German Lessons

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Insects in German, Part II

Let's continue on from the first lesson about different insect names in German, starting with the sometimes rather annoying fly: 

 

In dem Moment ist mir eine Fliege ins Ohr geflogen.

At that moment, a fly flew into my ear.

Caption 57, 48 h in Innsbruck: Sehenswürdigkeiten & Tipps

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There are also a number of German idioms and slang usages that use the noun die Fliege:

 

Damit schlägt sie zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe.

With that she hits two flies with one swatter.

Caption 7, Christina Stürmer: ist reif fürs Museum

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Hau ab! Mach die Fliege, sonst gibt's Ärger.

Get lost! Do the fly, or there'll be trouble.

Caption 39, Die Pfefferkörner: Endspurt

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The two translations above are literal, of course. Zwei fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen has the English equivalent "to kill two birds with one stone." And die Fliege machen means to get away quickly, just as flies do. The common housefly is called die Stubenfliege, by the way.

 

Another potentially annoying insect is die Motte:

 

Kleine braune Motten mit scharfen Zähnen flogen aus der Büchse.

Little brown moths with sharp teeth flew out of the box.

Caption 54, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die Büchse der Pandora

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Die Motten flogen aus dem Fenster und stachen jeden, der ihnen in die Quere kam.

The moths flew out the window and stung everyone who crossed their path.

Captions 63-64, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die Büchse der Pandora

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Fliegen Motten in das Licht, genau wie du und ich.

Moths fly into the light, just like you and I.

Caption 2, Nena: Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann

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Even though they're technically arachnids, not insects, let's include die Spinne

 

Alligatoren, Schlangen, Spinnen, Skorpione.

Alligators, snakes, spiders, scorpions.

Caption 3, Summer Cheergirl: Fotoshooting mit lebendigen Spinnen

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And then there are the amazing traps that spiders lay and live upon:

 

Das sieht aus wie ein Spinnennetz.

That looks like a spider web.

Caption 55, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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As well as an idiomatic expression that means "how horrible":

 

Aber einem Menschen seine Krankheit vorzuwerfen: Pfui Spinne!

But criticizing a person for his illness: ugh, spider!

Caption 54, heute-show: Die männliche Merkel hat Erinnerungslücken

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And here's another idiomatic expression using die Laus (plural: die Läuse), which is asking here if you are upset about something:

 

Ist Ihnen schon wieder eine Laus über die Leber gelaufen?

Did a louse walk over your liver again?

Caption 13, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Der echte Weihnachtsmann

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Further Learning
See if you can guess the meanings of the following German insect words, and then make them plural in German and check if you were correct: die Mücke (or die Stechmücke); die Kakerlake; die Libelle; and lastly an easy one: der Grashüpfer. Then go to German Yabla and watch some other videos about insects.

Expressing Emotional States in German

It has truly been a year of ups and downs, to the extent that it takes a pretty advanced vocabulary to describe what we're feeling sometimes. This week, we'd like to provide a list of some adjectives that are used to express both positive and negative emotions. 

The adjective aufgeregt in German describes a mixture of "excited" and "nervous," like before you do a presentation or go on a roller coaster. On the other hand, gespannt is used to describe a type of excitement more linked to curiosity or looking forward to something. Besorgt could be translated as "worried" or "concerned."

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Gleich geht's los, ein bisschen aufgeregt bin ich schon.

It will start momentarily, I am certainly a little bit nervous.

Caption 3, Deutsche Welle - Hin und weg - Best of Europa-Park!

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Ich bin mal gespannt, wie es klappt. Ich hoffe, es gefällt euch.

I am excited to see how it will go. I hope you like it.

Caption 41, Eva Croissant - Interview

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Ich bin ein bisschen besorgt, ob ich es zu der Wohnung von den beiden schaffe.

I'm a little bit worried as to whether I'll be able to make it to their apartment.

Caption 21, Die Wohngemeinschaft - Besuch

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When something turns out well, your reaction may range from zufrieden ("pleased," "satisfied") to erstaunt ("astonished"), depending on whether the outcome was expected or not. 

 

Ich bin sehr zufrieden. Für diese gute Leistung geb ich dir eine Eins.

I'm very satisfied. I'll give you a "one" for this good performance.

Caption 51, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte - Bayern

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Eine Freundin von mir war schon einmal in der Hauptstadt Oslo und sie war begeistert.

A friend of mine was already in the capital, Oslo, once and she was thrilled.

Caption 11, Jenny - Reiseziele

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Die Menschen waren erstaunt über das, was sie sahen.

The people were astonished at what they saw.

Caption 63, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Des Kaisers neue Kleider

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Of course, many of us have had our share of difficult experiences this year and had to face their corresponding emotions:

 

Ich war total gestresst, weil mein Chef im Büro mich so genervt hat.

I was totally stressed out because my boss was really getting on my nerves at the office.

Caption 19, Konjugation - Das Verb „brauchen“

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Müde und erschöpft stand er schließlich vor ihrer Tür.

Tired and exhausted, he finally stood in front of their door.

Caption 20, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Die Büchse der Pandora

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Die Leute wären genauso enttäuscht und genauso deprimiert.

People would be just as disappointed and depressed.

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

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Na ja, also, der Junge ist einfach schlichtweg überfordert mit dem Projekt.

Well... well, the boy is just completely overwhelmed by the project.

Caption 8, Mama arbeitet wieder - Die Trennung

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Völlig überwältigt stellt sie sich den vielen Fernsehkameras.

Completely overwhelmed, she faced the many television cameras.

Caption 41, Miss Germany 2011 - Auf High Heels zur Krone

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The hope is, of course, that we can generally find a balance and remain optimistic as the year comes to an end.

 

Ich versuche, optimistisch zu bleiben,

I am trying to stay optimistic,

aber ich habe das Gefühl, dass ich die Stelle nicht bekommen habe.

but I have the feeling that I didn't get the job.

Captions 4-5, Berufsleben - das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Wart ihr sehr aufgeregt oder wart ihr ganz entspannt?

Were you very nervous or were you totally relaxed?

Caption 37, Modedesignerin Nina Hollein - Floria Prinzessin von Hessen

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Further Learning
There are many more adjectives you can look up on Yabla German, of course. You can start with erleichtert, frohverärgert, verzweifelt, wütend, verängstigt, and zuversichtlich. Since adjectives and adverbs can often be identical in German, do not be surprised if you encounter these words being used as adverbs as well — it's a 2 for 1 deal! 

Eifersüchtig vs. Neidisch

In the English language, many people confuse the words "jealous" and "envious." This occurs in German as well, which can make it even harder to distinguish between the words eifersüchtig and neidisch and know when to use which one. 

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"Jealousy" occurs when the underlying emotion is a fear that someone will take away something that you have. This means that die Eifersucht often occurs in situations involving three people, like in the sentence below:

 

Was? Nee, nee, das war nur mein Kollege.

What? No, no, that was just my colleaugue.

Nein, das ist kein Grund, eifersüchtig zu sein.

No, it's no reason to be jealous.

Captions 49-50, Großstadtrevier - Von Monstern und Mördern

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Zum ersten Mal in ihrem Leben verspürte sie Stiche von Wut und Eifersucht.

For the first time in her life, she felt stings of anger and jealousy.

Caption 61, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Die Büchse der Pandora

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"Envious" is simply wanting what someone else has or gets to do. In German, there is the noun der Neid, the adjective neidisch, and also the verb jemanden beneiden.

 

Wütend und neidisch zugleich

Angry and envious at the same time,

stampfte er auf dem Berg der Götter umher.

he stomped around on the Mountain of the Gods.

Caption 14, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Die Büchse der Pandora

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Reinhold Leinberger, den ich heiß darum beneide,

Reinhold Leinberger, whom I envy very much because of it,

der durfte nämlich mit Ihnen fliegen.

was actually permitted to fly with you.

Caption 20, Ultraleicht-Flieger - Der Gyrocopter

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Further Learning
Can you find a video on Yabla German in which eifersüchtig is used, but the speaker actually means neidisch?

"For" is not always "für"

The German accusative preposition für is often translated to the English preposition "for":

 

Hier gibt es viele verschiedene Sachen für die Familie und für die Kinder zu sehen.

Here there are many different things for the family and for the children to see.

Caption 8, Berlin - Domäne Dahlem

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However, the English preposition "for" may also be translated to German as aus:

 

Aber aus irgendeinem Grund wollte Pandora im Haus bleiben.

But for some reason Pandora wanted to stay in the house.

Captions 33-34, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Die Büchse der Pandora

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Or as zum:

 

Fast jedes Ei, das zum Verkauf in Supermärkten gedacht ist, muss mit einem Zahlencode gekennzeichnet sein. [Kennzeichnung von Hühnereiern]

Almost every egg that is intended for sale in supermarkets must be marked with a number code. [Identification of chicken eggs]

Captions 9-10, Bioeier - Wie funktioniert der Erzeugercode?

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Or as seit:

 

Und seit wie lange schon? -Seit sechzehn Jahren.

And for how long already? -For sixteen years.

Caption 6, Frisbee - Karlsruher Weihnachtsturnier

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Remember too that foreign words in general may be translated differently according to context. Just because "for" translates to seit in the above example does not mean that seit always translates back to "for":

 

Aber seit ich in Berlin lebe, arbeite ich als Kellnerin und Barista in Cafés.

But since I've lived in Berlin, I've worked as a waitress and barista in cafés.

Caption 16, Berlin - Judith und die „Brezel Bar“

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Further Learning
Search on Yabla German for the English word "for" to see examples of how this preposition can be translated to German in different contexts.


 

For vs. für

The English preposition "for" and the German accusative preposition für are not only similarly spelled, but are often interchangeable too — the problem arises in cases where they are not. Let's first take a look at some examples where "for" can be directly translated as für. If something is intended for someone:

 

Was kann ich für dich tun?

What can I do for you?

Caption 2, Berlin - Judith und die „Brezel Bar“

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When indicating quantity or money:

 

Für Geld machen Sie alles?

For money you'll do anything?

Caption 62, Klebt, schmeckt, macht dick - Die Süßigkeitenmesse

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For stating a length or period of time:

 

Stattdessen wird sie in einen tiefen Schlaf fallen für viele Jahre.

Instead, she will fall into a deep sleep for many years.

Caption 30, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Dornröschen

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Some English expressions with "for" also use für when translated to German: für nichts or für umsonst (for nothing); für immer (for always or forever); für nächstes Mal (for next time).

On the other hand, the English "for" may also be translated as aus, seit, or zu, with expressions like "for some reason" (aus irgendeinem Grund), "for a long time" (seit langem), and "for sale" (zum Verkauf):

 

Aber aus irgendeinem Grund wollte Pandora im Haus bleiben.

But for some reason Pandora wanted to stay in the house.

Captions 33-34, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Die Büchse der Pandora

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Er ist Ungar und spielt schon seit langem mit uns zusammen.

He is Hungarian and plays with us for a long time already.

Captions 24-25, Deutsche Bands - Cabanossi

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Fast jedes Ei, das zum Verkauf in Supermärkten gedacht ist...

Almost every egg that is intended for sale in supermarkets...

Caption 9, Bioeier - Wie funktioniert der Erzeugercode?

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It's important to remember that prepositions are not always directly translatable; just because "for" is translated as zu in one case does not mean that zu is always translated into English as "for."

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Further Learning:

Imagine a typical use of the word "for" in an English sentence, then translate it into German and search Yabla German for a similar expression to see how it is translated there. Did you get it right?

Vocabulary

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