Advent Calendar 16 – “Make a wish”

Make a wish

Hi Leute,

day 16 of our Advent Calendar, and today you get to do something that is one of the most fun parts about Christmas, at least for kids… making a wish list.
But this one is not for Santa Claus, it’s for this blog.

Every now and then you guys send me topic suggestions in a comment but I have have to confess that I don’t really keep track of it, because I am just really lazy disorganized. Some of the suggestions, I do keep in my head but others just get lost, which is a pity because I’m desperate for ideas.
Okay… actually, no :). I have lots things I want to talk about (some words like Leistung or ja have been on the mental to do list FOREVER) but we’ve talked about 400 words and their relatives here, so picking a topic slooooooooowly is becoming a thing.
What
But I thought, why not just round them up here. So…

If you have an idea for a word or another topic I should talk about
 – tell me in a comment.

Now, German has this saying that parents use prevent their kids from getting too hyped up.

  • Ein Wunschzettel ist kein Bestellschein.
  • A wish list is not a shopping cart. (lit.: order slip)

I won’t make any promises :). But I’ll definitely give you my feedback on your ideas.

Also, I have set up a mini survey about the site in general. It’d be great if you could answer those real quick, and please
please be honest :).

How do you like the design?

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How do you like the navigation?

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Do you want more audio content with me just talking?

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Is there an aspect of the site that bugs you?

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If you have more detailed feedback or ideas, please let me know in the comments.
Ich freu mich auf eure Ideen,
schönen Tag und bis morgen :)

for members :)

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Berlin MP
Berlin MP

Ich mag die neuen Woerter mit Beispleilen. Grossartig!

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

Um, funny you should ask…

Actually, I’ve been loath to make any requests because you have so much to do with this blog and what you ARE doing is so great, it seems presumptuous to make requests. Also, in light of you seeming to know what you are doing and where it’s all going, I’m sure that you’ll get to whatever we need to know.

However, like you, habe ich vergessen, everything that I’ve wanted to ask. Good memory, just Very Short.

Right now, my most pressing issues seem to be:

Word order, Satsbau. The whole Time Manner Place thing. Need some of your intuitive tips and some practice on that. Have read what you HAVE written on the subject, but need more.

Prepositions. They are aus der Hölle. Prepositions are the IQ test in every language and I am failing this one miserably.

Zu, vs in vs nach, vs bei vs an (z.B.)

Like, man fährt an den Strand, why not in, nach or zu? OK, so we have to memorize it, but memorizing is EASIER when I have a list that someone claims is exhaustive (exhaustive = complete. exhausting = mühevoll).

d.h. Eine Liste, die tatsächlich alle verrückten Orte auflistet, an die man fährt/geht “an”, um dorthin zu gelangen.

An das Fenster
An den Strand
Ans Meer
An den See

And then, of course, if actually BEING there is just in dative.

So, Satzbau order (TMP) and Prepositions from Hell. mal, bitte.

Elsa
Elsa

Hi
Glad you like my name, by the way! (It’s actually my real name and not an alias)
Prepositions are HELL in any language… Just look at the English ones… Why do we sit in a chair? Not to mention the in/at thing, sometimes they’re both right and sometimes not… I mean in work, at work, at home but never in home, in/at the office, whatever takes your fancy! I shiver at the thought of trying to explain that to someone…

Barratt
Barratt

I have a relatively simple set of rules for “going places” with zu vs nach vs in:
1. Use “nach” for places (countries, cities, provinces) that DO NOT have an article (nach Paris, nach England fahren)
2. For countries/cities/provinces that DO have an article, use “in” (in die USA, in den Schweiz, in die Niederlande fahren)
3. For buildings that you literally enter, use “in” (ins Restaurant, ins Kino, in die Kirche gehen)
4. Exception to rule 3: nach Hause gehen
5. For other locations that you do not literally enter, use “zu” (zum Arzt, zum Strand, zur Uni gehen)

I don’t think there is any rule about being required to use “an” for Fenster, Strände, Meere, etc. I’m pretty sure “ich fahre zum Strand” is perfectly correct and would be understood by anyone. I guess “an” is a possibility for any location that you can be “up against” (like in front of a building, at a table, etc), and if, for example, you drive to school to pick someone up, but you don’t go inside, “an die Schule” would be an option (although “zur Schule” also works.) I would say that if your goal is just to speak functional German correctly you can forget about “an” and stick to the rules above.

Maybe a native speaker can confirm if my understanding is correct?

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

Barratt – How very kind of you to take the time to reply! Your tips jive with Easy German’s video “Nach vs in vs zu” and the repetition is much appreciated. As far as all of the ins Kino, zum Arzt, nach Hamburg and in die USA, I’m starting to stand on solid ground – especially after all the repetition. But when we “fahren IN den Süden” or “fahren AN den Strand” – even “stellen an das Fenster” I start feeling afraid of the dark. Or how about telephoning? Methinks we sometimes must call “bei” someone, if it’s a huge company or something. Jury still out on that one.

Read somewhere that there is a joke in Bayern about Schule. They claim to be smarter than the rest of Germany because they go “in der Schule” when the rest of the country goes “in die Schule”. Or perhaps it was something with “zur Schule”.

Hmmm… I wonder if prepositions would be easier if my memory actually functioned.

Alchemistress
Alchemistress

Agree about prepositions. Sometimes we need auf or nach when we think about or look forward to things, or meiner meinung nach….. And”bei” is also a gem. In German I have heard, “Ich habe bei ihn geschlafen,” but in English we would need to say, I slept at his house, not “I slept at him,” which is how it has a been translated into English and left me scratching my head for a while.

Elsa
Elsa

Hi,
I’m too much of a beginner to make specific requests and so far I’ve found your articles really useful. Maybe a little bit more guidance on which order to try and learn things would be useful for beginners like me… Sometimes I’m frantically jumping from one article to the next, trying to learn everything at once and/or getting frustrated over not understanding the contents properly… (maybe a little comment added to each article to say wheter a topic is for begginers, intermediate or advanced would get rid of my angst!)
But please, please, please, keep your jokes coming in (and the unicorn!)
Bis morgen!

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

Elsa, Darling!

Your description fo frantically jumping from one article to the next is something I recognize, all too painfully. I have the discipline to sit and study but NOT to do it in the right order. Kinda like taking a bite out of each and every praline in the box to see which is yummy and which isn’t, only biting into the same yucky sort more than once because one was not SYSTEMATIC.

My advice is to do Emanual’s “course”. It’s in the menu bar, “Online Course”. Don’t jump over anything you think you know, just do it step by step.

Check out German with Jenny as well, and do her’s in the right order. Add some stuff from Easy German (that suits the step you are studying) and you’ll be on your way.

Although, Caveat Emptor: I started out that way and ended up applying to Uni. Yep. Doing my first uni semester German now. Odd feeling, being older than the professors…

Barratt
Barratt

Hi Emmanuel,

Sehr gerne mache ich dir einen Wunschzettel. :-) Ich habe nachgegrübelt, um eine Liste von Wörtern auszudenken, die oft vorkommen und mir dennoch Schwierigkeiten geben.

einsehen <– Das Wort “einsehen” ist für mich immer verwirrend. Eine Deutsche hat mich einmal gefragt, wie man das auf Englisch sagt und ich musste gestehen, dass ich keine Ahnung hatte. Ich glaube nicht, dass es eine allgemeine Übersetzung gibt.

nachvollziehen <– ich glaube, ich verstehe das Wort und wie man es benutzt, aber mir ist die Ableitung komisch. (Vielleicht müsste man erstmal “vollziehen” machen.)

die Anlage <– Dieses Wort kommt mir immer doof vor. Was ist denn eigentlich überhaupt die Bedeutung und warum mögen die Deutschen es so gerne, zusammengesetzte Bezeichnungen für quasi alles damit zu bilden?

elend / das Elend <– ich benutze dieses Wort als Übersetzung für “miserable”, aber oft sagen mir die Muttersprachler, dass es nicht passt. Ich würde gerne verstehen warum. Ich glaube, “elend” ist etwas stärker als “miserable”, aber dann wird’s auch in der Umgangssprache mit einem leichten Comic-Effekt benutzt?

bequem vs angenehm vs gemütlich vs behaglich <– meistens benutze ich “bequem” als Übersetzung für “comfortable”, aber es ist nicht immer die richtige Wahl. Wie unterscheidet man zwischen den Möglichkeiten?

Noch ein paar schöne Wörter, die ich gerne etwas besser verstehen würde:
preisgeben
verschmitzt

Die komplette Liste wäre viel länger, aber man muss sie kürzen.

bencwallace
bencwallace

Ich stimme allem von diesen Wörtern, besonders “Anlage” und auch “anlegen” und verwandte Wörter.

Hanka
Hanka

In my efforts to learn German I’ve been focusing mostly on understanding written and spoken language, but for that I’ve got other good sources.* I really just come here for the insight into vocabulary and grammar (and omg mainly for the quality PUNS!!!), because regular textbooks are meh and won’t even go into the details I’m curious about.
I can’t really think of any more topics to cover, though, since every time I encountered something I needed an explanation for, I found it here already.

*If I may make a quick recommendation to my fellow learners, check out if there’s Goethe-Institut in your country and if they offer access to their online library “Onleihe”. It’s free of charge and all you need to do is sign up for it online. I suppose the materials available are different in each country, but the core should be the same: German newspapers, magazines (I do love “Deutsch Perfekt”), textbooks, fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, and even audio and video documents.
As for listening comprehension, I usually watch documentaries on subjects I know something about – the people there speak slowly and clearly and you always see what they’re talking about. It’s much much easier than movies or podcasts, and so much more interesting than kids shows. There’s plenty of them on YouTube, too. (The fun side effect is, that you may end up fluent when it comes to particle physics, but won’t be able to order dinner at a reastaurant ;))

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin

Hanka! Wow – what a coincidence regarding “Deutsch Perfekt”! Just got permission to order a student subscription of the Deutsch Perfekt and Übungshefte – after sending about 658 pieces of student ID from Sweden, they were very generous to give me a student discount despite me being a student in another country than DE.

With all the course literature and the different German blogs I’m supporting, I am really happy for any student discount I can get.

parisbongi
parisbongi

“watch documentaries on subjects I know something about” … Like watching American football on Prosieben Maxx every Sunday night. If you’re North American you’ll have the impression you’re fluent in German for a few hours :) But I guess our chief blogger will bring up Goethe’s wet dream” again…

stosselgg

I find your discussion of word etymology helps me to remember the meaning in English, especially when the German word is quite different from its English translation. Keep that up, along with any demistification of word order.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yes, the etymology helps so much!!!!!!
Camille

shauser31416
shauser31416

Wo ist dein Einhorn Freunden? Feiert er kein Weihnachten?

Abgasstufe Es-Zett
Abgasstufe Es-Zett

Vor Ort sofort!!
-und Wunder werden wahr!

Martin
Martin

Ich bin nicht sicher, ob du es schon irgendwo erklärt hat (hab leider nicht abonniert und kann deshalb nicht nachschauen), aber mir ist das verwirrendste Wort auf Deutsch ‘beziehungsweise’. Würde es sehr cooo finden, wenn du es erklären würdest, ich finde deine Erklärungen oft besser als diese anderswo im Internet.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Weiter und wieder und wieter…so confused~!!