful soccer is, above all, characterized by velocity and precision.

Captions 22-23, Fußball - Saisonpremiere - Part 2

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The verb ansagen, in its Perfekt tense, is written identically to and should be distinguished from its slang adjectival form angesagt, which means "popular," "hip," or "hot" (the latter two in the English slang sense). Here is the verb ansagen in present perfect tense:
 

Einige Schüler haben lästigem Kabelsalat [Umgangssprache] den Kampf angesagt.

Some students have declared war on annoying cable clutter [slang: "cable salad"].

Caption 8, Erfinder - Erfindermesse in Nürnberg

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And lastly, here is an example of besagen in present tense:
 

Zu wenig Einsatz, wenig überzeugend beim weiblichen Geschlecht, besagt die Studie.

Too little effort, less than convincing for the female sex, says the study.

Caption 25, Balztanz - für Fortgeschrittene

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To sum up: the verb sagen is the act of saying; the verb besagen is referring to what is stated, such as in a law, a study, or on a sign; and the verb ansagen is referring to the act of stating, usually in reference to declaration, such as declaring war.

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Further Learning
Read these posts about about sagen and besagen, and brush up on the conjugation of sagen with this video on Yabla German. For advanced learners, check out what Friedrich Wilhelm Genthe wrote about sagenbesagen and ansagen in the "Handwörterbuch deutscher Synonyme" way back in 1834!

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