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Listen up!

Have you noticed that there is not only the verb hören in German, but also anhören and zuhören? Unfortunately, the difference between these three can’t exactly be equated with the difference between “to listen” and “to hear” in English. Let’s try to get to the bottom of how each one is used.  

Hören without any prefixes can actually be translated as both “to hear” and “to listen,” depending on the context.

 

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Hört ihr es? Mein Wasser fängt gerade an zu kochen.

Do you hear it? My water is just starting to boil.

Caption 35, Cannelloni - mit Jenny - Part 1

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Das haben wohl schon so einige Kinder von ihren Eltern zu hören bekommen.

Quite a few children have gotten to hear that from their parents.

Caption 2, Kochhaus Berlin - Kochen mit Kindern

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OK, ich höre. Wer beginnt?

OK, I am listening. Who will begin?

Caption 26, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren - Der Relativsatz - Part 16

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Zuhören is used to describe listening intently or paying attention. 

 

Du musst genau zuhören, was gesprochen wird,

You have to listen carefully to what is said,

Caption 39, German Intro - Cettina

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„Und nun hör zu:" "Der Sommer ist warm und kurz."

"And now listen up. "Summer is warm and short."

Captions 29-30, Piggeldy und Frederick - Sommer

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Sich etwas anhören describes listening to something specific that requires some time, for example, a song or an album. This is a bit confusing as hören is also used to talk about listening to music. If you understand the difference between sehen and sich etwas ansehen, this may help you with the distinction between hören and sich etwas anhören. Perhaps it is not unlike "to have a good look" or "to have a listen."

 

Wir möchten uns ein bisschen von seiner Lebensgeschichte anhören.

We would like to hear a bit about his life story.

Caption 4, Dieter Kränzlein - Bildhauer - Part 1

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Und was erwartet uns, wenn wir uns das Album anhören?

And what awaits us [can we expect] when we listen to the album?

Caption 13, Sons of Sounds - Open-Air in Karlsruhe

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At the same time, sich anhören is also used to talk about something (for example, an idea or suggestion) that “sounds good” or “sounds bad.” Take a look at the structures below: 

 

OK, das hört sich gut an. Ich komme gerne mit.

OK, that sounds good. I'll gladly come along.

Caption 44, Diane erklärt - Fragewörter

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Im Präteritum würde sich das so anhören.

In the preterite [narrative past in German], it would sound like this.

Caption 31, Konjugation - Das Verb „mögen“

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Now for a false friend alert: The verb überhören does not mean "to overhear" in the English sense. It actually means to ignore or miss something one has heard. 

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Further Learning
Search Yabla German for more examples of these verbs to develop your understanding of how they are used. Next week, we’ll look at a few words that contain the word hören, but have little to do with listening or hearing.  

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. 

The word scharf

In English, the word "sharp" has a few different meanings. We can use it to describe the blade of a knife, but we can also say that someone is a "sharp dresser." The German word scharf also has a range of meanings beyond "sharp-edged."

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One very common translation of scharf that you may already know is "spicy."

 

Wenn ihr es nicht ganz so scharf mögt, dann könnt ihr diese kleinen Sch'... Chilischotenkerne entfernen.

If you don't like it quite so spicy, then you can remove these little ch'... chili seeds.

Captions 52-53, Cannelloni - mit Jenny - Part 1

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Das Gemisch, das auf Stufe zehn kommt, ist die schärfste Chilisoße der Welt.

The mixture that makes it to level ten is the hottest chili sauce in the world.

Caption 21, Currywurst - Berlins schärfstes Stück

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Scharf can also be used as an adjective or adverb to mean "sleek" or "attractive." In this sentence, it's used to describe the design of a car:

 

Von der Spitze bis zum Heckspoiler ist er richtig schön scharf gezeichnet.

From the front end to the rear spoiler, it's really sharply designed.

Caption 4, Auto-Bild-TV - Tops & Flops der IAA

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Finally, scharf is also used to describe images in terms of whether they are in focus or not:

 

Und dann... die Bilder, die scharf waren, da war wieder der Ausdruck nicht so, wie ich's gerne hätte.

And then... the pictures that were in focus, there again the expression wasn't how I'd like to have it.

Caption 34, Lokalhelden - Art House - Part 3

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Further Learning
Watch the currywurst video above in its entirety on Yabla German for more examples of the word in use. Make sentences with the word scharf, integrating the correct endings based on gender (eine scharfe Suppe, ein scharfes Gewürz), and then try some sentences with the comparative and superlative form (schärfer, schärfste).

German Cooking Verbs - Part 3

German Cooking Verbs - Part 1

German Cooking Verbs - Part 2

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Welcome to the third and last part of our series on on German cooking verbs. Take this opportunity to brush up on your cooking verbs with Yabla!

 

hinzufügen: add (to, into)

 

Zur Sahne werde ich den Hartkäse hinzufügen.

To the cream I'll add the hard cheese.

Captions 33-34, Cannelloni - mit Jenny

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mahlen (fein, grob): grind (finely, coarsely)

 

„Heute mahlen sie das Getreide mit Strom“, sagte Frederick.

“Today, they grind the grain with electricity,” said Frederick.

Caption 28, Piggeldy und Frederick - Maschine

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rühren: stir, mix

 

Ich würd' sagen, jeder darf mal rühren.

I would say, everyone gets to stir.

Caption 8, Weihnachtsplätzchen backen - mit Diane und vielen kleinen Helfern

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schälen: peel

 

Zum Beispiel Karotten schälen, helfen, wo wir grad [gerade] gebraucht werden.

For example, peeling carrots, helping just where we are needed.

Captions 41-42, Bretten - Das Peter-und-Paul-Fest

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schlagen: beat a mixture, or crack an egg (also aufschlagen)

 

Wir nehmen fünf Eier und schlagen diese einzeln zu der Mischung hinzu.

We take five eggs and crack them individually into the mixture.

Captions 9-10, Bayrische Spätzle - mit Christiane

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Further Learning:

Find some German recipes online and try cooking them at home. You can also search Yabla and find some videos with cooking themes to see some more cooking words in context. Here is a list of some more German verbs used in cooking: montieren: thicken sauce with cold butter; reduzieren: reduce, cook down; reiben: grate; schneiden: cut, chop; schwenken: stir in melted butter or fat; spicken: add lard or spice under skin of meat; streichen: spread; tranchieren: carve into slices; überbacken: gratinate; unterheben: fold in; verfeinern: refine; verquirlen: whisk, beat; wiegen, abwiegen: weigh; würzen: season; zerreiben: grate; zerschneiden: cut up; ziehen lassen: marinade or poach; ziehen: marinade, steep, simmer; zusetzen: add

 

Vocabulary

German Cooking Verbs - Part 2

German Cooking Verbs - Part 1

German Cooking Verbs - Part 3

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We're back right away with the second part of our series on German cooking verbs. Take this opportunity to brush up on your cooking verbs with Yabla, and we wish you a guten Appetit!

 

durchrühren: stir together

 

Noch mal durchrühren, und dann ist erst mal wieder der Spargel dran.

Stir together again, and then the asparagus is up again.

Caption 42, Kochhaus Berlin - Rucola-Salat-Rezept

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durchziehen: pull through

 

Einfach mit dem Messer durchziehen.

Simply pull through [them] with a knife.

Caption 54, Cannelloni - mit Jenny

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erhitzen: heat

 

Eine kleine Pfanne bei mittelstarker Temperatur mit zwei Esslöffel [sic, Esslöffeln] Olivenöl erhitzen.

Heat a small pan at medium-high temperature with two tablespoons of olive oil.

Captions 20-21, Das perfekte Dinner - Kochen für Gäste

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grillen: grill or barbeque

 

Indem wir zusammen sitzen, grillen, Musik hören, lachen...

As we sit together, grilling, listening to music, laughing...

Caption 24, Trial-Meisterschaft - in Bensheim

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umrühren: stir, stir up

 

So, ähm, jetzt kannst du noch mal umrühren.

So, um, now you can stir it once again.

Caption 27, Weihnachtsplätzchen backen - mit Diane und vielen kleinen Helfern

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Further Learning:

Find some German recipes online and try cooking them at home. You can also search Yabla and find some videos with cooking themes to see more cooking words in context. Here is a list of more German verbs used in cooking starting with the letter B: backen: bake; bestreuen: sprinkle; braten: fry or roast (occasionally: grill); dämpfen: steam; dünsten: lightly cook in butter, oil, or juice; einlegen: conserve by pickling or canning; einmachen: conserve by canning; entbeinen: debone; entfetten: skim or remove fat; flambieren: set spirits on fire, usually brandy; garen: cook; gerinnen: curdle; gratinieren or überbacken: cook in oven or broil; häuten: de-skin; hineinschieben: place in oven, bake; hobeln: grate or slice; kandieren: crystallize using sugar; karamellisieren: caramelize; klären: clarify; kneten: knead; kochen: boil, cook; legieren: bind with egg yolk or cream

Vocabulary

German Cooking Verbs - Part 1

German Cooking Verbs - Part 2

German Cooking Verbs - Part 3

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If you are studying German, you must be somewhat curious about German foods. This is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your cooking verbs, and Yabla is just the place to start!

 

abgießen: decant, pour out

 

Dafür muss ich das Öl in dem Glas abgießen.

For that, I have to pour out the oil in the jar.

Caption 58, Cannelloni - mit Jenny

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ablöschen: quench, deglaze, put out a fire

 

Achtung beim Spargel, nicht zu lange braten, dann mit Wasser ablöschen.

Be careful with asparagus, don't fry it too long, then deglaze it with water.

Caption 37, Kochhaus Berlin - Rucola-Salat-Rezept

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abtropfen: drain

 

Man und holt die raus, lässt die 'n bisschen abtropfen.

You take them out, and let them drain a little bit.

Caption 26, Bayrische Spätzle - mit Christiane

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anrichten: place in serving dish, arrange

 

Jetzt nur noch alles auf dem Teller schön anrichten.

Now just arrange everything nicely on the plate.

Caption 63, Kochhaus Berlin - Rucola-Salat-Rezept

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ausrollen: roll out

 

Jetzt wollen wir den Teig ausrollen.

Now we want to roll out the batter.

Caption 24, Weihnachtsplätzchen backen - mit Diane und vielen kleinen Helfern

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Further Learning:

Find some German recipes online and try cooking them at home. You can also search Yabla and find some videos with cooking themes to see some more cooking words in context. Here is a list of some more German verbs used in cooking starting with the letter A: (aus)quellen lassen: expand, rise; abbrühen: boil shortly; abdampfen: dry out over dry heat; abkühlen: cool off, cool down; abschmecken (degustieren): taste and season; abschütten: drain; abseihen: strain, sieve; abstechen: scoop, use a spoon for small portions; abziehen: skim or peel; abzupfen: pick off; anbraten: brown; anbrennen: burn; aufgehen: rise (yeast, soufflé); aufkochen: bring to boil; aufschlagen: beat, whip; aufwärmen: warm, reheat; aufziehen: rise (yeast, soufflé)

Vocabulary

The placement of nicht in a sentence

Nicht (not) is an adverb, and as a verb modifier will fall easily into place if you observe a few basic rules. It usually comes before another adverb or adjective, but unlike the English "not," usually comes after verbs.

 

Ich mag es nicht, Lebensmittel zu verschwenden.

Uh, I do not like to waste food.

Caption 50, Werbung gegen Realität - Kunstprojekt Fertigprodukte

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The German sentence above states literally: "I like it not..."

Declarative sentences and questions requiring simple yes or no answers usually have nicht falling at the end of the sentence, also unlike English:

 

Den brauchen wir nicht.

We do not need that.

Caption 24, Cannelloni - mit Jenny

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Du weißt auch nicht?

You do not know either?

Caption 6, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren - Der Relativsatz

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Nicht falls before the last part of a separable verb and before the infinitive in a sentence with a compound verb:

 

Aber die Dortmunder müssen und wollen sich nicht verstecken.

But the Dortmund [team] does not have or want to hide.

Caption 12, Der Pott ist da - Der DFB-Pokal

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Nicht is placed after adverbs of chronological time such as früher (earlier), gestern (yesterday), heute (today), morgen (tomorrow), and später (later).

 

Rock 'n' Roll ist heute nicht mehr so seins.

Rock 'n' roll today is no longer really his [thing].

Caption 39, Andreas Bourani - Startet durch

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In contrast, non-chronological adverbs are usually preceded by nicht.

 

Also, das muss nicht sofort funktionieren.

So this does not have to work immediately.

Caption 11, Yoga - Sonnengruß als Aufwärmung

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Further Learning:

Just remember that nicht only comes after chronological adverbs, otherwise nicht precedes all other adverbs, verb infinitives, adjectives, and prepositional phrases. See the wonderful examples of the placement of nicht at Grimm Grammar (scroll down to the bottom of the page, don't forget to hit the Play button!), then search Yabla videos to find nicht used in different contexts!

Grammar

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