German Lessons

Topics

Last Week's Election

As you may know, the parliamentary election in Germany took place on Sunday, September 26th. On a national level, the SPD (Social Democratic Party) took the lead this time, whereas the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) suffered losses. The significance of this election in particular lies in the fact that Chancellor Angela Merkel had decided not to seek re-election, meaning that the SPD now will appoint the next Chancellor rather than Merkel's CDU party. 

 

banner PLACEHOLDER

 

The word for "the election" in German is die Wahl, which can also simply mean "the choice." As you can see below, die Stimme means not only "the voice" but also "the vote" in German. 

 

Sie zählen die Stimmen nach dem Ende der Wahl.

They count the votes after the end of the election.

Caption 4, Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Einbürgerungstest

 Play Caption

 

The related verb for die Wahl is wählen

 

Parlamentsmitglieder, die von den Bürgern und Bürgerinnen gewählt werden, nennt man Abgeordnete.

Members of parliament who are elected by citizens are called representatives.

Captions 38-39, Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Einbürgerungstest

 Play Caption

 

When it is a matter not of an election, but a vote, you will likely see the noun die Abstimmung and the verb abstimmen

 

Unmittelbar vor der Abstimmung des Bundestages über längere Atom-Laufzeiten haben Aktivisten am Donnerstag Morgen das Dach der CDU-Zentrale in Berlin besetzt.

Just before the Bundestag's vote on longer running times of nuclear power plants on Thursday morning, activists occupied the roof of the CDU headquarters in Berlin.

Captions 2-4, Atomkraft: Streit um AKW-Laufzeiten

 Play Caption

 

However, at this time, we are talking about electing political parties. It's worth remembering that die Partei refers only to a political party, or for example, parties in a negotiation. It does not refer to a birthday party or retirement party. That would be die Feier or die Party.  There is actually a satirical but genuinely leftist-oriented political party whose official name is die Partei

 

Welche Parteien wurden in Deutschland zweitausendsieben zur Partei „Die Linke“?

Which parties became the party "Die Linke" in Germany in two thousand seven?

Caption 25, Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Einbürgerungstest

 Play Caption

 

You can find other relevant vocabulary in a number of videos on Yabla German:

 

Im Jahr neunzehnhundertneunundneunzig nahmen die Regierung und das Parlament ihre Arbeit in Berlin wieder auf.

In nineteen ninety-nine, the government and parliament resumed their work in Berlin.

Captions 21-22, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Bundesland Berlin

 Play Caption

 

In Deutschland gehören der Bundestag und der Bundesrat zur... Legislative.

In Germany, the Bundestag and the federal council belong to the... legislative.

Captions 15-16, Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Einbürgerungstest

 Play Caption

 

Wenn Abgeordnete im Deutschen Bundestag ihre Fraktion wechseln, kann die Regierung ihre Mehrheit verlieren.

If representatives in the German Bundestag change their parliamentary group, the government can lose its majority.

Captions 31-32, Bundesrepublik Deutschland Einbürgerungstest

 Play Caption

 

Further Learning
You can listen to Deutsche Welle's news report from the election or take a look at how the election played out in Berlin. If you are up for a challenge, try out the Wahl-o-mat, which determines the political party that your views are most aligned with. For thorough information on German politics and history, have a look at our series with questions and answers from the actual German citizenship test. 

Across Cities and Continents

This week, let's review the vocabulary in German for political and geographical subdivisions. We will start from the largest subdivisions and proceed to the smallest.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

Dann natürlich auch, um 'nen fremden Kontinent kennenzulernen,

Then of course also in order to get to know an unfamiliar continent,

weil man aufm Fahrrad eigentlich so nah dran ist wie sonst nicht, wenn man reist.

because on the bicycle you actually are so much closer to it than when you otherwise travel.

Captions 14-15, Mountainbiken - Auf dem Anden-Trail

 Play Caption

 

Welches Land ist ein Nachbarland von Deutschland?

Which country is a neighboring country of Germany?

Caption 27, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 14

 Play Caption

 

Die Region zwischen Amrum und Sylt wurde wegen der Meeressäuger unter Schutz gestellt.

The region between Amrum and Sylt was placed under protection because of the marine mammals.

Caption 2, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

 Play Caption

 

You probably already know the word die Stadt ("the city") and related words like die Hauptstadt or die Großstadt. The word der Staat is not to be confused with die Stadt. Although the United States is die Vereinigten Staaten in German, the word used for a federal state is generally das Bundesland. Der Staat is more often used when referring to something being done or provided by the federal or state government. 

 

Es ist sein erster Besuch in Berlin als Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika.

It is his first visit to Berlin as the president of the United States of America.

Caption 4, Angela Merkel - Gemeinsame Pressekonferenz mit Barack Obama

 Play Caption

 

Der Staat muss die Gesetze einhalten.

The state has to abide by the laws.

Caption 4, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

In Deutschland gibt es in jedem Bundesland sogenannte Landeshauptstädte.

In Germany, there are so-called state capitals in each federal state.

Caption 15, Bundesländer und ihre Spezialitäten - Baden-Württemberg

 Play Caption

 

When speaking about a district of a city, or a "quarter," the German word is der Bezirk or der Stadtteil or das Viertel. The word der Kiez is used in certain cities on an informal basis to denote a particular part of a district that may even be just a few square blocks. In these places, it is much more commonly used than die Nachbarschaft

 

Hallo, ich stehe hier am Eingang des Viktoriaparks im Berliner Stadtteil Kreuzberg.

Hello, I am standing here at the entrance of Viktoriapark in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg.

Caption 1, Berlin - Eva im Viktoriapark

 Play Caption

 

Gitarrist Jürgen Ehle wohnt seit fünfundzwanzig Jahren

Guitarist Jürgen Ehle has lived for twenty-five years

in dem Kiez und schwelgt in Erinnerungen.

in the neighborhood, and luxuriates in memories.

Captions 3-4, Pankow - Rolling Stones des Ostens

 Play Caption

 

In German, die Kleinstadt specifies a town rather than a city. To talk about rural life, there is das Dorf ("the village") and also die Gemeinde, which can be used for a rural community as well as an urban one. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Further Learning
Practice these words and their correct articles by describing where you live. Begin with the smallest area unit and progress until you are at continent level! Yabla German can provide more examples using these words if you get stuck on the declensions. 

You May Also Like