Author Archives: German-is-easy

Word of the Day – “streiten”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German word of the Day. And today, we’ll take a look at the meaning of

streiten

Just by the looks of it, we could think that streiten is the German counterpart for the English word to stride, which is about making long energetic steps. And indeed, the two verbs are closely related.
But looking at the following example, it doesn’t appear likely that they also mean the same.

  • Maria und Thomas streiten in der Küche.

Although, on second thought… I guess it could be their morning routine. Striding through the kitchen, saying affirmations… “I am very well rested. My spirit is high. My stride is long and determined. I will own this day, achieve my goals and be better than all those non-spiritual loosers. Namaste!”
Maria has some new ideas ever since she got back from that Yoga retreat in Bali.
But okay, of course the example is NOT about striding around in the kitchen. It’s about a different kind of morning routine, one that Thomas and Maria have been doing daily, ever since home-office season started…. arguing.

Continue reading

Listen to German – A Berlin Crime Story Part 2

Hello everyone,

wie geht’s euch :)?
Today, we’ll take a little break from all the boring reading and theory and instead do some

Listening Comprehension

Yeay.
I don’t know if you remember but last time, I read you a couple of chapters from a lovely novel for learners called “A Berlin Crime Story” and I really like it because it is not as dull and steril as many other books in that genre.
Today, we’ll take another peek into the book. And yes… you can totally win some copies again, because Janine, the author, is awesome like that :). Oh and she also has a website and a Youtube channel with lots of cool material for German learners. I’ll give you the links below.
But let’s do the practice first.
Oh, if you want to listen to part 1 again, you can find that here.

And here’s what happened up to where we’ll jump in today:

Continue reading

Advent Calendar 21 – “_ocken”

_ocken

Continue reading

German Adjective Endings made Easy

Hello everyone,

and welcome to another rendition of our German is Easy Learn German Online course. Our topic this time:

German Adjective Endings 1

(part 2 is here)
Or in jargon: declension of adjectives.

Now, if a friend asked you what you did in German class and you said: “Oh nothing special… we just learned the declension of adjectives.”, that friend will surely tell others about the incredibly difficult things you have to deal with while learning German. Saying: “Oh nothing special… we just learned which endings to put to adjectives.” sounds by far less impressive. But technically it means the same and this is what we’ll learn in this miniseries.

Now you might ask: “Why should I learn it here? I can learn it somewhere else online for even free-erer than here?” To those I say, maybe that is true… you can find other offers out there, but oh… they might use lists and tables though. Taaaaaaaaybullllls. Continue reading

Word of the Day – ” die Mühe”

muehe-geben-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. I hope you’re all well and energized because today we’ll take a thorough look at the meaning of

die Mühe

 

Mühe is a bit of a weird word. Like… if your boss gives you a new task, he’s probably gonna be like “Give yourself Mühe.” You, still new to German, do as your told but then two days later when you walk up to him and say “Hey boss, just wanted to let you know that I really have a LOT of Mühe with that task.”, he’ll furrow his eye brows and be all like skeptical and displeased. And you’re just thinking to yourself “So, I’m supposed to give it to myself, but I’m not supposed to have it?! Yeah right.”
What sounds like some sort of riddle is due to the fact that depending on the phrasing Mühe can mean effort as well as trouble or even toil. And these are actually closely connected. Just imagine… Continue reading

Advent Calendar 2019 – “Halftime Show”

 

Halftime Show

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “dauern”

Hello everyone,

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

dauern

 

And although dauern doesn’t really have a direct one word counterpart in English, explaining it… ahem… won’t take long. Because… that’s basically what it is… to take in the sense of taking an amount of time.
But of course there’s a little more to say about it than that, so let’s jump right in :). Continue reading

The meaning and use of – “sonst”

sonst-picture Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day and today we’ll take a look at the meaning of:

sonst

 

And sonst is a word you’ll hear, no matter where you are – in the kitchen, in the living room, in the bathroom or in bedroom. Wait… I guess, now that we’re all quarantened that doesn’t actually make sense.
What I wanted to say is that sonst is really really common and useful.
So you had better be ready to jump right in. OR ELSE ;)!! Continue reading

German Review of the Day – “Intuitive vocabulary”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to a review special. In these specials I review something that has to do with language learning, be it an app or a website or a book. Today it’s a book and it deals with… learning vocabulary. Ugh.
Learning vocabulary. That brings back memories…

“And on Thursday we’ll do a little vocabulary quizz, so make sure you to
learn the words on page 121.”

“WHAAAAT? 20 French words in 3 days is too much… oh and why are we speaking English in French class.”

I really hated it in school. And I think few people really enjoy it. Learning vocabulary – the mega chore of language learning.
But just like the Super Micro Pore space tested Sponge can clean out burnt milk just without detergent and water the book we’ll look at today can make learning new words as easy as eating… almost. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “das Zeug”

zeuge-meaning-germanHello everyone,

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

das Zeug

 

I’m pretty sure most of you have seen this word – as a part of the word Flugzeug. Flugzeug means plane and the literal translation is… flight stuff.
When they find that out, many people go like “Wow, that’s so funny. Stuff to fly with. German is hilarious.”
But when you think about it, you gotta ask yourself … really?! Like… is that really possible? Were the engineers back in the day really like,

“Yeah, this miracle here, a machine to fly with. What should we call it?”
“Flight … uh… stuff. Flightstuff.”
“Yeah, that’s great!”

Well, today, we’ll find out how the name came about. And not only that. We’ll also learn what other Zeug there is and I can promise you… it’ll be surprising stuff. So … are you ready to take a look at the surprising, fascinating world of Zeug?
Awesome.

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “schleifen”

Hello everyone,

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

schleifen

 

Schleifen is related to der Schleim (slime) and slip. But it’s not as slimy as slime and not as sexy as slip…. uh… I mean, slippery.
Spring is messing with my mind. Though … actually … some slips do have a Schleifen, and they’re quite sexy. I’ll post a selfie later.
But first let’s talk some vocab…

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “trauen”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. And if you’re a Sissy you should leave right now. Because the word we’ll talk about this is incredibly scary. Behold…

trauen

 

Hmm… actually, it kind of looks sad. Hey, but do you know what looks sad AND scary?
Marriage.
Ohhhhhhhh, Emanuel is an unromantic millennial.
But no, first of, I am a Prellenial. We’re just as woke, but more diligent and sexier.
And then, I am super romantic. Just check out what I made for my shorty this morning, before she went for her morning dump (click here if you dare) .
Anyway, let’s jump right into the article. That’ll explain a lot. Maybe even this intro :)…

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “nämlich”

Hello everyone,

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

nämlich

Nämlich (spelled backward it would be hcilmän) is one of those small little words that are both – used and confusing. Sure, it ain’t no doch, but still nämlich is giving many learners a hard on… erm… I mean hard time, hard time.
And it’s not so much the meaning, it’s more the way it is used that is throwing people off.
Today we’ll take a look at it and see that it’s actually quite easy if you see it for what it is.
Sounds good? Cool. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “die Lücke”

Hello everyone,

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

die Lü cke

 

And I think you already know now what it is –
a Lü cke is a ga p :).
Here it is in a sentence.

  • Der Bär ist durch eine kleine Lücke im Fluss geflogen.
  • The bear flew through a little gap in the river.

Yes!
This example just happened. So what. Don’t look at me like that.
I have normal examples, too, though so let’s take a look.
Just mind the gap between intro and article :)

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “werden”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German word of the Day. Summer is over. Finally!
It is autumn. Or as I liked to call it Awesotumn.
Days are getting short and it is getting cold and rainy. Which is something we all like.
But there’s another great aspect of autumn
This poem by Goehte captures it perfectly**:

Colds will be caught,
Jackets will be worn,
Sheep will be shorn.
German will be taught.

(**might not actually be by Goethe)

Fall is awesome and it is the season in which we tackle the BIG things. No more humpdy dumpty like in summer.
Fall is the time to step up the game. It’s simple math: fall + game = stepped up.
And for my enginneeer out there: f ( fall ) = stepped up (game).
And for my computer science people out there:
if (season==fall)
{while (game<stepped_up)
{game++;}
}

Yeah… if you’re new here on this site, you’re probably pretty confused now. But the exanations are usually pretty good.
And today, we’ll talk about something that really could use a good exanation. We’ll take a look at the meanings and functions of

werden


And there’s actually three of them. First of, werden is the German word for to become.
But it’s also used as a helper to build the future tense. And as if that wasn’t enough, it’s also used to build the passive voice.
In this article, we’ll of course look at the grammar a bit. But our main focus will be exploring WHY German uses werden for those three things.
Like… why does it mean to become and what happened to the German bekommen? Why does German use werden for future? And why do we use it for passive when so many other languages use to be?
So… are you ready to dive in? Coooooool. Continue reading

Grammar Jargon – What the heck are adverbs

adverbsHello everyone,

and welcome to another episode of Grammar Jargon, where we explain one of these cryptic nerdy terms that teachers and textbooks use, because for some strange reason they think it’s … helpful.
Well… IT’S NOT! Stop it!! Stop feeding us stupid, yawn-inducing Latin vocabulary that half the class has no idea what it means, and that no one can remember because it so complicated, and that sucks out all the fun. You hear me? IT SUCKS IT OUT! THE FUN. ALL OF I.. oh… I uh… I think I’m getting a little worked up …. must … breathe.. phaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…
all right. I’m sorry. I hate jargon. I really do.
But it’s there, we have to cope. And there are some terms like verb or noun or subject that are so basic, well established and hard to replace that everyone should know them. Today we’ll look at one of those terms. Today, we’ll try to find out, once and for all, just what are

adverbs

To do that let’s… take a detour and first look at adjectives.
The term adjective comes from old Latin. At the core is the Latin verb iacere which meant to throw or to cast. This is where the word jet comes from by the way. The ad means… well… pretty much the same as at… or add. So, adjective literally means something like “thing that is thrown or slapped at stuff” and that is pretty much what they’re used for. Adjectives are like little tags that are added to nouns to give us more information about them.

  • Princess Lyra gazed at the flower.

Sounds interesting…but a bit bland. We need to be a little more descriptive. How is the flower? Beautifuland fair. That sounds nice. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “fähig”

faehig-meaningHello everyone,

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

fähig

 

Fähig is a nice word. It’s easily overlooked but you can actually do a lot with it, heck it can help you do ANYTHING. But it’s kind of a weird word, too, because it’s ig, which is one of the standard endings to create and adjective from something, added to fäh. And fäh is … well… a very stupid sounding syllable. Fäh. Fäääääääääh. So inelegant. What does it mean? Well, I had no idea and I had to look up where it comes from. I would never have guessed THAT origin but once you know it the words makes a lot of sense. Drumroll please… brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Continue reading

Video and Workshop

Hello everyone,

no article, just a couple of quick updates.
“Seriously, Emanuel?? You make a us click a link just for friggin’ updates?!?!
“Yeah, man! You could have just put these in the newsletter. We’re busy!!!!”

Yeah, you’re right. But then those of you who follow me through the WordPress.com subscription feature won’t see it (I think). And also, I wanted the video in a post here.

Continue reading

German Gym – Work your “zu… um… zu”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to … well to… to our newly opened gym.
Pumpin’ German till your grammar-abs are rock solid.
Over the years, I have developed a fair amount of exercises of different kinds to train the most important issues of German Grammar.
And then, today, I thought, well I do have all these pdf-files sitting on my hard drive slowly collecting dust… why not share them? So share them I will.

And the first one is going to be the one for

“zu vs. um zu” Continue reading

New Function, a question and a small request :)

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to our little EMayl-Special.
And today’s surprise is all about

improving the comment section

And I also have a little favor to ask you, but we’ll get to that later.
So, I have added a new feature to the comments this week that might be a very cool addition.
But before we get to that, I want to talk another new feature… something that has to do with formatting.

Continue reading

German Past Tense – The Basics

Hi everyone,

and welcome to our German is Easy- Learn German Online – Course. Today, we’ll start talking about the

Past Tense In German

or as we could also call it

The Most Important Thing Ever

That’s right. I think it is THAT important crucial.
Now you might be like “But… but… what about the der die das den dem stuff… the textbook and my teacher say it’s really important.”
But the thing is that they don’t know what they’re talking about, because they’re fake frauds.
I’m kidding of course, but I do think beginner courses have weird priorities.
Yes, German has three genders and four cases, but these things are for later. They do NOT help a beginner.
Like… if you really pay attention to what you talk about in a day, the majority of it will be about stuff that (has) happened – I did this, I did that. I was thinking this. I was drinking that. You get the idea.

In my opinion and experience, as long as you don’t know how to speak about the past in a language, it makes no sense to even start having conversations. You’re not ready. I know lots of people say “Start speaking right away.” but I disagree.
I really do think there is such a thing as “too early“, and my girlfriend says the same.
I… I mean, in general.
So… instead of starting to speak as fast as you can, the better approach is to start learning about the past tense as fast as you can.
And while I think this is a general truth about language learning, it is hyper-turbo-mega truth for spoken German because of… drumroll…
Continue reading

Word of the Day – “das Mittel”

Hello everyone,

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

das Mittel

 

And if you’re now like “Hmmm… looks an awful lot like middle. Kind of lame.” then you’re horribly mistaken. On the lame part, I mean. Yes, Mittel is related to middle, and yes, they do share meaning. But Mittel is defimittly more than .. ahem… mitts the eye. Hahaha. And not only Mittel. The whole family it comes from is actually more than.. ahem.. mitts the…. oh wait. We already had that. What I mean is… we’re definitely in for some cool reveals, so let’s waste no time and jump right into the earth of Mittel. Continue reading

Advent Calendar 2020 – “My Unwort”

And the nominees are

 

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “lauter”

lauterHello everyone,

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

lauter

 

If someone had told me a week ago, “Hey Emanuel, instead of writing about the cases next, why don’t you talk about the word
lauter?
” , I would have probably said: ” …. lauter really ???… it is just louder, what’s there to talk about?”
At first sight, lauter really doesn’t seem to be a very interesting word as it is just an amplified laut if you will. And laut itself … well it would probably be enough material to write about … and it would give me the chance to make an INCREDIBLE funny Fat Boy Slim reference…
“Write about laut, my funk soul brother” … but then again, it is not that interesting. And lauter… well there are definitely more important word to write about… that’s what I thought.
But then, I had a dream…. I still remember it perfectly… (cliché harp arpeggio up) Continue reading

Reflections on reflexive

reflexive-ideaHallo ihr alle,

und willkommen. Ja, ich fange mal in Deutsch an :). Warum auch nicht? Schön oder? Garnicht so schwer zu verstehen. Vielleicht hätt ich das schon öfter gemacht haben worden sein könnt… okay that is not correct, don’t worry. I was just messing around. But I bet it was confusing. Oh speaking of confusing, today we’ll talk about reflexive … oh god, what a clumsy beginning…maybe I should go to that writers seminar in New Zealand… that might give me (wait for it) … new zeal and ..haha… oh come on!…. … … nothing? No smile? Man, this is going to be a tough show… oh speaking of tough, German has a lot of tough f… wow, this is so bad… German has a lot of features that make it hard for students of all levels to, well, like it. And if they do, it is probably a case of the Stockholm Syndrome.
“German?? They have 3 genders which they randomized and they make me learn them. And they have 1000 ways to build the plural and they feed me that, too. And it has cases … oh god, the cases. They make me choke. And German has one gazillion prepositions one bazillion of which you need every day … I … it’s a great language. I… I love it.”
“It is normal to feel that way. We’ll get treatment. You’ll be okay.”
Today, we’ll talk about one of the lesser evils of German. It is not en par with cases or plural but still, many people seem to have problems with it. So today, we’ll try to get our heads around

German Reflexive Verbs

Text books have chapters on them and courses spend time talking about them and a lot has been said online about them. But there is actually lot of confusion as to what reflexive verbs are.
And that is no wonder because for each language they work a little differently… or a little more. In Romance languages it makes a difference for how the past is constructed and in Russian you add something at the end of the verb.
So… we will start with a look at how it works in English and then delve into German.
But before we start, we need to have a quick look at the reflexive idea.. and an add campaign of the Reflexive LTD captured that pretty nicely: Continue reading

Word of the Day – Wundertütenspecial #2

wundertute-2Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. And this time it’s time for another so called Wundertüten-Special. A real Wundertüte is bag full of wonders…. well, actually more a bag full of stupid little stuff like gum and stickers. But kids love it and I think you might like the word-Wundertüte too. What is it exactly? It’s bag full of cool surprise words. You know.. these colloquial terms that you won’t get in the official study material. Their meanings are often quite specific but often they are really the only way to express a certain idea so people use them every day. Maybe every other day. Okay, at least once a week. Well, definitely more than they use Birne which is part of many a beginners text books… unless… if they’re really big fans of pears they actually mig… okay, I’ll stop that now. The words in the last Wundertüten-special were definitely pretty cool so I’d say let’s open this one and find out. Sounds good? Awesome. Continue reading

Advent Calendar 7- Goethe’s Wet Dream

Goethe’s Wet Dream

Continue reading

New Feature – Practice Pronunciation

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to a new episode of my new favorite series called

A new Feature

You’re like “What? Another new feature?! I don’t belive it.”
But it’s true. I am hustling hard behind the scenes and after the (unfinished) dark-mode, the (unfinished) new layout and the (unfinished) new dictionary, I’m really happy that this week I have (un)finished a new nice little add-on that you can use to practice pronunciation….

The Audio Recorder

 

Continue reading

Word of the Day- “einfach”

Hi everyone,

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

einfach

 

Now some may say: “Oh, that’s easy….”
And you are right.
Einfach can be easy. But not always.
Dun dun dunnn.
So let’s see what’s going on.

Continue reading

“Je… desto…” – in German

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day and today we’ll take a look at the meaning and the grammar of the awesome combo

je … desto …

Suppose you want to express how some ‘quantity’ depends on some other ‘quantity’. In English, there is one word that will do the job for you… the .

  • The more I study, the wiser I become.
  • The longer I think about it, the less I want to see this movie.
  • The bigger the better.

In German, one word is not enough to do this. You need a team: je… desto … .

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “möglich”

moeglich-pictureHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day.
When it comes to successful language learning, two days can make all the difference. Don’t believe me?
Well… learning a language is definitely possible.
But, learning a language in two days is definitely… impossible.
*queues laughter
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “The jokes used to be funny around here, all the money has changed Emanuel”.
Well, I’m not sure about that. But it has certainly changed my car into a lambo.
And all that from an unfunny blog about the German language.
Anything is possible, folks!
“Is it possible to start the article now?”
Oh… uh… sure. So today, we’l take a look at

möglich

And that of course means that we’ll also take a look at the word möglich is based on… the modal verb mögen.

Continue reading

German Present Tense – Regular Verbs

Hello everyone,

and welcome to the second part of the German Is Easy – Online German Course.

Today we are going to look at the most important part of the German language – the verb. Everything in a German sentence centers around the verb and the verb is what you need to identify if you want to understand what is going on in a sentence.

So in this lecture you will learn how to conjugate 99.999 % percent of all German verbs in present tense (the remaining 7 verbs will be covered in the next post).
If you’re not sure what conjugating even means or if you want to find out more about this, you can check out my Grammar Jargon Post here but I’ll give a short summary here.
In a nutshell, conjugating means to dress up your verbs such that they make for a nice couple with the subject. In some languages the verbs have this huuuuuge closet with all kinds of forms in there for any specific language occasion imaginable. I don’t want to point fingers but I am looking at you FRENCH :).
In other languages the verbs only have a few different outfits, so few that they easily fit into the verbs carry-on, these verbs won’t have any trouble to travel the world as they don’t have much luggage… let’s see, what would be a good example for that… hmmm… that’s tough… ok.
I give up. I really can’t think of one.

The German verb is somewhat in between. It certainly has more clothes than the English one but by far not as many as some other languages.. again, I am looking at you FRENCH. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “schon”

schon Yo yo yo, ladies and gentlemen,

welcome back to your favorite German learning blog.
And today, we’ll take a good look at the meaning of

schon

 

Schon is one of the most frequently used words in both written and spoken German. But it’s not only one of the most useful but also most confusing words. Just like doch or eben it seems to be everywhere but half of the time the dictionary translation doesn’t make any sense at all.
Today we’ll change that!
Do you hear me, schon? If you’re listening to this blogpo.. I mean radioshow. I know you fancy yourself a tough word, but students of German are tough, too. They take on cases for breakfast, man, and today it is ooon. You are going schon! By the end of this post you’ll be like:
“Oh no, what just happened… I… I’ve been fully explained, oh no, I feel so exposed.”
That’ll teach you!
All right. And now that we’ve pumped up, so let’s get right into it…

Continue reading

False Friends Explained – “spenden vs to spend”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to a new episode of False Friends Explained, this time with a look at

spenden vs to spend

And those two are actually not THAT far apart. Still, there’s a lot of room for confusion.

  • I spend 150 Dollars on Sushi every day.
  • Ich spende jeden Tag 150 Dollar für Sushi.

Because while the English sentence makes you sound like a rich snob who is completely out of touch with the reality of the common man, the German sentence makes you sound like… uhm… a generous rich snob. Who is totally out of touch with the reality of the common man. I mean, seriously… donating 150 bucks for Sushi. Come on.
But yeah, that’s what spenden is…

Continue reading

Practice Speaking – A New Type Of Exercise

** if you come from the newsletter and you get blocked even though you are an active member, just
click here … that should fix it… (if you’re not a member or not logged in, this won’t do anything ;)**

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to your favorite German learning blog of all time.
So, originally, I wanted to do a review this week and tell you about an interesting new tool. However, as I was actually using the tool to prepare the review, I actually found a couple of issues with it that are so big that I have decided that I can’t really recommend it after all, and I cancelled my review.

I didn’t have anything else prepared, but since it’s been a while already and I wanted to give you something to study, I decided that we’ll do some

Speaking Practice

Most of you probably remember from a few weeks back that EF (a big company for language travels) is working on a speech recognition AI and that we can use it here on the site.
Last time, we did a multiple choice type of activity and today, I want to try out a new type of exercise – one that helps you train common patterns and phrasings.

Continue reading

German Past Tense 2 – the Spoken Past

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German is Easy – Online Course.
And today we’ll continue to look at the German past. Let’s quickly recap.

There are 2 forms of past: the spoken past and the written past. Every verb has either form but which one is used depends on 2 things: which verb are we talking about and in which „mode“ of language is it used. Luckily 99,8 percent of all verbs do follow the same pattern – they use spoken past in spoken language and written past in written language as in novels. Only a few verbs use the written past also in spoken language. Using the spoken past for those would sound awkward. Anyway… part 1 talks in all detail about this and if you haven’t read it then you should read it… I mean of course listen to the mp3.doc here.

So… Today we will deal with the spoken past and to get started, here is an example: Continue reading

Word of the Day – “die Spannung”

spannung-image

Right when his mind started wandering into the mist of dreams ,
a silent crackle brought him
back to reality.
The fire, he thought. But that he had put out, he remembered.
Eyes closed he
listened. There was no wind, and the world lay silent.
An owl hooted not too far
away. Then again.
That’s when he heard the noise. A rustling, like leather on stone,

about 6 yards away behind the rocks. It ceased whenever the bird
was quite but
as the next hoot came, so did the noise. There, behind those rocks,
someone was creeping closer.
And, so he reckoned, not with good intent.

Hey guys. That was a little attempt to create at least some suspense here because , maaaan, today we’ll do what needs to be done and talk a little about the most boringest part of language :
grammortographie.
Nah, of course not. Today will actually be full of suspense because we’ll have a look at the meaning of:

die Spannung

And it wouldn’t be a real Word of the Day if we were just looking at one word. Pshhh… I mean… come on. Lady Spannung is just the head of a whole family. We will look at all of house Spannung. Continue reading

What the heck do wo-words mean?

Hello everyone,

and welcome to another part of our German is Easy Learn German Online online German-Learning Course for German online learning learners.
And after we’ve done some easy-peasy lemon-squeezy words the last few times, I think it’s time to do some grammar.
Now that would be your turn to say “Yeay” or “Swell!”… come on… no cheer? We’ll do GRAMMAR!… nothing?
Hmmm okay, I guess your exited internally. And you should be because today, we’ll take an intense look at the

wo-words.

Or how a reader recently called them… the woe-words.
Woran, wonach, wobei, wogegen, wovon, vomit. Those ones. Today, we’ll learn what they mean and when and how to use them.
And just to get it out of the way… of course English has wo-words to… the where-words. Whereby, wherein, whereon and so on. But the use is so different that we’ll kind of just ignore them here.
That said, are you ready to expose another elusive and intriguing bit of the German language for the boring complicated structure crap it actually is?
Cool :).

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “es”

es-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a meaning at one of the most basic words ever:

es

 

Es can mean fusion crust and unicorn and towel. And even girl. Isn’t that fascinating.
Now you’re all like “Well, duh… it’s because es means it. Boring. Talk about something useful instead. We’d have a few ideas like conditional or written past. ”
And you’re right. Es doesn’t sound like an interesting word to talk about. It means it and that’s it. Except it isn’t. There are some differences between German es and English it and there’s specifically one use that trips up many learners because the es doesn’t seem to make sense.
So today we’ll take a detailed look at es. We’ll check out what it is used for, how it compares to English and how it is translated. It’ll be a little nerdy today but it’s worth it and at the end we’ll all be … esperts. Hahaha.
Meh… let’s find out of whether the explanation will be better than the jokes. Continue reading

Words of the Day – “von … aus”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. And today, it’s actually two words because we’ll take a look at the meaning of the combination

von… aus

 

The idea for this came when someone recently asked a comment about the phrase “von Natur aus” and why there was an aus in there.
At first, I was gonna use answer 3b from the “Lazy German teachers’ Handbook” …

“I can’t explain that. It’s a fixed phrase and you have to learn it.”

… but then I realized that it’s actually kind of a useful phrasing that can even get you laid, or a raise if you say it in the right moment.
So let’s take a look.

Continue reading

Prefix Verbs Explained – “vorkommen”

vorkommen-meaningHello everyone,

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

vorkommen

 

Kommen means to come and unlike most of the prefixes vor has only one core: the idea of “in front”-ness. And it’s actually a rather simple straight forward prefix verb. It has a modest 4.4 MBU (mind bend units) on the Mind Bend Scale, nothing compared to the “logic” of bestellen with its 1,2 million MBU. And just to put these numbers in perspective … understanding bestellen is like kissing your belly button, vorkommen is more like touching your shins.
So, really nothing too demanding. So without any further ado, let’s get right to the first meaning of vorkommen and that is… to happen.

Continue reading

German Relative Clauses 3 – Exercise

Hello everyone,

and welcome to the third part of our mini series on relative clauses in German. And today, it’s time to get active and practice what we’ve learned in the big, exhausting

Relative Clauses Work Out

If you haven’t read the articles, or you want to re-check them, you can find them here:

Relative Pronouns in German – The Basics
Relative Pronouns in German – Nitty Gritty

And just so you know… if you’re looking for a normal exercise where you just fill in a few gaps in short sentences, then you’ve come to the wrong place.
This quiz is HARD as fur. I mean rock.
Or actually like a rock with fur on it. It’s soft on the surface but under it is the cold hard reality of … German.

Continue reading

Words of the Day – “Fröhliche Weihnachten”

weihnachtenHello everyone,

it’s Christmas time. Hooray. Or Boohray… depends on whether you like it or not :).
But for us it’ll be business as usual, I guess. Today we’ll talk about the word Weihnachten a bit. Weihnachten is a nice sounding word and I have to say that I like it much better than Christmas. Not to mention the awful X-mas… like it’s an energy drink or something.

  • X-mas™ – keeps you up the wholy night*
    (*contains Caffeine)

It has Nacht in it and it starts with Weih which comes from the verb weihen which means to… and I am already bored :). Seriously…. we’ll take a break form learning today. Weihnachten means Christmas and Christmas means a lot of different things to people around the world… like eating, going to church, seeing the family, arguing with the family, going for a walk in the snow, deep and agonizing depression, loneliness, working, singing Christmas chorals, ginger bread, nothing, 3 days off and last but not least Weihnachten means presents. And so I decided to give you one too to thank you all for all your comments and questions and feedback.
It is a chart about the German cases… and it is… well.. a little different than the usual charts. Here it is…

German-Cases-Weird-Chart

I’m sure you’ll be like … “what the hell is that?” so I’ll add a little explanation here and you can of course ask all your questions. It is by no means complete. It is more an overview about the most important aspects and I tried to fit in the basics that you need every day without cluttering a page with tables… honestly… I hate tables.
Anyway… if it doesn’t work for you that’s totally fine. I just had it sitting on my computer and I thought I might as well put it out there :).
So…. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas holiday with lots of love and joy and peace or whatever else you wish for. Oh and for those of you you don’t celebrate Weihnachten at all… well… have a wonderful normal day or a normal day with all stores closed :).
So again… fröhliche Weihnachten euch allen!
And here’s my favorite Christmas song…

Explanations for the chart

Continue reading

Prefix Verb Advent Calender – 1

advent-1 Hello everyone,

it’s December. Hooray. Finally, the gray, dreadful November is gone. That’s right November, you suck!!!!!
Okay, okay, I was born in you, I’m sorry … but hey… you are really really gray, man!
Anyway, it’s December now, the awesome/trippy WordPress snow is back in and I though this year we could do an advent calendar.
And what better to hide behind the door than chocolate? Exactly… one million dollars.
Or some German vocab :).
Seriously though… those of you who have been around for a while know that I am working on a book. Yup. Still. I don’t know when it’ll be done, but it’s much “doner” than last year and so I thought it’s time for another peek.
The book will be about prefixes (yeah, sounds boring but it really isn’t) and one part of it will be an Explictionary…. a dictionary with the most common prefix verbs WITH explanations and examples.
And instead of just having it sit on my hard drive we might just as well just have a look at it right now – one prefix verb a day :).
So get ready for today’s word versetzen Continue reading

Prefix Advent Calendar – 10

advent-10

Gestern war es beachten, heute die ver-version… die Ver-sion … haha.

***

verachten

Achten means to respect, to heed but originally it was a bit more neutral and meant just to consider. Verachten, with a mixture of wrong-ver and away-ver, was a negative version: „to consider bad, low“.
As achten grew in intensity toward respect, verachten moved in the other direction and finally became what it is today : to detest, to despise, scorn.
It is similar to hassen and just as intense but it’s a little more controlled. Hassen is the raw sentiment without reflecting or second guessing.
die Verachtung – contempt, disdain

  • Der Literaturkritiker verachtet Twilight.
  • The literature critic disdains Twilight.

Schreibt einen Kommentar, wenn ihr Fragen habt. Schönen 10ten Dezember.

What does “to conjugate” mean

Hello everyone, if Lisa were a verb, she would conjugate

and welcome to our Grammar Jargon section. Today we will have a look at a rather wide-spread term –

to conjugate

Whenever you learn a language this word will be thrown at you from the beginning assuming that you know what it is. If you don’t and you dare to ask… well you might be given a half-assed explanation that doesn’t really explain anything.
However , it is hard to use a different word for it as to conjugate describes one particular action you need to do with the verb. So instead of calling it to conjugate you could call it …..hmmmm…. to changeatize or dress-upatize to make it sound more dynamic and cool. But… it’s there, it is a word and to conjugate is one example for grammar jargon, that you really need to learn.So let’s dive right in. Continue reading

Prefix Verbs Explained- “annehmen”

Hello everyone,

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

annehmen

 

Hmmm… a verb that consists of the two parts to take and on. Will logic prevail and the translation be something reasonable like to take on? Or are we in for some wayward meaning like … pfff.. to blow-dry or something. Let’s look at an example and find out.

  • Ew… the milk has taken on the taste of the fridge.
  • Ihhh… die Milch hat den Kühlschrankgeschmack angenommen.
  • Sein Gesicht nimmt einen verschmitzten Ausdruck an.
  • His face takes on a roguish look.

Yeay, go logic, go logic. L to the O to the G o the IC. Annehmen actually does translate to to take on. Not always though, and if we look closer, we’ll find that to take on is not the best translation. Annehmen has much more of a passive vibe. If you take on a problem for example, that means that you tackle it, you work to overcome it. Annehmen is more like…

“Hey, here’s a problem. I think it has your name on it.”
“Ugh, fine … I guess it’s mine then. I’ll have it.Continue reading

False Friends Explained – “craft vs Kraft”

kraft-craft-meaningsHello everyone,

and welcome to a new episode of False Friends Explained – the series that’s all about false friends. Like Steve. Come on man, I thought we were buds!! You freaking knew I had a crush on her and yet you couldn’t help it but, … anyway, sorry guys… I just feel a bit lonely right now.
So, false friends special. And today we’ll talk about

craft vs. die Kraft

 

Craft is at its heart about skill. Carpentry can be a craft, or pottery, or writing. A craft beer is a beer that was brewed using hand work, skill and experience, and a crafty person is someone who is very smart and cunning.
Kraft on the other hand is not as refined.

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “sparen”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time, we’ll take a look at something that Germans really love.
Which one of these three do you think it is:

a) Bier
b) making smartass comments and remarks noone asked for
c) sparen

The answer is of course, that Germans love all these three things equally.
But today, we’ll look at the meaning of

sparen

Sparen is the German brother of English to spare and the two do share a core idea, which is pretty well captured by the phrase to not touch.
But the two verbs have different takes on it, and as a result, they’re not really translations. I mean, sometimes they are, but just as often they’re not.
So let’s take a look.

Continue reading

Aside

The Grammar Jargon section aims at explaining the grammar terminology and to clarify the concept behind the linguistic terms. These concepts are most of the time surprisingly simple, their names however make them seem as if they are some ancient Greek or Latin voodoo. Try to read the article on Finnish grammar on Wikipedia if you want to know what I mean. Don’t get me wrong, linguistic terminology is an indispensable tool to describe and compare languages. For the average language learner though they might be counterproductive. Grammar Jargon sure is a language of its own and you are already busy learning another. In that section we will talk about the terminology and concepts you will encounter while learning and we will look at them in a lingo that everyone can understand. Some of terms we will discuss, like ‘inflection’, you might have never seen before in a linguistic context, some, as for example conjugation, might seem vaguely familiar and not a few will be the rather basic ones. You might even think “Well, duh… a verb… how lame, I sure know what that is”. I am pretty positive that most of the people reading this have fully comprehended the … Dive in