German Lessons


German Computer Verbs

This week, let's look at some verbs related to computers and technology! Many of these phrases are intuitive for anyone who speaks English, for example eine Mail öffnen or ein Fenster schließen, or ein Programm neu starten


Below, you can see that the verb anhängen ("to attach") also works for email attachments:


Es sieht so aus, als hätte ich die PDF-Datei an die E-Mail angehängt.

It looks as though I attached the PDF file in an email.

Caption 36, Berufsleben - Probleme mit Mitarbeitern - Part 1

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However, it is often necessary to learn some new vocabulary. For example, to unlock a computer or cell phone, we use the verb entsperren or freischalten, and not aufschließen or entriegeln as you would for a door. And then, of course, there are the words that are relatively new to both languages. 


Den Mac-Nutzern empfehlen die Spezialisten, ein von Apple bereitgestelltes Sicherheitsupdate herunterzuladen und zu installieren.

The specialists recommend Mac users download and install a security update that has been provided by Apple.

Captions 15-16, Apple-Trojaner - Wie man ihn beseitigt

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Mein Management hat mir eine E-Mail weitergeleitet.

My management forwarded me an e-mail.

Caption 23, Schauspielerin - Jessica Schwarz - Part 1

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Ich habe auch ein E-Mail-Konto für Sie eingerichtet, welches Sie überprüfen können, sobald Sie eingeloggt sind.

I have set up an email account for you as well, which you can check as soon as you are logged in.

Captions 34-35, Berufsleben das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 4

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The infinitive forms of the verbs and participles from the examples above are anhängen ("to attach"), herunterladen ("to download"), installieren ("to install"), weiterleiten ("to forward"), and sich einloggen ("to log in").


Further Learning
For a list of words (including nouns and adjectives) related to computers and technology, you can look at this extensive list. Missing from this list are many "Denglisch" verbs related to technology (downloaden, updaten...), but these should not be used in your German class anyway! They are often used in office settings, but are still essentially slang and used mostly among younger co-workers. It is best to know the real German words.

French Words Used in German, Part 2

Like English, 45% of which comes from French or Latin language sources, German has many French loan words or Gallicisms. If you can learn to recognize words in your native English as having a French origin, there is a fair chance that they are used in German. 


In last week's lesson, we took a look at some of the more commonly used German words with a French origin. These have obvious French word endings such as -ment, -ion, or -age. This week, let's take a look at some more French-derived words in German that also have English counterparts.


Vor genau sechsundsechzig Jahren befreite die Rote Armee die Überlebenden des Nazi-Vernichtungslagers Auschwitz.

Exactly sixty-six years ago the Red Army liberated the survivors of the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz.

Captions 1-2, Holocaust-Gedenktag - Gespräch mit jüdischen Schülern

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The German word for "army," die Armee, comes from the French word armée. Note that the German capitalizes the noun as per German grammar rules and has dropped the accented letter E. 


„Die Süßigkeit“ ist etwas Süßes: Gummibär, Kaugummi, Bonbon.

"Candy" is something sweet: a gummy bear, a [piece of] chewing gum, a bonbon.

Caption 6, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Verben der 3. Kategorie - Part 2

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The German Bonbon can be the masculine der but is most commonly the neuter das. The French bonbon is literally "good good," from what a child might say when they see some candy!


Aktualisieren Sie bitte das Budget.

Please update the budget.

Caption 47, Berufsleben - das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Das Budget is the same word "budget" in French and English as well, though the French and German both render the T silent.


Ein bisschen Weihnachtsdekoration, so Engel... -Dekoration, ja.

A little bit of Christmas decoration, such angels... -Decoration, yes.

Captions 22-23, Unterwegs mit Cettina - auf dem Bruchsaler Weihnachtsmarkt

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The word "decoration" in English is closer to the French décoration, but then most hard C sounds in German utilize the letter K!


Das ist tatsächlich ein Hotel in Berlin mit einem ganz verrückten Konzept.

This is, in fact, a hotel in Berlin with a completely crazy concept.

Caption 2, Berlin - Indoor-Camping im „Hüttenpalast“

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The French word hôtel is spelled with a circumflex accent on the O, and of course pronounced entirely differently.


Ich bin bei der Firma SAC Applikations-Ingenieur.

I am an applications engineer for the company SAC.

Caption 2, Bildverarbeitung - Sirius Advanced Cybernetics in Pforzheim

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The German der Ingenieur provides another fairly rare example of the soft G pronunciation in German. It's spelled nearly the same as the French ingénieur


Further Learning
As a general rule, French words found in German are spelled the same, or nearly the same, as the French words found in English, but are pronounced in a German manner and written according to German grammatical rules—with nouns capitalized, for example. Take a look at this list of Gallicisms in German and go to Yabla German to find other real-world examples of the words used in videos.

Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann

Irgendwie fängt irgendwann irgendwo die Zukunft an.

Somehow, somewhere the future begins sometime.

Caption 4, Nena - Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann

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Again, we are happy to respond to a subscriber request! The lyrics above by German singer Nena are a good point of departure for a lesson on irgend, which as a prefix has a similar function to “some-” or “any-” in English. It is used to augment adverbs and pronouns to demonstrate a lack of specificity or information. 


Irgendwo is perhaps the simplest of these words, translating to “somewhere.”  


Du wirst bestimmt irgendwo am Strand sein. -Ja, genau. Am Meer.

You will surely be somewhere at the beach. -Yes, exactly. At the sea.

Caption 50, Konjugation - Das Verb „sein“

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Irgendwie translates to “somehow,” but is also used in spoken German to express “in some way,” “in any way,” or even “sort of.”


Irgendwie muss man ihr ja helfen.

Somehow she has to indeed be helped.

Caption 5, Die Pfefferkörner - Gerüchteküche - Part 3

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The adverb irgendwann covers the English phrases “someday,” “sometime,” or “at some point,” which means it can refer to a non-specific time in either the past or the future. 


Aber irgendwann, als man mich nicht mehr gezwungen hat, hab ich dann meine persönliche Liebe zur Musik entdeckt.

But at some point, when I wasn't forced to anymore I discovered my own love for music.

Captions 36-37, Deutsche Bands - Glashaus - Part 2

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But let’s not stop here! You have also probably seen irgendein and irgendwelche, which translate to “any” or “some.” The important thing to remember is that they behave similarly to adjectives and will always have the appropriate ending based on the conditions of the sentence. As you might guess, irgendein is never used in the plural. See this useful chart for irgendwelche.


Nun, wenn Sie irgendwelche Fragen haben: Ich werde in meinem Büro sein.

So, if you have any questions, I will be in my office.

Caption 49, Berufsleben - das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 4

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Haben Sie den Namen von irgendeiner Autovermietung?

Do you have the name of any car rental [company]?

Caption 16, Reiseplanung - Anruf bei einem Reisebüro

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For the pronoun “someone” or “somebody,” it is common to see both irgendwer and irgendjemand


Irgendjemand kocht Kaffee In der Luftaufsichtsbaracke.

Someone is making coffee In the air traffic control hut.

Captions 29-30, Reinhard Mey - Über den Wolken

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You may also have seen irgendwas and irgendetwas. These are more or less synonyms, which are even less specific than etwas (“something”) and are usually translated as “anything.”


Sagen Sie mir Bescheid, wenn ich irgendetwas tun kann.

Tell me if I can do anything.

Caption 58, Berufsleben - Probleme mit Mitarbeitern - Part 1

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Further Learning
There are a myriad of examples on Yabla German where you can see these words in use. Make sure you understand the declensions required for irgendein and irgendwelche. Irgendjemand and irgendwer also sometimes require a different ending — can you figure out when this might occur?

Mindestens, zumindest, & zum Mindesten

The words in the above headline all mean "at least," but it can be confusing as to which context is correct for the right word. Note too that "at least" is a prepositional phrase in English, whereas in German the expression is usually a simple adverb. The adverb mindestens is probably the most common: 


In Deutschland ist es so: Asylbewerber müssen mindestens drei Monate warten.

In Germany, it's like this: Asylum applicants must wait at least three months.

Caption 35, Flüchtlingskrise - 10 Vorurteile, die nicht stimmen

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The adverb mindestens usually, as in the first case above, refers to a length of time or an amount of something:


Heutiger Hochwasserstand: wieder mindestens zehn Zentimeter.

Today's flood water level: at least ten centimeters again.

Caption 44, Die Klasse - Berlin '61 - Part 2

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It's used somewhat less often to refer to circumstances: 


Zwar haben die Zuwanderer in der Regel eine hohe oder auch mittlere Qualifikation, die also mindestens einem deutschen, äh, Abschluss, [Bundesagentur für Arbeit Hessen].

Indeed, the immigrants normally have a high or also mid-level qualification that is at least on par with a German, uh, degree, [Federal Agency for Employment, Hesse].

Captions 35-36, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell - Mehr Beschäftigung in Rhein-Main

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The related adverb zumindest, on the other hand, is used much more commonly for situations rather than lengths of time or amounts: 


Nun, zumindest habe ich meinen ersten Anruf hinter mir.

So, at least I have my first call behind me.

Caption 69, Berufsleben - das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 4

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Be careful not to jumble mindestens and zumindest into one (incorrect) word, something that even native German speakers occasionally do!


Eislaufen ist leicht, zumindestens [sic, zumindest] leichter als auf Vanessas Party eingeladen zu werden.

Ice skating is easy, at least easier than getting invited to Vanessa's party.

Captions 82-83, Küss mich, Frosch - Leb wohl, kleiner Prinz - Part 3

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So remember that mindestens and zumindest are real words, either of which would have been correct in the above sentence, but "zumindestens" is not a proper word at all!


Even less common, but making things even more complex, is the adjective min­des­te / min­des­ter / min­des­tes. This adjective can also be nominalized, or turned into a noun, such as das Mindeste (the least thing), or zum Mindesten (at least). 


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and find examples of the above adverbs and adjectives to see how they are used in a real-world conversational context. To go even deeper into the adjectival usage, read the Duden page for min­des­te / min­des­ter / min­des­tes.  


Thank you for reading this newsletter and keep up the good work! If you have any good ideas for lesson topics, please email them to us at, and you can tweet us @yabla.

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