Advent Calendar 6 – “Oftensity”


Hey ihr Deutschlerner,

today is the 6th of December and at least in Germany that is the day of discount Santa.
Okay, that’s mean actually. The 6th of December is Nikolaus’ name-day and there’s a lovely and very old tradition. The night of the 5th, all the kids shine their shoes and put them in front of the door and at night Nikolaus, sometimes also referred to as Knecht Ruprecht comes and puts in some little presents, like fruits, candy or ginger bred.
And of course I also have a little present for you: a thing that I call

intensity chart

“Wow great! … what’s an intensity chart.”
I’m glad you asked… it’s basically an overview over how to express different “intensities” in a given dimension.
Haha… that still sounds pretty complicated actually. A simple example is the dimension of temperature. You can go from freezing to seething and in between you have a bunch of words for different … ahem … degrees of temperature… get it? My pun? With degrees? Pretty high degree of funny-ness, ri… okay whatever.

Now, temperature is all well and good, but the intensity chart of today is about something much more interesting and useful: degrees of frequency. Or in simpler terms…

How to answer the question “How often”.

Here you go :).

(The image is refusing to be a link for some reason
Click here to view in full size)

Pretty cool, right?
“Uhm… yeah, but we have a few questions.”
what’s with all the curves?”

Well, it’s a reference to language being an organic thing that grows and winds.
“Okay, and … what’s with the colors? Why did you use so many? And do they stand for something?”
Uhm… no, not really. They’re a bit like leaves on a branch… but yeah, basically, I just thought it looked nice. I had a couple of Glühweins, when I made this.
“Oh I see…. and so these words in smaller letters are like modifiers, right?”
Yeah, exactly. They’ll pull the word in a direction if you put them in front.
“Okay cool. And why didn’t you add the translations?”
Uh….. I uh… reasons! Yeah, because of reasons. Didactic reasons.
“Uh… well, there’s another thing… why didn’t you just make a list. Like… a list with translations would be more efficient.”
Well, efficient, shmefficient… all this efficiency in language learning is getting on my nerves. And new studies show that above a certain level of efficiency, the efficiency is actually less efficient. So you have much efficiency but not a very efficient one. You’d want to go for the quality efficiency.  Less is more… oh man, what am I saying. Where were we… oh yeah… the list :)

  • (absolut) nie                                     :    (absolutely) never
  • (extrem, ganz, ziemlich) selten    :    (extremely, very, pretty) rarely
  • (ganz) manchmal                          :    (extremely) sometimes
  • hin und wieder, ab und zu      :    every now and then
  • öfter(s), des öfteren                   :    somewhat/fairly frequently
  • (ziemlich, ganz, extrem) oft           :    often
  • dauernd, ständig                         :    all the time, continuously
  • immer                                                :   always

So that was your little Nikolaus-present… an intensity chart for answering “How often”.
How’d you like it? What did you think of the colors?
But seriously, do you think it is helpful and do you want more of it? What would you change?
And of course, if you think I forgot something, or if you have a question go right ahead and ask. And if you want, you can also make some example sentences and I’ll correct them.
Hope you enjoyed this. Have a great day and see you tomorrow.
Man… we do see each other ziemlich oft in December ;).