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True Friends!

True friends: word pairs in two languages that look or sound similar, AND share a common meaning

The lesson Beware of False Friends! showed that German words that have similar sounding and written English counterparts aren't what one might take them for, at first glance.


The good news is that there are hundreds of these jewels, the so-called "true friends," lying about in plain sight. Yours for the taking! After studying articles and tenses for countless hours, what a welcome change! They are, indeed, "true friends" to the savvy German learner who is bound and determined to keep his eyes peeled for them, ready to pocket them and place them in the strongbox of his Wortschatz (vocabulary, literally "treasury of words"). In the text below are some dead reliable "true friends."

German children lernen (learn) from early on, that at bedtime der Sandmann (the Sandman) comes around with his bag of sand to tell a story and then sprinkle Sand (sand) in their eyes, which is said to make them sleepy. The stories of pig brothers Piggeldy and Frederick form a part of this collection. In every episode Piggeldy asks his older brother a question which they then try to explore together. The questions revolve around the simplest of matters, around almost philosophische Konzepte (philosophical concepts) like rain, the sky, tidying up...

In the following example you can see that "true friends" do, in fact, contribute to sentence comprehension.


Sie liefen eine Weile durchs Moor.

They walked a while through the moor.

Caption 7, Piggeldy und Frederick - Regen

 Play Caption


For more examples of true friends, please go here.



Learning Tip

Have you noticed that every clip features the speech rate under the Videos tab of our German Yabla site? If not, go to the Vocab tab (which you will find on the Videos page below each clip). In addition to a vocabulary list for the clips, you will also find the speech rate at the top.

As a rule, pick videos with a speech rate that is right for your level and stick with it until you feel comfortable increasing it. If you feel up to the challenge, try a couple of clips out of your comfort zone with higher speech rates and see how much content you can glean intuitively. You may be pleasantly surprised.


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