German Lessons

Topics

Populist Movements in Germany

Some people see the rise of populism, with Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit movement in the UK, as a threat to democracy. Fans of Trump and Brexit, however, see these developments as a legitimate expression of democracy. Germany too has seen a rise in populist movements in recent years, but with Germany's history—the Nazis, the Second World War, and the Holocaust—the country is particularly sensitive to extreme right-wing political movements.

 

There was a major controversy in 2011 when it was discovered that the murder of nine immigrants in Germany, all previously falsely attributed by the German police to immigrant criminal gangs, turned out to have been committed by a group of German neo-Nazis called the NSU (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund).

 

Weil die parlamentarische und politische Aufbereitung des NSU-Komplexes erfolgt ist...
Because the parliamentary and political preparation of issues surrounding the NSU have taken place...
Captions 9-13, Aufklärung der NSU-Verbrechen: SPD fordert Sonderkommission

 

Die NSU-Morde scheinen bei ihm großen Eindruck hinterlassen zu haben.
The NSU murders seem to have left a great impression on him.
Caption 23, Blumio: Rappen für gute Unterhaltung

 

In 2014, a political movement called Pegida was founded in Dresden. The name stands for Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, or "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident." The founder of Pegida resigned in 2015 after releasing images showing him posing as Adolf Hitler and making racist statements, but he was later re-elected to lead the movement. 

 

Ich war auch nur einmal bei Pegida
I’ve only been to one Pegida demonstration.
Caption 62, Böhmermann: Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um?

 

Also in München: 100 Leute Pegida, 45 000 Gegendemonstranten.
So in Munich: 100 Pegida people, 45,000 counter demonstrators.
Caption 70, Böhmermann: Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um?

 

The AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) political party, however, which was founded in 2013, has been far more successful. 

 

Man sollte auch nicht den Fehler begehen, AfD immer nur mit Flüchtlingen zu verknüpfen und jeden Menschen, der die AfD wählt, mit Antiflüchtlingsbewegung zu verknüpfen.
You shouldn't make the mistake of always just linking the AfD with refugees and associating every person who votes for the AfD with the anti-refugee movement.
Captions 47-49, Böhmermann: Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um? 

 

The AfD party currently (February 2019) occupies 91 (12.8%) of 709 seats in the German Parliament. 

 

The conservative Bavarian CSU leader Franz Josef Strauß once declared, "Rechts von der CSU darf es keine demokratisch legitimierte Partei geben," or "No democratically legitimate party should be allowed to exist to the right of the CSU." But with the AfD firmly established in German parliament, it appears Strauß's idea of limiting the right wing has now been overstepped. German voters, like voters in many countries in recent years, appear to be fed up with career politicians who seem to do nothing for the common man. Whether these right-wing parties and movements will actually change things for the better remains to be seen.

 

Further Learning
Read some German Wikipedia articles on Pegida and the AfD and get more insight into the rise of populism in recent years in Germany.

Continue Reading

The verb ziehen

This week, let's take a look at the verb ziehen. It's true that there are many nuances, but we'll focus for now on the two main translations, the first of which is "to pull":

 

Super, Jo. Und ihr helft mit ziehen, ja?
Super, Jo. And you'll help us pull, right?
Caption 6, JoNaLu: Heiß und kalt

 

Viele haben aber wohl schon darüber nachgedacht, wie es wäre, einfach mal den Stecker zu ziehen.
Many have, however, likely already thought about how it would be to simply pull the plug.
Caption 5-6, Vierzig Tage offline: Ein Selbstversuch

 

Relatedly, in English, we say "to take a ticket" or "to draw a number," but in German ziehen is also used for this purpose: 

 

Zieht sich 'n Ticket, vier siebzig für die Fahrt ist ja ganz schön hart.
She takes a ticket, four seventy for the ride, it's quite hard indeed. 
Caption 27, Cro: Bye Bye

 

The second common meaning of ziehen is "to move," "to migrate," or "to proceed."

 

Rötlich-violette Schwaden ziehen durchs Wasser, das hier fast frei von Sauerstoff ist.
Reddish-violet vapors move through the water, which here is almost oxygen-free.
Caption 8, Alpenseen: Kühle Schönheiten

 

Sie ziehen von Haus zu Haus und verlangen Süßigkeiten.
They proceed from house to house and demand sweets.    
Caption 16, Cettina erklärt: Halloween

 

Interestingly enough, there is a common usage of ziehen which can be translated as "to draw," but also implies movement towards something. In a way, it is a combination of the two meanings.

 

Kaum scheint die Sonne, zieht es die Schleckermäuler an die Eisdielen.
As soon as the sun is shining, it draws those with a sweet tooth to the ice-cream parlors.
Caption 1, Eis: Eiskalte Leidenschaft

 

Ich als Hamburger bin hier eigentlich als Flachlandtiroler und dennoch zieht es mich immer wieder in die Berge.    
As a resident of Hamburg, I am actually known as a "flatland Tyrolean" and yet I am still repeatedly drawn to the mountains.
Caption 3-4, 48 h in Innsbruck: Sehenswürdigkeiten & Tipps

 

Further Learning
There are many sentences that include the verb ziehen on Yabla German, so do a quick search if you need more examples. You can also review past newsletters in which we looked at the phrases Bilanz ziehen and Es zieht! 

Continue Reading

Don't Lose Your Head!

There are a number of expressions in English that involve the noun "head," among them ones like the headline above, "to give someone a heads up," or "out of their head." Most phrases like this can't be translated into German directly, and the slang or idiomatic phrases in German that use der Kopf are not directly translatable to English either.

 

Ach, mach dir keinen Kopf, Lothar. Du kannst ja gar nichts dafür.    
Oh, don't make yourself a head, Lothar. You can't do anything about it.
Caption 36, Großstadtrevier: Neben der Spur

 

Warum machst du dir einen Kopf?    
Why do you make yourself such a head?
Caption 1, Mark Forster: Chöre

 

It's a bit difficult in a literal translation to understand what is meant by sich keinen Kopf machen, but luckily the Yabla videos also clarify the meaning: The Großstadtrevier video states "slang, don't worry," and the Mark Förster video states "idiom, why do you worry so much?"

 

Wann finde ich endlich die Zeit, meinen Kopf freizubekommen?
When will I finally find the time to get my head free? 

 

This doesn't mean that your head is literally stuck in something, but rather that you want to find the time to "clear your mind." Another variation is den Kopf freimachen

 

Although we all know the English expression "to lose your head," it's usually a figure of speech meaning somebody is becoming irrational.

 

Wir machen ihn einen Kopf kürzer
We'll make him a head shorter.

 

This expression, like the origin of the English expression, could mean to execute somebody by lopping off their head, but einen Kopf kürzer machen is usually used figuratively to mean that you will reprimand somebody or "teach them a lesson."

 

Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and search for the term Kopf and see the various ways such expressions are used.

Continue Reading

Die Grippe and other winter ailments

Winter in Germany means it's cold season. Luckily, we at Yabla German have you covered if you find yourself needing to discuss your ailments in German.

 

With the lack of sunlight in regions of northern Germany, it's normal to feel a bit under the weather or have a low energy level in the winter months. 

 

„Frederick“, jammerte Piggeldy, „ich bin schon ganz schlapp“.
"Frederick," yammered Piggeldy, "I am already totally exhausted."
Caption 19, Piggeldy und Frederick: Der Himmel

 

But sometimes being particularly exhausted can also be the sign of an impending cold. 

 

Sie leiden unter Erkältung oder bekommen sogar eine Grippe.
They suffer from a cold, or even get the flu.
Caption 3, Eva erklärt: Gesundheit

 

Bei Husten oder Schnupfen kann man in der Apotheke Hustenbonbons oder zum Beispiel Nasentropfen kaufen.
If you have a cough or runny nose, you can get cough drops in the pharmacy or buy nose drops, for example.
Caption 23, Eva erklärt: Gesundheit

 

In particular, nausea or fever can be a sign of the flu.

 

Davon wurde manchem übel.
Some people became sick to their stomachs from that.
Caption 13, Deutsche Welle: Was ist das Reinheitsgebot?

 

Wenn man übermäßig schwitzt oder Schüttelfrost bekommt, sollte man auf jeden Fall mit einem Fieberthermometer Fieber messen.
If you sweat excessively or get the chills, you should definitely take your temperature with a thermometer.
Caption 31-32, Eva erklärt: Gesundheit

 

The flu can luckily often be prevented with immunization, or die Impfung.

 

Bist du eigentlich gegen die Schweinegrippe geimpft?    
Are you actually immunized against the swine flu?
Caption 24, Deutsche Musik: Thomas Godoy

 

Further Learning
Watch the video Eva erklärt: Gesundheit in its entirety to get an overview of various symptoms and cures for winter ailments. If you already have a cold, we at Yabla wish you gute Besserung! Otherwise, bleib gesund!

Continue Reading

What's the difference between gern and gerne?

I recently received an email in German in which the writer replied gerne geschehen, a standard response when somebody has thanked you for something. I often hear this phrase in spoken German, but usually as gern geschehen, without the -e after gern. The adverbs gern and gerne have the same meaning, usually translated as "gladly" or "like," so how do we know which one to use in which contexts? 

 

The answer is very simple: you can use both interchangeably. The original Old German word, from which our modern usage originates, is gerno. This eventually became the modern German word gerne. Even as recently as 20 or so years ago, teachers may have admonished students for using gern instead of gerne in their written German. But eventually, the language as it is spoken began to have an impact on what was considered correct usage, and with time, the dropping of the extra syllable -e allowed for the word to be accepted on equal footing as either gerne or gern: they are, for all intents and purposes, the same word! 

 

Let's take a look at some examples of gern and gerne being used in a spoken context on Yabla German

 

Ich würde gern mit dir in einer Altbauwohnung wohnen.
I would like to live with you in an apartment in an old building.
Caption 7, AnnenMayKantereit: 3. Stock 

 

Ich würde gerne aus privaten Gründen meine Stunden reduzieren.
I would like to reduce my hours, for personal reasons.
Caption 10, Berufsleben: Probleme mit Mitarbeitern

 

Ich würde in der Tat gern wissen, wie groß das Team ist, mit dem ich dann zusammenarbeite.
In fact, I would like to know how big the team is that I would be working with.
Captions 48-49, Eva erklärt: Bewerbungen

 

Danke, aber Sie dürfen mich gerne duzen.
Thanks, but you can gladly address me informally.
Caption 36, Das Lügenbüro: Die Bewerbung

 

Wir würden gern mal auf Deutschlandtournee gehen.
We would like to tour Germany.
Caption 34, 3nach9: Ehrlich Brothers, Show-Magier

 

Die kannst du gerne haben.
You can gladly have them.
Caption 26: JoNaLu: Der Piratenschatz

 

Further Learning
Take a look at these interesting articles about gerne and gern at Tandem GöttingenGerman with Nicole, and the Zwiebelfisch series at Der Spiegel magazine. You can also search Yabla German for other examples of gerne and gern being used in conversations. In a forthcoming lesson, we'll discuss the the difference between gerne and mag!

Continue Reading

German Computer Verbs

This week, let's look at some verbs related to computers and technology! Many of these phrases are intuitive for anyone who speaks English, for example eine Mail öffnen or ein Fenster schließen, or ein Programm neu starten

 

Below, you can see that the verb anhängen ("to attach") also works for email attachments:

 

Es sieht so aus, als hätte ich die PDF-Datei an die E-Mail angehängt.
It looks as though I attached the PDF file in an email.
Caption 36, Berufsleben: Probleme mit Mitarbeitern

 

However, it is often necessary to learn some new vocabulary. For example, to unlock a computer or cell phone, we use the verb entsperren or freischalten, and not aufschließen or entriegeln as you would for a door. And then, of course, there are the words that are relatively new to both languages. 

 

Den Mac-Nutzern empfehlen die Spezialisten, ein von Apple bereitgestelltes Sicherheitsupdate herunterzuladen und zu installieren.
The specialists recommend Mac users download and install a security update that has been provided by Apple.
Caption 15-16, Apple-Trojaner: Wie man ihn beseitigt

 

Mein Management hat mir eine E-Mail weitergeleitet.
My management forwarded me an e-mail.
Caption 23, Schauspielerin: Jessica Schwarz

 

Ich habe auch ein E-Mail-Konto für Sie eingerichtet, welches Sie überprüfen können, sobald Sie eingeloggt sind.    
I have set up an email account for you as well, which you can check as soon as you are logged in.
Caption 34-35, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch

 

The infinitive forms of the verbs and participles from the examples above are anhängen ("to attach"), herunterladen ("to download"), installieren ("to install"), weiterleiten ("to forward"), and sich einloggen ("to log in").

 

Further Learning
For a list of words (including nouns and adjectives) related to computers and technology, you can look at this extensive list. Missing from this list are many "Denglisch" verbs related to technology (downloaden, updaten...), but these should not be used in your German class anyway! They are often used in office settings, but are still essentially slang and used mostly among younger co-workers. It is best to know the real German words.

Continue Reading

Heiraten vs. Verheiraten

It's quite easy to make mistakes with German words that sound nearly the same but have different prefixes and thus different meanings. For example, some verbs using the root verb lassen (to let, to leave):

 

Der Witzleben ist doch vor zwei Jahren vom Führer entlassen worden.
Witzleben was let go by the Führer two years ago.
Caption 23, Die Stunde der Offiziere: Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

 

Sie verlassen den amerikanischen Sektor.
You are leaving the American Sector.
Caption 1, 25 Jahre Mauerfall: Radtour durch die Geschichte

 

The verb entlassen can mean "to be fired" or "to be let go," but it can also mean "to be released" as in released from prison. Depending upon its context, the verb verlassen can mean "to leave" or "to abandon."

 

But what about German words with different prefixes that can be translated as the same word in English? It can be even more confusing to keep these straight. A very good example of this are the verbs heiraten and verheiraten.

 

Ich weiß, eines Tages, da heiraten wir.
I know someday we'll marry.
Caption 32, Monsters of Liedermaching: Für immer

 

Using the example below with verheiraten and the subject reflected as the direct object (example 1: wir/uns, example 2: sie/sich), we arrive at the same meaning: 

 

Ich weiß, eines Tages, da verheiraten wir uns.
I know someday we'll marry.

 

Ich weiß, eines Tages, da verheiraten sie sich.
I know someday they'll marry.

 

Both of the examples could use "get married" instead of "marry". The verb verheiraten, when used without a reflective direct object, has a different meaning, however: 

 

Die Großmutter wollte den Sohn auf jeden Fall verheiraten.
The grandmother wanted badly to get her grandson married off. 

 

Another easily confused pair are geheiratet and verheiratet: 

 

Mein Bruder Martin hat letztes Jahr geheiratet.
My brother Martin got married last year.
Caption 19, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Besuch

 

Der König freute sich, dass seine Tochter endlich verheiratet war.
The King was delighted that his daughter finally got married.
Caption 37, Märchen, Sagenhaft: König Drosselbart

 

Both geheiratet and verheiratet can be translated as "got married," but there's a big difference in how you use the words. The word geheiratet is a past participle of the verb heiraten. The word verheiratet, on the other hand, is an adjective which stems from the verb heiraten. Thus you can can say: Ich habe geheiratet ("I got married") or Ich bin verheiratet ("I am married") but not vice-versa! A good way to remember the difference is that the prefix ge- ist one of the most common prefixes used in past participles of German verbs. 

 

Further Learning
Look for variations of heiraten and verheiraten on Yabla German to see them in a real-world context, and take a look at this article on the topic!

Continue Reading

Verbs with gehen

Frohes neues Jahr from all of us at Yabla German!

 

If a German friend had asked you what your plans were for New Year's Eve, would you have said Ich gehe aus or Ich gehe raus? As you may already know, rausgehen means simply “to exit,” while ausgehen means “to go out” in the sense of going out on the town. 

 

There are many verbs that contain the verb gehen in German, and only some of them involve the physical act of going somewhere. Let’s look at some examples. 

 

The verb aufgehen has many possible meanings, from simply “to open,” to “to rise” or “to expand.” 

 

Man muss viele Türen öfter probieren, bis sie aufgehen.
One has to try many doors more times till they open.
Caption 65, Singer-Songwriter: Sebastian Niklaus

 

The verb eingehen can mean "to shrink," but auf etwas eingehen or auf jemanden eingehen means "to respond to" or "to agree to."

 

Ich hoffe, ich konnte Ihnen so ein bisschen zeigen, dass man auf unterschiedliche Zielgruppen unterschiedlich eingehen muss.
I hope I was able to show you a little bit that you have to respond differently to different target groups.
Caption 56, TEDx: Lebenslange Fitness

 

Umgehen means "to go around" in the sense of "to circumvent", but mit etwas/jemanden umgehen means "to deal with someone or a situation."

 

Wir wussten eigentlich nicht so richtig, wie wir damit umgehen sollten.
We actually didn't really know how we should deal with it.    
Caption 14, 3nach9 - Ehrlich Brothers: Show-Magier

 

Further Learning
Look up the following related phrases and additional verbs: davon ausgehenin Flammen aufgehen, das Risiko eingehen, fremdgehen. You can see a large list of verbs that include gehen here and search for them on Yabla German.

Continue Reading

Good intentions

In German, there are two words that can be translated as "the accident": der Unfall, which is when you fall off your bicycle, and der Zufall, which refers to a random occurrence or coincidence. When you talk about something happening zufällig ("accidentally"), it implies this aspect of randomness. When we want to talk about something happening "accidentally" simply in the sense of it being "unintentional," there is a better adverbial phrase to use:

 

Jetzt bin ich aus Versehen zu weit gelaufen und muss den Bus nach Hause nehmen.
Now I've accidentally walked too far and have to take the bus home.    
Caption 38, Shuah: Auf der Straße in Berlin

 

A less commonly used synonym for aus Versehen is ohne AbsichtDie Absicht means "the intention," "the aim," or "the purpose." 

 

Das war Absicht.
That was on purpose.    
Caption 16, JoNaLu: Überall Banditen 

 

When we speak about something done "intentionally" or "on purpose," we can use either mit Absicht or the adverb absichtlich

 

Ich konnte ja nicht wissen, dass du Max mit Absicht belogen hast.
I couldn't indeed have known that you lied to Max on purpose.    
Caption 25, Die Pfefferkörner: Cybermobbing

 

Jemand hat Jannik Sternberg absichtlich vom Gerüst geschubst.
Someone intentionally shoved Jannik Sternberg off the scaffolding.
Caption 50, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

 

Further Learning
Look absichtlich and aus Versehen up on Yabla German. Think of a few scenarios in which you would need to clarify whether an action was intentional or not and build a few sentences in the past tense. Here are a few pairs of nouns and verbs to get you started:
die Mail / weiterleiten
dich / anrufen
seinen Kaffee / trinken
die Tasche / zu hause lassen

Continue Reading

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

Comparative adjectives express a higher degree of a particular quality, whereas superlative adjectives express the highest degree. In order to create comparative adjectives in English, we add "-er" to the end of shorter adjectives (such as "cheaper") or add “more” in front of longer adjectives (“more expensive”). In German, -er is added to all adjectives regardless of how many syllables they have. Mehr is never used for this purpose. 

 

„Nichts leichter als das", antwortete Frederick.
"Nothing's easier than that!" answered Frederick.    
Caption 4, Piggeldy und Frederick: Arm

 

Aber was noch viel wichtiger ist als der Saft zum Frühstück, ist natürlich der Kaffee.
But what's far more important for breakfast than juice is, of course, coffee.
Caption 14, Jenny beim Frühstück: Teil 1

 

Superlative adjectives in English either have "-est" at the end or are preceded by the adjective “most” ("cheapest," "the most expensive"). In German, the suffix -ste or -sten is used, depending on the declension. Take note: Putting meist in front of an adjective will give it a fully different meaning (similar to "mostly"). 

 

Das ist das schönste Gefühl auf der Welt.
That is the most beautiful feeling in the world.
Caption 66, Kinotipp: Kokowääh

 

Am einfachsten ist es bei Papier und Pappe.
It is easiest with paper and cardboard.    
Caption 11, Eva erklärt: Mülltrennung 

 

Jeden Tag trug die Prinzessin die schönsten Gewänder und den teuersten Schmuck.
Every day the Princess wore the most beautiful garments and the most expensive jewelry.
Caption 7-8, Märchen - Sagenhaft: König Drosselbart

 

Further Learning
When you learn a new adjective on Yabla German, take a moment to learn its comparative and superlative forms. Keep in mind that there are irregular forms where a slight spelling change (such as an umlaut) is required. Take a look at this table for some examples.

Continue Reading

Nichts , nix , and nüscht

The alternate title to this week's lesson could be taken from Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing, in that we'll be kept busy discussing the ways that Germans pronounce the word nichts, which means—well there you have it—"nothing":

 

„Frederick, was ist eine Wiese?“ -„Nichts leichter als das“, antwortete Frederick.
"Frederick, what is a meadow ?" -"Nothing's easier than that," Frederick answered.
Captions 4-5, Piggeldy und Frederick: Wiese 

 

Aber du hast hier einfach nichts zu suchen, versteh das doch endlich.
But there is nothing for you here, you have to finally understand that.
Caption 4, Lilly unter den Linden: Vergangenheit und Zukunft

 

The word nichts is sometimes mispronounced by non-native German speakers as "nix," whereas the proper pronunciation requires that difficult soft back-of-the-mouth "ch" sound that lies somewhere between "k" and "sh." Click here (courtesy of Duden) to hear nichts pronounced correctly. 

 

But while some non-Germans may not get the proper register for the word, you'll find many native Germans regularly pronouncing nichts as nix! That's because nix is common as a slang pronunciation of nichts. Unlike the soft -ch sound in nichts, this is pronounced as it is written with the X, and rhymes with the English words "ticks" and "bricks":

 

Man sagt: „Nix hält für immer“, doch ey, warum denn nicht?
People say, "Nothing lasts forever," but hey, why not actually?
Caption 6, Mark Forster: Wir sind groß

 

Aber heute ist es total sicher, kann nix passieren.
But today it's totally safe here, nothing can happen.
Caption 70, Unterwegs mit Cettina: Schlittschuhlaufen

 

This leaves us, of course, with nüscht, which also means "nothing," but does so with a distinctly Berliner accent. The Duden dictionary classifies nüscht as Berlin and Northeast German slang. 

 

A good example of nüscht—or in this case, the variant nüschts—is found in a German-overdubbed version of  the 1993 comedy film Loaded Weapon. Two cops, played by Samuel L. Jackson and Emilio Estevez, enter a hotel room occupied by a criminal, played by Jon Lovitz, who has just emptied a machine gun at them through the hotel door: 

 

Jon Lovitz: Hey.... ich weiß nüschts. Ich habe nüschts gesehen und ich sage auch nüschts

Samuel L. Jackson: Nichts. Das Wort heißt „nichts“ und nicht „nüschts“. Da ist kein Ü und kein -sch, es heißt „nichts“. 

Jon Lovitz: Na gut, OK. „Nichts, nichts, nichts“! OK? Jetzt zufrieden? 

Samuel L. Jackson: Schon besser. 

 

The German script was adapted from the American, which had Jon Lovitz saying "nothin'" and getting a grammar lecture from Samuel L. Jackson about the word "nothing" having a G on the end.

 

Further Learning
Read the Wikipedia article on Berlin dialect, it could prove useful the next time you visit Berlin to help get your head around some of the different pronunciations found here.  You can also read up more on the topic here. As an ending note, the German title of the Shakespeare play is Viel Lärm um nichts. How would you translate that directly?

Continue Reading

Plural vs. Singular Nouns

This week, we're going to take a look at a few nouns that are automatically plural in English but singular in German. It is important for English speakers to take note of these before the wrong conjugation gets used, or an article gets left out.

 

A classic example of this is die Brille, which unlike its English translation "the glasses" is singular in German:

 

Wo ist meine Brille?
Where are my glasses?
Caption 3, Nicos Weg - Folge 21: Was ist das?

 

As you can see, the third person singular form of sein is used with die Brille, and NOT the third person plural like in English. Die Brillen sind... would indicate multiple pairs of glasses.

 

There are quite a few of these nouns, for example, die Hosedas Geschirr, and die Schere:

 

Ich habe mir auch gleich eine neue Hose gekauft.
I just bought myself new trousers as well.
Caption 23, Pettersson und Findus: Eine Geburtstagstorte für die Katze 

 

Hier gibt's viel Geschirr, aber ich glaube, Christiane hat genug Geschirr.    
There are a lot of dishes here, but I believe Christiane has enough dishes.    
Caption 37, Fine: bringt ihre Sachen vorbei

 

Das hier ist eine Schere, mit der kann ich Metall schneiden. 
These here are scissors with which I can cut metal. 
Caption 5, Feuerwehr Heidelberg: Löschfahrzeug

 

While we say "the police are" in English, the noun is actually singular in German. Take a look at the conjugation of ermitteln below:

 

Die Polizei ermittelt wegen Hausfriedensbruch.
The police are investigating because of criminal trespassing.
Caption 12, Atomkraft: Streit um AKW-Laufzeiten
 

 

Further Learning
Take a note of any similar nouns you find on Yabla German and make sure to memorize them. Can you find any nouns that follow the opposite pattern?

Continue Reading

Some German Sayings

Let's take a look this week at some German idioms as outlined in the Yabla video series Eva erklärt Sprichwörter

 

Wenn du so dreinschaust, ist nicht gut Kirschen essen mit dir.
When you look like that, it's not good to eat cherries with you.
Caption 41, Marga Engel schlägt zurück

 

The above saying has little to do with the pleasant pastime of eating cherries, but as Eva explains: 

 

Wenn mit jemandem nicht gut Kirschen essen ist, dann meinen wir damit eine unfreundliche Person.
If it's not good to eat cherries with someone, then we mean by that an unfriendly person.
Captions 10-11, Eva erklärt: Sprichwörter

 

From eating cherries, we move up to the nose:

 

Früher habe ich Fußball gemocht, aber seit dem gestrigen Halbfinale hab ich die Nase voll!
I used to like soccer, but since yesterday's semi-finals, I have the nose full!
Captions 22-23,  Konjugation: Das Verb „mögen“

 

The person above is not literally suffering from nasal congestion, but rather:

 

Wenn man die Nase voll hat, dann bedeutet das, dass man auf eine bestimmte Situation keine Lust mehr hat, verärgert ist oder einer Sache überdrüssig wird.

 

If you have your nose full, then it means that you have no more patience for a certain situation, are annoyed, or have become weary of a matter.
Captions 34-36, Eva erklärt: Sprichwörter

 

And lastly we go from nasal situations to an apparent lack of pigs:

 

„Das“, sagte Frederick, „tja... das weiß kein Schwein.“
"That," said Frederick, "well... no pig knows that."
Captions 39-40, Piggeldy und Frederick: Das Fernweh

 

„So lange Vorderfüße hat doch kein Schwein und damit basta!“    
"But no pig has such long front feet, and that's the end of it!"
Caption 38, Piggeldy und Frederick: Unendlichkeit

 

Vom Schwein spricht man übrigens auch, wenn man Desinteresse ausdrücken möchte. Dann sagt man: „Das interessiert doch kein Schwein.“
By the way, you also speak about pigs when you want to express disinterest. Then you say: "But no pig is interested in that."
Captions 55-56, Eva erklärt: Sprichwörter

 

The simplest straightforward translation of the idiom kein Schwein is thus "no-one."

 

Further Learning
Kein Schwein should be misunderstanding German idioms: Go to Yabla German and watch the Eva erklärt Sprichwörter series and find other examples of these expressions in different contexts. Later in the month we will be bringing you some more examples of idioms from this Yabla series!

 

Continue Reading

For the Sake of Learning German

As you certainly know by now, a German adjective in the nominative or subject case for a masculine noun with an indefinite article usually takes an -er as an ending. 

 

For example, with the adjective halb:

 

...ein halber Teelöffel über drei Stücke Wurst.
... a half a teaspoon on three pieces of sausage.
Caption 39, Currywurst: Berlins schärfstes Stück

 

So ein halber Marathon sind 20 Kilometer.
Such a half marathon is 20 kilometers.
Caption 10, Internationale Automobilausstellung: IAA in Frankfurt öffnet die Pforten

 

Ein halber Mond versinkt vor mir.
A half moon sinks before me.
Caption 17, Tokio Hotel: Durch den Monsun

 

From knowing that the adjective halb, seen here as halber, means "half," you might make a mistake when you see a word of the same spelling in some other contexts: 

 

Der Ordnung halber... 

 

When you find a noun in the genitive case followed by halber, this is the preposition halber and means "for the sake of..." The above could be translated as "for the sake of orderliness" or "for the sake of clarity." Here are few other examples: 

 

Der Einfachheit halber = for the sake of simplicity
Der Transparenz halber = for the sake of transparency
Der Vollständigkeit halber = for the sake of completeness
Der Datenqualität halber = for the sake of data quality
Der Ehrlichkeit halber  = for the sake of honesty

 

In some cases, the use of the adjective halber became so common that it fused with a noun to become an adjectival suffix, or the ending of an adjective. The meaning that the suffix -halber lends a word is usually the same as the adjective: 

 

gerechtigkeitshalber = der Gerechtigkeit halber = for the sake of justice
sicherheitshalber = der Sicherheit halber = for the sake of security

 

But sometimes it can have a slightly different meaning as the cause of something rather than for the sake of something: 

 

krankheitshalber = because of illness
umständehalber = due to circumstances

 

Further Learning
Go to the German Duden dictionary and read the definitions of the adjective halber and the adjectival suffix halber. See if you can translate the title of this lesson to proper German, too! (Hint: it will use the genitive case of das Deutschlernen.)

Continue Reading

Winter Clothing

This year, it has been an unusually warm fall in Germany. Even in early October, there were some days in the high 60s (Fahrenheit, between 17 and 21 degrees celsius). However, there have been some very chilly, windy days recently, and Germans have finally had to get out their winter clothing to be prepared for lower temperatures.

 

Let’s go from head to toe and take a look at what items you need to brave the German winter.

 

There are two words for “the hat” in German, but only one of them is associated with the wool knit caps that are worn in the cold months.

 

Und im Winter braucht man unbedingt eine Mütze.
And in the winter you absolutely need a cap.
Caption 24, Eva: zeigt uns Kleidungsstücke

 

Although some may prefer a daintier version (das Tuch, which is usually a thinner scarf or kerchief) even in the summer, a warm scarf or shawl (der Schal) is a must for the winter. 

 

Was ist denn los? -Mir ist so kalt. Schenk mir doch deinen Schal!
What then is the matter? -I am so cold. Give me your shawl!
Caption 23, Märchenstunde: Die Sterntaler

 

Of course, a warm coat (der Mantel) or a jacket (die Jacke) is essential to any winter outfit. There are many options depending on the weather conditions. You can likely recognize the words der Wollmantelder Daunenmanteldie Daunenjacke, or die Regenjacke without our help!

 

Es ist kalt. Ich trage einen Mantel.
It is cold. I'm wearing a coat
Caption 14, Deutschkurs in Tübingen: Fragen

 

Der Handschuh is the singular form, but unless you've lost one, generally the plural for of "the gloves" is what you will use.  Here, compound nouns also abound: such as die Strickhandschuhedie Fleece-Handschuhedie Lederhandschuhe, among others. 

 

Giada, ist dir kalt? -Ja. -Möchtest du Handschuhe haben?
Giada, are you cold? -Yes. -Would you like to have some gloves?
Caption 82, Unterwegs mit Cettina: auf dem Bruchsaler Weihnachtsmarkt

 

And for rain and snow, you will want a good pair of boots for those slippery cobblestone streets. 

 

Und er trägt wirklich Stiefel? Das muss ich sehen!
And is he really wearing boots? This I have to see!
Caption 29, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Der gestiefelte Kater
 

Further Learning
Watch the video Eva: zeigt uns Kleidungsstücke in its entirety on Yabla German. To
to immerse yourself even more, take a look at a website that sells outerwear and do some window shopping. You will learn a lot of new words and compound nouns as you scroll through the various items.

Continue Reading

In a German Restaurant

Some of the most practical German words that you can use immediately upon arrival in a German-speaking country (don't forget that German is spoken in Austria and Switzerland too!) are related to ordering food. When you first enter a restaurant, the waitstaff may invite you to take a seat: 

 

Nehmen Sie bitte Platz.
Please have a seat.
Caption 35, Das Lügenbüro: Die Bewerbung

 

You may then be offered a menu: 

 

Die Speisekarte, bitte schön. -Danke schön.    
Here's the menu. -Thank you.
Caption 7, Abendessen: mit Marko

 

Note that another word for menu is das Menü, and sometimes Speisekarte is shortened simply to die Karte. When you are ready to order, you may inform the waitstaff:

 

Wir würden gerne bestellen, bitte.
We would like to order, please.    
Caption 47, Melanie und Thomas: im Restaurant

 

Those of you with dietary restrictions may wish to discuss some menu items: 

 

Kichererbsenbuletten sind das, ist auch vegetarisch, rein vegan ist das... ohne tierische Produkte.
Those are chick pea burgers, it's also vegetarian, it's purely vegan... without animal products.
Captions 26-28, Jonathan Johnson: Nahöstliches Essen in Berlin

 

Then there are several ways you can express your order to the waitstaff: 

 

Ich hätte gerne eine Berliner Kartoffelsuppe.
I would like a Berlin potato soup.
Caption 21, Abendessen: mit Marko

 

Dann nehmen wir doch die Apfelküchle mit Vanilleeis.    
Then we'll take the apple pies with vanilla ice cream after all.
Caption 43, Melanie und Thomas: im Restaurant

 

Before you begin eating: 

 

Zu Beginn der Mahlzeit sagen wir „guten Appetit“.
At the beginning of the meal we say "Enjoy your meal."
Caption 19, Tisch decken: mit Eva 

 

And when you are ready to pay, you can simply say bezahlen, bitte or die Rechnung, bitte. If you wish to pay with a credit card, you may ask: 

 

Kann ich auch mit Kreditkarte bezahlen?
Can I also pay with a credit card?
Caption 7, Diane: auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt 

 

If you need a receipt for tax or expense account purposes, after you pay you can ask for eine Quittung, bitte. As for tipping in Germany, you may want to read this Yabla lesson!

 

Further Learning
There are a lot of Yabla German videos related to food. Here are a few for you to start with!

Abendessen: mit Marko

Apfelpfannkuchen: mit Alina und Sabine

Grillzeit: Grill anzünden und los geht's

Jonathan Johnson: Nahöstliches Essen in Berlin

Käsespätzle: mit Eva

Kochhaus Berlin: Rucola-Salat-Rezept

Melanie und Thomas: im Restaurant

Tisch decken: mit Eva

Weihnachtsessen: mit Eva

Continue Reading

The verb setzen

While studying German, you have probably confronted both sitzen and setzen. Generally, the verb sitzen is quite straightforward in simply meaning "to sit," or more specifically "to be sitting." The reflexive verb sich setzen is also translated as "to sit" but refers to the action of sitting down (there is also the verb sich hinsetzen which can be more or less a synonym). 

 

Wir sitzen hier am Strand in der Nähe von Todos Santos und sind am Meer.
We are sitting here on the beach near Todos Santos and are by the sea.
Caption 3, Anna: Am Strand in Mexiko

 

Wo setzen wir uns denn hin? -Setzen wir uns da drüben hin. -OK.
Where should we seat ourselves then? -Let's sit over there.
Caption 1, Fernsehmoderatorin: Sonya Kraus

 

To remember the distinction, it is perhaps helpful to consider that setzen as a non-reflexive verbs means "to put," "to place," or "to set." 

 

Die helfen mir, noch leichter Ziele zu setzen.
They help me to set goals even more easily.
Caption 15, Gamification: Wie Spielen den Alltag interessanter macht 

 

Setzen is also the root of a multitude of verbs. Take a look at the following examples with einsetzen ("to use," "to implement"), absetzen (which is used in many contexts, from "to deduct" something for your taxes to "to remove" a pair of glasses), and besetzen ("to occupy").

 

Früher hat man mehr als zwei-, dreitausend Liter eingesetzt für einen Wohnungsbrand.
In the past they used more than two or three thousand liters for an apartment fire.
Caption 88, Feuerwehr Heidelberg: Löschfahrzeug

 

Den Helm hatte er abgesetzt, weil es so heiß war.
He'd taken off the helmet because it was so hot.
Caption 53, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

 

Man sollte keine Plätze besetzen mit Taschen oder mit Jacken, damit andere Gäste sich hinsetzen können.
You shouldn't occupy seats with bags or with jackets so that other guests can sit down.
Caption 33-34, Unterwegs mit Cettina: Bahn fahren

 

Further Learning
Here is a list of verbs with setzen as their root for your perusal. Look for examples of some of these verbs, such as aufsetzen, durchsetzen, or umsetzen, on Yabla German. Try to searching for their participles as well!

Continue Reading

Tipping in Germany

Unlike waitresses and waiters in restaurants in the United States, who often legally receive a wage well under standard minimum wage, but make up the difference through tips they receive from customers, waitstaff and bartenders in Germany usually receive at least standard minimum wage. In some cases, German waitstaff also earn a small percentage of their food and drink sales, regardless of the tips they receive from customers. 

 

Perhaps it is for this reason that many German tourists, unaccustomed to tipping very much in restaurants and bars at home, often find it difficult to pay the standard 15 to 25 percent tip when visiting the United States. Germans often don't seem to understand that unlike in Germany, US waitstaff make their living primarily from tips, and merely rounding up the bill to the next dollar or fifty cents is not going to help them pay their rent.

 

The situation is so bad that in very expensive cities like New York, some waiters are reluctant to serve German tourists when they come into the restaurant, knowing from past experience that they may not earn any tip money from them. Since waiters are often taxed on the presumption of a 15 to 25 percent tip, they might even lose money if a table does not tip them. 

 

Let's turn the tables for a moment, though, with apologies for the pun. As an American in Germany, you will find most waitstaff extremely gracious when you give them a decent tip. You are not really expected to tip beyond a few euros, however, though I always tip 10% percent when the service is at least acceptable.

 

But what do you say when you wish to leave a tip? Best not to leave der Tipp, as that does not mean "tip" in the sense of tipping the waitstaff, but rather "tip" in the sense of a hint or advice, like a "hot tip for the racetrack." The correct German word is das Trinkgeld, literally "the drink money." There are several more subtle ways to tell waitstaff that the money you are giving them is for a tip than to use the word Trinkgeld, however.

 

Das macht zusammen 40 Euro 50. Zahlen Sie bar oder mit Karte? -Ich zahle bar. Hier sind 45 Euro, das stimmt so. -Danke.
All together that is 40 euros and 50 cents. Will you be paying in cash or with a card? -I'll pay in cash. Here is 45 euros, that's correct thus. -Thanks.
Captions 7-8, Nicos Weg: Zahlen, bitte!

 

When Lisa says "das stimmt so" in the video above, she more or less means "keep the change," meaning the restaurant can keep as a tip the amount of money she gave them above the actual amount of the bill. However, if Lisa had handed them a 50 euro bill but only wanted to tip them 4 euros and 50 cents (for a total of 45 euros), then she could have stated the total amount she wanted them to keep and simply said "45 Euro, bitte."

 

So if you are paying at a cafe in Germany and the total for your coffee and cake is 9 euros and 20 cents, you could hand the waitstaff a 10 euro bill and say "das stimmt so," or you could hand them a 20 euro bill and say "10 Euro, bitte" to let them know that they can keep the amount over the bill up to 10 euros.

 

Additionally, you should be very careful with your use of the word danke when handing over cash: this will often be interpreted the same as das stimmt so. Don't be too surprised then if you thought you were merely being polite, but then the waiter doesn't return with your change!

 

Further Learning
Read this German Wikipedia article on Servicewüste Deutschland, and see if you can understand it all without having to peek at the English version. Then go to Yabla German to search for "restaurant" to find some examples of German used in a restaurant context. For more restaurant vocabulary, see this article about eating at restaurants in Germany.

Continue Reading
123...1415