and welcome to our German word of the Day.
And after a long, loooooong
pause, it is finally time for another “Married and in Love” -Special.
And the couple we’ll look at today is
Awww they’re cute together.
In fact, they are so cute that more, more people are using it although it does sound rather basic, even a bit childish. Everyone says von… her. So, let’s look at this.
The first part is von which often means from or of. The core idea is that of origin and that can be applied to location, source or even starting 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 of course there are all kinds of abstract uses, too.
- Ich träume von einem gefügigen, pinken Pony.
- I’m dreaming of a pliable, pink pony.
I don’t know what that says about me but it had better shut up. Stupid pony. Never doing what I tell i… uhm.. anyway, I do know what her signifies… (wow, that transition was quite good… I wonder if there’s a new writer) Her is the directional here. The what? Well, the here that answers to where to. But doesn’t her mean from? Nope. It just looks like it does in German 101…. but we’ve already talked about that in detail (check out her here). So we’ll just do one example:
- 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)
Now, based on all von… her literally means from.. to here. And in some context and idioms it is used as exactly that.
- 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 most of the time location will be either von or her but not both of them combined. The actual use of von … her is about location… it is more a point of view. A perspective. Like… you stand somewhere and from there you look to whatever it is you are talking about which is the her part. And that gives you one perspective. And from somewhere else you would have a different perspective. For example… you want to tell your friends about this new bar. Now, you could just say “It’s cool” but you could also go into a bit more detail… the price, the vibe, the quality, the waiters and waitresses, the toilets and so on. All those are aspects or in other words perspectives you can take. And that’s exactly where people would use 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.”
The bar is the topic of conversation. This is “here”. And you stand at price and you look toward bar…. vom Preis her…. and then you tell us what you see. In fact, the whole von blah her phrase is just a shortened version of this
- Vom Preis her gesehen…
The gesehen (seen) is often missing but people do say it sometimes. So literally von… her means
- “When you look at it from the perspective of price.”
Just much shorter. I mean, sure you could also just say “The prices are high”… or take this one
- Von der Idee her okay, aber schlecht umgesetzt.
- Good idea but implemented poorly.
One could just say “Die Idee war okay… ” but no… people sure do love their von… her. Maybe also because it has this bracketing effect Germans are so fond of. People even use von.. . her where it is redundant.
- Vom Geschmack her lecker.
- Seen from the perspective of taste … very tasty.
I mean, come on… how else would it be tasty if not taste-wise? And yet, they did use exactly that line as a fake customer testimonial for some power bar (here ).
This one is also nice… vom Geschmack her actually makes sense but there are other issues
- Ist smoken gleich räuchern (Vom Geschmack her) (find the source here)
- Is smoked the same as smoked. (taste wise).
But it is not always that strange… here are some more nice examples
- 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.
The last two example show that it is not always out of place and funny. It really is a handy construction.
Now, just to give you an idea of how common it is here a few numbers
- “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
There are many more. And just for comparison… “sie war” has 3,2 million.
So far we’ve only had a few words between von and her. But sometimes you might find a while sentence there
- 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.
Usually squeezing sentences into other sentences is thought of as fancy… but this isn’t :). It is super schoolyard colloquial so don’t do it. Do I? I think I do. But not very often.
Now, sometimes you don’t really have something to put in between von and her… namely if it is a thought or a fact that has already been established. Then it would be handy if you could just point at it. And for that German has da.
- 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.
- Ich hab’ vorhin schon auf Arbeit gegessen, von daher bin ich satt.
- I’ve already eaten at work, so I’m full.
Von daher… in these examples it is actually often more a cause than a perspective but the idea is the same. A more literal translation would probably be in the light of that or even based on that but those sound much more formal then the every day von daher. So really captures it pretty nicelySometimes people won’t even continue… they just say the reason 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…”
- “Are you coming to my party?”
“Well, thing is my ex-boyfriend will be there too… so… ”
And as if this wasn’t colloquial enough, more and more people start using a colloquial version of that…. “von dem her”
This is a link to a German newspaper article about “von dem her” and how much it sucks… allegedly.
Oh by the way… a less colloquial alternative for von … her, at least in context of perspective, is the phrase was… angeht
- Was den Geschmack angeht...
- Vom Geschmack her…
I’ll add a link to the WotD – “angehen” below.
Another alternative is
- Bezüglich des Geschmacks…
- With regard to /in terms of taste…
But this is very stiff and Genitive so it may be more suitable for not remembering.
Now, not really an alternative but rather a supplement in another field is the combination von.. aus which people use in daily speech to express different degrees of approval.
- Von mir aus kannst du gehen.
- As far as I’m concerned you can go.
Especially common is the naked version of it which basically means yes and depending on how you say it it can be anything from reluctantly giving in to genuine approval. When people mean the latter, they often add a little gerne at the end.
- “Können wir heute eine Romantische Liebeskomödie gucken?”
“Von mir aus gerne.”
“Okay… von mir aus... aber kein süßes Popcorn.”
- “Can we watch a romantic comedy today?”
“Sounds good (to me)./I’m all in”
“Okay… fffine... but no sweet popcorn.”
And… I think that’s it. We’ve said all there is to say and von daher we can call it a day. Uh, that rhymes. That was our German Word Married and in Love special with von … her. It is handy sometimes, totally out of place other times but people love the hell out of it. Von wie doll sie es mögen her lieben die Leute es. That made little sense :). But I hope the rest did.
If you need something to fix the phrase in your head then check out
don’t know if that is only funny when you’re a native speaker but it made me chuckle .
As always if you have any questions or suggestion just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time