German Lessons


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. 


"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?

Das Telefonieren

Whether you are learning German for business purposes or with the goal of traveling to German-speaking countries, you may find at some point that you are required to talk on the phone in German. This week, we'll look at a group of phrases that is used particularly for telephone conversation.


While anrufen means "to call," the verb telefonieren means "to speak on the phone." Have you ever been in the situation in which someone calls for you or tries to start a conversation with you and doesn't realize that you are talking on the phone? In German, you would tell that person Ich telefoniere gerade!


Kannst du bitte aufhören zu telefonieren?

Can you please stop talking on the phone?

Caption 51, Magie - Die Zaubershow

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"To pick up the phone" is literally den Hörer abnehmen, but for "to answer the phone" you are more likely to hear ans Telefon gehen, or simply rangehen.


Ich gehe nicht ran, ich bin nicht da.

I'm not answering it, I'm not here.

Caption 8, Caracho - Ich bin weg

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"To hang up" is auflegen:


Er hat auch erst gesagt: „Leg auf!"

He also first said: "Hang up!"

Caption 7, 3nach9 - Ehrlich Brothers - Show-Magier

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Most people in Germany answer the phone by saying their last name, or the last name of their family if receiving a call on their home landline. 


Ja, Paschke. -Ich bin's.

Yes, Paschke residence. -It's me.

Caption 12, Weihnachtsfilm - Ein Sack voll Geld

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To state who is calling, use hier ist or hier spricht.


Hallo, Frau Meier. Hier ist Melanie Schmidt.

Hello, Ms. Meier. This is Melanie Schmidt.

Caption 8, Berufsleben - das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Wer spricht denn dort?

Who's speaking there then?

-Hier spricht der Herr Bär.

-This is Mr. Bear.

Captions 45-46, Janoschs Traumstunde - Post für den Tiger

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To ask to speak to a particular person, you will need to use the verb dürfen, and don't forget that mit is a dative preposition! 


Darf ich mit dir sprechen? -Ja, klar.

May I speak with you? -Yes, of course.

Caption 29, Das Lügenbüro - Die Bewerbung

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Generally, the verb erreichen ("to reach") plays a large role in talking on the phone. 


Ich erreiche sie nicht, weder über Funk noch auf Handy.

I can't reach her, neither on the radio nor on her cell phone.

Caption 51, Großstadtrevier - Von Monstern und Mördern

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If the person you wish to speak to is nicht erreichbar, you will have the choice of calling back (zurückrufen) or leaving a message (eine Nachricht hinterlassen)

Ey, ruf doch mal zurück

Hey, call back sometime!

Caption 27, Monsters of Liedermaching - Atomfreies Kraftwerk

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Further Learning
Use these phrases to write out a telephone dialogue from start to finish, making sure that you conjugate all verbs correctly and that the accusative and dative are also implemented correctly. If you need more context for the phrases, watch the corresponding videos on Yabla German.

More German Pseudo-Anglicisms

There are a number of English words that have been adopted by the German language but given different meanings or used in different contexts. These are called pseudo-anglicisms, and sometimes lead to German speakers re-importing what they mistakenly think are English words into their non-native English, often with unintentionally humorous or incomprehensible results. 



Wo man seinen Sound aufnehmen kann und den dann über den Kemper wieder abrufen kann, ohne Boxen.

Where you can record your sound and then can access it on the Kemper again, without speakers.

Captions 32-34, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell - Musikmesse in Frankfurt

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Die Box is short for die Lautsprecherbox, which means "speaker" or "loudspeaker." A native English speaker might be confused, however, if somebody told him his "boxes" are too loud.


Carmen Spindler leitet nicht nur ein Fitnessstudio.

Carmen Spindler doesn't just run a gym.

Caption 2, Bodybuilderinnen - Lieber zart als muskulös

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Another acceptable spelling of this word is das Fitness-Studio, which makes the English source more obvious. It's pretty clear what "fitness studio" means, but to English ears it sounds like an unnecessarily verbose word for "gym."


Ich hab' ihr schon dreimal auf die Mailbox gesprochen, aber nix [nichts].

I've already spoken to her three times [left three messages] on her voicemail, but nothing.

Caption 37, Großstadtrevier - Von Monstern und Mördern

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If somebody told you they were "talking to your mailbox," you'd think maybe it's time they seek professional psychological help. But in German, die Mailbox is just your voicemail or answering machine. 



Further Learning
Review an earlier Yabla newsletter about pseudo-anglicisms and look for more examples on Yabla German to see how these words are used in a real-world context.

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