A quick look at "aufhalten" and what holding a door has to do with staying somewhere. - Part 2
and welcome to another episode of our series on German Prefix Verbs. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of
Halten is of course related to holding and haltingand the core idea of the family is something like keeping from moving/changing. The prefix auf can add two ideas to a verb and in the case of aufhalten, we’re dealing with both of them. Continue reading →
We'll talk about anything 'nose' :). So words for the parts, verbs that relate to nose, and a whole bunch of nice idioms with "die Nase". #vocab-galore - Part 2
die Nase, die Nasenflügel, die Nebenhöhlen, schnauben, rümpfen, der Geruch, der Gestank, die Stupsnase,...
and welcome to our German word of the Day or actually…today it’s more of a style special … well… not really a style special… it’s a … uhm… it’s just a special and specials are awesome. Now, we all have noses. And noses are awesome, too, because we can smell with them…okay, except if we need to pee right after that colleague had had his morning constitutional; then it’s not that awesome but anyway, specials are awesome, noses are – mostly – awesome, together they’re super awesome and that’s why today we’ll do a
or in German
We’ll look at the different parts and shapes, we’ll gather all activities that are related to our nose and we’ll take a look at the wealth of nose-idioms that German has to offer. Smells good? Cool. Continue reading →
The German word "Teil" has two genders. Today, we'll find out why and what they mean and we'll go over the most useful compound nouns with Teil. - Part 2
das Teil, der Teil, der Großteil, das Gegenteil, der Vorteil, vorteilhaft, der Nachteil,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of
Teil is the German word for part and it is related to the English word deal. Wait, the business deal? Yeah, that one. A few centuries ago deal was much closer to the original “not as ancient as Indo-European but still freaking ancient”-Proto Germanic root that was all about share, part, amount. And in fact, this notion is still visible today. Just take these phrases:
That helps a great deal.
A good dealof movie’s success is due to the excellent cast.
These are not not about trade. These are about large parts. The helps solved a substantial part of the problem and a substantial part of the success is thanks to the cast. The business-deal was … uhm… coined some 200 years ago, probably based on the meaning amount, which is not that far from part. We’ll see even more connections between Teiland dealonce we get to the verbs. But the noun Teil is really really cool and useful and there’s a lot to say about it. Let’s start with the gender. Yeay. That annoying gender that all the nouns have . Well guess what. Teilis an exception! Now you’re like “Wow, really. A word without gender? AWESOME!!! That is the start of the revolution!!!” but then you see my face all serious and emphatic and you begin to realize… “It has two genders, doesn’t it?” Continue reading →
A fun look at the meaning of 'gelten' and why 'gleichgültig' means 'indifferent'. Of course with audio examples :) - Part 2
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of
Gelten is related to one the most important things of our time: climate change. Nah, kidding. That doesn’t even exist. Geltenis related to Geld. Money. And that doesn’t exist either because… but let’s start at the beginning.
A fun look at the meaning of "gönnen", its really useful brother "günstig" and a bit of recent German slang :) - Part 2
gönnen, die Gunst, die Missgunst, günstig, ungünstig,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. Roughly 100 years ago, Wilhelm Busch (a hyper famous German poet) wrote this.
Wir mögen keinem gerne gönnen, dass er was kann, was wir nicht können.
It’s a nice rhyme, but also a bit of truth about human nature. Today we’ll find out why, because we’ll have a look at the meaning of
And as similar as it looks and sounds to können – being able to gönnen can be REAL challenge because it means overcoming one of the strongest adversaries out there … and no nerds, I don’t mean Thanos. I’m talking about our ego.
A fun look at the meaning of "die Wahl" and the verb "wählen" and the difference to "aussuchen". And a boring look at the German political system :). - Part 2
die Wahl, wählen, wählerisch, die Auswahl,...
and welcome, I hope you’re all well. So today, Steve my producer here at German is Easy gave me the results of our annual audience survey … that is like… our network checks once a year who is listening to this show. That helps them chose and sell only those advertisements that are interesting for our audience… by the way… have you guys checked out the new Caterpillar Off Shore Generator yet? No? Well, you should. It is awesome! Anyway… so Steve gave me the results of our survey and guess what… turns out pretty much all of you agree on one thing: you all want shorter posts. Many also want them to involve less or no reading. Because reading is lame and exhausting and takes concen ooh look a link… they’re playing chess… so cute… where was I… oh yeah.. so you want shorter posts with less reading and we have just the right topic for that:
German internal politics…. hoooooray. That just can’t turn out long.
In a couple of weeks there will be Bundestagswahl…or just short die Wahl. So today we’ll find out what that is and how that works. First, the word itself
Wahl. Waaaaaaaahl. With aaaaaaa… hey… Let’s be crazy for a second and switch vowels… Continue reading →
A fun look at the meaning "holen" and its many useful prefix versions and the secret connection between fetching, racing and shouting. - Part 2
holen, rausholen, ausholen, abholen, aufholen, überholen, sich erholen, runterholen,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day, this time, we’ll take a look at the meaning of
Imagine you and a few people are at a friend’s place. You’re chatting and it’s great fun, but then you notice that your beer is empty. What’s the natural thing to do? Exactly, you go home, do some Kundalini Yoga and then you go to bed in order to rise early and study. Or in one word: holen. So wholesome. Just kidding. Of course you’d go to the fridge and get another beer. And THAT’S what holen is … to go get, to fetch.
A fun look at the meaning of "wirken" and its related words. We'll learn about the difference to "scheinen" and what work has to do with reality :) - Part 2
wirken, die Wirkung, wirklich, bewirken, die Wirklichkeit,...
and welcome to our German word of the Day. This time, we will have a look at the meaning of
Looks like a lot of work. No… wait. I meant it looks a lot like work. Seriously, it is the usual thing we can find for a lot of Germanic verbs… the consonants give the frame, the foundation, the core. The vowels kind of just fill in the blank or add some meaning facet or something.
In English, o works. In German it was once u and now it’s i… but who cares… it’s the same frame :). The frame comes from an ancient Indo-European root that looks like a vomiting sound… *u̯erg̑. This is also the root for the word worm and the original meaning was something related to winding. People would wind bast fibers or something to make a fence. That was the start. But the word broadened a lot and soon meant pretty much the same as work means today. And what does workmean today? Exactly. Work. … okay, that sentence was kind of pointless. Continue reading →
A quick look at the German word for "to digest" - "verdauen" - Part 2
Und hier ist Socken Nummer 8.
Verdauen means to digest“. Dauen by itself is not a verb (anymore) but it’s related to tauen (melt, thaw) and dew, and they all come from a root that meant something like to disolve. Which is what happens in our tummy. The food gets “melted away”… well, kind of. Just like to digest, verdauen is also used for mental “servings”. In that sense it is similar to verarbeiten but it’s smaller in scale. die Verdauung – the digestion leicht verdaulich – easily digestible die Verdauungsbeschwerden – indigestion (lit.: digestion difficulties)
Ich kann jetzt nicht arbeiten, ich verdaue grade.
I can’t work now, I’m digesting.
Das mit dem Projekt muss ich erstmal verdauen.
I’m gonna need some time to digest that thing with the project.
Wenn ihr Fragen habt, schreibt einfach einen Kommentar. Schönen Tag euch.
And DON’T you think that you can just read those three articles now. Now, you have to take the test. And just so you know… if you fail, you have to start German again from ZERO. Sounds good? “No, it doesn’t!” Yeah, whatever…. whining won’t help you! Jump in!
A thorough look at the meaning of "schaffen", its various important uses in everyday German and a bunch of really cool related words. - Part 2
schaffen, geschafft, erschaffen, sich verschaffen, abschaffen, anschaffen, das Geschäft, die Wirtschaft, beschäftigt, die Freundschaft,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of:
Schaffenis a really important part of everyday German and yet for some reason is hasn’t really been on my radar until recently when a bar flirt asked me what it meant. It was then that I was thinking… hmmm that could be worth a Word of the Day. So I said “Sorry bar flirt, but I must go. My readers need me.” and I went home to start my research. As usual, I started with the origin and I found the absolutely ancient Indo-European root *skā̌b(h) which was about the idea of cleaving with a sharp thing – or more specifically to carve wood. So I looked for English relatives when I suddenly got a text message from an unknown number “Hey Mr. Teacher man, you didn’t pay for your drinks. I guess you owe me now ;).” Being used to girls chasing me, I kept my reply short: “Send nudes.” Nah, kidding. My actual reply was more along the lines of “Heeeey, nice to hear from you :):). I’m just looking for relatives to German schaffen and you won’t believe what I found.” Because the English branch of that root is actually pretty impressive…
Decke means cover. And under that cover we … ahem… discover a whole bunch of useful nouns and verbs. Today, we’ll cover all those and more :) - Part 2
die Decke, der Deckel, die Deckung, decken, zudecken, bedecken, entdecken,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of
And that means of course that we’ll cover (hint, hint) the whole decken-family – “the Deckens”. Decke is just a nice icon for it, so that’s why I picked it. The Deckens are probably some of the oldest words ever. Forget all those super ancient Indo European roots we see all the time.
Those are like… recent. The root of Deckedates back freaggin’ 160 million years to when it was the name of a Dinosaur… the Stegosaurus, also known as Stegstar or just Stegs. Those were just for friends though. The Stegosaurus was a cool dude who took it easy and he was widely known for his massive tile like spikes along his back that provided him with protection and extra awesome. The dinosaurs then “perished” because of “a comet”(yeah, right) but the other animals remembered them and passed on their story to mankind. Continue reading →
We'll look at the meaning of 'Reiz' and 'reizen', see what they have to do with nerves and we'll learn quite a few common phrasings and expressions. - Part 2
der Reiz, reizen, gereizt, reizend, Hautreizung,...
and welcome to our German Word of the day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of
A gentle balmy wind on the skin, the slight fragrance of cherry blossoms in the air, the refreshing bitterness of a cold beer on the tongue, the pollen induced itching in my nose, the first sting of a mosquito on the arm, the sound of birds going crazy at 5 in the morning in the ear. Besides being all very “spring”-y these things have one thing in common… each one is something we perceive with our senses. Or put in one word – a Reiz. Reiz comes from an old Germanic root that was at its core about carving or scratching a surface with a sharp object. This root evolved into words like to write and to scribe in English and reißen (to rip) or schreiben (to write). And there was reizen, which in the beginning was very true to the core meaning of carving or scratching a surface. But soon the meaning broadened, people started using it in an abstract sense too. What abstract sense? Continue reading →
The family of "Rüstung" covers a surprisingly large and diverse range of contexts: from war, to gear, to construction work and even ... playgrounds. - Part 2
die Rüstung, rüsten, ausrüsten, aufrüsten, umrüsten, abrüsten, entrüstet, das Gerüst,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day, this time with a nice, quick look at the meaning of
Looks German, but it also looks vaguely familiar. Like, if were to see it in a book and we had no dictionary nearby, we could well venture a guess. First, we remove the eyeliner (aka. umlaut) we’d get Rustung. And if we then replace -ung with -ing, because despite all their differences the two endings are somewhat related, we’d get rusting. My bike’s favorite pastime. So… did we hit jackpot? Is it the right meaning? Absolutely not, of course. Rustingis totally NOT what Rüstungmeans.
But in a weird way rusting does kind of relate to Rüstung and it can be a really nice mnemonic. Because at least the most iconic type of Rüstung, the one that the knights used to wear in medieval times – that was prone to some serious rusting ;).
A fun and thorough look at the word "auf". We'll learn when to use it for location, what it means as a prefix and we'll talk about the common combos, like "warten auf". - Part 2
auf, aufgehen, aufmachen, aufgehen, warten auf, stehen auf, aufhaben,...
and welcome to a brand new episode of our “German Prepositions Explained“. In this series, we’re looking those little suckers one at a time and explore what they mean as a stand alone, as a prefix and most importantly as part of those infamous FVPCTGOENs. Erm… that’s short for Fixed Verb Prefix Combos that Go on Everyone’s Nerves. If you don’t know what that is, well, you’ll find out soon enough ;). Today, we’ll take a detailed look at
We left after step 3 when we had a list of promising topics for our blog.
But now we need to create the actual articles. Ewww, that sounds like a lot of work.
Especially because we’re not really interested in writing and in the topics. Because remember… we’re just doing this to market our product. And the topics we collected are based on search metrics, not on what we know or care about.
Step 4 – Hire a (cheap) freelance writer
So we go back online to Fiverr or Upwork or another of these freelance platforms and we find ourselves a cheap copywriter. There are plenty of English native speakers on these platforms who freelance as content writers, either as a side hustle or as their normal income while they do travelling around in low income countries. So they’re not charging high rates, and they write about anything you want. So we hire one of those and hand them the list of topics we want articles for for “our” blog.
Those are usually paid either with a fixed amount or per word written, not per time invested. So what they’ll do is a very cursory research. If for instance they have to write an article about the meaning of doch, they’ll do a quick google search, skim read one or two of the articles, maybe watch a Youtube video to cross reference, and they’ll paraphrase what they found. They’re writing for hire, so they’ll not have a very unique style. And they’ll probably use Grammarly, a grammar and style checking program, which gives a lot of suggestions how to say and not to say something, so that’ll do it’s share to remove character from the text.
And if we don’t want to hire a freelancer… well, no problem. We just let an AI like ChatGPT write it for us. They’re pretty good at generating generic texts about a topic. You can even tell them to sound “academic” or “casual” or “like buzzfeed”. What you get is like a plastic plant, basically. Looks like a plant, but it’s not alive.
But that’s still not all.
Step 5 – SEO-optimize the text
Remember … the only reason such an article exists is to lure people from Google and other search engines to our website because we want to sell to them. That’s its main purpose. So of course we optimize it for that. And there are loads of guidelines how to write something so the search engine ranks it higher. Keywords have to be mentioned in the title, important phrases should be mentioned in the first sentence, the main keyword needs to have a certain density in the text, there need to be subheaders containing the keyword, the sentences have to be short, and so on and so on.
Either the freelance writer does this themselves, or we go over the text afterwards and modify it to fit these “requirements” and that’ll alter the text even more. This can get really bad and some texts are clearly written for the search engine, not for you.
Like… you’ve probably seen these kinds of articles. You search something like “How to clean my nose with salt water” and you might land on an article that starts with “Why you should clean you nose with salt water?” and also has a section “Who should clean their nose with salt water” This was not written for you! This was written for the search engine.
Step 6 – Success
And that’s how many articles are created nowadays. They exist to get you to go to a website that sells you something. They do not exist because the author cares or has knowledge in the field. They exist to sell. And the same goes for all these lists. Like…
Top 10 Best Apps for Learning German (in 2022)
I’m sure many of you have done searches about this. Well… guess what you get. You get a bunch of search engine optimized lists that ONLY exist because someone is running affiliate marketing and wants to get commissions for sending customers. They do not pick the apps based on what they like or don’t like. They pick them based on what affiliate deals they get. They might include some apps in such a list for which they’re not an affiliate but that’s JUST to fool Google into thinking the list is authentic. But it’s not. They actually also have programs that change the title based on year or even month automatically. Like… my example above will automatically be changed from 2022 to 2023 in January making people think it’s a new article.
And I can guarantee you… people (companies) writing these lists have not really tried these apps and might well not even be learning a language. It’s only for sales. There is no attempt to give you an honest review. Are there “legit” lists out there? Of course. Many language learners have blogs. But they’re usually not among the top ten results because those will be taken by lists that were carefully optimized for search engines.
Their are countless websites with a blog attached where the blog was created exactly how I described it.
The bottom line is that a lot of content is not written to teach or tell you something, but just to show up high on Google to lure potential customers to the site. It is typically not written by people who know much about the topic and they also don’t really care. So if you ever wondered why content online feels like reading plastic… that’s why. And let’s not even start on the articles that are written by a computer. Yes, they exist and they just need a few edits here and there to make them “good enough”. Luckily Google is taking steps against AI content, but that’s gonna be an arms race.
So yeah… that’s the reality of at least part of the internet today, and that includes German learning blogs and websites. The articles there were not made because someone had the feeling their explanation has value. They were made to lure you into the sales funnel.
I’m not telling you this to complain… well, a little maybe :). But I’m convinced that “real” content from people who actually have a passion for their field will always have its place.
But I find it pretty interesting how these things work. I mean… some SEO expert might buy an existing online shop for mattresses and then start boosting this in the rankings by creating a blog using the system I described. And us, searching for an article about where our back pain comes from, we might land there and think it’s a website run by an expert who has a passion for mattresses. But in reality, it’s just recycled basic knowledge paraphrased by some person chilling in a beach bar in Bali. This is not a fictional example by the way. It’s real and it’s not rare.
And I think it’s important that people are more aware of these things that go on behind the scenes. We can’t forbid it, we shouldn’t forbid it. It’s a “natural development” in a way. But that doesn’t mean that it’s good, and being more aware of it will help us be more critical and make better decisions.
And that’s my rant for the day :). Seriously, I’m sorry for rambling a little toward the end, but I do hope this was interesting and insightful for you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and also let me know if you have any questions about any of this. I’m happy to clear up as much as I can.
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of
And the question on everyone’s mind is of course “Come on, German, for real? We’re combining two of these ..uhm.. things into one word now?” To which German will answer “Na klar, wo ist das Problem?” The problem is of course that it can be bit confusing for learners, especially when they hear it in a sentence. But okay, German is not exactly known for caring if something is confusing for learners. “I am the most confusingest language on the planet… muahahahahahaha!” Yeah, yeah whatever.
Anyway, so vorbei is obviously a combination of the two prepositions vor and bei.
Vor is about the core idea of in front, ahed, and it can be used for location as well as time and all kinds of other figurative contexts.
and welcome a new episode of our mini e-course on how to awaken the potential within you and create the dream life you’ve always wanted to dream of but never dared dreaming for this world crushes dreams like it wants to make a dream Mojito. And today, we’ll practice one of the most important skills ever… saying NO! No, I am not going to stay longer at the office. No, I do not enjoy watching Rom Coms. Fuck no, we do not have almond milk. And no bro, I do not want not another beer. Okay, seriously… of course this is not a life improvement blog. It’s a German improvement blog. But we will practice to say “no”, because today we’ll have the third part of our mini series on
The Amazing Positions of nicht
Hoooooray! In the first two parts, we’ve learned the theory and if you haven’t read them you should really check them out first. “But Emanuel, we’ve had a chapter on that in our textbook, so I think I know the theor…” Shush… you do not! Seriously, textbooks and courses have a really weird approach to the topic. “But Emanuel, can I just try the exercise and see how it goes?” Hmm… yeah, I guess you can do that. But for all those of you who want to check out my crazy, mind blowing explanations, here are the links:
and welcome to a new episode of our series German Prepositions Explained. And you know how series have these episodes that are kind of slow. Like… people talk and a thing or two happens but at the end you kind feel like there was no real progression. Today is gonna be one of those episodes because we’ll take a look at the meaning of
Okay, of course I don’t mean it’s going to be boring. But mit just isn’t all that difficult. I think all of you know that it means with.
Ich komme mit dem Fahrrad.
I’ll come by bike.
Okay… I… I guess that examples was kind of a fail. So mitCAN have other translations from time to time, but that’s just normal and overall the idea of withis pretty clear. And case-wise mitgoes with Dative which is also easy to remember because mitstarts with m and Dative kind of ends with it… I mean, the article dem does… you know what I mean.
But yeah, the reason we’re even doing an episode about mitare the prefix verbs. Because there are quite a few colloquial ones that textbooks miss out on and people sometimes struggle to pin down. So, today we’ll basically explore mitas a prefix so if you’re ready, then let’s jump right in :)
A fun look at the two meanings of "Schild" and its two genders and plurals. - Part 2
der Schild, das Schild, schildern, ausschildern, die Drüse, die Schilddrüse, der Schirm, abschirmen,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day, this time with a quick look at the meaning of
It’s not the most useful word ever, nor is it hard to make sense of. But what it does bring to the table is not only two genders, but also two plural forms. Yeay. Every learner’s wet dream. Wet from tears! So let’s dive right in, shall we..
A fun look at the meaning of "ausser" and how to use it. Special guests: "bis auf", "ausserdem" and dumb jokes. - Part 2
Hey there everyone,
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of:
Außer is the third of the infamous three but-lings, the three German translations for the word but. Or actually, we should probably say “options”. The thing is that the English word but is for three concepts that German sees as different things. Of course… we all know how painfully precise German likes to be sometimes. So yeah, German uses a different word for each of those three concepts and if you pick the wrong one, it actually sounds REALLY confusing to a German speaker, even though it’s all but in English. The first two But-lings are aber and sondern and mixing up those is a really common mistake. We’ve talked about sondern and how to tell it apart from aber in a separate article, so if you want to check that out, here’s the link:
Today, we’ll look at the third But-ling, außer and see how it’s different to aber and sondern. and we’ll also learn a few nice alternatives and cool related words. So are you ready to jump in? Then let’s go. Continue reading →
so Christmas is over and for me it was fun. In a weird kinda way. Some of my colleagues were driving me crazy and then some web hosting issues were driving me crazy, a rodent was driving a colleague crazy, then the colleagues me once again and then the hosting issues again. Hmm… maybe it was more the Elder Fashioned cocktails and I had last night that made in fun :). Seriously though, the year is coming to a close and I just wanted to say thank you to you all. This blog got 4 years old a couple of weeks ago and the last year was the most amazingest so far and it’s all because of you because without you I wouldn’t be doing this. So, danke for all your comments and questions. Danke for all your donations. They really help a lot. (oh… Guenther Muth, I don’t even know what to say). Danke for putting up with all my dumb jokes and bad puns. And last but not least danke for putting up with German, one of the clunkiest and least sexy languages in the world. Seriously, dirty talk in German just doesn’t work.
All this is really motivating and I have some really cool things planned for next year. For example, shorter but morer articles… I mean, more. Don’t worry, nerds – looooooong articles will always have their place here. But they’re hard to write and I’m sure hard to digest and German is not only easy… it is also FUN. You hear me. It is fun! So next year, we’ll do that justice with short, fun posts about cool random words, slang terms, but also idiomatic sayings and stuff like that.
And it’s not only the content. The website will get a little face-lift and a better navigation. A proper search and a category system that actually makes sense will do their utmost to help you navigate and find the content you want to read … wow, that sounds like marketing babble. I’ll also try to reduce the number of typos on the site and trim some fat here and there. Not on me though, since I have thisperfect beach body right here. Wait… that’s not what I meant to show you. Don’t click th.. oh damn… too late. Anyways, I also want to include a “too long, didn’t read”-section to the posts. So yeah… finally you can skip everything!!!! Hooray :).
Then there will be the book that’ll ease your prefix pain, we’ll do some reviews with cool giveaways for you and of course I’ll finally do the long awaited video tutorials on horse grooming. Oh, and better jokes.
So there’s a lot to look forward to and I hope you to see you next year. Bis dahin…
Guten Rutsch :)
(literally, it means “have a great slide” and it is what Germans say to each other before new years in order to with a great transition into the new year.)
I will be moving the site to WordPress.org. For the people who are following this blog using their WordPress.com account this has one important repercussion. You will still see my new posts in your reader BUT
YOU WILL NOT GET AN EMAIL ANYMORE!!
This is not ideal but there’s nothing I can do to change that, so if you want to get an email notification whenever I post something, you have to sign up anew as an email follower. There will be a huge form for that on the site once I’ve moved. ********************************************************************
and welcome to our German Word of the Day, number 140… or uhm.. something. Not sure actually. I just know it’s not enough. Not even close. We need more words. Moooooore. We need to be like word eating zombies. Woooords. Oh, there’s one. Let’s eat
Der Zweifel means the doubt. And clearly the two words aren’t related. Or are they? Dun dun dunnnn They aren’t, Emanuel was sure of it. Two words that don’t even share a single letter just can’t be related. And yet, there was this weird feeling in his gut. A feeling he knew all too well. A feeling that had never wronged him. There was no doubt, he had to take a dump. And so there he sha sat in the Chamber of Tiled Walls, his mind wandering. “Zweifel. Zwei-fel. Zwei… oh my god!” Such were his thoughts. Luckily, the etymological dictionary was there, conveniently placed next to the toilet, for, as so many others, he liked to ingest while eges… gee, what am I blabbering. I’m sorry. So… the word Zweifeldirectly comes from the word zwei . And that does make sense. For example… Continue reading →
so an important part of this site are definitely the comments. Your amazing, awesome, kick ass, lovely comments. Seriously, you guys are asking so many interesting things in the comments, you correct my stupid typos, you compliment me (I especially love that part) and you share great little insights. Oh… and you don’t troll. Like… never. I haven’t had to delete one single comment ever and seeing how we’re in the internet that is CRAZY. But your comments aren’t only interesting, awesome, kick ass and friendly… they’re also many. How many? Well…. Continue reading →
A fun look at the meaning of "peinlich", how to say that you're embarrassed in German and some more words like shame or disgrace :). - Part 2
peinlich, die Pein, der Schmerz, das Schmerzmittel, die Schande, bloßstellen, sich blamieren,...
and welcome to our German word of the Day. This time, we will talk about … my pee stain. I was in a café, a very crowded café I should say, and I had to go to the bathroom. And as the guys among you know… sometimes a few drops come out late, no matter how thorough you are. That’s what happened to me that day. And as I washing my hands (like real gentlemen do), it formed. A pee stain. Roughly the shape of Australia. Eight inches in diame… okay, okay, I’ll stop. Of course, we’re not gonna talk about that pee stain. There never was such a pee stain to begin with. The reason I made it up is that it has a lot to do with the word we’ll look at today:
And peinlich does have a lot to do with pee stains because peinlichmeans embarrassing. Why it means that, and why the translation is not always straight forward, that’s what we’ll look at today. So let’s jump right in…
A quick look at the meaning of "das Einkommen" and why the verb "einkommen" absolutely doesn't mean "to come in" (and what does) :) - Part 2
das Einkommen, reinkommen,...
and welcome to another episode of our mini series about German Prefix Verbs. Today we’ll look at the meaning of
and this verb is super special because… it has zero meanings. Tadah. Okay, I can’t rule out that it’s part of some regional dialect or that it has some other niche uses but in daily life it means nothing. Case closed. See you next week. Nah… of course there’s a reason why we’re talking about this. For one thing there’s the noun das Einkommenwhich does mean income… but the main reason why einkommen is worth a look is the fact that it’s a really really great example for the whole “prefix verb vs its r-version”-stuff. And if you’re now like “Wait, the what?” then this is for you :). Knowing what an r-version is, and having a feel for what it does what the prefix verbs usually DON’T do is really really helpful… or at least I think it is. So let’s take a look at this. Continue reading →
A fun look at the meaning of the German words for future, what "Zukunft" has to do with "kommen" and what other cool useful words with "-kunft" there are. - Part 2
die Zukunft, die Auskunft, die Ankunft, die Herkunft,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a quick look at the meaning of:
Die Zukunft is the German word for the future and that’s definitely something to talk about. Like…. there’s been quite some hype about it, nicely captured by this quote from a BuzzFeed article…
… and while Present is still around and accepted, Past is totally last season. Today, designers all around the world agree that Future is up and coming and will be the next big thing.
But of course we’re not here to talk about the actual future. And we’re also not here to talk about the future tense. We’re here to learn about the WORD future. Because that has WAY more to offer than you’d expect. Continue reading →
Asking questions in German is easy, but you can't just translate word for word from English. It's better to build them in German. Today, we'll learn all about it. - Part 2
and welcome to a new episode of the epic YourDailyGerman online course – the course that uses the hottest learning technology the year 2022 has to offer… reading. I mean, little TikToks are super educational but reading… maaaan… it sucks at first, but once you’re used to it, it’s awesome.
Anyway, today, we’ll do the second part of
“How to ask Questions in German”
Last time, after a quick general overview over the topic, we focused on the questions that have a question word. So questions like:
Who am I?
Why are we?
What is reality?
When does the milk expire?
If you have doubts about those, then check out part 1 here. Today, we’ll talk about the questions that DON’T have a question word – the so called yes or no-questions:
Is there such thing as reality?
Is there a reason for our being here?
Can reality be defined by an individual?
Does milk expire?
Those are equally important if you want to have a conversation and building them is actually ridiculously simple. Unless your native language is English… then, it is kind of like throwing a ball with the left hand :). And besides learning how to build them, we’ll also look at some common useful patterns and to top it off, we’ll talk about an incredibly common way of answering to these questions – it’s super easy and it’ll make you sound super native and it’s nothing you’ll find in any of those fancy video courses and textbooks. Here are the quick links if you want to jump around (though it’s not really all that much jumping this time).
"sein" is the German verb for "to be". And just like "to be" it's quite irregular. Today, we'll learn how to conjugate it and also WHY it's so messy. - Part 2
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. The first ever word of the day, actually. And so we’ll look at the most basic verb there is:
Sein is German for to be.It’s ALSO the German word for his, but that’s really just one of many… uhm… funny coincidences the German language has in store for beginners. Anyway, sein is the most irregular verb in the German language. Actually, it’s the ONLY really irregular verb in German, because German conjugation is quite chill. But yeah…. sein is classic LBH-material (Learn-By-Heart).
Here it is in present tense:
Ich bin schön. Du bist schön. Sie (er/es) ist schön.
Wir sind schön Ihr seid schön. Sie sind schön.
And here it is in past tense:
Ich war in London. Du warst in London. Sie (er/es) war in London.
Wir waren in London. Ihr wart in London. Sie waren in London.
As you can see, the forms are pretty “wild” but you might also have noticed some parallels to English. The “bin” low key resembles “to be” and the past “war” kinda sorta looks like “was/were”.
The reason WHY to be and sein have such a patchwork of forms is the Germanic tribes actually literally puzzled together parts of three distinct roots – we could call them the b-root (be, been, bin, bist), the es-root(am, is, ist, sind…) and the was-root (war, was…). Of course the tribes didn’t do that on purpose. These things just kind of evolved over centuries. One branch is used for past, another one for present. And sometimes, two forms were used in parallel before the people finally settled on one. In Middle English for instance there were forms like I be, thou beest which look a lot like German but they just weren’t as popular as am and are. So yeah, both languages, German and English kind of “recruited” their forms the same pool, but they didn’t recruit the same forms. Hence the differences we see today. By the way… to be is not the only patchwork verb like that. Another nice example is to go. The past form is went, which doesn’t look ANYTHING like to go. And that’s simply because it actually comes from to wind. People just ended up using it as the past for to go.
But anyway… these relations are of course nothing you need to remember. I just wanted to mention it because the verbs to be and sein with their forms really are kind of strange. But learning by heart is the name of the game for this one. But it won’t take long because of course you’ll need this verb very, very frequently. And in German, you actually even need it for the spoken past quite a bit. And speaking of past… the ge-form (past participle) of sein is gewesen (a distant relative of “was”) and the spoken past is done with … sein:)
Ich bin gewesen.
I have been.
And if you’re now like “Wait, what’s spoken past, what’s ge-form and why does have translate to bein?” then I’ll recommend you the grammar course… here’s the link to the first episode.
You’ll also find lots more examples for sein there and practice the forms. But if you REALLY want to get a feel for the verb, I recommend my super interactive speaking exercise with AI speech recognition. Yes, I am not joking, actually. In the exercise, we’ll practice all important phrasings and structures and conjugations for sein by creating and speaking real sentences. So check it out… it’s really really helpful:
To wrap this up here is the famous Shakespeare-line in German:
Sein oder Nichtsein, das ist hier die Frage.
Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop
Advanced learners might have noticed that the compound word Nichtsein is capitalized and hence a noun. This appears to be the most widespread translation of “to be, or not to be…”. However, it is not the most logical choice and not the closest translation either. The literal translation of Nichtsein would be nonexistence. Whereas in the original version, Hamlet ponders two different actions (to be or not to be) , in German he has to decide between two “things”. I don’t know why this obvious shift has come to be the most agreed upon translation to date but I honestly have to disagree. I have heard the phrase numerous times and I would have written it as follows:
Sein oder nicht sein, das ist hier die Frage.
This is pronounced exactly the same as the former version but it is closer to the English original because the pending choice is between two actions “sein” and “nicht sein”. If you know the reason for the German translation you are welcome to leave a comment. *nerd-mode off Anyway… I hope you enjoyed this very first word of the day and see you next time.
Oh… here’s a little quiz, by the way :)
Time limit: 0
0 of 6 Questions completed
You have already completed the quiz before. Hence you can not start it again.
The second part of our three part series on German Adjectives Endings. Part 1 was the basics. After reading part 2 you can pass every test. - Part 2
and welcome to a new episode in our epic German is Easy – Learn German Online Course. And today, it’s time for the second part in our series on how to use (or guess) German adjective endings:
German Adjective Endings 2
Yeay. Are you excited?? Just a real quick recap about last time… we learned to ALWAYS add an -e without worrying about gender or case or article. Just add an -e! There are 2 reasons to do this. First of, e is always part of the correct ending and it is correct all by itself about 40% of the time. Not adding anything is ALWAYS wrong. So you get 40% correct for doing nothing but adding an -e. The second reason is a rhythmical one but I suggest you just check out part 1 if you haven’t yet.Continue reading →
In this episode, we'll learn the rules for the regular preterit and go over the irregular forms of the most common verbs. With lots of examples. - Part 2
and welcome to another part of the best German language online course ever. Today (after about 4 god damn years of waiting, for the long-time readers), it is time for a new episode of the epic HBO series called “German Past Tense”. If you haven’t watched the first 29 episodes you can find them here:
Yeah… okay, I’m being silly. Of course, it’s only two episodes so far. Part 1 was an overview about German Past tense and what we’ll have to learn, part 2 was all about the spoken past and today, in part 3, it is time for a look at:
the written past
In grammar jargon, this tense is known under the name preterit. But preterit is not intuitive at all and it sounds a bit scary, so we call it written past. Why written past? Because it’s one of THE main features of written accounts of stuff, while spoken past is what people use in daily life. Like… if Harry Potter were to tell Ron in German what he’s been up to all day on sick leave (sleeping, eating pizza, watching a movie, casting spells), he’d use spoken past. When J.K. Rowling will narrate the same stuff in “Harry Potter 45 – Harry Potter and the Cursed Lumbago”, she’ll use the written past. When you read a novel in German, you’ll see written past all over the place.
Now, that would be a great system – if German were consistent about it. But it isn’t. German is consistent about pretty much no rule. There’s a group of verbs for which the written past is also idiomatic in spoken language. For some, you can use both forms, for others the written past is the better choice, and then there are the ones you’ll REALLY love: The ones where the spoken past and the written past are both used, and mean two different things. But before we talk about that, we’ll learn how to build the forms. And for that, we’ll begin with a look at good ol’ English… Continue reading →
A fun look at how to talk about anger in German with lots of useful phrasings like Ärger machen or Ärger kriegen. And we'll find the neat little particle arg. - Part 2
der Ärger, (sich) ärgern (über), die Wut, wütend, ärgerlich, verärgern, arg,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time, we’ll have a look at the meaning of
And many of you know Ärger very well, because Ärger is what you’re likely to experience when sit down and study German words and genders. I’m talking of course about … an orgasm. Nah, of course it’s not an orgasm. And if you’re now secretly thinking “God, these dumb jokes are really getting on my nerves.” and you then, despite knowing deep inside that you shouldn’t, click on this link here, well, then you’re on your way to experience actual Ärger. Because Ärger is about anger.
A thorough look at the German preposition 'zu' - what's its core idea, how does it work as a prefix and which verbs and phrases want "zu" as a preposition. - Part 2
zu, zugeben, zuhaben, zu sein, zugehen, zuhören, zumachen,...
and welcome to a new episode of the series German Prepositions Explained, this time with a detailed look at
As usual, we’ll first check out what the word means as a preposition, then we’ll see if and how this connects to its use as a verb prefix, and finally, we’ll take a look at the annoying … ahem zoo… of fixed combinations of the preposition with certain verbs. Which is kind of special in case of zu because there are many and none. Dun dunn dunnnnn. So are you ready to jump right in? Then let’s go….
A quick fun look at the meaning of "rasten" and why someone who did some "ausrasten" is far from beingy well rested after. - Part 2
rasten, die Rast, ausrasten, der Rest, das Resteessen, restlich-, ausruhen,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day in 2019, the year that looks like eros in a mirror. Are you ready for a whole new year of crazy rules, overly precise words and gazillions of endings and endings with endings? Or in one word: are you ready for … German? Awesome! Then let’s hit of 2019 with a look at the meaning of
It looks quite similar to the English rest so if I told you that the two are actually not related, that would be kind of a surprise. But who cares about “kind of a surprise”? German learners are a a hard working, honest folk. They like their beers cold, their latte without milk and their surprises real. That’s how things are in this neck of the woods. And the real surprise is that rest is actually two words that are NOT related to each other. And rasten is related to only one of them. Intrigued yet? Purrrrfect. Then let’s jump right in….
and welcome to… well… I don’t actually really know how to call it. It’s something really silly, but also really cool. So… I was working on the article on relative pronouns that I wanted to post this week, when I suddenly ran into a problem. I could tell you the problem now, but hey, see for yourself…
A fun look at the "warten" and its prefix versions. We'll learn about the two(!!) meanings of "warten" and see how they tie in with expectations. - Part 2
warten, abwarten, erwarten, die Erwartung, die Wartungsarbeit, der Torwart,...
and welcome to our German Word of the Day. And today, we’ll do a Prefix Special on
What’s a Prefix Special, you ask? Well, in a prefix special we take one German verb, look at its meanings and then add all prefixes possible and look at those meanings too. For warten that won’t be that hard because there are only four.
That is nothing compared with gehen where you can add LITERALLY 1652 different prefixes. And by literally I mean of course: hyperbolically speaking. Because thing have to sound EXCITING!!! But yeah, warten has only four that matter, and today, we’ll find out about them. Here are the quick links so you can jump around.
I’m on a little Easter trip for a week. Yeay!! I will check my e-mails but it might take a few days. So if you have trouble with the membership or login, please don’t get upset if I don’t reply right away. I’m not ignoring you :)
Schöne Tage euch und bis nächste Woche
Achso… I’ll be in Bergen, Norway, in case any of you are there and would like to meet up