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…


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

The numbers: stand for the cases. 1 is Nominative, 3 is Dative and 4 is Accusative. 2 would be Genitive but it is missing. The numbers are like that because this is the German order of cases and I used that back when I made this chart a few years ago. Students learn the order Nominative, Accusative, Dative, Genitive and it makes sense to do it that way. So maybe I’ll rework the page at some point but I hope you can make sense of it anyway … it’s just stupid numbers after all.

The boxes in the center: are ordered by gender – male, female, neuter and plural and inside of them you find the definite article (the), the indefinite article (a) and the personal pronoun (he/she/it) in all 3 cases. The small, italic endings that you can see here and there give you the indefinite article.

  • Ist das ein Mann?
    Ja, das ist einer.

The little drawer on the bottom with the weird circle symbol and sich  is the reflexive pronoun. It is the same for all boxes. The small drawer on the left bottom is the stem of the possessive… so the basis for  his, her, its and their.

The slider on the bottom of the page: shows the cases of all other personal pronouns like I, you, we and they. The black something is supposed to be a wallet. I wanted it to indicate possession but so far no one was able to identify it :). Anyway… the words with that symbol are the stems for my, your, our and their.

The weird drawing in the middle: is an attempt to visualize the basic pattern of cases that works for maybe 90 % of all verbs. That is, the “use Accusative by default” and the “transfer” idea that is inside of most of the actions that have 2 objects.

On the sides: you will find examples for verbs that only take Accusative (case 4) and only Dative (case 3). Also for those that take 4 and possibly 3. Note that for all those transfer-verbs the Dative is kind of optional and you can make  a sentence just fine without it. It’ll be more or less idiomatic depending on the verb.
If you questions, go right ahead and leave me a comment. And if you have thoughts on what works and what doesn’t please share them. It is really more of a work in progress.