German Lessons


An Extra False Friend

The German adjectival prefix Extra- can often be translated as the English adjective "extra." If you wish to use "extra" as an adjective in German, it is not usually a freestanding word (excepting certain anglicisms such as extra dry) but is instead added to whatever noun is being modified. Let's first take a look at examples of the German adjectival prefix Extra-:


Niemand hat einen Extrapullover für Catherine? Leute!

Nobody has an extra pullover for Catherine? People!

Caption 49, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Die Konjunktion „dass“

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Ein Extrapaar Schuhe ist auch immer praktisch.

An extra pair of shoes is also always practical.

Caption 21, Christiane - fährt in den Urlaub

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Note that it would not be correct to write extra Pullover or extra Paar, instead the adjectival prefix Extra- is placed together with the noun: Extrapullover and Extrapaar. In some cases where extra is required to modify another adjective, it is still written in lower case, such as in extragroß ("extra large") and extrastark ("extra strong").


The German adverb extra, however, is usually a false friend, meaning it is written the same way in both languages but has a different meaning:


Die hab ich dir jetzt extra geholt, jetzt komm schon.

I got it especially for you, now come on.

Caption 58, Die Pfefferkörner - Eigentor

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Ach so, stimmt! Extra hergeflogen aus Saudi-Arabien.

Oh, that's right! Especially flown here from Saudi Arabia.

Caption 30, Fasching - mit Cettina

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As you see in the above examples, the German adverb extra is usually translated into English as "especially." However, sometimes the word "especially" is a bit too simplistic for the context, and it is better to use a more tailored translation such as "for the occasion" or "for that reason": 


Manfred Schoof hat extra 'ne einfache Melodie komponiert.

Manfred Schoof composed a simple melody for the occasion.

Caption 5, Bibliothek der Sachgeschichten - Müllmännerlied

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Und die Hölzer kommen dort meist nicht

And the wood there does not usually come

von extra angelegten Plantagen.

from plantations cultivated for that reason.

Caption 27, Umweltschutz - WWF zur Rettung des Regenwaldes

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Further Learning
Come up with a good phrase that you can use as a mnemonic device for remembering the difference between the adjectival prefix Extra- and the adverb extra. Here's such an example that works for me — as do most things chocolate:


Ich habe einen Extrariegel Schokolade extra für dich mitgenommen.
I've taken an extra bar of chocolate along especially for you.


Look for other examples of the German adjectival prefix Extra- and adverb extra in use in a real-world context on Yabla German and learn some other ways in which the word can be used.

German Interjections

According to the third edition of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, an interjection is a grammatical term "expressing emotion, viewed as a Part of Speech." Wikipedia describes an interjection as "a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling or reaction" that furthermore "partly overlaps with categories like profanities, discourse markers and fillers."


In German too, some interjections are also standard nouns, but most are basically sounds that express emotion. Here are some examples of German interjections that are nearly identical to English: 


Ach, jetzt weiß ich, warum wir verschlafen haben. -Aha, warum denn?

Oh, now I know why we overslept. -Uh-huh, why then?

Caption 55, Die Pfefferkörner - Cybermobbing

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The next one is pretty easy, because even though it's spelled differently, it sounds the same:


Sonst gibt es keine Krone. -Autsch!

Otherwise there won't be any crown. -Ouch!

Caption 8, JoNaLu - Prinz Dreckspatz

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The more common expression of pain in German, however, is aua, which is similar in sound to the English "ow."


Bingo, wir sind im Geschäft!

Bingo, we are in business!

Caption 61, Rücksicht im Verkehr - Christophorus - Die Mission

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„Es ist schön, dass wir in Deutschland sind." -Bravo.

"It is nice that we are in Germany." -Bravo.

Caption 29, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Die Konjunktion „dass“

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There are also many German interjections that sound entirely different from their English counterparts: 


Ich bin... was, "short"? -Ach, ich bin klein!

I am... what, short? -Oh, I am small!

Caption 15, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Obwohl

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Na ja, wer's glaubt, wird selig.

Well, he who has faith shall be blessed.

Caption 12, Großstadtrevier - Von Monstern und Mördern

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Mensch, wo bleibt sie denn?

Man, where is she then?

Caption 25, Die Pfefferkörner - Eigentor

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Further Learning
See this list of German interjections and find some of them used in a real-world context on Yabla German.

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