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Adjectives with -bar

Just as a German word ending with -weise can automatically be identified as an adverb, there are a number of German adjectives ending with -bar. These adjectives contain the root of a verb, not unlike adjectives constructed with "-able" or "-ible" in English. Let's look at some of the more common ones. 


Die meisten der Pilze waren leider nicht essbar.

Most of the mushrooms were unfortunately not edible.

Caption 13, Pilze sammeln: mit Eva

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Wusstest du, dass die Hände eines Menschen genauso unverwechselbar sind wie sein Gesicht?

Did you know that the hands of a human being are just as unmistakable as their face?

Captions 2-3, Deutsch mit Eylin: Mehr Geheimnisse über Hände

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The verb essen means "to eat," and essbar translates to "edible." The verb verwechseln means "to mix up," so unverwechselbar refers to something that can't be mixed up. 


Haptisch begreifbar sind die Angaben.

The details are understandable on a haptic level.

Caption 14, Holocaust-Gedenktag: Gedenkstätte am Michelsberg

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The verb begreifen means "to grasp" or "to comprehend."


Das ist auch hundert Prozent ökologisch abbaubar.

That's also one hundred percent biodegradable.

Caption 26, Lerchenberg: Du bist, was du isst

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The verb abbauen has many translations along the lines of "to disintegrate" or "to dismantle." The adjective abbaubar is related to this, and whether it's preceded by biologisch or not, it generally means "biodegradable." 


Als Erster in eine Welt hineinzugehen, die eigentlich nicht berechenbar ist, die nicht in jedem Detail voraussehbar ist, das ist etwas ganz Spezielles.“

"To be the first to enter a world that is actually not predictable, that is not foreseeable in every detail... That is something very special."

Captions 40-43, extra 3 Öffentlicher Personennahverkehr (ÖPNV)

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Another similar good word to know is vorhersehbar, which also means "predictable."


Als wir mit der Planung des Minihauses angefangen haben, ging es uns eben darum, diese Geschichte des Ortes und des alten Gebäudes, äh, in dem neuen Gebäude lesbar zu lassen und erlebbar zu machen.

When we began planning the Minihaus, it was important to us to make the history of the place and the old building, um, remain visible in the new building and make it tangible for people.

Captions 31-33, Umweltbewusstes Wohnen: Architekturpreis Green Building

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Of course, lesbar can also quite literally mean "legible."


Sie wurde erst nach dem Fall der Mauer wieder begehbar.

It was first accessible again after the fall of the Wall.

Caption 14, Eva zeigt uns: die Berliner Mauer

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Here we see that the adjective begehbar doesn't relate quite as directly to begehen, which means "to commit" or "to perpetrate." 


... dass wir unser Handeln möglichst gut begründen und kommunizieren, damit es nachvollziehbar wird.

... that we justify and communicate our actions as well as possible so that they are comprehensible.

Captions 19-20, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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And this hopefully also describes this lesson!


Further Learning
You can find many more adjectives like these on Yabla German, such as bezahlbardankbar, denkbar, and machbar. Before you look these up, can you guess what they mean?

May 8th: Tag der Befreiung

Was war am 8. Mai 1945?

What happened on the 8th of May, 1945?

Caption 31, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 10

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On the evening of May 8th, 1945, German forces surrendered unconditionally to Allied forces in Berlin, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. This also meant the end of Nazi Germany, which had been committing crimes against humanity in Germany and in occupied countries for more than twelve years.


Wann waren die Nationalsozialisten

When were the National Socialists

mit Adolf Hitler in Deutschland an der Macht?

in power with Adolf Hitler in Germany?

1933 bis 1945.

From 1933 to 1945.

Captions 18-19, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 11

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In the United States and Great Britain, the day is called Victory in Europe Day (often shortened to "VE Day"). A national holiday is celebrated on this date in a number of European countries. In Germany, the day is known as Tag der Befreiung, or "Liberation Day." Although not a national holiday in Germany, there are often events organized on this day to celebrate the country's liberation from the Nazis and to memorialize the millions of victims. For May 8th, 2020, the city-state of Berlin declared a regional holiday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation.


It may seem strange to some that a country would celebrate its own surrender, but by doing so the Germans create a clear break between the authoritarian Nazi state and the democratic German Federal Republic which followed. It is simultaneously a way to remember the human destruction caused by the criminal Nazi Regime.


Die Städte fallen unter den alliierten Bombern in Schutt und Asche.

The cities are falling into debris and ashes under the Allied bombers.

Caption 26, Die Stunde der Offiziere - Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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Although the Allied bombing of civilians in the Second World War would be judged a war crime by modern standards, it was practiced by all sides in this conflict. Most Germans today recognize that it was the Nazi Regime that ultimately bears responsibility for the destruction inflicted upon Germany during the war by its enemies.


Welche Länder wurden nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in Deutschland

Which countries were, in Germany after the Second World War,

als alliierte Besatzungsmächte bezeichnet?

named Allied occupying powers?

USA, die Sowjetunion, Großbritannien und Frankreich.

USA, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France.

Captions 33-35, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 10

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Although the Allied forces eventually withdrew most of their troops from Germany—the Soviets completely, after the dissolution of the GDR and the Soviet Union—there is still a continuing problem with right-wing extremists in Germany.


Wir ignorieren seit 1945,

Since 1945, we've been ignoring

dass es noch so viel Rechtsextremismus in Deutschland gibt.

that there is still so much right-wing extremism in Germany.

Captions 54-55, Böhmermann - Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um?

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Und im Rahmen dieses besonderen Tages

And in the framework of this special day,

wurde auch die Gedenkstätte

the Memorial

für die ermordeten Wiesbadener Juden

for the Murdered Jews of Wiesbaden

ihrer Bestimmung übergeben.

was consigned to its set purpose.

Captions 8-10, Holocaust-Gedenktag - Gedenkstätte am Michelsberg

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It is through Holocaust memorials, such as those in Michelsberg and Wiesbaden, that Germany hopes to steer young people away from right-wing racist extremism. But the infiltration of the German police and military by right-wing extremists has only started to be investigated in recent years, and 2022's coup attempt to seize the military and overthrow the German government has hopefully awakened the German government to the need to take stronger measures.


Further Learning
Today, the 8th of May 2023, is the 78th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany and the liberation of Europe. You can read on Wikipedia about the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8th, 1945, and about the Allied holiday that celebrated the event. Go to Yabla German to watch some of the videos above about related topics.

The Visual Arts in German

The arts are basically divided into three different categories: the Visual Arts (die bildende Kunst), Literature (die Literatur), and the Performing Arts (die darstellende Kunst). Of course, there are art forms that combine the different categories—as well as art that is very difficult to categorize at all—but let's stick to the basics!


Today we'll focus on the Visual Arts. The first type of art in this category is architecture (die Architektur). The professional title of a person who creates architecture is an architect (der Architekt / die Architektin).


Architektur ist eben die Reflexion eines Zeitgeistes.

Architecture is simply a reflection of a spirit of the times.

Caption 38, Architektur der Stadt: Karlsruhe

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Mit dem namentlichen Gedenken möchte Architektin Barbara Willecke einerseits den Ort der Synagoge wieder sichtbar machen

With memorialization by name, architect Barbara Willecke would like, on the one hand, to make the site of the synagogue visible again

Captions 65-66, Holocaust-Gedenktag: Gedenkstätte am Michelsberg

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The next type of art in the visual arts is ceramics (die Keramik), which is classified in German culture as an artisanal handicraft (das Kunsthandwerk). Works of art made of ceramic are also called pottery (die Töpferware). You call a person who makes ceramics a ceramicist (der Keramiker / die Keramikerin) or a potter (der Töpfer / die Töpferin).


Und das ist jetzt auch aus Keramik produziert? -Das ist aus Keramik.

And this is also produced now out of ceramic? -This is made of ceramic.

Caption 48, Karlsruher Stadtgeburtstag: die Majolika-Manufaktur

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Das hat 1936 die Keramikerin Else Bach kreiert.

That was made in 1936 by the ceramicist Else Bach.

Caption 7, Majolika Karlsruhe: Der Bambi-Filmpreis

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The next type of art in the visual arts category is drawing (das Zeichnen), and the drawing that results is called die Zeichnung. A person who creates drawings is called a drawer (der Zeichner / die Zeichnerin) or an illustrator (der Illustrator / die Illustratorin), but many people working in the visual arts also use drawings as preliminary sketches.


Warum haben Sie meine Zeichnung gefälscht?

Why did you forge my drawing?

Caption 39, Großstadtrevier: Nicht mit mir

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Die Zeichner legen viel rein und du siehst es auch einfach.

The illustrators put a lot into it, and you notice that too.

Caption 54, Manga-und-Anime: Treffen in Mainz-Kastell

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Now we come to painting (die Malerei), a field practiced by painters (der Maler / die Malerin; also der Kunstmaler, die Kunstmalerin), which is probably the traditional art form that most people think of when they think about art. The work resulting from an artist in this field is a painting (das Gemälde).


Die Malerei macht glücklich und beruhigt die Seele.

Painting makes me happy and soothes my soul.

Caption 41, Malerei: Ernst Mente

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So kamen auch zwei Kunstwerke des italienischen Malers Gennaro Greco ins Haus.

By this means, two artworks by the Italian painter Gennaro Greco also came into the house.

Caption 12, Restituierung von Raubkunst: aus der Nazi-Zeit

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Next comes photography (die Fotografie), practiced by photographers (der Fotograf / die Fotografin), which has many aspects that are not generally considered fine art, such as photojournalism for the news and commercial photography for advertising. The picture taken by a photographer is called a photograph (das Foto, or less commonly, das Lichtbild). The German word for "photographer," der Fotograf, sounds very similar to the English word "photograph," so beware of this false friend! Note too that with most of the German words above, it is acceptable German spelling to substitute most instances of "f" with "ph": die Photographie, der Photograph, and die Photographin. The tricky word Foto, however, may not be written with "ph"!


Wann hast du angefangen, dich für die Fotografie zu interessieren?

When did you start to get interested in photography?

Caption 5, Der Fotograf: Sven Siegrist

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Was ist denn da genau als Fotograf zu beachten?

What exactly is there to consider as a photographer?

Caption 41, Der Fotograf: Sven Siegrist

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The last form of visual arts is conceptual art (die Konzeptkunst), which may be defined as any contemporary art that does not use only the traditional visual art skills of painting or sculpture and so forth. A person who practices this art form is a conceptual artist (der Konzeptkünstler / die Konzeptkünstlerin). Since conceptual art may take the form of an installation, or a form that is not easily sold (in the way an object like a painting or sculpture can be sold), most conceptual artists live from art grants and other forms of financial support.


... hier bei der Eröffnung der aktuellen Ausstellung zur Konzeptkunst

... here at the opening of the current exhibition about conceptual art

Caption 8, Museum für Moderne Kunst

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and watch the videos above relating to art forms and professions. Find a tandem partner in your class and make up some sentences in German using these art words, then compare what you both came up with.

Memorialization in Germany

Germany's past role as the prime perpetrator of the Holocaust and the Second World War, and as a nation formerly divided into capitalist and communist states, have made for a very strong national culture of memorialization: die Erinnerungskultur. There are many memorial museums, sculptures, and plaques dedicated to the memory of victims of the Nazis and the former communist state of East Germany. There is also a project called Stolpersteine ("stumbling stones"), initiated in the late 1990s by a German artist, which has installed tens of thousands of small brass plaques throughout Europe into the sidewalks outside the houses where people persecuted by the Nazis once lived. Let's take a look today at some Yabla German videos that feature the theme of memorialization.


The German word for a memorial—sometimes a museum and sometimes just a place of memorialization—is die Gedenkstätte:


Und im Rahmen dieses besonderen Tages wurde auch die Gedenkstätte für die ermordeten Wiesbadener Juden ihrer Bestimmung übergeben.

And in the framework of this special day, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Wiesbaden was consigned to its set purpose.

Captions 8-10, Holocaust-Gedenktag: Gedenkstätte am Michelsberg

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Auf dem Gelände der neu errichteten europäischen Zentralbank ist nun eine Gedenkstätte entstanden.

On the grounds of the newly constructed European Central Bank, a memorial has now arisen.

Captions 19-20, Rheinmain im Blick: Neue Gedenkstätte an der EZB

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And here, along with the term das Gedenken ("memory," "remembrance," or "commemoration"), are some other words that use das Gedenken as a root word:


Anlässlich des Gedenkens an die Befreiung von Auschwitz vor sechsundsechzig Jahren...

On the occasion of the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz sixty-six years ago...

Captions 2-3, Holocaust-Gedenktag: Ausstellung "Frankfurt-Auschwitz"

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Neben dem Kunstprojekt sind im Jubiläumsjahr viele weitere Gedenkaktionen geplant.

In addition to the art project, many further acts of remembrance have been planned for the year of the anniversary.

Captions 38-39, 25 Jahre Wiedervereinigung: Ampelmännchen wird Einheitsmännchen

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Der 27. Januar ist in Deutschland ein offizieller Gedenktag.

The 27th of January is an official day of remembrance in Germany.

Caption 15, Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Einbürgerungstest

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Eine gigantische nationale Gedenkfeier...

A gigantic national commemorative celebration...

Caption 8, Rhein-Main-TV: Feier zur deutschen Einheit in Frankfurt wird gigantisch

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and watch the videos above in their entirety. One active research aspect of memorialization is the return of stolen and looted cultural assets, such as artworks, to the families of victims of Third Reich. You can watch the Restitution von Raubgut series on Yabla here.

Smack Dab in the Middle

In English, a person can be described as standing in the middle of the sidewalk in the middle of the day, and whether you are talking about place or time, the phrase "in the middle of" is correct. In German, however, there are two expressions: mitten im (or mitten in der for feminine nouns) and mitten am (mitten an der for feminine nouns). In most cases, whether discussing time or place, the phrase mitten im (in der) is used, whether for time of the year:



Vor langer Zeit mitten im eisigsten Winter...

A long time ago in the middle of the iciest winter...

Caption 5, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Schneewittchen

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Or for place: 


Ich finde das eine, ja, auch wichtige Stelle, mitten in der Stadt.

I think it is also a, yes, important place, in the middle of the city.

Captions 25-26, Holocaust-Gedenktag - Gedenkstätte am Michelsberg

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The phrase mitten am (mitten an der) is used less frequently but in very specific contexts. For place, mitten am is used primarily when something is physically located on a place. In the following example, you can see why mitten im would sound wrong, as it would suggest that the kiosk is inside Friedberger Platz rather than on it: 


Neben mir steht der Turan,

Next to me stands Turan,

der Besitzer hier von dem schönen Kiosk

the owner here of the nice kiosk

mitten am Friedberger Platz.

in the middle of Friedberger Platz.

Captions 1-2, Frankfurt - Der Friedberger Platz

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Generally you wouldn't say mitten am Friedberger Platz anyway, you would simply say auf Friedberger Platz. If the kiosk were located on the edge of the square, you would say an Friedberger Platz.


When used with period of day terms, it is more common to use mitten am than mitten imMitten am Morgen (in the middle of the morning); Mitten am Nachmittag (in the middle of the afternoon); or Mitten am Tag (in the middle of the day, or "in broad daylight"). When discussing nighttime, however, the mitten in der phrase is standardly used: Mitten in der Nacht (in the middle of the night). In general, mitten does not have any influence on the above usage of the prepositions am or in der, as they are also am Morgen and in der Nacht etc. when used without the word mitten.



Further Learning
Look for further examples of mitten im, mitten in der, mitten am, and mitten an der on Yabla German to see these phrases used in a real-world context.