German Lessons


The Message or the News?

The German noun die Nachricht is often translated into "message" in English, such as a message left on your voicemail:



Sie haben eine neue Nachricht.

You have a new message.

Caption 27, Die Pfefferkörner - Gerüchteküche

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In a slightly confusing twist, both the singular and plural form of die Nachricht (plural: die Nachrichten) are often translated into "news" in English: 


Die Nachricht von der schlafenden Prinzessin verbreitete sich in vielen Ländern.

The news of the sleeping princess spread throughout many countries.

Captions 58-59, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Dornröschen

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Gute Nachrichten für Hessens Wirtschaftsminister Tarek Al-Wazir.

Good news for Hessia's Minister for Economic Affairs Tarek Al-Wazir.

Caption 1, Frankfurt wird Handelszentrum - für die chinesische Währung Yuan

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This may seem odd, but the reason that the word is translated the same regardless of whether it is singular or plural in German is that the word "news" is a mass noun in English. The Oxford dictionary defines a mass noun as "A noun denoting something that cannot be counted (e.g., a substance or quality), in English usually a noun that lacks a plural in ordinary usage and is not used with the indefinite article e.g. luggage, china, happiness."


Further Learning
Do a search for the word Nachricht on Yabla German and see how the different contexts of its usage can help you understand whether it's best to translate this word as "message" or "news," as well as decide when you should choose die Nachricht or its plural die Nachrichten when using it to mean "news."

Tying the Knot

Summer is soon approaching, and with the arrival of June, the wedding season (die Hochzeitsaison) will be in full swing. So whether it's a friend's wedding or maybe even your own, beware: you're going to need to expand your vocabulary if there is any German involved!


No one is going to get married if a marriage proposal doesn't happen first:


Der Fluch ist gebrochen! Ich möchte dich heiraten.

The curse is broken! I want to marry you.

Die Prinzessin nahm seinen Heiratsantrag sofort an.

The Princess accepted his marriage proposal immediately.

Captions 86-88, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der Froschkönig

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Nor would a groom (der Bräutigam) be complete without a bride, at least in a traditional wedding!


So sieht eine Massai-Braut aus.

That is what a Masai bride looks like.

Caption 50, Rat für nachhaltige Entwicklung - Mode gegen Armut

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And after the wedding comes the feast:


Es war gleichzeitig auch das Hochzeitsmahl für das junge Paar.

It was at the same time the wedding feast for the young couple.

Caption 91, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Dornröschen

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Further Learning
Look up the meaning of any marriage-related words on this list that you may not be familiar with, and see if you can find some of them used in context on Yabla:


das Bankett, das Hochzeitskleid, die Brautjungfer, der Brautschleier, das Ehepaar, der Ehering, das Eheversprechen, der Festsaal, die Feier, der Fotograf, der Gast, das Geschenk, die Heirat, die Heiratsurkunde, die Hochzeit, der Hochzeitsempfang, der Hochzeitskuchen, der Hochzeitsmarsch, die Hochzeitsreise, die Kirche, die Kirchglocken, das Konfetti, die Liebe, der Priester, die Rede, das Ringkissen, der Schmuck, die Trauung, der Trauzeuge, die Verbindung, der Zeuge


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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."



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?


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