The meaning of “von … her…”

von-da-her-pictureHello everyone,

and welcome to our German word of the Day.
And it is finally time again for another Episode of one of the least known mini series ever – “Married and in Love.”
And the word couple we’ll look at today is

von… her

 

Such a cute couple.
In fact, they are so cute that more and more people are using them although it does sound rather basic, even a bit childish.  von… her is everywhere and it’ll make you sound much more native if you use it, too. So let’s take a look.

The first part is von. The most common translations are from or of and its core idea is a notion of origin or starting point. And that can be an actual location, as well as a source of origin or a point in time…

  • Ich komme von der Arbeit.
  • I come from work.
  • Ich habe das Buch von dir.
  • I have the book from you.
  • Ich arbeite von früh bis spät.
  • I work from early till late (lit.)
  • I work from dawn till dusk.

 

And it can also be an abstract source of material… dream material in this case…

  • Ich träume von einem gefügigen, pinken Pony.
  • I’m dreaming of a pliable, pink pony.

No idea why I keep having this dream. It just stands there, all pink and says “Yes Sire!”
I’ll ask my therapist about it, I guess.

Anyway, the second part of our word couple is her. We’ve actually talked about that one in a separate article (I’ll leave the link below) but in a nutshell, it is a directional here. So it is a “here” that asnwers the question “Where are you going?”.
W
hile hier would be an answer to “Where are you?”. 

  • Meine Freundin kommt diese Woche her.
  • My girlfriend is going to come here this week. (her destination)
  • Meine Freundin ist diese Woche hier.
  • My girlfriend is here this week. (her location)

Yeah, German is really pedantic when it comes to location, you know. 
Anyway, so if we take von… her literally, we get like from… to here.
And sometimes, it’s actually used that way.

  • Nachmittags von Osten her aufkommender Regen… (common weather forecast phrasing)
  • In the afternoon, approaching rain from the east…
  • Der Fisch stinkt vom Kopf her. (proverb)
  • The fish rots from the head down.

But the use that makes von … her so incredibly common is not so much about a location. It’s more about a perspective.

von… her – perspective

Imagine you have an object. Depending on where you stand, from where you look at it, you’ll see different angles, different parts. And in a more abstract sense, you’d see different aspects of something when you look at it from different points of view.
That’s pretty much what von… her is used for.
For example… you want to tell your friends about this new bar.
Your overall judgment might be “It’s cool.” but that’s made up of many aspects – the prices, the vibe, the quality of drinks, the staff, the toilets, the music or the sauna.
Anyway, picking out single perspectives like these is EXACTLY what people do with von… her.

  • “Wie ist die Bar so?”
    “Also vom Preis her ein bisschen teuer, aber die Qualität ist gut und die Atmosphäre ist echt angenehm.”
  • “So, how’s the bar?”
    “Well, price-wise it is a little expansive… but they have good quality and the vibe is really nice.”

Basically, the von blah her phrase is just a shortened version of this

  • Vom Preis her gesehen…
  • Seen from the price-prespective…

And people do say the gesehen, too, sometimes. But it’s more common without it.
Here are some more nice examples that show the variety of contexts people use the phrasing in.

  • Regen im Paradies, nicht nur vom Wetter her  (customer review for a mediocre hotel/vacation in Spain)
  • Rain on the parade, not only from the sky.
  • Welches Land mögt ihr am meisten, nur vom Essen her. (some discussion board)
  • Which country do you like best, only food-wise.
  • Vom Feeling her hatte ich ein gutes Gefühl
    (A German soccer player did say that verbatim in a TV interview
    It’ll never be forgotten)
  • Feeling-wise I had a good feeling.
  • Der neue VW ist vom Design her keine Überraschung.
  • The new VW is no surprise design-wise.
  • Beide Waschmaschinen unterscheiden sich von der Bedienung her fast gar nicht.
  • When it comes to operating them, both washing machines have little to no difference.

And just to give you an idea of how common von… her actually is,here a few numbers for how many hits you can find on Google.

  • “vom Geschmack her”                – 1,2 million
  • “Vom Aussehen/Design her”   – 3,3 million
  • “Vom Preis her”                             – 3,7 million
  • “Von der Idee her”                         – 4 million

And just for comparison – the phrase “sie war” has 3,2 million hits. So von… her is REALLY common. People use it every chance they get and sometimes the results are pretty damn ugly.
Like here, where a simple “Gute Idee” would have sounded much better…

  • Von der Idee her okay, aber schlecht umgesetzt.
  • Good idea but implemented poorly.

Or how about this redundancy fest…

  • Vom Geschmack her lecker.
  • Taste-wise it was very tasty.

I know it sounds hard to believe but people really say that and write that. Here’s a screenshot of a review for a nut mix.


I mean come on. The headline alone is a disaster.
And there’s even worse. Sometimes people cram an entire sentence in between von and her.

  • Von wie sie singt her finde ich sie besser als Rhianna.
  • Seen from how she sings… (lit.)
  • When it comes to singing I like her better than Rhianna.

This sounds super schoolyard-colloquial, though. I think I might be guilty of using that sometimes, but you absolutely shouldn’t.
Cool.

Now, you might be wondering if there are less colloquial alternative for von … her. And yes, there are. One is also a “sandwich”-phrase: was… angeht.

  • Was den Geschmack angeht...
  • Vom Geschmack her…

This is the German counterparted to to concern, but we’ve talked about it in a separate article, so I’ll just leave the link below and you can check it out if you want to know more.
And if you ever want to sound really formal, you can use bezüglich. Which literally is something like “with relation to”

  • Bezüglich des Geschmacks…
  • With regard to /in terms of taste…

But this does sound fairly stiff AND you need to use the Genitive, so this is nothing for daily conversation.
Hey, I just realized something… genitive often sounds stiff. So maybe we should call it…

Genistiff

Come on, guys. That was kind of funny, you could at least snicker a bit.
Well… I guess not.
Anyway, we’re almost done here, but before we wrap this up, there’s another thing we need to talk about. Some of you might have guessed it… the da-word-version.

using “von daher”

We’ve learned that von [X] her basically says that [X] is kind of our angle or perspective. Sometimes, that point of view has already been established in a conversation. So all we need is to point at it. And that’s where the pointer da comes in.

  • Ich muss morgen früh raus... von daher weiß ich nicht, ob ich heute lange mache.
  • I have to get up early tomorrow… so I don’t know if I’ll stay up late today.

The point of view I am taking is the fact that I have to get up early. And looking from that angle, I don’t know if I’ll stay out for long.
Here’s another example.

  • Ich hab’ vorhin schon auf Arbeit gegessen, von daher bin ich satt.
  • I’ve already eaten at work, so I’m full.

As you can see, I used so as a translation. , von daher actually leans toward expressing a reason. A more literal translation that so would be in the light of that or even based on that but those sound much more formal than the every day von daher.  So really captures it pretty nicely.
And just like with so, sometimes people won’t even continue… they just say the fact and then they say von daher and that’s it. The consequence is left up to context.

  • “Kommst du zu meiner Party?”
    “Naja, mein Ex-Freund kommt halt auch… von daher…”
    “Verstehe.”
  • “Are you coming to my party?”
    “Well, thing is my ex-boyfriend will be there too… so… ”
    “I see.”

Cool.
So now we know how to use von … her… and von daher I’d say, that it for today :).
Uh, that rhymes. This was our look at the meaning and use of von … her. It is handy sometimes, totally out of place other times but people love the hell out of it. Or as you could say in German, if you really want to push the limits

  • Von wie doll sie es mögen her lieben die Leute es.

That made little sense :). But I hope the rest of the article did.
If you need something to  fix the phrase in  your head then check out
this …
don’t know if that is only funny when you’re a native speaker but it made me chuckle .
If you want to recap and check how much you remember about what you’ve learned, you can take the little quiz I have prepared for you.
And of course, as always, if you have any questions or suggestion just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time.

“von … her” is a really common construction in everyday German. 
Do you know what it means and how to use it?

Further reading:

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promethium
promethium
5 years ago

Ein ausgezeichneter Artikel! Bitte erkläre mal die Bedeutung vom Wort ‘etwa’. Ich würde es sehr zu schätzen wissen. Danke im Vorraus :)

der Libyer
der Libyer
6 years ago

Danke sehr Emmannuel! Doch das hilft :) !

der Libyer
der Libyer
6 years ago

I realize this is an old post but I have a question about the specific construction ” von der Idee her” (wow 4 million hits), searching through google I came across a lot of examples that go along the lines of “von der Idee her ja toll”, “…echt toll”, “…nicht schlecht” and all of those have aber right after the comma. Does it mean “the idea itself is great but..”, I mean what kind of vibe does it send and any tips how to use it correctly?

Großartiger Artikel wie immer!

Talat Anand
Talat Anand
8 years ago

” Ich arbeite von früh bis spät.
I work from early till late (lit.)
I work from dusk till dawn. ”
Ahem… are you sure you did not mean, ‘.. from dawn to dusk.’ or is it really the other way round?
/talat

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Ich brauche ein gutes Wort für “lately”… Ich weiß, dass Pimsleur sagt, “neulich” zu benutzen, aber ich habe ein Gefühl, dass es ein besseres Wort gibt.
Es war definitiv nur ein komischer Fehler von einem sinnlosen Englischsprecher… Ich werde das nicht mehr sagen…
:P

jag041
jag041
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Toll!
“In letzter Zeit” werde ich jetzt sagen, weil ich gar keine Insekten essen will… ;)

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Das hier ist einen echt guten Artikel
Es ist sehr lange her, seitdem ich es gelesen habe, von daher habe ich es heute nochmals gelesen ;)
Tatsächlich habe ich immer nach einem Wort, das ich statt “so” in diesem Fall verwenden kann, gesucht. Ich glaube, “von daher” geht da wirklich gut!
Glaubst du, dass ich recht habe?
Auch habe ich pünktlich gedacht (und ich weiß, dass das hier nicht um das gegenwärtige Thema geht), dass “mal” sehr ähnlich wie das idiomatische Benutzung des Wortes “just” ist. Wie den Folgenden:
“I’m just going to the movies” “ich gehe mal ins Kino” weil man nicht NUR ins Kino geht (because one isn’t ONLY going to the cinema). Mir gibt es einen Unterschied… aber vielleicht ist es gleich auf Deutsch
Ich versuche nur, zu finden, irgendwie ich an “mal” denken kann. Es scheint mir, dass “mal” alles in diesem Fall verniedlicht, und das ist ähnlich wie “just”… oder?

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

das hier ist ein echt guter Artikel*
das ist was ich meinte ;)

Andy
Andy
8 years ago

taking the day off or what!?? This thing makes my mondays bearable!

Andy
Andy
8 years ago
Reply to  Andy

i guess i mean tuesdays

JC
JC
8 years ago

Danke für noch einen tollen Artikel.
Im Moment verwirrt mich das Wort “beziehungsweise”. Es wäre super, wenn du irgendwann was drüber schreiben könntest!

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  JC

Das wäre in der Tat toll. Soweit ich weiß, gibt es 2 Bedeutungen:

1. “respectively”: “in den Fällen 1 und 2 muss man die Option A bzw. die Option B wählen”.
D.h. im Fall 1 – die Option A, im Fall 2 – die Option B.
2. “genauer gesagt”: “ich werde nach Deutschland bzw. nach Hessen fliegen”.

JC
JC
8 years ago

Dass es zwei Bedeutungen gibt, ist vielleicht was mich verwirrt hat. Danke, das war hilfreich. Noch eine Frage, ist die Reihenfolge wichtig, ich meine, kann ich zum Beispiel sagen:
Ich habe viele Bücher und DVDs und es macht mir Spaß, sie zu sehen bzw. zu lesen — oder muss ich sagen — zu lesen bzw. zu sehen?

ubungmachtdenmeister

I just added this comment quickly so i could follow the ensuing discussions. Forgot to tick the box and dont know how else to manually enlist my interest in a certain post.

Guilherme
Guilherme
8 years ago

From “Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen”

Harry stellte die Teller mit Eiern und Schinken auf den
Tisch, was schwierig war, denn viel Platz gab es nicht. Dudley
zählte unterdessen seine Geschenke. Er zog eine Schnute.
»Sechsunddreißig«, sagte er und blickte auf zu Mutter und
Vater. »Das sind zwei weniger als letztes Jahr.«
»Liebling, du hast Tante Maggies Geschenk nicht mitgezählt,
schau, es ist hier unter dem großen von Mummy und Daddy.«
»Na gut, dann eben siebenunddreißig«, sagte Dudley und lief
rot an – Harry, der einen gewaltigen Wutanfall nach Art von
Dudley kommen sah, schlang seinen Schinken so schnell wie
möglich hinunter, für den Fall, dass Dudley den Tisch umkippte.
Auch Tante Petunia witterte offenbar Gefahr, denn rasch
sagte sie: »Und heute, wenn wir ausgehen, kaufen wir dir noch
zwei Geschenke. Was sagst du nun, Spätzchen?«
Dudley dachte einen Augenblick nach und es sah wie
Schwerstarbeit aus. Schließlich sagte er langsam: »Dann habe ich
achtund … achtund …«
»Neununddreißig, mein Süßer«, sagte Tante Petunia.
»Oh.« Dudley ließ sich auf einen Stuhl plumpsen und
grabschte nach einem Päckchen. »Von mir aus.«

I started to listen to a Hörbuch in youtube with a pdf of the german version opened so I can follow and while also having the actual book that I own that is in portuguese (my mother tongue) to check everytime I fail to grasp a german sentence. It’s being great so far. It amazes me how many little weird verbs you came across: plumpsen, grabschen, schlangen, umkippen,wittern, wimmeln, zupfen, just to name a few. And of course there’s the “von mir aus” very well contextualized.

Guilherme
Guilherme
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I know right! My sister bought a few german book for Christmas 2012 (Der Steppenwolf, Die Aufzeichnungen Malte Laurids Brigge, Das Schloss and Amerika) and I had been studying german for some two years at the time so I thought it’d be a breeze. I was so wrong. I’d be reading a sentence and all would be going well when BÄM, unknown word, meaning of the whole sentence lost. So frustrating. I survived some 50 pages of Steppenwolf and Aufzeichnungen before I gave up and moved on to other books. I figured I’d try again once my german level upped a little. With collage and other stuff in way I’ve pushing it on ever since and now I guess even though my german has improved I should start with simpler books, that is, books that won’t try to make awfully poetic descriptions of everything. Speaking of which, do you have any german book indications?

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago

Hast du vor, von “lassen” zu schreiben? Eins der nützlichsten und weitverbreiteten Wörter, das auch einigermaßen rätselhaft ist.

Lucius
Lucius
8 years ago

Hello Emmanuel, great post !! vielen Dank, Lucius

leo odongo
leo odongo
8 years ago

Vielen Dank! Das war vom Erlernen der deutschen Sprache her einfach super!!

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago

I think that “von … her” corresponds in no small measure to “judging by”.

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Zak
Zak
8 years ago

Thanks for another really good article :). It feels like it helped me to crystallise my somewhat nebulous ideas around the “von… her” type pairings into a more solid form :).

The little comic did seem fun, would a reasonable translation be “Well, from the smell I imagined him bigger…”? Is there another component that only natives would get or is it because Germans can especially relate to the picture? My condolences if it’s the latter ;). Interestingly the joke also works if the reader can understand German and English, then grösser becomes a pun :).

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Was ich nicht verstehe, ist die Verwendung vom Plusquamperfekt hier. Hätte es nicht Perfekt sein sollen?

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Das macht schon Sinn, und genau diese Logik, glaub ich, hinter dem sogenannten Doppelperfekt steckt oder?

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

OK, ich hab oben irgendwie die Nebensatzstruktur verwendet. I blame it on the beer :P

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Wie wär’s mit einer näheren Bestimmung, z.B. mittels eines Adverbs? “Ich habe damals gedacht, dass…”. In dem Fall braucht man “hatte” nicht oder?

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Haha, man, that survey result is about as bad as it could be! :). It’s almost impossible to put a positive spin on worst and smelliest :). Apparently I might be too loud but I can say that’s just another way of saying passionate :). Plus, you might expect guys who can handle 6m of hard wood between their legs to be a little loud ;).

As a bi guy I’ll stick up for the German guys and say that I don’t know what the survey respondents are going on about though :). I’m tempted to joke about a possible exception involving having eaten Wurst but probably shouldn’t… ;).

Most boring? You guys? Maybe I just attract weirdos :). I still smile when I remember a guy asking me in German if I’d tried “natural sparkling wine” and him finding my response absolutely hilarious – “Like Champagne without the sugar? Nah, but I don’t really like wine anyway, I’d much rather have a beer” :D.

Ah, I wondered if it would be something like that. The cartoon is kinda funny to me, especially imagining the backstory, I get a slightly weary tone that’s disappointed but resigned to carry on, I don’t think that I see what you see though. I can relate from occasionally trying to explain similar things to others, usually without success :). True fluency in all languages eventually requires transcending dictionaries and grammar rules.

Heh, I’m amazed it took you so long as you definitely have a talent for puns :D. Non-fans of puns might dispute my use of the word talent though ;).

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

“True fluency in all languages eventually requires transcending dictionaries and grammar rules.”

We’re basically learning the rules in order to start breaking them (properly).

zak75
zak75
8 years ago

“We’re basically learning the rules in order to start breaking them (properly).”

I like that :). In a way I was just kind of thinking aloud that learning definitions and grammar rules only get you so far. There’s another component that’s required for true fluency that has more to do with the culture and spirit of the people who created and use the language.

A bad analogy would be the difference between knowing the keys on a piano and the theory of music versus actually playing a piece of music that makes someone emotional.

zak75
zak75
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Do you find that your musical background helps you with languages?

Haha, I was mostly joking about the “e” being a grave insult :). Although if you ever wrote whiskey anywhere and it was clear you meant Scotch whisky then almost assuredly someone would be grinding their teeth :). Probably not a bad idea in either place to pretend that you prefer the local variety, even in a particular country :). For example, I’m not sure whether it be worse if you were in Speyside (Scotland) to say that you preferred Islay whisky or Irish whiskey to Speyside whisky :).

Oh yeah, whisky connoisseurs would definitely appreciate and get “There is too much ‘e’ in Tullamore for my taste” :). I’ve heard an American tourist use a similar thing when asked how he drank his whisky and he said something like “neat, nothing added to it, not even an ‘e'” :).

If you really wanted to ingratiate yourself with Scots though you could learn some phrases from the Scots language :). It’d be funny hearing a German speaking Scots :D.

zak75
zak75
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Oh, he must talk a different dialect of Scots (apparently there’s five main dialect groups) from me because I don’t know what “bleesh” means :). If you were ever bored you’d probably find the Scots language kinda interesting as a weird Germanic language :).

Aye, yir richt, “eva moo” soonds mair like whit a coo wid dae than whit a Scot wid say :). Ah wunner if ye ken whit ahm gaun oan aboot? Disnae maiter, s’no like ahm uptae nae guid or onything! :D.

It definitely seems like music should be a help. For debate would be to what degree. Instinctively I like the idea of learning the rhythms and sounds of a language first though. Through just the sounds you’d even get a subconscious grammar map too. I think I’ve seen that there’s a lot of evidence now that this language listening process starts in the womb for us.

Ah, so that explains your name, your definition of easy includes a negative scale! ;)

zak75
zak75
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ah, übundmachtdenmeister sounds like he comes from somewhere like Fife which is on the East coast of Scotland. Whereas I come from/Ah cum fae Ayrshire which is on the West coast :). His word that you liked “bleesh” is virtually a synonym of “blooter” in my dialect of Scots. Don’t worry if a Scot asks “Dae ye wantae git blootert?” though, just say yes ;).

Gaun yersel! Ah kennt ye wid unnerstaund at least some a whit ah hid written. Noo ye dinnae need tae haud yer wheesht aroon Scots oanymair :D. Funnily, a German who knew English would probably have an easier time with some Scots stuff than a lot of English people :). I think every native Scots speaker who learns German or similar ends up prouder of their native tongue. Instead of being an inferior language you realise it’s just retained more of the DNA from its Dutch, German and Scandinavian cousins :).

Thanks for the link, I’ll be sure to listen when I get a chance. It’s still kind of a mind-blowing thought though; we’re already learning language before we’re even born! :)

ubungmachtdenmeister

Ye absolutely right. I come from further up north than zak75. I’m in the carnoustie/angus area (where the famous golf courses are). Our dialect influence comes from the choochters up north, fae farfar n ayburdeen n a them. Of course where I was born, in dundee, we have a slightly different variation we speak there as well. Heres 3 examples to illustrate them (von sehe ich aus, did that work as “from how i see it” or should i have just used von mir aus?)

“Proper english” – Would you like to do something? yes of course, what? This. No, i dont like doing that. why? because!
Angus area choochter – wid ye want t dae summin? aye, whit? thon. naw, a umnae doonit. how? m jist no!
Dundonian (dundee area) wanta day summin. eh wot. that. nut, emno daenat. how? cuz!

Interestingly enough, we can say get bleeshed or get blootert up here n both make sense. It’s just that for the meantime bleeshed is the more popular, unless we watch too much chewin the fat of course, and then we start talking like that for a while. Then it would become, em awatae get fullaeit. (lit i am about to get full of it)

Breaking the rules properly when you know them is awesome, I think that forms the basis of what we do in scotland actually, break the english rules :D Mostly deliberatly to confuse our southern cousins.

I’m also musical but I dont know if that helps me lots. I play several instruments and can hardly read music, okay it’s possible if i really try but it’s much quicker to just pick up the instrument and start trying to pick the tune out. I totally understand the idea that all languages are basically just music, and that you just need to “tune in” to them. Once your on the right frequency it all just slots into place. I’m not on the right frequency for german yet. I’m getting there but it seems im up against a brick wall just now.

Saying that, i was reading an article on deutsche welle last night (in german of course, even though they do 30 languages!) and even though about 40% of the words were unknown it didn’t seem to matter because i got the jist of it anyway (although maybe thats because i already knew some of the story in advance)

Who knows! Am no shayre! Eh dinna ken! – Bonus exercise, which expression comes from which area…

Viel spaß

(ich soll einen blog über “schottisch-ist-einfach” schreiben, dann alle Fremdsprachler sich schottisch verstehen könnte) Was the “sich” correct there? It felt right but I don’t know.

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago

von sehe ich aus doesn’t work grammatically, while von mir aus is correct, but means something entirely else ;)
so wie ich es sehe
meiner Ansicht nach / nach meiner Ansicht
von meiner Sicht aus

ubungmachtdenmeister

I hardly ever get the usage right the first time after I read these articles. It always means I understand it afterwards in someone else’s communication but I can never use the phrases right myself : ( all the little words seem to taunt me for personal usage just now. Doch, mal wohl etc. to me they don’t seem to come up too often in official contexts l.e newspapers, radio, tv. Only with spoken which is harder to get authentic material of.

ubungmachtdenmeister

Well the Scottish/dundonian ken is a little more broad than the German one. As far as I know German kennen works for people and places and wissen does the rest (sorry if I have simplified that too much) whereas the Scottish ken covers the function of both those words and more. It can be
Eh ken um – I know him (that person) – ich kenne ihm
Eh dinna ken – I don’t know – das weiß ich nicht
Wa d yoo ken? – who do you know? – wer weißt du?
Eh dinna fluppin ken – I have no idea – ich habe keine ahnung
If y dinna ken, dinna dae it – if you are not sure, ask – falls bist du nicht sicher, dann fragst du immer zuerst
Whit dae u ken? – I am doubtful of the knowledge you claim to have – ich bin sicher, dass du nix weißt
Eh ken how – I know how to do it – ich weiß, wie ich das machen kann

And my favourite

I’ll dae it this waey ye ken? – I’m going to do it this way ok? Das will ich so machen oder?

Hopefully that’s enough examples to give you a perspective of “oor ken”. It’s awfy awfy useful ye ken? If any of my German examples stink then let me know.

As for the reflexive use of verstehen I see it now. German reflexive verbs are a pain in the arsch. Yes I myself do something is almost always weird, except maybe I do something myself but there that kinda sounds like the German selbst/er

Lol, unscripted language to non-tipping tourists.

Don’t worry about me not getting usages right first time. It was a criticism of me, not you. What I meant was that, whilst I understand the words in context after your articles, the actual usage/reproduction part doesn’t sink in properly. Then I struggle to apply the new words in my own sentences. This pattern follows for all the words I know. For example just to quote some arbitrary figures to illustrate a point, I can understand about 75% written language, 50% spoken language and can use about 30-35% myself. That might be an exaggeration but it demonstrates how I see it (von meiner perspektive aus)

Sorry for the MASSIVE comment. It’s a habit of mine.

zak75
zak75
8 years ago

Ah wis ditherin atween Fife an Dundee ur further up but ah kennt ye wirnae too faur up es ye hidnae pit F’s insteed a W’s :). I can imagine that is quite an interesting mix of Scots and Inglis that gets spoken around there :). I love the image of a Tourist encountering a Scot that only spoke a broad mix of Fife, Dundee, Angus and Doric Scots :). Ayrshire Scots is kinda similar to your Dundee Scots but without the Northern influences, maybe slightly harsher sounding though. If I’d read “bleeshed” then I’d automatically have thought pissed but I think that’s actually a British thing when we hear a word with “ed” on the end :). I’d actually use both shayre and ken but for the subtle distinction in meaning. “Eh” is such a Dundee gieaway though :). Hah, it doesn’t take much to confuse our neighbours though :). Look how much they go on about how hard it is to understand Glaswegians or some Scottish TV programmes neither of which use Scots very much at all. In a way we do make it hard for outsiders though because most won’t initially realise that we speak a mixture of Scottish Standard English and Scots. Then to make matters worse for them, we naturally make sentences using both tongues :D. It’s a bit like someone saying a sentence with 80/20 mix of German/Dutch words but the next one could easily be a 10/90 split :). It’s all pretty much subconscious but for most Scots speakers it’s their primary tongue and we tend to speak more Scots to each other. Even online my mind does that shift, it can be strangely jarring and makes typing much harder :D. No bad guide to the Scots ken, although it’d be better if you used “Ah” instead of “Eh” then he wouldn’t sound like a numpty if he tried using it ;). Bonus conjugation of ken: I/you/they/we ken, he/she/it kens and I/you/they/we/he/she/it kent/kennt (past tense) – man, I’d love to do this to all German verbs! :). Sounds like you are doing well with your German. Like Emanuel says, don’t worry about plateauing sometimes, it just sorta happens that way and then bang you’re off again. Probably the best advice would be to just use your German as much as possible now, nothing makes stuff like an unstructured conversation or having to write paragraphs with no prompting. German TV is full of light documentaries that often focus on some aspect of German culture. They can be a great source of examples of how an average German speaks. One such programme is 24 Stunden – http://www.sat1.de/tv/24-stunden/video some might find it a bit trashy sometimes but like me, you wouldn’t be watching it for the sex culture, it’d be to improve your German ;). If you start your blog I’d read it :). If you’ve not seen it I’d totally recommend having a browse through the Scottish Vernacular Dictionary at http://www.firstfoot.com/dictionary some of it’s really… Read more »

zak75
zak75
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

It’s weird, in the UK my favourite channel overall is BBC4 which is probably about as high quality as TV can get. Example BBC4 series have been “Atom” written and presented by one of the pre-eminent quantum physicists in the UK or “The Story of Maths” similarly written and presented by one of the pre-eminent mathematicians in the UK or … you get the idea :).

However, on German TV much of what I watch could rarely be called quality TV ;). I don’t know if it’s just the novelty hasn’t worn off or whatever but I find myself watching stuff I’d almost never watch in my native tongue :). Although a partial excuse might be that it’s easier to get my non-native tongue around a couple of sex fetishists than a quantum physicist ;).

Hah, I’ve never seen “Germany’s next Top Model” but at one point it seemed like Pro7 was legally obliged to advertise it during every ad break :). That must have been why I had the craziest and most vivid dream about me and Heidi Klum a few weeks ago :). Totally not what you’re probably imagining though :).

Had a quick search of “Frauentausch” and “Bauer sucht Frau”, they do sound pretty awful and very trashy too, I’ll probably give them a go ;D. For some reason I haven’t watched very much on any of the RTL channels.

I’ll concur that ARD/ZDF are much higher quality, hence can seen duller in comparison, hence I’ve not watched that much on either of them, even less if you don’t count “Tatort” :). EinsPlus and ZDFneo are much more fun though. Reload is one of the best video games programmes I’ve ever seen and anything with Jan Böhmermann is worth watching :).

Thinking about it though, I did watch an NDR wildlife documentary about Scotland; The camera work was often excellent and it was definitely a quality programme overall. Probably stuff like that every day, just need to learn to stop using German as an excuse to indulge my apparent desire to watch crap TV :D.

ubungmachtdenmeister

Ta very muckle fir yer braw comment aboot meh speil. I had seen the scottish dictionary site before and actually the a-z of words is really good. Okay it doesnt cover all the words we use and the definitions and usage are a little bit narrow but its a good starting point. I was actually planning on using it as a “shitlist” of words to cover on the planned blog. Just can’t decide whether to do it like i did on the comment, scottish – english – german or if i should make it primarily scottish to english and leave it at that. I’d probably get chances to use german phrases that meant the same in the comments so maybe that would suffice. Guess i just need to suck it n see. Maybe i’ll have a test run this weekend and see what it looks like.

zak75
zak75
8 years ago

Och wis hee haw, jist so lang es ye dinnae git bawheidit :). Aye, it’s definitely a good starting point for a similar blog. They’ve really tried to make most of the entries at least somewhat humorous to Scots speakers and some actually make me laugh :).

If you’ve seen that then ye’ll ken the more “official” and extensive Scot dictionaries too but they’re generally as dry as burnt toast and their default Scots dialect often seems a bit weird. The “official” dictionaries don’t include most of the more vulgar/cruder terms either, which is kinda silly because it’s definite aspect of everyday Scots.

Oh, it’d definitely help your German if you tried to maintain a tri-lingual blog :). Best advice would be to do what you’d enjoy doing. That way you’d find it easier to maintain and your enthusiasm would get passed on to your readers too.

I’m tempted to make a comparison with an activity involving someone you think is hackit and a stoatir but maybe that’s my Scots crudeness coming through :). Plus, I’m not sure what that would make me, as a potential reader, in this analogy ;).

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I’m sure the ref has to do with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caber_toss
Not sure why between the legs tho. ;)

zak75
zak75
8 years ago

You got it! The between the legs was mostly for comedic effect :). Although some guys do hold their caber virtually between their legs before tossing it and of course, nearly every guy holds a caber in a certain position at some point in their lives :).

Learning to handle something like a caber can be rather useful for Scottish guys… ;). Maybe not so much for Inglis guys though… :).

You guys might like to know that caber and tossing the caber can be used for exactly what you’d imagine ;).

zak75
zak75
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Heh, I thought we were quite famous for our massive cabers ;). I thought that it must have been the Umlaut because I’ve often noticed that if someone’s first language uses diacritics then they’ll see that letter as a completely different letter.

I better warn you about the inadvertent grave insult you made when you misspelled whisky, Scots don’t like when you add an ‘e’ to that word, unless it’s a plural :). I commend your choice as I’ve been known to have a dram or two of Laphroaig myself :). If you like that then it’s probably worth trying some other peaty single malts, especially the other Islay whiskies.

Okay, I’m sold, do you deliver these men or do I have to collect? :). What you describe does actually sound really appealing though :). There’s definitely something in both our cultures that romanticises that way of life :).

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

“if someone’s first language uses diacritics then they’ll see that letter as a completely different letter”

Russian being a partial exception, coz we mostly write “e” [e]/[je] instead of “ё” [jo].

Ahmad
Ahmad
8 years ago

Hello Emmanuel
Again thank you four new Word of the Day . I had before noticed such a grammatical structure as ” von anfang an or von mir aus, von ….. her ” Is there other pair structures ? Voraus danke schön .

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

” but if I think of a useful one, I’ll discuss it here :)”

von Natur aus
(I know what it means, just helping to collect)

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Klingt a bissl komisch :P

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 years ago

Encore, danke schön für dein helfreiches blog . Ich habe mich schon gefragrt was bedeutet die symetriche wörtern wie ” von anfang an, von….. her, von mir aus” . Gibt es auch andere paare ???

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

von Anfang an = from the start/beginning

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago

Also, vom Inhalt her – ausgezeichnet! ;)

Kann “von mir aus” auch so was “mir ist es egal” bedeuten?

Grateful Reader
Grateful Reader
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Wenn der eine beispielsweise eine lange und ziemlich langweilige Geschichte erzählt, und der andere reagiert mit “von mir aus” (also “whatever”).