and welcome to another round of
YourDailyGerman – News
The hottest new series in town. Disney+ is green with envy that they don’t have a series like this.
Seriously though, there will be quite a few episodes like this in the coming months, because I have quite a few new features and things in the pipeline.
Today, I have a new feature and then I had an idea for an article series which I think might be interesting, but I wanted to hear your opinions first.
Let’s start with the new feature…
If you’re using the dictionary (aka my search) regularly, you’ll know that some entries have examples for the word in context but the majority of them do not and it’ll take years to add examples for all of them.
However, of course an example sentence for gehen for instance does not only contain the word gehen.
- Ich gehe nach Hause.
I might have entered this as an example for gehen, but it’s also an example for ich and for nach Hause.
So I decided to do just that and “re-use” examples that I already have for words that don’t have any yet.
It was actually fairly easy to code and I put it up a couple of days ago, so now:
Many more entries will have examples to go along with them.
Most of them with audio, too.
I have also included the ge-form and the preterit for verbs and I can also include the plural of nouns if you think that’s helpful.
Do all entries have examples now? No. Some words that are in the dictionary simply were never part of any example, so you will find entries that don’t have any examples. But it’s going to be way less than before and I’ll slowly plug those holes.
Now, there are two small drawbacks.
First up, there are no proper highlights in the “automatic” examples.
So the sentence above, when used as an example for nach Hause will look like this:
- Ich gehe nach Hause.
It’d be nice to give the search term a highlight, but I haven’t looked into adding that functionality yet.
Oh and one big caveat is that examples for a verb may ALWAYS be actually examples for prefix verbs.
- Ich mache den Kühlschrank auf.
This may show up as an example for machen, but the verb we’re actually seeing is aufmachen. Without manually tagging or using an advanced parsing AI there is no way a computer can understand what verb it is looking at. So yeah… when you see examples for base verbs, keep an eye out for possible prefixes :).
I definitely will manually add examples for ALL the prefix verbs, and also base verbs, so that they have dedicated examples to go with them.
Anyway, what I am also thinking about is a kind of “example finder”. It’s basically a page where you can enter a word and it’ll give you a few examples for it. Like DeepL or Linguee, but it’ll be examples from my site so they come with a proper translation and usually also with audio.
Let me know in the comments, if you think this could be helpful.
Cool, and now let’s get to the article idea that I had.
Your (German) Stories
So I don’t know if you know, but you all are actually a quite crazy mix of people. There’s readers from all over the world (like, almost literally every country), the ages range from 13 to 90+ (from what I know for a fact), there are students, refugees, retirees, people who want to come on vacation, people who want to come for work, people who come for love, people who learn German as a hobby or to keep the brain happy and active.
Some of you live on $50 a month with their family, others are really well off. It’s a really really diverse group of people and what unites all of you is that you’re learning German and you’re all really nice friendly people. I actually feel like the language learning community is one of the friendliest I have seen online.
But anyway, so every now and then I hear from some of you about your story and background in an email and what I was thinking was that we could make that into more of a community thing and combine it with language learning.
Here’s what I have in mind:
If you feel like it, you write a little story about yourself, with or without your real name. It can be about language or about something else, your choice – about a page or two, not more.
And the task is that you write it in German (or at least a mix of German and English) and I’ll the add corrections, translations and some commentary about what phrasings work and which don’t and why and I post it as an article here on the site.
So those of you who write, get a chance to get their writing corrected and all the others get a chance to learn a bit about the community here and also to learn a bit about how to write idiomatic proper German.
Just to make sure… I’ll still write normal articles, but I felt like it was a nice idea to mix up the content, a bit and it’s actually a good way to talk a bit about writing and style.
So yeah… let me know what you think about this in the comments and if you’d be interested in writing something. And if the reactions are positive we’ll give it a try :).
But before we wrap up, let me quickly share something that I think at least partially triggered this idea.
Iran and more
I have quite a few readers from Iran. I know that because people from Iran cannot pay for membership even if they have enough money, simply because of the sanctions. There’s no Paypal and credit cards don’t work either.
Anyway, so recently I got an email from a woman in Iran and she gave me a bit of background about what’s going on at the moment. Internet access is heavily restricted now, much more so than a year ago. But the revolution is actually still ongoing, women are still risking their health and lives by going outside without hijab, and there recently was a giant protest in Teheran after about a month of relative silence.
I found that really interesting because at least the media outlets that I am checking (German and English speaking) do not talk about Iran at all and I thought the protests are already quenched. Well… they’re not. The people there are still fighting for more personal freedom and I hope they succeed. Or if you’re in Iran reading this: I hope you succeed.
And there’s another thing that I wanted to share about this. The woman also told me the slogan of the protests:
zan, zendegi, azadi
That is Persian and means:
Frau, leben, Freiheit
Woman, live/life, Freedom
And did you notice something?
The word for woman (zan) and the word for life (zendegi) look kind of similar. And since I am learning Bulgarian at the moment I also noticed that zan looks a fair bit like the Slavic stem for woman: “zhena” . Which makes sense. Persian is part of the Indo-European family and these basic words share the same roots.
So I was wondering if there are any relatives in the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language tree. The origin is the Indo-European root *gwen- which meant women and which (via Greek) is the also the origin of words like gynecologist. But the most surprising member of the family is… drumroll…
Anyway, so that’s it for today. Let me know in the comments if you think an example-finder would be useful, and more importantly, let me know if we should give this “My Story” kind of article a try.
I look forward to reading your thoughts, as always :).
Have a great week and see you next time.
A few more sources (I’ll make multiple comments to avoid being flagged as spam):
https://www.goethe.de/pro/relaunch/prf/en/Goethe-Zertifikat_B1_Wortliste.pdf (B1, with sample sentences in German)
https://www.linguee.com/ (the corpus behind deepl’s translator)
https://de.langenscheidt.com/deutsch-englisch/ (searches newspapers and other sources)
https://www.dwds.de/ (several sources from blogs to newspapers, German only)
https://context.reverso.net/translation/german-english/ (similar to Linguee, provides translations; some text comes from commercial pages like product and service descriptions — but others seem to have been harvested from weird adult sites or story archives, so take care…)
I use this one for German etymology.
Oh, is it the same corpus? I did not know that :)
I just wanted to give my sincere thanks to everyone who supports german learners that can’t afford a membership for this website.
I’m very excited for this new learning chapter in my life. Thank you Emanuel for creating such a wonderful space for us.
I wish you all the best. May we all be such good german speakers some day!
I can’t speak for Bulgarian, but in Russian zhena is wife, not woman. :)
Hi, I am Bulgarian trying to learn some German… :) Would be glad if I can help with something for the Bulgarian language :)
In Bulgarian ‘zhena’ means exactly a woman, but if a man say ‘my woman’, i.e. ‘mojata zhena’ or ‘zhena mi’, then he means his wife. And in addition there is another separate word for wife – sapruga, which is more official.
Ah, thanks for the offer but I’m pretty set, I just need to put the time in :) .
Where in Bulgaria are you, by the way? I am in Sofia at the moment, but will go to Berlin soon.
I currently live in Switzerland and that’s why i sweat with German :). I can say, though, you have unique approach to explain and that helps a lot! Thank you!
And good luck with all your endeavors!
мерси много, и същото на теб :)
Много благодаря :)
Hi, I’m Lawrence, a 75-year-old Scot living in Northumberland, England. I’m learning German because history fascinates me … German history and British history are so VERY intertwined, so I want to be able to read and understand original books without a translator between me and the text. I started with Duolingo, got bored with that, and now I’m giving Babbel a shot. My main problem with the language is my 75-year-old memory as I seem to forget EVERYTHING.
And there is no way I could have written this is German, so the fulfilment of my ambition is still a long way off. May God bless you all, particularly the people of Ukraine.
Lawrence F. Collins
I hope Babbel works for you :).
Liebe Grüße und viel Erfolg beim Lernen!
yes, love the story idea. To keep it short, how bout a theme like “My most amazing day”?
I’d rather keep it open themed. This already reeks a bit of a textbook exercise and I don’t want it to be like this :).
I want people to be as passionate about what they write as they are in their emails or comments. But if someone wants to write about their most amazing day, that’s of course completely welcome :)
Ja – story teilen ist eine gute Idee. Und auch ja ich finde pluralen notwendig. And definitely work on specific examples for base verbs vs prefixed ones. The meanings can be so different and confusing. Viel Spaß in Sofia!
I think examples are crucial so I’m thrilled you found a quick way to expand them. My interest in the finder depends on how much it adds to the current ability to find examples by looking up a word in the dictionary. If it works in much the same way I’d usually look up the word in the dictionary so I had examples and more. I’d enjoy the story feature.
I think for a start, the finder would just give access to examples with less clicks and scrolling than you’d have to do in the dictionary.
You click “search” and you immediately see examples.
But in the future, I’d be nice to use AI to transform sentences into different tenses.
Like… you can see the same sentence in present, past, conditional, future, as a question, as a side sentence and so on.
I just don’t have time to train a model at the moment.
Ein großer erster Schritt, und ein wunderbares Ziel. Vielen Dank.
Examples of spoken past in particular seem to me not always easy to come by.
“My story” would be fun! I suggest that they not be a page, however. That may turn out to be a lot of reading and editing for you, and might intimidate some students. How about a paragraph for starters? 100 words or so.
100 words is quite short, but yeah… a page might be a bit much. Maybe half a page. I’ll just try it out, I think :)
Yes, to both example finder and personal stories!
Hi Emanuel, It’s an amazing idea to combine the dictionary functionality and keep enriching it by examples through crowdsourcing when the community contributes its stories in German and English!!!”zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen”.
Infact, you can give few assignments online specifically which helps you to build this content!!! There are lots of e-learning companies which do this like https://www.interaction-design.org/ this even helps the community to learn mutually
Ah, I actually wasn’t thinking about crowd-sourcing examples, but now that you mention it, I could tag some of the examples in a German post for certain words. Nice idea :).
Still, crow-sourcing examples is a slippery slope and you DEFINITELY need to check each of them, otherwise overall quality goes down over time.
Thanks for the article, I look forward to stories from other members, reading is always fun! :)
This all sounds really cool and I love the idea of hearing all of our stories.
Great to hear about the Your Daily German community, Emanuel. Deine Idee Geschichten zu teilen ist toll.
Yes, also include the plural of nouns.
If you are using RegEx in your sentence example search you could check the last 4 characters for ‘aus.’ or ‘aus?’ to screen out ausmachen examples from machen examples.
But then I’d have to screen for like 30 prefixes and also screen for commas, periods and white-space. That’s too much compute for my server, as it’ll then be done for every single dictionary view (which are quite high already).
Ich werde oft (selten) jefragt, he Piti, was macht’s du denn überhaupt in B.?
Normalerweise zögere ich verblüfft in Stille, während die meisten fortlaufen, aber manchmal (selten) lass ich mich richtig auspacken.
Leidenschaftlich arbeite ich seit Jahren an einem Meisterwerk – nämlich meinem GegenWörterbuch.
Von A bis Zzz kann man alle Wörter nachschlagen, die für ein spezifisches Wort keine gleiche Bedeutung hat.
Unter Senf würde man finden: Ketchup, Entschlossenheit, Zwerchfell, usw. Unter Regierung: Vernunft, Leistungsfähigkeit, Senf, et cetera.
Für Wörter die alles umfassen, z.B. einstellen, gäbe es keinen Eintrag.
Kann sein, dass das GWb] ziemlich schwierig zu drucken oder tragen wäre, aber auf keinen Fall wird es eine Internet-Version geben.
Ja es dauert halt noch eine Weile bevor es fast fertig ist, aber nichts im Leben ist einfach.
Das Konzept verstehe ich nicht ganz… was hat Senf mit Entschlossenheit und Zwerchfell zu tun?
((Der Beitrag für ein Wort soll aus allen Wörter bestehen, die nicht dieselbe Bedeutung wie das Wort haben.))
Äh… also der Eintrag für “dass” hat quasi alle anderen Wörter? Ich glaube nicht, dass das gemeint sein kann. Das klingt wie ein dadaistisches Kunstwerk.
Nee, Quatsch… nicht dadaistisch… irgendwie Modern Art oder so.
Ein wenig Borgesian, denke ich.
Hmm… vergiss das eigentlich: sage ich lieber Saussurian.
(“Concepts are purely differential and defined not by their positive content but negatively by their relations with the other terms of the system. Their most precise characteristic is in being what they other are not.” [From Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics])
Sie haben die Grenze von Emanuels literarischer und linguistischer Bildung hinter sich gelassen :D
Haha… Borges’ short stories are really astonishing little imagined micro(and macro)cosms, beautifully rendered. His best known collection, “Labyrinths”, is a fantastic assemblage of such dreamt-up worlds, and of mathematical and philosophical ideas transformed into parables and paradoxes. I’d be shocked if you didn’t recognise at least some of the stories (perhaps via their adoption/co-option/adaptation by other authors).
I remember reading about half of the Saussure book quoted above(**) at a bookshop one day, but ended up putting it back on the shelf ;-) Very sorry, bookstore owners, but I’m sure I bought something in its place. That text is actually surprisingly –even shockingly— readable for one of the “Urtexts” of structuralism (and post-structuralism).
(**) Ugh: I somehow managed to stuff up the “quotation” above. The second sentence should read “Their most precise characteristic is in being what the others are not” instead of the nonsense I included :-/
Beide Ideen sind toll!
Small point re:-
“Oh and one big caveat is that examples for a verb may ALWAYS be actually examples for prefix verbs.
did you mean ‘wiil always’ as ‘may’ adds an indefinite/uncertain flavour?
Nah, I meant “may”.
If you see “machen” in a sentence, it can be a legit example for “machen” but also for any of its prefix verbs. But I’ll add examples for all verbs manually over time, so this will be a non-issue in the future :)
Perhaps it is just me but the only way I get the sense you mean from the sentence, which I perfectly comprehend, is to assume the word ‘not’ is missing. IE ‘may not always be actual examples’….
Just to maybe clarify: read “examples for a verb may ALWAYS be actually…” as “it is ALWAYS possible that examples for a verb are actually…”
Yup, that’s what I mean. Is my phrasing so weird?
I understood it fine, but I think the emphasis on “always” is a little confusing. If I were speaking and phrased it that way, it would probably sound more like “…examples for a verb MAY always be…”
I’d probably just stick the “actually” right after “may,” though:
Hey Emanuel ,Ich denke dass,das eine tolle Idee ist.Ich werde gern versuchen, meine Lebensgeschichte und Spracheauswahl mitzuteilen.
Ja! Ich mag alle deine Ideen .. besonderes die Geschichten. :)
Hej! Ich liebe diesen blog, heute besonders, und möchte wissen ob zan singular oder plural ist. Herzliche anglosächsische Grüsse Ruth Freter
Good question, no idea honestly. I did a quick search and I found it translated as both “woman” and “women”. Hopefully an Iranian speaker reads this and clears it up :)
Die Mehrzahl von Zan ist ZanAN oder ZanHA. Weil man benutz diese Endungen ( AN / HA ) In Persich um Plural der Nomen zu bilden .
Zan, Zendeghi, Azadi !/ Frau,Leben, Freiheit
Vielen Dank! Jetzt kann ich die richtigen Formen anwenden.
Das macht ja mal gar nichts! Vielen Dank für deine Mühen und deine Initiative.
Oh sorry, dass ich auf Englisch geantwortet habe, obwohl du auf Deutsch geschrieben hast. Manchmal komme ich durcheinander.
Hier sollte das “macht mal gar nichts” hin. Ich wende diesen wunderbaren Blog zum switchen zwischen englisch – schwedisch und deutsch an. Und freue mich immer über die durchscheinende Freundlichkeit in den Beiträgen beim lesen. Auch dafür hier vielen, vielen Dank!
“macht ja mal gar nichts” geht auch :)!