Author Archives: Emanuel

Word of the Day – “ansehen”

In this episode:

A thorough look at the meaning of "ansehen" and how to use it for looking at things, watching movies and reputation.


ansehen, sich ansehen, das Ansehen, ansehnlich, die Ansicht,...

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of the word:


Sehen means to see and an means at or on or to or in and we’ll go with… uhm… at this time. But ansehen is actually not so much the sum of its parts. The glamour is in the grammar. And that is not just a stupid rhyme by the way… those glamour and grammar were the same word once (don’t believe me? Check it here) . But then the Scots extracted the glamour, and ever since “grammar” has the appeal of eating sand. I don’t like grammar…it’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.
But just like Tatooine is nothing without sand, ansehen is nothing without grammar.
So let’s take a look at the different meanings and how to build them.  Sounds good? Cool.

Talking about Location – A rough Chart

Hi everyone,

wie geht’s euch :)? Isn’t the summer amazing this year. At least the German one is.  Those of you who are in Germany will agree – it’s THE BEST autumn impersonation by a summer I have ever seen. Like… if this summer doesn’t win the Oscar for best actor, I’ll… uhm… yeah okay… I’ll do nothing.
Just like this week. Because I got nothing. No article.
I know, I know. But seriously,  I was actually super busy the last four weeks – there was a health thing, a relationship thing, my boss is on vacation, I prepared and held two German workshops and I took a few contemporary dance workshops … yes, I actually did. I did write, but I wasn’t able to finish anything to a point where I was content with my … uh content. Wait, content with the content?! Sounds like something German would do :)

Anyways, I didn’t want to let you down completely so I decided to share a little chart or cheat sheet I created for talking about location. Like… which preposition to use with which location. The chart is actually quite old and even though I did some work on it now (like… replacing “Myspace” by “Instagramm” for instance) there are lots of little bits that I’d like to amilliore… erm… make better.

Still, you might find helpful. So here you go…

Talking about Location –  a overview chart (.jpg image)

(for some reason I can’t get the link to be on the preview)

I tried to have it as reduced as possible and I guess a little explanation is needed…

A little explanation

In the center you have a rule of thumb for which preposition set to use with which kind of location. First line is “with door/enterable“, second line “no door, not enterable” and third line is cities and countries. A bit below you have the set for “home”, which is unique and then another two sort of exception sets… for supermarkets (and brand names in general, like Burger King) and directions.  On the left and right side, there are some common nouns and thing and the preposition that you’d use if you think of them as location (like… on Facebook, in the article and so on)
And in the bottom part, there are the most important German prepositions and the case that they go with. D is Dative, A is  accusative and the ones in the center can go with either one depending on what you’re trying to express (fixed location vs. destination).

I really hope you find this helpful as a little guide. And of course if you have questions about this or stuff that’s missing, let’s clear that up in the comment.
I’ll see you next week with a fresh article. Schöne Tage bis dahin :)

Advent Calendar 2022 – Netflix and Chill

“Netflix and Chill”

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Hello everyone…

This blog is going to be a useful and versatile source of knowledge for anyone who is studying German.
It will contain an online German Course as well as loads of useful material that can help you with your studies of this language.

I will start working on this in 2012.

Word of the Day – “die Ausrede”

In this episode:

A good "Ausrede" is what you need if you haven't done your homework. Today, we'll learn what it is, how it's different to Entschuldigung and some more good stuff :)


die Ausrede, die Entschuldigung, (sich) entschuldigen, ausreden (lassen), sich rausreden,...

example for an ausredeHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will look at the exact meaning of the  word:

die Ausrede


Die Ausrede apparently comes from the verb ausreden. This consists of the basic word reden which is to talk or speak and the prefix aus which translates to out, off or from. In case of ausreden it is out so translating literally we wind up with “speak out”. But this is a bit confusing. Ausreden is what you want to do if you ask the listener to hear you out…  

Learn German Online – Time 3 – “Words”

In this episode:

In this part of the series, we'll go over all the words that refer to a specific point in time - days, tomorrow, next week, months and so on.


gestern, heute, morgen, Jahr, Monat, letzte, nächste,...

Hi everyone,

and welcome to the third part of what is going to be a 5 or 6 part epic mini series on “How to talk about time in German”. In part 1, we have taken a more general look at what ways there are to talk about time and in part 2 we learned how to say the time of day in German… wow … that one was really boring.
So, todays lecture is going to be called:

Time 3 – Kittens are cute

What’s that ? The title is stupid and random? Well maybe, but it is definitely true and it is  something people can relate to. “You Bloggers need to get people invested by pulling their emotional strings”, is what the guy at the successful-blogging-seminar said, continuing with “Facts are for nerds. Now do you wanne write for nerds???? DO YOU???”. Of course the whole audience was shouting “NOOOOOO” and someone shouted “Screw nerds!”, upon which our blogging coach said “No, that is JUST what they want.”
Man… that guy really is a genius… oh and I see we have a call here, if you guys want to be live on the show, call 0800-151-vocab-4-u, and we have Shane from Durban, hi Shane: 

Advent Calendar 24 – “Merry Crossword Puzzle”

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Advent Calendar 13 – “But Belief”

But Belief

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Word of the Day – “anhalten”

In this episode:

A fun look at the meanings of "anhalten", and why one word can be about stopping and continuing at the same time. Also: the difference to aufhören.


Hello everyone,

and welcome back to a brand new episode of the biggest, most epic series ever – no, not Game of Thrones and not The Mandalorian.
I am talking about Prefix Verbs Explained.
And today, we will have a look at the meanings of



And anhalten is really special because it means to stop AND to continue.
OMG, what a #contradiction.
Gee, I actually just thought that I maybe should start making little explanatory TicTocs for these.
Like… the first part could be a guy in a car, coming to a halt with a caption “Thomas hält an.“.
And the second one could be the same guy in the same car, coming to the same halt, but then spraying us with water, and then an hour later, he’s still spraying. And the caption would be “Der Regen hält an.”
That would be cool.
Anyway, for now we’ll stick to boring ass reading, so if you want to find out how anhalten means those two things and also what the difference is between anhalten, halten and aufhören, then let’s jump right in.

Word of the Day – “spĂĽren”

In this episode:

In this episode, we'll explore the word "spĂĽren". We'll see where it comes from, what the difference is to "fĂĽhlen" and which nice related words there are.


spĂĽren, das GespĂĽr, die Spur, spuren, aufspĂĽren, spurlos, verspĂĽren,...

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of



You might never have heard of it (because I made it up and it is nonsense) but experts usually classify German as a TOO-FAT language. That’s short for “there are other options for a thing” and unless you’re completely new to German, you most probably know the pain.
SpĂĽren is a perfect example, because it is one of those “other options” for the idea of feeling/sensing. And of course it’s totally NOT synonymous with the main translation fĂĽhlen.
So today, we’ll look what kind of sensing spĂĽren exactly is and what the difference is to fĂĽhlen.
And it’s actually a noun, that’ll get us on the right … ahem… Spur ;).

Word of the Day – “handeln”

In this episode:

A fun look at the crazy family of "handeln" that connects ideas of trade, treatment, acting and negotiating. And hands :)


handeln, der Handel, verhandeln, behandeln, die Hand, der Händler, die Handlung,...

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll take a look at the meaning and family of


But we’ll need some mind bending today, so let’s stretch our brains together a little to warm up. 
is of course related to English to handle and they both come from the old Germanic noun*handeigh which was the word for  “portable phone”. Back then, it was much harder to see each other in person because there were no cars and no planes and the people were practically dependent on their cellphones to keep in touch. Just as Cesar noted in his diary…

Germanum sine portabile in mano rarum est.

That’s Latin. In my dreams anyway.
Anyway, the tribesmen were always with their phone, and so it’s no wonder they eventually came up with the word hand which literally meant “thing that holds the portable phone”.
Everybody thinking “What the hell?” yet?!?! Yes?
Well, perfect. Your brain is all warmed up now, ready for real info. So let’s jump right in…

Advent Calendar 16 – “Dayoff”


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The meaning and use of German “halt”

In this episode:

"halt" comes from "halten", but in daily life, Germans use it as a coloring particle to express "a verbal shrug". Or a shield against criticism.

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day.
This time we will look at the meaning of



And I am sure many of you have heard this even before you started learning German. Because it’s a must have in … movies that involve Nazis.
Billy the super-spy of the allied forces is trying to infiltrate some Nazi army base to steal important documents.
Disguised as a Nazi-General he walks through the camp, trying to not draw attention to himself. All goes well and he finally reaches the building and starts opening the door but then someone behind him suddenly yells
Slowly Billy turns around, trying really hard to look German. Four German soldiers are pointing their guns at him.
Within milliseconds Billy ponders all his options and then the decision was made. A decision completely Billy-Style – reckless, audacious, some would say outright crazy.
I’d LOVE to tell you how all this pans out, but then half of you would complain that my intros are too long so…
“It’s already too long, Bro!!! It’s 2022. I can watch like 10 TikToks while reading this intro, get with the times, you boomer.”
Okay okay… chill out…
So… today, we’ll take a look at the German word halt, and in particular, we’ll talk about why in Germans seem to use it in every second sentence when they speak.

Advent Calendar 8 – It’s beginning to sound a lot like…


“It’s beginning to sound a lot like Quizmas!”


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“verschieden, anders, unterschiedlich” – the difference

In this episode:

All three words are translations for "different" and mixing them up can actually get confusing. Today, we'll learn when to use which, and why :).

anders-verschieden-differenHello everyone,

and welcome to something we haven’t had in a loooong time… a  “What is the difference”-special. And today’s special is especially special , because we’ll look at the differences between the different German words for different.

anders, verschieden and unterschiedlich


How does that sound to you, studio cat?
Studio cat approves. Perfect.
And before I confuse you more, let’s dive right in into the wonderfully colorful world of differences…

The different words for different and knowing when to use which is a problem for many learners.
The good news is that there is a very clearly defined distinction – at least between anders and the other two.

anders vs. the other two

Imagine you have two sets of something – Set A and Set B.

Anders is about comparing items of one set with items of another set. It looks “external”.

verschieden and unterschiedlich are about comparing items WITHIN one set. They are “internal”. 

And that makes total sense when you look at the origin of the words….

Listen to German – “Der Lateinische Junge”

lateinischerjungeHello everyone,

it’s been entirely too long since we’ve worked on our listening comprehension so today we’ll work on… our listening comprehension. Yeay.
I’ll read a story to you and you can read along, either in German or with the line by line translation.

Collocations – and how to learn them

Hello everyone,

this week I’m having a guest on here :).
Her name is Slavica, and a while back, she reached out to me about something relating to her final paper in linguistics.
She has since graduated, but she obviously didn’t stop studying and being fascinated by languages. And not so long ago she reached out again and asked if I was interested in a guest post.
Usually, when people ask if one is interested in guest posts it’s because they want to place text links to their own websites in there. And the posts are usually super generic and boring, because the author doesn’t really care about the material. That’s why I don’t usually take guest posts.
But with Slavica it’s different. She REALLY loves languages and she just wanted to share her passion with you, not a link.
That’s why I have decided to give it a try.
Also… I have done quite a bit of work behind the scenes these past weeks. Specifically, I am giving old articles a much needed do over… I just got done editing the one about “sondern” and I have to say… that was a mess. Like… what was I even thinking :D. It’s MUCH better now.
Anyway, so … the topic Slavica is going to talk about is


And if you’re now like “Cool… uh… collo-what?” then you’re just like me.
I didn’t know what it was either. But we all use them literally everyday.
So… Slavica, I pass the mic on to you…

Prefix Verbs Explained – “untergehen”

In this episode:

A satirical look at the meaning of "untergehen" :).

Hello everyone,

it’s great to be here, with all you German learners. Great crowd. Great crowd. And huuuge. Such a huge crowd. Billions and billions of learners.

Look, we have a  problem. A really big problem.
Many people say … friends of mine, smart people, the best people… they come to me and say German is difficult. They say it’s too difficult and they can’t learn it. I’ll tell you something, German is not difficult. It’s not difficult, believe me.

It’s just…Emanuel, he is a total weak woke liberal choke artist. And your textbooks, they’re all text, no action, they totally don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what they’re doing.

Look, I know a lot about German. I get along great with grammar; I know words, I have the best words.
And I’m gonna share them with you. Today, we’ll look at the meaning of one of those prefix verbs. Believe, we’ll clear up the meaning of



Frohes Neues Jahr

Ich wĂĽnsch’ euch allen ein tolles neues Jahr  2018.
Bis nächste Woche :). 


Advent Calender 2019 – “Tell me more”


Tell me more


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Word of the Day – “aufwachen”

In this episode:

Today, we'll learn the difference between "aufwachen" and "(auf)wecken" and see when to use which. Special guest: "erwachen"


aufwachen, aufwecken, erwachen, wachen, die Wache,...

aufwachenHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of:



Aufwachen… a burden at times and a relief at others. We usually do it once per day… or twice… or not at all if we are party animal. The word consists of the basic verb wachen and the prefix auf. Auf can mean a number of things like open, up, on top of or on and wachen means something like… uh screw it …just watch this video here.
See you in 2 minutes … … … … … … … … … … … … 

Spoken German Bits 1 – “Alles gut”

In this episode:

"Alles gut." is a really common expression in colloquial German. Today, we'll explore all the contexts in which we can use it - with plenty of examples.

alles-gut-imageHello everyone,

and welcome to a brand new mini series called Spoken German Bits. In this series, we’ll look at the colloquial side of German. It can be a word, a common expression,  a weird grammar structure or even a feature of pronunciation. All these things that you get to hear every day in Germany but that are absolutely not part of standard learning material – maybe because the material hasn’t caught on yet or maybe because the stuff is considered “wrong”. But wrong, shmong. Language is super democratic and if everybody does something, then that’s the language.
Anyways’… so this is what the new series is all about and today we’ll start with a look at a very useful phrase :

Alles gut

Now you’re like “What? That’s like All Good. Doesn’t seem particularly special to me.” But my observation is that the phrase has gotten pretty damn trendy recently. It has two usages and while one has been pretty standard for a while, I noticed that the second usage really caught on recently. Like… I hear it from all different kinds of people – teens, retired people, managers, models, TV hosts. And then, last night, when the neightbors’s cat that hangs out in our courtyard a lot, used it I realized: it is time to cut back on the dru… uh… I mean, it’s time to tell you about the phrase.  So you can impress your friends with how much you sound like a native speaker. And you can use it every day.
So are you ready to take a look? Perfect.

Advent Calendar 6 – “Little spaces make you big”


Hello everyone,

and welcome to day 6 of our Advent Calendar, and after yesterday’s theory stuff it’s time for a little leisure.
I want to tell you a bit about something that belongs to the German Christmas season like the common cold belongs to winter – you’re lucky to make it through without it. Get ready for… oh no… please noooo

Stop it. Go away, song!
I want to talk about


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I was on Joe Rogan!!

OMG everyone,

it’s finally time :D!

You have no idea how hard it was for me to keep this a secret and not tell you anything, not even a hint, but I made it and now I feel SOOO relieved that I can actually say it.


Many of you have probably heard about him, but for those who haven’t he – Joe Rogan is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, podcasts out there.
And what few people know is that Joe Rogan actually speaks very good German, and one of the sources he used was… my blog!!
So a few months back his team reached out to me and asked if I was interested in coming on and I said yes.

In the three hours podcast we talked about life, global politics, German food and of course Joe’s struggles with the German cases.
And there’s a segment in there, where we talk German for five minutes.
So, without any further ado, let’s jump right in.

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German Plug of the Day

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our show. Our topic today is:

written in bold (pron.: written in bold)

We will talk about meaning of things and how stuff works in language.
Seriously though… what’s going on, why no post today. Thing is, I am working on the article on the German prefix be-, which will be quite long, and I have had a pretty long and intense work weekend. And also, just as everybody else around me, I am a little sick. If you came to Berlin right now, you would be welcomed at the airport by hordes of snot-zombies… anyway… I think I’ll finish that post on be tomorrow or Wednesday, the latest. But just in case it takes till Thursday (which it will not)…. to bridge the gap till Friday, I would like to tell you about 2  really great books… one is called:  Continue reading

German Work Out – Sentence Structure

Hallo ihr alle,

wie geht’s euch? Alles gut? Ich habe eine kleine Frage … oder eine Idee…. sie heiĂźt:


Hah… you’re face tells me that you probably understood that :). Hausaufgaben…. boooooooh.
But it’s really just the word that has this negative spin. Homework is a good thing because if we want to learn a language, we need to practice. So… we’re already doing some listening every once in a while but I was thinking maybe it would be cool to have more exercises, you know, to get our German in shape and sexy. Wait, can German be sexy? Meh, anyways, so today I have a little exercise for the core…

the sentence structure 

I really like this exercise and I used to do that kind of exercise a lot myself which is why I have these killer abs today. But seriously… I think it’s a good way to get less intimidated and confused when it comes to making these loooooog sentences German is so famous for.
Here’s the idea:

Word of the Day – “der Drang”

In this episode:

A fun look at the meaning of "der Drang", the difference to "der Zwang" and the cool related words like "dringend" that we can find in the family.


der Drang, der Zwang, eindringen, aufdringlich, dringend, drängeln, abdrängen,...

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day, this time with a look at the meaning of

der Drang


And we won’t only look at Drang of course but also at other cool words like dringend or drängeln.
Okay, drängeln isn’t that cool actually. But sometimes you have to do it. Like… when you have to get out of a packed train. Or when the article you’re reading to learn German randomly starts talking about a horse that just stands on a meadow. And it describes how the horse just stands there. And then it eats a bit of grass. And takes a few steps. And then stands there. And you’re like
“Dude, could we get started already?!”
That’s drängeln. So let’s jump right in.

The Prefix er- Explained – Part 2

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day.
And today, it’s time for the second part of our look at the meaning of the prefix


In the first part, we learned that the core of er- is the broad idea of reaching a goal and it can be about getting something as well as also about reaching a state. We also learned that er- has a bit of an “epic” grand vibe and that er-verbs tend to not bother with mundane day to day grind.
And finally, we found out that er- has actually shot ge- at the yearly Non-Separable Prefixes Christmas dinner. And it wasn’t an accident because to death is also one of the ideas it carries and lends to verbs.
Yeah… if you haven’t read part one, you’re probably hellah confused now :).
So if you want to read it, you can find it here:

The Prefix “er-” Explained – Part  1

So what are we going to do today?
I mean… we know the general theme and we’ve seen how it expresses itself in various of the er-verbs.
But what we don’t know yet, though, is where the prefix actually comes from.
That’s what we’ll explore today.
And that’ll not only reveal some surprising connections and help us make sense of the er-verbs that didn’t really fit in so far (like erziehen or ergeben).  It’ll actually offer us a new perspective entirely, and we’ll see what er- REALLY is and how it’s kind of a metaphor for life itself.
So are you ready to jump in?
Then let’s go.

Word of the Day – “satt”

In this episode:

A quick look at "satt", which we need to say that we're full and /or fed up.

Hello everyone,This guy is satt

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of



We’ve all been there. Dinner at grandma’s. Bravely, you fork up the rest of the mashed potatoes from the plate, totally determined to never eat anything ever again, when you suddenly realize that you made a grave mistake. But it is too late. SHE has seen it. AND she will not have it.
A white, empty porcelain plate is nothing  grandmothers can accept.
“Nimm noch was… du bist eh so dĂĽnn.”
And that’s when you remember that it’s the grandma speaks German and you have to speak German, too, if you want to have even a slight chance to fend of more food.
Come on brain! What’s the word for full. Wasn’t it something remotely related to saturated… and then you remember what you’ve read in this artilce and the words come out of your mouth..

The Difference Between “wissen” and “kennen”

In this episode:

English "to know" has two translations - "wissen" and "kennen". And there are 2 ways to tell them apart. One is about meaning, the other about grammar.

click picture for creditsHello everyone,

and welcome to another German Word of the Day – What is the Difference Special. And today, we’ll look at the difference between

kennen and wissen

A real problem. Unless your mother tongue is Spanish. Or Italian. Or French. Or Portuguese.
Or Swedish. Or Norwegian. Or Finnish. Or Hungarian.
Because all these languages have two words as well.
That’s right, English language. You can’t give German the “Really?? Two words for one thing?“-look this time ;).
Old English actually had two verbs, too. There was to know, which is related to the Latin and Greek family that diagnosis and recognize come from. And there was witan which, just like German wissen,  belong to the of vision. But then English speakers were like “What a waste… let’s just pick one.” and started using to know for everything while witan only got to live on in wisdom and wit. And generations of English speakers have since struggled to wrap their mind around the difference between wissen and kennen.
Well… today, this will change because I have found a really simple, really effective way to tell them apart.
And if you’re mother tongue is one of the languages above, that also have two words… well, you could read on anyway and share in the comments whether that would work for your language as well. Sounds good? Cool.