Author Archives: German-is-easy

Word of the Day – “die Wahl”

Wahl-pictureHello everyone,

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

die Wahl

 

Wahl. Waaaaaaaahl. With aaaaaaa… hey… Let’s be crazy for a second and switch vowels… Continue reading

Word of the Day – “holen”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day, this time, we’ll take a look at the meaning of

holen

 

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.

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “wirken”

wirken-germanHello everyone,

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

wirken

 

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.

  • w_rk

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 work mean today? Exactly. Work. … okay, that sentence was kind of pointless. Continue reading

Prefix Advent Calendar – 8

advent-8

Und hier ist Socken Nummer 8.

***

verdauen

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.

Practice Adjective Endings – Hard Mode

Hello everyone,

and welcome. Please put away all your textbooks and phones because today is surprise test!
And the topic will be…

Adjective Endings

Oh no, please! We didn’t prepare.”
Quiet! No one cares!
You had more than enough time to read my mini series with my patented system.

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!

Continue reading

Advent Calendar 2019 – Misfits

Misfits

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Word of the Day – “schaffen”

2 meanings of schaffenHello everyone,

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

schaffen

 

Schaffen is 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…

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “die Decke”

decke-decken-entdecken-germHello everyone,

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

die Decke

 

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 Decke dates 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

Word of the Day- “der Reiz”

Hello everyone,

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

der Reiz

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

German Prepositions Explained – “auf”

Hello everyone,

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

auf

and I’d say let’s jump right in… I mean on.

Continue reading

Advent Calendar 18 – “Wormhole Crumbling”

Hey ho, hey ho,

welcome back to our German Advent Calendar. A bit late today but let’s merrily open door 18 and see what we hswoooooooooshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Continue reading…

German Word of the Day – “vorbei”

Hello everyone,

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

vorbei

 

Come on, German, really? Like… really?? We’re combining two of these ..uhm.. things into one word now?
“Ja, natürlich.”
Oh… uhm… okay. I mean… It’s just… I … er… I’ll just explain
“Viel Spaß.”
Danke.
So.. the word vorbei is a combination of two prepositions or prefixes, which is a completely natural thing to do. Vor has at its core the meaning in front of.

  • Ich bin vor dem Baum.
  • I am in front of the tree.

Continue reading

Position of “nicht” – Work Out

Hello everyone,

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:

The position of “nicht” 1 – One rule is enough, as long as you make crazy assumptions
The position of “nicht” 2 – Not what you’d expect a grammar explanation to be

Today, we’ll practice what we’ve learned, so let’s jump right in :)

Continue reading

German Prepositions Explained – “mit”

mit-prefix-meaning-germanHello everyone,

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

mit

 

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 mit CAN have other translations from time to time, but that’s just normal and overall the idea of with is pretty clear.
And case-wise mit goes with Dative which is also easy to remember because mit starts 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 mit are 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 mit as a prefix so if you’re ready, then let’s jump right in :)

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “Schild”

Hello everyone,

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

Schild

 

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..

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “ausser”

Hey there everyone,

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

außer

 

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:

Word of the Day – “sondern”

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

Unicorn Watch Newsflash (!! Important !!)

happynewyear Hey everyone,

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 this perfect 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.)

Oh… and now I almost forgot the important thing:

*********************************************************************

Important notice for WordPress.com-followers

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.
********************************************************************

Word of the Day – “der Zweifel”

zweifel-bezweifeln-verzweifHello everyone,

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

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 Zweifel directly comes from the word zwei .
A
nd that does make sense. For example… Continue reading

Surprise of the Day

10000-commentsHello everyone,

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

Word of the Day – “peinlich”

Hello everyone,

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:

peinlich

 

And peinlich does have a lot to do with pee stains because peinlich means 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…

Continue reading

Advent Calendar 9 – In it to win it

In it to win it

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German Prefix Verbs Explained – “Einkommen”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to another episode of our mini series about German Prefix Verbs. Today we’ll look at the meaning of

einkommen

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 Einkommen which 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

Advent Calendar 15 – “Idioms with Ass”

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Advent calendar 23 – “Grmn Mssngr Tlk”

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Word of the Day – “die Zukunft”


Hello everyone,

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

die Zukunft

 

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

Questions in German – Part 2

Hello everyone,

and welcome to another part of the German is Easy Learn German online course – the course that uses the top notch technology the year 2020 has to offer…
reading.
I mean… video is cool, too. But reading… man… 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.
So… let’s dive right in, shall we? Continue reading

Advent Calendar 2 – “Hot Headache Accelerator”

“It’s warm, it’s with sugar and it’s not a zebra.”

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Advent Calendar 10 – “Odd Word Out”

“logical, easy, German”

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Word of the Day – “sein”

Hello everyone,

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

 

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.

German Grammar Essentials – Part 1 – Personal Pronouns

You’ll also find lots more examples for sein there and practice the forms.
To wrap this up here is the famous Shakespeare-line in German:

  • Sein oder Nichtsein, das ist hier die Frage.

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 :)

German Adjective Endings 2 – Get 80% right

german-adjective-endings-2Hello everyone,

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

German Past Tense 3 – “The Written Past”

german-past-preterit-imageHello everyone,

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…
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Word of the Day – “der Ärger”

Hello everyone,

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

der Ärger

 

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.

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German Prepositions Explained – “zu”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to a new episode of the series German Prepositions Explained, this time with a detailed look at

zu

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….

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Word of the Day – “rasten”

Hello everyone,

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

rasten

 

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….

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A new kind of case chart

Hello everyone,

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…

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Word of the Day – “warten prefixed”

warten Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. And today, we’ll do a prefix special on

warten

 

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 4. That is nothing compared with gehen where you can add quite literally relatively close to 1652 different prefixes… (yeah… pilin’ up them adverbs).. but before I start being stupid again let’s dive right in and start with the warten itself in all its beauty – pure, untarnished, utterly seraphic and just timeless… warten. Continue reading

 

Viva vacation :)

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

Word of the Day – “bringen”

bringen-pictureHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. Almost April, spring is coming, Germany is about to go into lockdown… AGAIN. Which gives at least those of you who are living here the chance to really learn even more German. Yeay.
And today, we’ll look at the meaning of

boringen

Uh… I mean bringen of course. But bringen might seem a tad bit boring, because it’s the identical twin of English to bring and the meanings are pretty much the same.

  • Bring mir einen Kaffee!
  • Bring me a coffee!

Anyway, so bringen doesn’t really look like a word that we need to talk about, but it’s actually full of surprises. And prefix versions. Want a taste? Well, verbringen means to spend time, umbringen means to kill.
Clearly, there’s a lot to talk about so are you ready to jump in?
Then let’s freaking go.
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Prefix Verbs Explained – “abhängen”

abhaengen-meaning-dependHello everyone,

and welcome to a new episode Prefix Verbs Explained. Imagine a verb you can use in the following 4 contexts: talking about dependencies, car chases, doing laundry and chillin’ with the crew. Is that too crazy? Well, that depends on the language. For German, verbs like that are bread and butter business :). Ladies and Gentlemen get ready for a look

abhängen


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Advent Calendar 17 – Searching for Words

 

 

Hallo ihr lieben,

welcome back to our Advent Calendar, and behind door number ____ there is a little Rätsel. A Suchrätsel, to be precise.
Some of you probably know the format but for those of you who don’t, let me explain it real quick.

Below, you see a box full of letters. Looks pretty random but if you look closer, there are actually words hidden in the box. And not just a few but 18 words, either going left to right or top to bottom (no diagonals, for those who are pros with these puzzles).
The goal is to find them all.
And not only that… if you find them all and put them in the right order, we’ll actually find out why Maria couldn’t stop laughing at the Christmas market.

You can either print the picture, or you can just take a pen and a piece of paper and write down the words you’ve seen.
So… viel Spaß :)

Pretty tough, right :).
If you want to see the solved version of the puzzle, click here: the solved puzzle.
Now all you have to do is make a sentence out of those words.
Let me know your solutions in the comments.
Have a great day, and bis morgen.

Oh by the way, if you like this kind of stuff and you want to create your own, just check out the website below. It’s super easy, no adds, and no sign up whatsover :)

Create your own Suchrätsel

 

Review of the Day – “Trill”

Hello everyone,

first, sorry for taking so long with the article this week. I had a bad sinusitis and I couldn’t focus on anything for a few days.
Second, today I’m actually really really EXCITED because I get to tell you about a new language learning app.
Now, there are like millions of language learning apps and tools out there and most of them are kind of boring. Like… sometimes when I can’t sleep, I go to Google Play store and look at language learning apps.

“… new, fun way of learning German…”
“… learn German in an efficient, fun way… “
“… latest language learning research combined with lots of fun…”
“… we’ve developed the SRS-method.. .”

Usually, when I read “SRS, spaced repetition system”, I am gone.
So a few weeks ago when I got an email if I want to c
heck out this new app, I was thinking like “Sure, let me get my pillow.” But then, when I read what the app was, I got hyper uber mega excited. Like…. I think, I even felt an upward twitch at the corner of my mouth. And I’m a German, so that means something.
So I’m really excited to tell you about it and hear your thoughts. Ladies and gents, get ready for a glimpse at the future of language learning…

Trill.

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Sentence Structure Work Out 2

sentence-structure-verb-undHello everyone,

and welcome to your little doze off German.. oh… I mean dose of German. Two weeks ago we did a little exercise for sentence structure and so we’ll do it again today. Yeaaaay. And if you’re now like “What… again? Can’t we rather do words or grammar?” then let me tell you to shut up. Oh… I meant: don’t worry. We won’t do work out all the time. I just want to do this one now because that’s how we roll. Haters gonna hate.
Seriously though, many of you enjoyed the sentence structure work out and I think we’ll make that into a regular thing here. Do a little session every once in a while, each time with a different focus and a bit of info around it. Topics like relative clauses, or danach or bevor or indirect speech or… common mistakes. Which is what we’ll focus on today.
Many of you tried out examples in the comments last time and the great thing about that is that we can find common mistakes that way. And then we can talk about them, clear up the confusion and do some more examples. Give those muscles a little extra work out, if you will. So are you ready to step on the Structurator® and get sweaty? Great :). Continue reading

Top 10 questions… to ask a language school

language-school-reviewHallo ihr alle,

wie geht’s?
Don’t worry. I’m not gonna start doing list posts here. I actually need your help with something.

What’s going on

A language school recently emailed me asking me to spread the word. I was like “Yeah, that’s gonna be 50.000 dollars.” and they were like “Oh. we were thinking like… for free.” and I was just like laughing at them.
Okay not really. I actually thought that was a good idea. Not doing just promo but doing an honest and objective review of the school with a little surprise for you. I asked them if they’re interested in this kind of thing and they said yes, so I decided to give it a try. Now, how do you review a language school. Continue reading

Advent Calendar 12- “I Broke German”

“broke German”

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Word of the Day – “das Blatt”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. Spring is in the air, and this is the perfect time to have a look at the meaning of

das Blatt

 

And Blätter (the plural) are pure awesome. They give us shade, they make the city green, in fall they get all colorful, they make soothing rustling sounds but most important of – they produce freaking oxygen.
You might have guessed it – Blätter are leaves and one Blatt is a leaf.

  • Meine Pflanze hat viele welke Blätter. Soll ich die abmachen, oder warten bis die abfallen?
  • My plants have lots of dry/sere leaves. Should I remove them or wait till they fall off?
  • Maria freut sich, weil sie ein vierblättriges Kleeblatt gefunden hat.
  • Maria is happy because she has found a four leaf clover.

But there’s a bit more to the German Blatt than that because it can make for some pretty cool colloquial additions to our vocab. Oh, and then there’s of course the big question:
why the hell is there blood in the little cartoon.
So let’s take a look :)
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Word of the Day – “rufen”

Hello everyone,

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

rufen

I’m sure many of you have seen it in context of telephones but there’s more to discover about this weird sounding word. Seriously…. “roofen” … sounds kind of kinky.
“Honey, I’m kinda getting bored with our kink routine.”
“Well Anastasia, do you wanna try rufing?”
“Ooooohhhhhh… it’s that German thing?!?! Harrrrrrrrrrr.”
Uh… sorry, I’m being silly again.
Anyway, let’s jump right in and take a look.

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Word of the Day – “gemein”

Hello everyone,

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

gemein

 

When you come across the word gemein in a text, for instance in the context of behavior, and you look it up in a dictionary, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. You’ll get the translation mean (adjective) and if you ignore the ge-, which German is such a big fan of, the two actually look fairly similar. Nothing to see here.
For a second, you might wonder what mean behavior has to do with meanwhile and meantime. And by all means. And meaning.
But nah, it’s probably nothing.
English is full of weird similar spellings, you tell yourself. And you read on, ever so merrily. Until a few sentences later, you come across gemeinsam. And as you remember that it means together, it dawns on you… there’s more to gemein than it seems.
Much more in fact. Like… mindblowingly more.
So let’s jump right in :)

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The Second Word of the Day – “der Tisch”

Hey everyone, the German word of the day is:

der Tisch

Tisch is where your dish is!

Ein Tisch
is a table. Unless table is used in sense of a listing of some sort. For those tables German uses the word eine Tabelle or eine Liste.

The word Tisch evolved from the Latin discus or the Greek diskos respectively.
These are obviously also the origins of the word disc and the two things do have commonalities: Continue reading

Prefix Advent Calendar – 9

advent-9

This would have been the perfect word for the 8th… but oh well :)

***

beachten

There’s achten and beachten and both mean to eight. You know… like “I eight breakfast”. Haha.
Okay sorry. Of course (be)achten has nothing to do with the number. It comes from the noun die Acht(ung)the respect, the attention. Achten alone means to respect, auf etwas achten means to pay attention and beachten is kind of a blend of these, with a strong focus.
The meaning could be described like this: “to notice and respect something in a certain situation”. Translations range from to consider to to take heed and in combination with nicht it’s often used in sense of to ignore.
die Beachtung – the attention, the consideration
beachtlich – considerable, noteworthy (in sense of impressive)

  • Vorfahrt beachten! (Lit.: “Respect the priority in traffic”)
  • Give way! (traffic sign)
  • Was muss ich beachten, wenn…
  • What do I have to consider/take into consideration when…
  • “Wie findest du den neuen?”
    “Ich beachte ihn gar nicht.”
  • “How do you like the new guy?”
    “I completely ignore him.”

By the way… the word Acht is actually three words with complete different origins. There’s the number which comes from the Indo European root for the number 8. Then, there’s the Acht in sense of respect, consideration. This one comes from an old Germanic stem *ah- that meant “to mean, to think” . The third Acht means ban (for people) and is rare nowadays. The only practical example is the verb ächten which is to ostracize, to ban, to outlaw. This Acht probably comes from an old Gaelic word but nothing in known for sure.

Let me know if you have any questions. Schönen 9. Dezember.

Word of the Day – “die Eile”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day.
And this is the perfect episode if you don’t have much time but you still want to learn some German because today, we’ll take a look at the meaning of

die Eile

 

And not only will it be a super quick look. It’s also right on topic, because Eile is the German word for hurry.

Now, if I asked you if those two words were related you’d probably be like “Nah, they look too different.”. And you’d be right, because they’re not.
The English relatives that Eile does have, however… well… they look even more unrelatederer.

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