Word of the Day – “der Lohn”

lohn-sich-lohnen-meaningHello everyone,

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

der Lohn

 

A great word to know, though we’ll also talk about something really incredibly boring. But we’ll also look at the meaning of the verb lohnen, and that’s totally worth it. Like… for real. Like… literally.

Lohn sounds a lot like the English word loan and the main use of both of them is money that you get. But that’s just a coincidence because the two are not related. And Lohn is muuuuuuch cooler because… you don’t have to pay it back.
The origin of Lohn is the super ancient Indo-European root lau. Lau was about the idea of winning or gaining something and naturally, first this was focused on raiding and hunting, a meaning that has largely been preserved in the Slavic branch where the descendants of lau mean prey, loot. In Latin on the other hand, the root shifted to a more general sense of gain, benefit, profit. That’s where lucrative comes from, by the way.
The German Lohn evolved in a similar way but already 1000 years ago it had shifted its focus toward the idea of reward, gratification for some work or effort. And with the rise of regular paid labor came the main meaning Lohn has today: wage.

  • Ich hab’ gestern Cross Fit gemacht und was ist der Lohn.… fetter Muskelkater.
  • I did Cross Fit yesterday and what do I get… super achy muscles.
  • Gekündigt – ist das der Lohn für meine harte Arbeit?
  • Fired – is that the gratification/compensation for my hard work?
  • Der Stundenlohn bei Marias neuem Job ist niedriger als vorher, aber es gibt viele Boni.
  • The hourly wage in Maria’s new job is lower than before but there are many bonuses.

Now, those of you who have worked in Germany most certainly know the other common word  for wage, salary: das Gehalt. On official documents like the tax return blue print or an application for a Wohnberechtigungsschein (yeah… I know it’s looong), the two are treated as two distinct things – a fact that causes a lot of confusion because very few people actually know the difference. Neither did I, so I had Daniel, my intern, prepare a little write up…  I’ll read it to you now.

 Das Gehalt is a monthly fixed total that does not really depend on the
amount of hours you’re working. Like… if your contract says “1800 brutto”
(1800 before tax) , then that’s a Gehalt. Lohn on the other hand is paid
based on hours and even when you’re working as a regular employee you
can get a different payout every month. That’s why it’s  Stundenlohn
(hourly wage)  and Mindestlohn (minimum wage) and
NOT  Stundengehalt or Mindestgehalt. The general term for both
Lohn
and Gehalt is das Entgelt and the proper term for sick pay, which

people usually call Lohnfortzahlung im Krankheitsfall (“lit.: forth-
payment of wage in case of illness
“), is actually Entgeldfortzahlu

yaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwnnnnnn… my god, this is soooo boring. And there are still 10 pages. Daniel, dude, why did you make that so boring…..  what?…… boring topic? No man, there’s no such thing as a boring topic. There’s just boring presentation… yeah… look, we’re live so I can’t explain that now but we’ll talk later, okay… … … cool… oh, can you fetch me a coffee?Thanks.
All right.
So der Lohn is about the idea of compensation, gratification for some sort of work you did and the most common meaning is wage. Definitely a good word to know but what makes it REALLY useful are the related verbs

Lohn-verbs

There are two prefix verbs based on Lohn: entlohnen and belohnen. Entlohnen is some fancy version for  to (financially) compensate but it’s pretty rare and I don’t think it’s worth learning.

  • Er wird für seine Arbeit entlohnt.
  • He gets compensated for his work.

Belohnen on the other hand is super useful. Taken our standard be-idea we get “to inflict compensation” or “to put compensation upon someone” and it doesn’t take too much mind bending to get from that to the real meaning: to reward.

  • Maria belohnt sich für ihren harten Arbeitstag mit Shopping.
  • Maria rewards herself for her hard working day with shopping.
  • Gute Arbeit wird belohnt.
  • Good work is being rewarded.
  • Der Hund kriegt zur Belohnung einen Knochen.
  • The dog gets a bone as a reward.
  • Junge Familie sucht 3 Zimmer-Wohnung hier in der Gegend. Maximal 900 Euro warm. Bieten 500 Euro Belohnung.
  • Young family looking for a 3 room apartment in this area. No more than 900 Euro all included. We offer 500 Euro reward.

Now you might be wondering if there’s also a stand-alone verb lohnen. Well, a few hundred years back, it did exist and it  simply meant “to compensate someone”. Today, only one version is still in use…  sich lohnen.
Yeah… German really does love itself some self reference.
Literally, sich lohnen  means something like “to pay, compensate for itself” and that’s really not too far from the actual meaning… to be worth it.

  • Das Wort “Lohn” zu lernen lohnt sich.
  • Learning the word “Lohn” is worth it.
    Lit.: Learning the word Lohn pays, compensates for itself. 

German also has es wert sein, which is the more literal equivalent to to be worth it.

  • Das ist es wert.
  • That is worth it.

but es wert sein sounds a bit grander, more epic. Sich lohnen is for every day stuff and it has some vibe of  “great deal” in it, though you wouldn’t use it in context of actual shopping.
Examples:

  • Schon halb 12?! Da lohnt es sich fast nicht mehr, loszugehen, oder?
  • Already half past 11?! Hmm… it almost isn’t worth the effort to leave now, is it?
  • Das Restaurant ist echt der Hammer. Ja, man muss ein bisschen fahren, aber es lohnt sich wirklich.
  • The restaurant is the bomb. You have to drive for a bit, yes, but it’s really worth it.
  • Wie war die Show? Hat es sich gelohnt so lange anzustehen?
  • How was the show? Was it worth it to wait in line for so long?

I know it might be a little bit tricky to use this,  with the weird sich but it’s worth trying… es lohnt sich, es zu versuchen.

And I think that’s it for today. This was our look at the meaning of der Lohn. As always, if you have any question or suggestions or if you want to try out some examples with lohnen and get them corrected, just leave me a comment.
I hope you enjoyed it and see you next time.
Oh and to really hammer the structure of sich lohnen  into your head, here’s a link to a famous old Schlager called “Liebeskummer lohnt sich nicht”… viel Spaß :)

(dear copyright lawyers, I posted a link here. In case it gets transformed into a video window let me know)

** vocab **

der Lohn – the gratification,  wage, reward (for work done)
der Mindestlohn – the minimum wage
der Stundenlohn – hourly wage
die Lohnerhöhung – wage increase

das Gehalt – the salary
die Gehaltserhöhung – the pay raise
das Einstiegsgehalt – the entry wage/starting salary
die Gehaltsvorstellungen – the salary expectation (often asked in job offers)

sich lohnen – to be worth it, to be a good deal
lohnend – lucrative

belohnen – reward 
die Belohnung – the reward (a bit like a price)

entlohnen – compensate (financially, rare and formal)

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Perkins
Perkins
1 year ago
  • Der Hund kriegt zur Belohnung einen Knochen.
  • The dog gets a bone as a reward.

Good morning!

Thank you for a wonderful lesson on the word “Lohn”! I find it so very helpful.

I was just wondering about the following words: kriegen and bekommen…both mean “to get”.

When I put “the dog gets a bone as a reward” Into translate.google.com, they came up with the following: Der Hund bekommt als Belohnung einen Knochen.”

I like your sentence better…(Der Hund kriegt zur Belohnung einen Knochen)..but I was just wondering if there’s a subtle difference between the two?

Many thanks,
Perkins

Perkins
Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Danke.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

Thank you, that helps a lot! I guess the reason i find it difficult is because my inner dictionary is still very limited. I’ll have to work on it. :)

Jessica Cz
Jessica Cz
5 years ago

Oh, that’s too bad :(

Problem is I do not know what exactly i mean either- that’s the problem.

I am currently doing a German class in Germany and lucky me we have reached the following topic : Nominalisierung/Verbalisierung … that i just don’t get! Google must no longer be my friend because Google wouldn’t give me anything about it either.
So, because of this (and the fact that i have a test on it next week), I went back to school and asked the teacher if she could go over it again. She smiled and told me that she would photocopy a few things for me about it that might help. It didn’t. It wasn’t an explanation -> she gave me extra homework/exercises on it. What was the point? I don’t know what I am meant to do…so after a few hours I gave up and started looking for the answers at the bottom of the bottle of wine I had started. Again, no answers.

So at this stage all i can do is give you a few of the examples she gave me and maybe you send me in the right direction (maybe google isn’t the place to go to for this):

Example 1: Noch vor dem Ende des Studiums bewarb sie sich bei verschiedenen Firmen um eine Stelle.

Answer : Noch bevor sie das Studium abgeschlossen hatte bewarb sie sich bei verschiedenen Firmen um eine Stelle.

Example 2: Nach Beendigung der Schule begann er seine Ausbildung zum Koch.

Answer: Nachdem er die Schule beendet hatte begann er seine Ausbildung zum Koch.

Example 3 ; Das Publikum klatschte aus Freute über den geglückten Sprung der Eiskunstläuferin.

Answer: Das Publikum klatschte, weil es sich über den geglückten Sprung der Eiskunstlärin freute.

Example 4 : Mn kann die Tür nur mit einem Sicherheitsschlüssel öffnen.

Answer : Mn kann die Tür nur öffnen, indem man einen Sicherheitsschlüssel benutzt. (where did indemn and benutzt come from?)

Example 5 : Zur Erweiterung seines Wortschatzes liest er viele deutsche Bücher.

Answer : Damit er seinen Wortschatz erweitert, liest er viele deutcher Bücher.

That’s all I have on it.
Thanks for your help.

Jessica

Jessica Cz
Jessica Cz
5 years ago

Hello!

Do you have anything on Nominalisierung/ Verbalisierung?

Thanks!

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Well I don’t understand it and therefore don’t know what i meanby it… i thought you were the expert and might be able to explain it
I am currently doing a B2.2 course in Germany (in german) and we received our next topic “nominaliesierung -verbaliesierung” which we will be tested on next week (and i hope/muss pass). I looked it up on the internet and can’t find anything about it. All i have is the examples the teacher gave us last week.

Here are a few of them:

Example 1 : Nach Beendigung der Schule begann er seine Ausbildung zum Koch.

Answer: Nachdem er die Schule beendet hatte, begann er seine Ausbildung zum Koch.

Example 2: Noch vor dem Ende des Studiums bewarb sie sich bei verschiedenen Firmen um einen Stelle.

Answer: Noch bevor sie das Studium abgeschlossen hatte bewarb sie sich bei verschiedenen Firmen um eine Stelle.

Example 3 : Zur Erweiterung seines Wortschatzes liest er viele deutsche Bücher.

Answer : Damit er seinen Wortschatz erweitert, liest er viele deutscher Bücher.

That’s all i have on it. I told the teacher i did not understand understand how this work at all. So to solve thag problem she gave me more of these exercises for homework. Problem is how do i practice answering them when i don’t understand it and don’t know exactly what i am meant to do. So i gave up on the exercises and went for the glass of wine instead

Thanka again,
Jessica

Margit
Margit
5 years ago

Es lohnt sich auf die Hochschule zu gehen.

Wir haben in Norwegen ungefähr eine gleich worte; lønn.

I’m very courious, does the singer in the video sound German in her accent? I googled her and found out she is swedsh. To my ears she might had a bit of a nordic tone to her language.

Ano Menschkind Königin
Ano Menschkind Königin
5 years ago

Und noch wie immer, lohnt es sich deine Blogpost zu lesen :)

Ne, echt; du hast keine Ahnung wie hilfreich du für mich bist; wegen dir habe ich ungefähr 70% meines Deutsches gelernt (wahrscheinlich soll ich auch meine ABF dafür Kredit geben ^^) Danke für alles & vor allem die Geschichte die du uns vorliest… ich muss sagen, du hast eine beruhigende Stimme

Das ist wohl nicht… erlaubt, aber… wie beeindruckt man einen deutschen Mann? Ich möchte es für die Zukunft gern wissen =••=

Ano Menschkind Königin
Ano Menschkind Königin
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Es bedeutet ‘absolut Beste Freund/in’ wie man im Englisch ‘bff’ sagt. Ist ganz populär mit Mädchen:)

Adriano de Almeida Marcato
Adriano de Almeida Marcato
5 years ago

So, you already know the link transformed into a video window… right?

camilo
camilo
5 years ago

Ja..kein bock (do u use it a lot un daily gesprach, cuz it seems pretty useful,..danke viel …you dudes are very gracious for taking the time to answer..jetz alles ist klar..

camilo
camilo
5 years ago
Reply to  camilo

“Kein bock” und “bar geld” For some reason these stayed on my mind..as a freudian slip…you should do a post on “geil werbung”,cool publicity ads.. Like super geil” super leute
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jxVcgDMBU94

camilo
camilo
5 years ago
Reply to  camilo
camilo
camilo
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Doesn’t matter..the song is cool..i don’t thinks they’d sue you…eine sehr sehr alt lied ..string accent though..is she German or nordic…i had a swedish girlfriend that spoke like that..

alanmarsee
alanmarsee
5 years ago

Mein Job gebe mir einen guten Lohn.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Oops sorry. I was paying so close attention to the adjective ending that I botched the most important word.

camilo
camilo
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Echt toll as immer..aber ich habe eine frage…wenn du sagst “900 euro warm”. Do germans use “warm” as to say ” all included”,, and in which contexts
…auch, ich habe nicht gefunde dein artikel…where u explain the use of the phrase “kein bar” as to say “no motivation to do etwas”” thanks my man..

camilo
camilo
5 years ago
Reply to  camilo

Dude.
Never mind i saw you responded to the dame question..think u slipped with the warm..aber wie Man sagt ” all included”…man sagt in franzosich “tout compris”

camilo
camilo
5 years ago
Reply to  camilo

Auch…sagts du “fettig” immer fur “swollen” als in “fett muskul” oder was bedeutet ??

person243
person243
5 years ago
Reply to  camilo

For hotels or other similar establishment for sleeping and eating, Germans like to use the English words “all inclusive” to say: “you don’t have to pay extra for sleeping, eating, drinking or in-hotel activities”. The phrase is sometimes said German: “alles inklusive” but I think the English phrase is more popular. Also for words like: “der All-inclusive-Urlaub”.
For other situations, there is also the German word: “preisinbegriffen” which means sth. is included into the given price tab, it sounds kind of fancy. So you would use it like: “Nutzung des Pools und des Tenniscourts sind preisinbegriffen.” = “Usage of the pool and the tennis court is included into the price.”
Then there is the word “pauschal” used almost exclusively for travel tours as “Paschalreise” meaning traveling, residence and programm is all included into one price. But well, I think you can also use it in other situations, although I wouldn’t: “Was kostet das pauschal?” = “What is the overall price?”
And you can also use other words to describe the meaning of “all included”: “alles mit eingerechnet” = “all accounted for”, “insgesamt umfassen” = “to comprise as a whole”.

“fettig” is greasy or oily. You know if you don’t wash your hair for some days it gets “fettig”. Literally it means: “wet of fat”.

alanmarsee
alanmarsee
5 years ago

ZB: Der Lohn ist schlecht. Es ist nicht wert.

person243
person243
5 years ago

Hi, cool article as always. And I did not think that the rundown on the difference between “Gehalt” and “Lohn” was boring. You should cut your intern some slack. They appear to be changing names quite quickly.
As you write about the phrase “es wert sein” in the context of “lohnen”, that reminded me of the beautiful adjective: “lohnenswert”, which somehow combines these two so similar words. It does not mean anything else than “lohnend”, it mght be a touch stronger, but I think the reason why it is ‘worthwhile’ to use is the sound.
Anyway, thanks for the enjoyment of the week in language related topics.

camilo
camilo
5 years ago
Reply to  person243

Haha agree..i thought u had still the intern from the biergartens..also sind die sommer urlabe nein??

carlalwert
5 years ago

Ich habe diesen Blogeintrag zu Ende gelesen, und was war die Belohnung? Ich habe gelernt, wie das Verb ‘sich lohnen’ funktioniert. Es war es auf jeden Fall wert. Es lohnt sich immer sehr, hier zu kommen.

Jen
Jen
5 years ago

Toller Blog-Post, wie immer :) Früher hast du eine Datei mit all den Audioclips vom Blog-Post beigefügt, aber findest du jetzt, dass es sich vielleicht nicht mehr lohnt? (Wenn es braucht mehr als zwei Klicken zu tun, dann bitte mach dir keine Sorgen darüber)

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Danke!

alanmarsee
alanmarsee
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I tried to open this on my iPad, but couldn’t. Is there some compatibility problem. When I try to download it, it saves to my google drive.

Erich
Erich
5 years ago

Ich finde, dass es sich wirklich lohnt, alle Bemerkungen der Leute immer zu lesen, nicht nur Emanuels Blog!
Habe ich das richtig gesagt? Vielen Dank!

joseluis
joseluis
5 years ago

I want to thank everyone who donates to Emanuel and to this website, it has given me the opportunity to study on my own.

Thank you so much for your kindness!

Keep up the good work Emanuel, you really put a lot of effort on this site and responding to every single email and message. Amazing work, thanks for actually caring.

RuthE
RuthE
5 years ago

Wow! I had no idea there was so much more to Your Daily German! And I was already impressed! I immediately subscribed, once I realized there was more. Thank you for this incredibly useful – and fun! – resource. Es lohnt sich! (Where would you put an adverb?)

Oh, and in the sentence “The hourly wage in Maria’s new job..”, I would use FOR, or even AT, rather than IN. Pesky prepositions.

RuthE
RuthE
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Over the last year or so, I was able to read many of your older entries. They were linked in the comments sections in Duolingo. With subscription it seems that I can find answers more easily, the audio bits have appeared, I can read the most recent post entirely, and I can ask questions here. I haven’t explored further, yet. Your archives alone are so extensive! :-) Es lohnt sich sehr!

:-D :-D – I’m coming to the conclusion that the prepositions are the keys to all the languages, at least in IE. That’s where most of the idiosyncrasies hide, and stage regular ambushes, even when you think you’re safe.

Danke sehr!!

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

Thank you for the post!!! Keep the good work :)

David Rogers
David Rogers
5 years ago

Does “Maximal 1000 Euro warm” really translate to “No more than 900 Euro all included”?

FluturelAdrian
FluturelAdrian
5 years ago

Es lohnt sich wirklich diese Post zu lesen. Geil als immer, danke!

FluturelAdrian
FluturelAdrian
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ich wusste etwas falsch ist. What is the German equivalent of ‘I couldn’t put my finger on it’?