Advent Calendar 21 – “_ocken”

_ocken

Hello everyone,

day 21 of the 2020-iest of all Advent Calendars.
And today, we’ll give our vocab one more boost with the nice little word

zocken

And at least those of you who got the new Play Station will do a lot of it over the holidays because zocken means to play…  well, in the sense of gaming.

Looks a bit like zucken (to twitch) and that would make sense because you need to “twitch” your fingers a lot while gaming.
But the two are not related and the origin is actually not Indo-European for once. Zocken comes from the Hebrew verb  śᵉḥōq which was (or is??) about playing, having fun. In Yiddish, this was zachkenen and that then made its way into the German mainstream – but only in the context of gambling.
That’s why zocken does NOT work kids playing in the sandbox or for playing an instrument.
But many computer games are based on beating opponents, winning or collecting loot, so it makes sense that people started using zocken for that.

  • “Was machst du in den Ferien?”
    “Play Station zocken.”
  • “What will you do in the holidays?”
    Play Play Station.”
    (yo, Sony… still waiting for my plug-money!)

  • Ich habe die ganze Nacht Animal Crossing gezockt.
  • I was playing Animal Crossing all night.

Meh, okay… actually Animal Crossing is one of the few games where zocken DOESN’T fit that well, because it’s so incredibly… nice… agreeable. I don’t know how to say it. Zocken does sound like some adrenaline and a potential loss.
But anyway, for actual gambling, the common word today is actually spielen and das Glücksspiel.
But the sense of gambling, especially the shady side of it, is still at the core of abzocken because that’s a common colloquial term for fleecing, ripping someone off.

  • Der Politiker zockt mit seiner Spendenkampagne seine Anhänger ab.
  • The politician rips off his followers with his fund raiser.
  • 8 Euro für ein Bier – was für eine Abzocke.
  • 8 Euro for a beer – what a rip off.

And then, there’s also verzocken, which can be about losing something by gambling (“gambling away”) or more figuratively about taking a wrong gamble.

  • Thomas hat sein ganzes Gehalt beim Pokern verzockt.
  • Thomas lost his entire salary at poker.
  • Haben sich die Einhörner mit ihrem Flugzeugträger-Programm verzockt?
  • Have the unicorns taken a wrong gamble with their super carrier program?

All of those are colloquial, but they’re not really slang, so you might see them in newspapers as well.
And they’re definitely worth adding to your active vocabulary, because they belong to these words that native speakers wouldn’t expect from you.
Like…  if you use Abzocke at a date with that sweet German person, about the beer price for instance, your date will be like “Wait, I didn’t know you were bilingual.”
To which you’ll then say “Yes, I can use two tongues.”
And your boring date is right back on track.
So yeah, that’s it for today with our epic dating advice calendar. As usual, let me know in the comments how it went and if you have any questions or modifications.
Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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crittermonster
crittermonster
1 year ago

So, speaking of “native level” vocabulary– how would you use this? Like if someone quotes you an outrageous price, can you just go “Ach, mensch, warum zockst du mich so ab?”

Fancypantser
Fancypantser
1 year ago

Glad to see you mentioning yiddish. A lot of my family fled Germany/Poland and came to NY. That first generation spoke only yiddish. The second gen. kept a lot of the wonderful colorful words from yiddish, and they have since passed into american pop culture, due to comedians popularizing them. kvetch, chutzpah, dreck, klutz, schmooze, nosh, schmear, tush, schtick, schlep, glitch, and of course oy vey!
Would love an Artikel on how yiddish words are used in spoken German.
An even more interesting investigation would be: were the yiddish words used in German re-borrowed from English? (they came to US during the 2nd world war due to jewish people fleeing NS, then were popularized by American comedians and actors, then went back accross to Germany as a trendy borrowed word, because it was heard in American movies and tvshows)?
I have no idea if this phenomenon is real, but it’s an interesting question.
But I guess my real question is: are there yiddish words floating around in spoken German?

Nisha
Nisha
1 year ago

Hello Emanuel, this is by way of a rather late birthday present. It seems that we share the same “runden Geburtstag”, except that I’m a further 20 along the road. During the first few months of the Koronasperrung when all my work evaporated, I decided to learn German, and discovered your extraordinary blog. Anyway as my work has taken off like a rocket subsequently, I’ve only just found the time to say…

…as a late birthday present, I’d like to pay for another beginner to sign up to this wonderful blog…except that I have no clue how to do so. I “rounded up” the subscription fee when I originally signed up but am now stumped.

So if you’d send me a payment link/your email/any guidance I’d be delighted to send you, my fellow runden Scorpio, belated birthday greetings via a donation to a fellow student. I do hope this makes sense. Age and wisdom do occasionally go together but it’s not a necessary condition.

RomanMG
RomanMG
1 year ago

Ich hatte ein paar mal das Wort “zocken” gehört, wusste aber nicht, dass es vom Hebräischen kommt und hatte keine Ahnung, dass es Präfix-Versionen gibt! Sehr interessant! Danke :)

cliv
cliv
1 year ago

Had to go to the web site since I didn’t get the email today.

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri
1 year ago

Hallo lieber Emmanuel,
Ich kannte weder das verb Zucken noch das verb Zocken . Dass das letzer kommt aus jiddisch- hebraische Sprache ins Deusche, überscht mich überhaupt nicht . Die jiddische sprache war sehr gebräuchlich , vor 2.Weltkriege , in weite Gebiete , ins Mittel-und Osteuropa .
Ich möchte hineinfügen dass das Verb ” Shek” ist sehr ähnliche wie das Verb “Zaka” ضک aus Arabische ! Dieses bedeutet lachen ou lustig sein .
Ebenso das Verb ” kiffen” kommt aus Arabische und es ist in Jungensprache
In Frankreich benutz worden.
Allerdings bin nicht ein Risikofreudiger oder Computerspieler oder Börsenspiele , jedoch das hat meine Wortschatz über Spielen angereicherten hat .
Schönen Tag
Bis bald

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ja, natürlich. Ein Beispiel:
Kiffe- tu cette fille ?
Oui je l’adore !

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Tu as raison . A l’origine, ça correspond à l’état qu’on a , appris avoir fumée Hachish ou Cannabis , qu en arabe se dit Kaifa. Mais ça a deuxième sens: aimer .
Zum Schluss, kieffen en Franschösiche hat zwei bedeutung, entweder gute Stimmung nach Marihuana rauchen oder
lieben in jugenensprache oder Prollige Klasse der Vororte ( nicht in gehobenes Niveau ) .
Guten Abend

Richard
Richard
1 year ago

Danke.

Es gibt einen Tippfehler in Ihrem neuen “Dark Mode” Nachricht – “makeshift” ist ein Wort, nicht zwei.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
1 year ago

Bastian Bielendorfer und Reinhard Remfort in seinem Podcast “Alliteration am Arsch” benutzen das Wort “zocken” ganz oft.

Dank ihnen, habe ich “zocken” und “kiffen” gelernt. Podcasts bringen mir gute Wörter bei – die Wörter ich an der Uni nicht lerne.

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
1 year ago
Reply to  Amerikanerin

Ich lache niemals unter meinem Niveau!

But seriously, I love these guys because one episode can run the gamut from dirty jokes to politics or dealing with death and loss, and there are always laughs along the way. Or one of my favorites, trying to cook 2 kilos of noodles in one pot and almost burning the house down. I didn’t know it was possible to boil noodles and burn them at the same time.

Oh btw, Emanuel, I made quark and potatoes and it was tasty! No linseed oil, but lots of pepper and fresh herbs.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
1 year ago
Reply to  coleussanctus

Gottes Willen – warum bin ich verurteilt, diese Art von Literatur zu lesen?

And then directly in to a soundbite from a porno dialogue. These guys are great – Reinhard Remfort is the star – Basti does another pod (Bratwurst & Baklava) with Özcan Cozar, who in my opinion is the star of that Pod.

Reinie does another podcast, Metodisch Inkorrekt, I think it’s called – I tried to catch up on all the episodes (like I did for all the other podcasts I follow) but there were too many and they are too long, I just don’t HAVE 3 hours per podcast… But what I did hear was good stuff.

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
1 year ago
Reply to  Amerikanerin

Methodisch inkorrekt is one I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. Longer podcasts can be kind of a challenge for me. I try to listen in smaller chunks, but some of the players make it easy to lose your spot.

Tonbank Berlin is a smaller podcast I like. It’s just 30 minutes of 2 guys sitting on a bench somewhere in Berlin talking about stuff. First dates, less than ideal jobs, public restrooms, currywurst, flea markets, you name it. Which maybe doesn’t sound thrilling, but they’re pretty funny and I’ve learned so much every day vocabulary from it.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Danke für den “Tonbank Berlin”-Tip!

Ich abonniere fast 50 Podcasts. Alle habe ich vom Beginn nachgeholt. Sträter Bender Steberg musste ich 74 Episode nachholen, die meisten über 2 Stunden lang. Damals, gab es “nur” ungefähr 30 Bratwurst & Baklawa und noch einige Alliteration am Arsch. 5 Minuten Harry Podcast war schwieriger nachzuholen, es gab “nur” 13-15 oder sowas, aber SIE REDET SUPER SCHNELL!

Damals habe ich 4-6 Stunden Podcasts pro Tag gehört. Jetzt habe ich alle nachgeholt und höre “nur” zwischen 1-3 Stunden pro Tag – den Rest höre ich Hörbücher und habe keine Zeit 3-Stündige Podcasts zu hören. Nach 69 Episode “Das Corona Update mit Christian Drosten” habe ich den Podcast von meinem Feed gelöscht. Es wird nicht viel mehr gesagt. Und er ist so langweilig wie Etymologie.

Ich kann die App “Overcast” empfehlen – sie gibt nur für iPhone aber sie ist meiner Meinung nach, die beste Podcast app.