German Lessons



This past week, temperatures in Germany rose to 102° F / 39° C, even in Berlin and the northern Bundesländer. For a place where air conditioning is the exception rather than the norm, this is extreme!


In German, the noun for "heat" or "hot temperatures" is die Hitze


Ich mag zwar Wärme, aber keine Hitze.

I like the warmth indeed, but not the heat.

Caption 38, Jenny - Reiseziele

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Die Hitze war so groß,

The heat was so great

dass schon bald die Farben seiner Soldatenuniform verblassten.

that the colors of his soldier's uniform soon faded.

Captions 79-80, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der standhafte Zinnsoldat

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Die Mischung aus Staub und Sonnenstrahlen

The mixture of dust and sunbeams

ließ das gleißende Licht entstehen,

gave rise to the glistening light,

das die tödliche Hitze im Film so glaubhaft macht.

that makes the deadly heat in the film so believable.

Captions 28-30, Hell - Science-Fiction-Kinotipp

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Just as we say "heat wave" in English, Germany combines die Hitze and die Welle into a compound noun:


Eine Hitzewelle rollt an.

A heatwave is coming through.

Caption 6, Unterwegs mit Cettina - Sommer am Baggersee

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Sometimes when a heat wave is too intense and no air conditioning is available (which is the case in many offices and classrooms), cancellations may even occur. There is a special phrase in German for getting the day off due to a heat wave: hitzefrei haben.


Die Müllmänner ham [haben] hitzefrei

The garbage men have time off due to the heat

Caption 4, Culcha Candela - Sommer im Kiez

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Further Learning
Search for more examples of the word die Hitze on Yabla German and see our past newsletter on summer living. You can also read a short text in German about the Berlin government's stance on school cancellations here.

Weak Masculine Nouns Ending in -e

Most nouns that are masculine and end in -e in their nominative singular form are called weak nouns, or schwache Substantive. They are often nouns that refer to nationalities, animals, or professions, such as der Schwede, der Löwe or der Psychologe. Since most German nouns ending in -e are feminine, these exceptions are easy to recognize. What sets them apart from other nouns is the fact that in all cases except for nominative, they end in -en. It is obvious that nouns ending in -e will end in -en in plural cases, but this applies to the singular case too!


Here's examples of the weak noun der Junge with the -en ending in different singular cases, starting with dative:

Der Zauberer sah zu dem zitternden Jungen hinab.

The Sorcerer looked down at the trembling Boy.

Caption 80, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der Zauberlehrling

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And again in the singular accusative case: 

"Schiffsverkehr"... für einen Jungen aus dem Pott klingt das nur bedingt naheliegend.

"Ship traffic"... for a boy from the "Pit" [Ruhr region] that sounds only conditionally obvious.

Caption 9, Herbert Grönemeyer - stellt sein neues Album vor

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And finally in the singular genitive case: 

Der Fisch wurde von der Mutter des kleinen Jungen gekauft.

The fish was bought by the mother of the little boy.

Caption 65, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der standhafte Zinnsoldat

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There are also some weak nouns that end in letters other than -e, but more about them later! 



Further Learning
Go to this page to practice your weak noun endings, and visit Yabla German to find more examples of weak masculine nouns in practice.

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