German Lessons

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Pages, Paragraphs, Sentences, and Letters

Let's make sure we are all on the same page! If you are taking a German class in addition to your work on Yabla, these are some very important vocabulary words for referring to your textbook, or books and texts in general. 

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First of all, you need the German word for "the page":
 

Wir öffnen unser Buch, Seite vierzig.

We'll open our book, page forty.

Caption 1, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Verben der 2. Kategorie

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You will often want to refer to a particular paragraph, which can also be done using ordinal numbers rather than cardinal numbers.

 

Gemäß Artikel dreiundsechzig Absatz zwei des Grundgesetzes für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland

According to article sixty-three, paragraph two of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany,

habe ich heute Frau Abgeordnete Doktor Angela Merkel zur Bundeskanzlerin ernannt.

today I have named parliamentarian Dr. Angela Merkel as Federal Chancellor.

Captions 6-7, Bundesregierung - Vereidigung der Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel

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The word der Satz in German is a little tricky because it can mean either "sentence" or "clause" depending on the context. Take a look:
 

„Scribe“ ist das schwierigste Spiel, denn du musst den ganzen Satz selbst schreiben.

"Scribe" is the most difficult game, because you have to write the whole sentence yourself.

Caption 41, German Intro - Cettina

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Zweiter Satz: „Sie ist größer als Stefanie."

Second clause: "She is taller than Stefanie."

Caption 19, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren - Der Relativsatz

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The word for a letter of the alphabet is der Buchstabe, hence the verb buchstabieren ("to spell"). Ein Zeichen is a character, which could be a letter, number, or even a space (das Leerzeichen). You may recognize this word as it also means "a sign" or "a symbol."

 

Das scharfe S oder Eszett ist ein Buchstabe, der ausschließlich in der deutschen Sprache vorkommt.

The sharp S or eszett is a letter that occurs exclusively in the German language.

Caption 22, Deutsch mit Donna Blitz - Das Alphabet

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Further Learning
Make sure you are also familiar with die Zeile ("the line"), das Kapitel ("the chapter"), der Band ("the volume"), die Strophe ("the stanza"), and der Abschnitt  ("the section", "the paragraph").

Eröffnen vs. Öffnen

There are a couple of different verbs that translate as "to open" in German, in particular the two above, which can cause some confusion. When do we use eröffnen and when do we use öffnen?

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Consider this: The verb eröffnen can be translated not only as "to open," but also as "to institute,” "to establish," “to inaugurate,” or even "to commence" or "to disclose." You will see eröffnen used in connection with non-physical entities, or anything that could also be described using these other translations, such as a museum or a shop. The reading of a person's will in German is die Testamentseröffnung, and as you see in the third sentence below, the verb eröffnen is even used to describe congressional proceedings.

 

Zweitausendsechs hat das Museum eröffnet,

The museum opened in two thousand six,

inzwischen stehen hier mehr als hundertfünfzig Flipper.

meanwhile there are more than one hundred fifty pinball machines here.

Captions 6-7, Flipperautomaten - Kunstwerke für flinke Kugeln

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Hallo, ja, guten Tag. Ich möchte gern ein Bankkonto eröffnen.

Hello, yes, good day. I would like to open a bank account.

Caption 12, Eva erklärt - Bankkonten

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Sobald Sie Platz genommen haben, würde ich gerne die unterbrochene Sitzung wieder eröffnen.

As soon as you've taken your seats, I would like to re-open the suspended session.

Captions 1-2, Bundesregierung - Vereidigung der Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel

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The verb öffnen, on the other hand, is used with objects, such as a door, a letter, a bottle, or an umbrella. In everyday spoken German, öffnen is often replaced with aufmachen

 

Wann wurde die Mauer in Berlin für alle geöffnet?

When was the wall in Berlin opened for all?

Caption 36, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest

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Die Polizei sagt, er solle seinen Kofferraum aufmachen.

The police [officer] says he should open his trunk.

Caption 4, Sabine erzählt Witze - Die Pinguine

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Further Learning
Browse through the many instances of eröffnen, öffnen, and aufmachen that can be found on Yabla German to get more clarity on which verb is used when. You can search not only for the infinitive, but also the conjugated verbs and the participles eröffnet, geöffnet, and aufgemacht.

Sprechen and Other Related Verbs

As we saw a few weeks ago in the newsletter about the verb kaufen and its related verbs, prefixes are very important and can drastically change the meaning of the verb to which they are attached. You likely know the verb sprechen ("to speak"), but there are several verbs you can learn along with it that will expand your vocabulary greatly.

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Besprechen means "to talk about" or "to discuss," whereas versprechen means "to promise." Widersprechen means "to contradict" or "to argue." These are all non-separable verbs

 

Ich glaub, das müsste man dann auch eher mit dem Management besprechen.

I think we would have to talk to the management about that.

Caption 56, Cassandra Steen Interview - Part 3

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Die Zutatenliste haben wir nun besprochen.

We have now discussed the list of ingredients.

Caption 16, Cannelloni - mit Jenny - Part 1

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Versprechen Sie mir bitte, diesen Fehler nicht noch einmal zu begehen.

Please promise me not to make this mistake again.

Caption 56, Berufsleben - Probleme mit Mitarbeitern - Part 1

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Zu verwirrt, um zu widersprechen, tat der junge Mann, was man ihm sagte.

Too confused to argue, the young man did as he was told.

Caption 50, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der gestiefelte Kater

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Ansprechen means "to address" (or more colloquially "to bring up a matter" or "to appeal to a person") and is a separable verb. Take a look at the examples below:

 

Bevor ich die Sitzung unterbreche, muss ich noch folgenden Sachverhalt ansprechen.

Before I suspend this session, I have to address the following matter.

Captions 43-44, Bundesregierung Vereidigung der Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel

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Ganz hinten auch gern, Leute, ihr seid auch angesprochen.

Also in the very back, people, you are also being addressed.

Caption 2, Wincent Weiss - Feuerwerk

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Welche Leute sprecht ihr an, wer kommt hierher zum Lernen und was können die Menschen hier beigebracht bekommen?

Which people are you addressing, who comes here to learn and what can people be taught here?

Captions 23-24, Lokalhelden - Art House - Part 2

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Further Learning
Here you can find a list of verbs that involve sprechen and information about whether they are separable or inseparable. See if you can find these on Yabla German to get an English translation. 

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