German Lessons


Delays and Cancellations

In the last weeks, many aspects of our daily lives have been uprooted as we all do our part to keep COVID-19 from spreading. Even those who are not directly affected or immediately at risk are advised to lay low in order to keep themselves and others safe. Large gatherings such as conferences and concerts have been canceled or postponed in the interest of public safety, and smaller events and meetings should be canceled as well.


We at Yabla wish you and your loved ones all the best during these uncertain times. Exercising caution, remaining calm, and gathering knowledge are all important strategies. For those of you who might be dealing with practical aspects of the situation in German, we will use this week's lesson to go over the various words for "to cancel" and "to postpone." If you aren't getting news updates about the situation in Germany and would like to be, check out the links posted under "Further Learning" below. 

There are many ways to say "to cancel" in German, but here are the most common verbs used to refer to events, appointments, and plans:


Heute ist Dienstag. Wir hatten eigentlich unseren Flug für heute zurück gebucht, aber es ist immer noch alles storniert.

Today is Tuesday. We had actually booked our flight back for today, but everything is still canceled.

Captions 6-7, Reisen während des Vulkanausbruchs

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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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Die eigentlich mittwochs stattfindende Generalaudienz fällt diesmal aus.

The general audience, which normally takes place Wednesdays, is canceled this time.

Captions 5-7, Papst Franziskus: Der neue Papst hat viel zu tun

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When it comes to events or meetings being postponed, the common verb is verschieben, which has a number of meanings related to "to shift." 


Es ist eine wundervolle Sache, denn du kannst die Dinge, die du heute tun solltest, nehmen und nach morgen verschieben.

It is a wonderful thing, because you can take the things that you should do today and postpone them till tomorrow.

Captions 24-26, Lektionen: Morgen

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Wir haben die Tour verschoben, weil ich mit dem Album noch nicht fertig geworden bin [sic, fertig geworden war]

We pushed the tour back, because I still wasn't finished with the album

Captions 58-59, Clueso: ist endlich erwachsen

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Further Learning
You can find more examples of these verbs on Yabla German. If you would like to work on your listening comprehension by means of a daily news briefing, try listening to Deutsche Welle's Langsam gesprochene Nachrichtenwhich is made especially for German learners. If you would like to learn about how the situation is unfolding in Germany, you may find Der Spiegel to be a good resource for articles in English as well as German.


The Proof is in the Pudding

The German language does not have an equivalent to the rather odd phrase above, which originated in the proverb that the proof of the flavor of a pudding is in the eating of it. The phrase means that the end result is the mark of the success or failure of one’s efforts or planning. The most common words used as "proof," or "evidence," or "to prove" in German are the noun der Beweis and the verb beweisen. Here are some examples of the noun:


Den Beweis tritt die hübsche Münchnerin ausgerechnet in der alpinen Bergwelt Österreichs an.

The pretty Munich resident produces the evidence, of all places, in the alpine mountain world of Austria.

Captions 5-6, Im Höhenflug - Ariadne (die Ex von Lothar Matthäus)

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Endlich ein Beweis dafür, dass ich nicht im Baum sitze und was auf dich schmeiße.

Finally, evidence that I'm not sitting in the tree throwing something at you.

Caption 32, Piggeldy und Frederick - Streiten

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The phrase unter Beweis stellen, however, which is literally "to place under proof," is usually best translated to English with a verb:


Und ich freue mich sehr, meine Fähigkeiten, die ich an der Universität erworben habe, im realen Leben unter Beweis zu stellen.

And I am very excited to demonstrate the skills that I acquired in university in real life.

Captions 16-18, Berufsleben - das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 2

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Here are some examples of the verb beweisen:


So beweist NIKI, dass sich Wirtschaftlichkeit und guter Service miteinander verbinden lassen.

That's how NIKI proves that economy and good service can be connected with one another.

Captions 34-35, Fluglinien - Niki Air

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Doch wir sind hier nicht etwa beim Seniorenturnen, wie uns Daniela Katzenberger eindrucksvoll beweist, sondern bei einer Benefizveranstaltung.

But we are not here at some sort of senior gymnastics event, as Daniela Katzenberger impressively proves to us, but rather at a benefit event.

Captions 14-16, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell - Kick für Kids

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Im Video zur ersten Single muss Clueso dann auch gleich beweisen, dass er noch fit ist.

In the video of the first single, Clueso must also then immediately prove that he is still fit.

Captions 6-7, Clueso - ist endlich erwachsen

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Die Person muss beweisen, dass sie wegen ihrer politischen Überzeugung, Religionszugehörigkeit, ihrer Rasse, Nationalität verfolgt wird.

The person must prove that because of their political convictions, religious affiliation, or their race or nationality, they are being persecuted.

Captions 20-21, Flüchtlingskrise - 10 Vorurteile, die nicht stimmen

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and see the various forms of der Beweis and beweisen used in a real-world context. If you want to go deeper, read this German Wikipedia article about the legal differences between der Hauptbeweis, der Gegenbeweis, and der Beweis des Gegenteils.

Using wohl

This week, we'll take a look at the word wohl and its different usages in German. 


The word wohl by itself is used to create a tone of assumption or affirmation in a sentence, meaning "indeed," "likely," "probably," or "apparently." Understanding the exact level of certainty or affirmation involved will require looking at the verb tenses and other context clues in the sentence. 


Und das wird wohl auch erst mal so bleiben.

And it will first also likely stay like that.

Caption 19, Andreas Bourani - Startet durch

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Am Ende hat es dann doch wohl gepasst.

In the end it did indeed, fit well.

Caption 65, Clueso - ist endlich erwachsen

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Relatedly, the phrase jawohl means "yes, indeed":


Ich finde, hier ist es besser. Jawohl!

I think it's better here. Indeed!


At the same time, the word wohl also refers to well-being. We often see the verb sich wohlfühlen, which means to feel "well," "happy," or "comfortable." 


Die Rote Meerbarbe ... fühlt sich seitdem in der Nordsee wohl.

The red mullet ... since then, has felt just fine in the North Sea.

Captions 22-23, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen - Part 9

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Alle fühlen sich hier wohl, ist aber nicht ganz meine Musik.

Everyone's feeling comfortable here, but it's not really my type of music.

Caption 38, Deutsche Sporthilfe - Ball des Sports - Part 1

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As you may have guessed, this meaning of wohl relates to the phrase zum Wohl, which is often used in toasts. 


Wenn wir anstoßen, sagen wir „zum Wohl“ oder einfach nur „prost“.

When we clink glasses, we say "to health!" or simply just "cheers!"

Caption 18, Tisch decken - mit Eva

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Further Learning
Look for more examples with the word wohl on Yabla German and see if you can integrate it into a sentence the next time you converse or write sentences in German. What do you think the words das Wohlfühlhotel, der Wohlfühleffekt, die Wohlfühloase, der Wohlfühlort or der Wohlfühlanzug might mean?

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