Leçons Allemand


Distance as Abstand

In German Chancellor Angela Merkel's address to the nation last month (March 2020), she mentioned social distancing a number of times, using the German noun der Abstand.


Wir müssen aus Rücksicht voneinander Abstand halten.

Out of consideration, we have to keep a distance from each other.

Caption 30, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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... mindestens eineinhalb Meter Abstand zum Nächsten

... a distance of at least one and a half meters from each other,

Caption 33, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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Im Moment ist nur Abstand Ausdruck von Fürsorge.

At the moment, distance is the only way to express care.

Caption 42, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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Let's take a look at der Abstand as used in some other contexts.


Der Abstand zum Bordstein ist zwar etwas groß.

The distance to the curb is indeed somewhat large.

Caption 48, Richter Alexander Hold: Richtig parken

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... und immer Abstand halten von Sylvie van der Vaart, dann kann gar nichts schiefgehen.

... and always maintain distance from Sylvie van der Vaart, then nothing at all can go wrong.

Captions 29-30, Barbara Schöneberger Das Roter-Teppich-Einmaleins

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Wenn das rot eingezeichnet ist, sehen Sie hier den Abstand.

If this is shown in red, you see the interval here.

Caption 40, Bildverarbeitung: Sirius Advanced Cybernetics in Pforzheim

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So, und der Abstand hier, der beträgt dann eben zwanzig Zentimeter. -Hey, Sophie!

So, and the distance here, it then amounts to just twenty centimeters. -Hey, Sophie!

Caption 38, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

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Der Abstand is usually translated as "distance", though as you see above, other terms such as "interval," "space," or "gap" are sometimes more appropriate, depending upon the context. 


Further Learning
There are a number of different German words that can be translated into the English word "distance," depending upon the specific contexts in which they are used. Go to Yabla German and find some more examples of der Abstand, then take a look at some of the other words expressing "distance," such as die Entfernung and die Ferne. As a reward for your diligent studies, take a 5-minute break and watch actor Christoph Waltz give talk show host Jimmy Fallon a quiz on long German words, it's pretty funny!

Continuer la lecture

Around the House

Many of us are spending much more time at home than usual right now, and are therefore acutely aware of how much work it takes to keep a household running. For those of you who might be looking for a way to procrastinate, let's look at how to talk about household chores in German. 

Die Hausarbeit is the German word for "chore." You may know this word already, as it refers to a written work that students complete in order to get credits for a class (similar to a "term paper"). In this case, however, it is related to der Haushalt ("the household"), and is literally translated as "housework."


Ich sauge nicht so oft, ich hasse Hausarbeit.

I don't vacuum very often, I hate housework.

Caption 14, Nicos Weg: Haushaltsarbeit

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Two important verbs to know are putzen, which means "to clean," and aufräumen, which means "to tidy up" or "to pick up." The command "Clean up your room!" is expressed with aufräumen, not putzen.

Ich finde schon, dass du häufiger putzen könntest oder zumindest deine eigenen Sachen aufräumen könntest.

I do think you could clean more often or at least pick up your own things.

Captions 24-25, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Probleme

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There is always so much to do! Here's a long list of chores, courtesy of Yabla's own Eva:


Ich muss die Küche aufräumen, den Abwasch machen, das Bad putzen, Staub saugen und Staub wischen.

I have to tidy up the kitchen, do the dishes, clean the bathroom, vacuum and dust.

Captions 5-6, Hausputz: mit Eva

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Hallo, heute will ich meine Wäsche waschen

Hello, today I want to do my laundry

Caption 1, Wäsche waschen: mit Eva

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A big topic in any German household is die Mülltrennung, which literally translates as "the separation of garbage" and refers to recycling. 


In Heidelberg wird der Müll in verschiedene Gruppen getrennt.

In Heidelberg, the garbage is separated into different groups.

Caption 14, Mülltrennung: in Heidelberg

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Wischen, fegen, Müll wegbringen. Drei Monate lang.

Mop, sweep, take out the garbage. For three months.

Caption 5, Großstadtrevier: Schatten der Vergangenheit

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Not all household tasks feel like chores, however. After all, for those who appreciate it, cooking can also be a real joy!

Kochen Sie eigentlich auch zu Hause selbst?

Do you actually cook at home yourself?

Caption 22, Ball des Weines: Franz Beckenbauer

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Further Learning
Watch the videos Hausputz: mit Eva or Nicos Weg: Haushaltsarbeit in their entirety on Yabla German to learn even more useful phrases. To get the latest news from Germany and also work on your listening comprehension, you can listen to the first minute and a half of today's report from Deutsche Welle's Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten

Continuer la lecture

Key Words and Phrases from Chancellor Merkel's Speech, Part 2

Last week, we offered you Part 1 of the vocabulary in Chancellor Merkel's televised speech about COVID-19, and today we're giving you the second and last part. It's pretty rare that a German chancellor appeals directly to the nation on television like this, and we think her message has many aspects that are valid for everyone during this crisis, regardless of where you live. You may not hear some of the words she uses in everyday casual speech, however, so it's important that you focus on some key words to effectively extend your German vocabulary.


Ich möchte Ihnen erklären, wo wir aktuell stehen in der Epidemie, was die Bundesregierung und die staatlichen Ebenen tun, um alle in unsrer Gemeinschaft zu schützen und den ökonomischen, sozialen, kulturellen Schaden zu begrenzen.

I would like to explain to you where we currently stand with the epidemic and what is being done at the Federal Government and state levels to protect everyone in our community and limit the economic, social, and cultural damage.

Captions 29-33, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Die Ebene has three distinct definitions in the German Duden dictionary: the first is an area of flat land, the second a geometry or physics term usually translated as "plane" in English, and the third definition is the one used here, "level." Der Schaden means "the damage". This is easy to remember as it correlates to a German adjective you are probably already familiar with: schade ("too bad"). 


Zeit, damit die Forschung ein Medikament und einen Impfstoff entwickeln kann.

Time, so that researchers can develop a drug and a vaccine.

Caption 49, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Aber noch gibt es weder eine Therapie gegen das Coronavirus noch einen Impfstoff.

But there is still neither a treatment for the coronavirus nor a vaccine.

Captions 43-44, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Hopefully for all of our sakes this situation will change soon, but in the meantime der Impfstoff ("the vaccine") is an important word to know.


Wir müssen das Risiko, dass der eine den anderen ansteckt, so begrenzen, wie wir nur können.

We must limit the risk of one person infecting another as much as we can.

Captions 22-23, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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The German verb anstecken means "to infect" and is a separable verb that takes a direct object. The less we have to do with any anstecken, the better!


Die verschärften Grenzkontrollen und Einreisebeschränkungen zu einigen unserer wichtigsten Nachbarländer in Kraft.

The tightened border controls and entry restrictions on some of our most important neighboring countries have been in force.

Captions 42-43, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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The 6-syllable noun die Einreisebeschränkung, or the "travel entry restriction", has been used often in the last few years as part of the ongoing debate about emigration, since the level of such restrictions determines who is allowed or forbidden entry to a country.


Alle staatlichen Maßnahmen gingen ins Leere, wenn wir nicht das wirksamste Mittel gegen die zu schnelle Ausbreitung des Virus einsetzen würden.

All government measures would come to nothing if we didn't employ the most effective means of keeping the virus from spreading too quickly.

Captions 9-11, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 3

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The noun die Ausbreitung may also be translated into English variously as "propagation", "dissemination", or "distribution", depending upon the context.


Further Learning
Watch the Chancellor's speech on Yabla German and listen for these key words and phrases. The city of Berlin website has set up a news feed under Nachrichten with updates on the crisis in German and in English. Try reading an article in German, such as their recommendations of what is allowed during the Easter Holiday, then check your comprehension by going to the top right-hand side of the page and choosing the English version of the article. Best wishes from Yabla to you and your family during these times of crisis.

Continuer la lecture

Key Words and Phrases from Chancellor Merkel's Speech, Part 1

Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't often give televised addresses, however, she recently went on TV to speak about the measures being taken in Germany to slow the spread of COVID-19 and appeal to the public. 


Chancellor Merkel opens the speech by acknowledging how difficult recent weeks have been. The word die Begegnung can mean "the encounter," like when you bump into someone on the street, but here it refers to social interaction.


Uns allen fehlen die Begegnungen, die sonst selbstverständlich sind.

We are all missing the interactions that are otherwise taken for granted.

Caption 10, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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She refers to the "restrictions" and "closures" that are defining daily life at the moment. 


Es sind Einschränkungen, wie es sie in der Bundesrepublik noch nie gab.

They are restrictions such as have never been seen before in the German Federal Republic.

Caption 33, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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Ich weiß, wie hart die Schließungen, auf die sich Bund und Länder geeinigt haben, in unser Leben und auch unser demokratisches Selbstverständnis eingreifen.

I know how severely these closures, which have been agreed upon by the federal and state governments, are interfering with our lives and with our democratic self-image as well.

Captions 30-32, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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Chancellor Merkel describes Germany as eine Gemeinschaft, which can be translated as "a community," "an association," or "a collective." The community now has the task of practicing social distancing. The word for task, die Aufgabe, can be used to describe a household task, but also a much larger undertaking.


Und wir sind eine Gemeinschaft, in der jedes Leben und jeder Mensch zählt.

And we are a community in which every life and every person counts.

Captions 63-64, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Ich glaube fest daran, dass wir diese Aufgabe bestehen, wenn wirklich alle Bürgerinnen und Bürger sie als ihre Aufgabe begreifen.

I firmly believe that we will succeed in this task if all citizens really see it as their task.

Captions 21-22, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Chancellor Merkel uses the adjective solidarisch, as well as its opposite unsolidarisch, to describe different behaviors. 


Seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg gab es keine Herausforderung an unser Land mehr, bei der es so sehr auf unser gemeinsames solidarisches Handeln ankommt.

Since the Second World War there has been no challenge to our country that has depended so much on us acting together in solidarity.

Captions 26-28, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Hamstern, als werde es nie wieder etwas geben, ist sinnlos und letztlich vollkommen unsolidarisch.

Hoarding as if nothing will ever again be available is senseless and ultimately completely lacking in solidarity.

Captions 62-63, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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Note the use of the word das Hamstern above. This is a nominalization of the verb hamstern, which relates to the food collection method of a certain animal and is slang for horten / "to hoard." The noun der Hamsterkauf is related to der Einkauf, but rather than "the shopping trip" it is more like the English expression "panic buying."


When talking about social distancing or keeping a distance from people you encounter when you have to leave the house, the term in German is Abstand halten. Chancellor Merkel says that even though it is difficult, this is one of our greatest weapons against the spread of the virus.


Im Moment ist nur Abstand Ausdruck von Fürsorge.

At the moment, distance is the only way to express care.

Caption 42, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 3

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Further Learning
Watch the Chancellor's speech on Yabla German and listen for these key words and phrases. If you would like to work on your listening comprehension by means of a daily news briefing, try listening to Deutsche Welle's Langsam gesprochene Nachrichtenwhich is made especially for German learners. If you would like to learn about how the situation is unfolding in Germany, you may find Der Spiegel to be a good resource for articles in English as well as German. 

Continuer la lecture

Party like it's 2019?

That's a bad idea at the moment, best not to. But it doesn't hurt to remember better times. The late American president Ronald Reagan once told the United Nations General Assembly, "I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside of this world." Now that we're facing a threat from within this world, we can only hope that it will help people and nations get along better and create a more caring society.


It's very strange to be watching television — and that's probably the main leisure activity of most of us most of the time in these COVID-19 days — and see people in large gatherings greeting each other with hugs. It's almost as if we're watching a science fiction movie or some historical drama where people behaved completely differently than they are allowed to now. 


In the spirit of better times and in the hope that when things return to "normal," it'll be better than before, let's focus this week on the German noun die Party. It's a loanword from English and in this case takes on the sixth definition listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: "a social gathering." 


Letzte Nacht haben sie mich zu einer Party mitgenommen mit all ihren Freunden.

Last night they took me to a party with all their friends.

Caption 9, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Die Verabredung

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War die Party gut? -Sehr gut. Die Party war super.

Was the party good? -Very good. The party was super.

Caption 3, Nicos Weg: Andere Länder

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Viele machen sich's gemütlich zu Hause oder sie gehen auf  eine Party.

Many people will make themselves comfortable at home or they will go to a party.

Caption 93, Silvester Vorsätze für das neue Jahr: Linkenheim

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Die größte Party ist natürlich wie jedes Jahr im Piratenland.

The biggest party is, of course, in Pirate Land as it is every year.

Caption 23, Die Insel Fehmarn: Surffestival

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With eine Party, you have to be careful with the plural. German, unlike English, does not have the rule that "y" becomes "ie" when "s" is added for the plural form of the word. In German, "s" is simply added after the "y." The plural die Partys looks like a misspelling or something from a Shakespeare play, but in German it's quite correct: 


Wie hält man so viele Shows und Partys nonstop eine Woche lang durch?

How do you keep up with so many shows and parties non-stop for a whole week?

Caption 45, Modewoche in Berlin Halbzeit für Fashion-Fans

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Hier gibt es ein Café, eine Sporthalle und viele Partys.

Here there is a café, a gymnasium and many parties.

Caption 17, Universität Karlsruhe

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Further Learning
Be sure you don't mix die Party up with another noun, die Partei, as the latter means a political party—not the fun kind. Watch the full videos listed above on Yabla German to get into the party spirit and see the word used in a context that we hope will be more like the "real world" soon. You can also read this Zwiebelfisch article about German Partys vs. English "parties." And when you're done, read this article on Psychology Today about the possible positive effects of an alien invasion and see if some of it might apply to our current situation. Staying positive is one of the most important things of all!

Continuer la lecture

Delays and Cancellations

In the last weeks, many aspects of our daily lives have been uprooted as we all do our part to keep COVID-19 from spreading. Even those who are not directly affected or immediately at risk are advised to lay low in order to keep themselves and others safe. Large gatherings such as conferences and concerts have been canceled or postponed in the interest of public safety, and smaller events and meetings should be canceled as well.


We at Yabla wish you and your loved ones all the best during these uncertain times. Exercising caution, remaining calm, and gathering knowledge are all important strategies. For those of you who might be dealing with practical aspects of the situation in German, we will use this week's lesson to go over the various words for "to cancel" and "to postpone." If you aren't getting news updates about the situation in Germany and would like to be, check out the links posted under "Further Learning" below. 

There are many ways to say "to cancel" in German, but here are the most common verbs used to refer to events, appointments, and plans:


Heute ist Dienstag. Wir hatten eigentlich unseren Flug für heute zurück gebucht, aber es ist immer noch alles storniert.

Today is Tuesday. We had actually booked our flight back for today, but everything is still canceled.

Captions 6-7, Reisen während des Vulkanausbruchs

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Letztes Jahr wurde ein Event abgesagt.

Last year an event was called off.

Caption 29, Traumberuf: Windsurfer

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Die eigentlich mittwochs stattfindende Generalaudienz fällt diesmal aus.

The general audience, which normally takes place Wednesdays, is canceled this time.

Captions 5-7, Papst Franziskus: Der neue Papst hat viel zu tun

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When it comes to events or meetings being postponed, the common verb is verschieben, which has a number of meanings related to "to shift." 


Es ist eine wundervolle Sache, denn du kannst die Dinge, die du heute tun solltest, nehmen und nach morgen verschieben.

It is a wonderful thing, because you can take the things that you should do today and postpone them till tomorrow.

Captions 24-26, Lektionen: Morgen

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Wir haben die Tour verschoben, weil ich mit dem Album noch nicht fertig geworden bin [sic, fertig geworden war]

We pushed the tour back, because I still wasn't finished with the album

Captions 58-59, Clueso: ist endlich erwachsen

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Further Learning
You can find more examples of these verbs on Yabla German. If you would like to work on your listening comprehension by means of a daily news briefing, try listening to Deutsche Welle's Langsam gesprochene Nachrichtenwhich is made especially for German learners. If you would like to learn about how the situation is unfolding in Germany, you may find Der Spiegel to be a good resource for articles in English as well as German.


Continuer la lecture

(Keinen) Bock haben auf...

The German noun der Bock means a mammal of the male gender, similar to the English word "buck," and is often particularly used to describe a male goat or "billy goat." However, the expression Bock haben auf or keinen Bock haben auf has a meaning quite different from what you might expect based on the direct translation of the noun!


Blumio hat Bock auf gute Unterhaltung.

Blumio is keen on good entertainment.

Caption 6, Blumio Rappen für gute Unterhaltung

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Oh, zerkleinern, das macht mir Spaß. Da habe ich Bock drauf.

Oh, chopping, that's fun. I'm up for that.

Caption 10, CHoE Rocker Profi-Grilltipps

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Sie hat Bock auf Shopping, also in die Stadt

She feels like shopping, so it's off to the city

Caption 23, Cro Bye Bye

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Ey, Nina, hast du Bock auf 'ne Wurst?

Hey, Nina, do you want to go out for a wurst?

Caption 6, Die Pfefferkörner Cybermobbing - Part 1

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The slang expression Bock haben auf is the equivalent of the expression Lust haben auf and may be translated in a variety of ways. Note that if a noun follows the preposition auf, then the noun case should be accusative. When you use the expression as a negation, just place the accusative case of kein in front of the masculine noun Bock


Jeder kann so seiner Wege gehen, wenn er keinen Bock auf die anderen hat,

Everyone can go their own way whenever they aren't in the mood to be around the others,

Caption 45, rheinmain Szene Selig - Part 2

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Jedes Mal, wenn du von deiner Arbeit, von deinen Führungen, nach Hause kommst, bist du fertig, hast keinen Bock mehr auf irgendwas.

Every time when you come home from your work, from your tours, you are exhausted, don't want to do anything.

Captions 28-29, 12 heißt: Ich liebe dich Kapitel 4: Liebe auf den ersten Blick - Part 4

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You may also use the phrase in the form of question, in which case auf becomes worauf:


Worauf hast 'n du Bock?

What are you up for?

Caption 29, Mario Barth und Paul Panzer Männersache - Part 2

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Further Learning
Read the Duden dictionary page for der Bock and scroll down to Wendungen, Redensarten, Sprichwörter to read other expressions related to this noun. You can also go to Yabla German and search for other examples using the noun der Bock to see other contexts where the phrase is used.

Continuer la lecture

The adjective übel

The adjective übel in German has a number of translations, both alone and in various idiomatic contexts. First of all, it can mean "queasy," "sick to one's stomach," or "nauseated": 


Davon wurde manchem übel.

Some people became sick to their stomachs from that.

Caption 13, Deutsche Welle: Was ist das Reinheitsgebot?

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It can also be used colloquially to express dislike of something, and means "bad," "objectionable," or "over the top."


Na ja, vielleicht ist es ja gar nicht so übel.

Well, maybe that isn't that bad at all.

Caption 51, Küss mich, Frosch: Für immer Frosch?

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Auch diese ganzen Witze, auch vor allem, wie die Frankfurter sie sich über Offenbach ausdenken, die sind übel, ja?

Also, all of these jokes, above all how those from Frankfurt come up with things about Offenbach, they are over the top, right?

Captions 43-44, Badesalz Offenbach gegen Frankfurt

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You also might hear the colloquial expression jemandem etwas übel nehmen. This means "to take something the wrong way" or "to hold something against someone."


Deshalb nimmt es Ihnen dort auch niemand übel, wenn Sie es sich mal eben in einem der kostbaren Oldtimer bequem machen.

That's also why no one there will hold it against you if you just make yourself comfortable in one of the valuable vintage automobiles.

Captions 6-7, Rhein-Main Ferien Technische Sammlung Hochhut

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Further Learning
Although übel is not necessarily an adjective we hope you will have to use, you can practice using the word in its various contexts in case a relevant situation arises. Nimm es mir nicht übel = "Don't hold it against me."  Mir ist übel = "I am feeling nauseated."

Continuer la lecture

erforderlich vs. förderlich

The adjectives erforderlich and förderlich appear and sound very similar, but have very different meanings. I have found myself constantly having to check these words in a dictionary when writing business emails in German, so writing this lesson is hopefully going to help me learn the differences between the two as well!


The first of the two adjectives, erforderlich, is usually used to reinforce the serious necessity of a statement, and can be translated variously as "necessary," "required," "essential," "requisite," "needed," and "consequential." 


Die Partner sollten dieses Angebot annehmen und die Chance nutzen, denn es ist dringend erforderlich.

The partners should accept this offer and use the opportunity, as it is urgently necessary.

Captions 63-64, Angela Merkel Gemeinsame Pressekonferenz mit Barack Obama

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Nur bei einem Notruf erfolgt eine Datenübermittlung, und dann werden auch nur die Daten übermittelt, die für die Erbringung der Hilfeleistung unbedingt erforderlich sind.

Only in the case of an emergency call is a transfer of data carried out and then also only the data are transferred that are absolutely essential for the provision of assistance after the accident.

Captions 36-38, Sicherheit im Straßenverkehr Versicherer entwickeln automatischen Notruf für alle Autos

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As you may have noticed, the texts above are respectively from a government official and a statistician, and thus the sentences are quite complicated. In fact, both erforderlich and förderlich are more often used in written German and far less in spoken German. Here are some examples of förderlich from written German sources: 


Dabei konnte ich ihm zu meiner großen Freude förderlich sein.
To my great joy I could be of use to him in that matter.

From Heinrich Mann's novel Der Untertan, in the 1921 translation by Ernest Boyd under the title "The Patrioteer."


Wenn die Boote gleich reihenweise ausfallen, ist das nicht gerade förderlich.
It's not exactly beneficial if the boats drop out in rows.
From a 2006 article in the newspaper Die Welt


Jedenfalls reicht aber die Stabilität so weit, dass sie genügt, ein förderliches Ideal einer Wissenschaft zu begründen.
In any case, however, the stability extends so far that it is sufficient to establish a beneficial ideal of science.

From Ernst Mach's article "Erkenntnis und Irrtum" in Philosophie von Platon bis Nietzsche, Berlin 1905.


The adjective förderlich can be variously translated as "beneficial," "of use," "advantageous," and "conducive."


It's easiest for me to remember the difference between the two in that erforderlich is usually associated with a demanding tone and thus more serious, so I remember: the longer word is more serious. On the other hand, förderlich is usually used in a positive and thus lighter context, so  I remember: the less serious word is the shorter of the two.


Further Learning
Write some sample sentences in English mixing the various translations of the two words above, then test your knowledge by translating the sentences into German and see if you translated erforderlich and förderlich correctly. 

Continuer la lecture

Meinetwegen and von mir aus

The German word meinetwegen is used in several different contexts. Its first meaning can be translated as "on my account" or "for me" in English.


Ich weiß, ihr seid nicht meinetwegen gekommen.

I know you haven't come because of me.

Caption 3, Verstehen Sie Spaß?: Sascha Grammel

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Hat Themba wirklich nur meinetwegen ein Eigentor gemacht?

Did Themba really score a goal against his own team just because of me?

Caption 33, Die Pfefferkörner: Eigentor

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It can also mean "for example" or "assuming that":


Und wenn du dich jetzt meinetwegen dort auf die Seite drehst...

And if you now turn onto your side, for example...

Caption 63, Die Schmerzspezialisten: Diese Schlafposition solltest du unbedingt vermeiden!

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Additionally, meinetwegen can also suggest indifference, translated as "for all I care" or even the very rude "whatever" below. 


Machen Sie doch meinetwegen, was Sie wollen!

But do what you want, for all I care!

Caption 61, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Der Rattenfänger von Hameln

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Meinetwegen“, brummte Frederick.

"Whatever," grumbled Frederick.

Caption 42, Piggeldy und Frederick Unendlichkeit

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Von mir aus is a colloquial expression, and can be translated as "for all I care," "as far as I'm concerned," or even simply "I don't mind."


In welcher Form auch immer... bis morgen früh von mir aus.

In whichever form… till early morning, as far as I'm concerned.

Caption 45, Fastnacht: Karneval Quartier Latin

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Von mir aus bleibe ich ewig.

I don't mind remaining forever.

Caption 7, Max Giesinger: Nicht so schnell

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Was meinst du? -Von mir aus. -Vielleicht hat hier jemand was gesehen.

What do you think? -I don't mind. -Maybe someone here saw something.

Caption 43, Die Pfefferkörner: Eigentor

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Further Learning
Take a look for additional examples on Yabla German and try working on your own sentences with meinetwegen and responses with von mir aus

Continuer la lecture

Valentine's Day in Germany

Although Valentine's Day doesn't take over Germany in February like it does the United States, it has a growing presence. In the video Valentinstag: in Karlsruhe, Diane interviews locals to find out what they think of Valentine's Day and what their plans are. Below, you can find some vocabulary about love and relationships to listen for while watching. For more practice, check out this free Valentine's course from Yabla German and smarterGerman!


Wir sind hier am romantischen Karlsruher Schloss und hier gibt es auch ein paar Liebespärchen.

We are here at the romantic Karlsruhe Palace and there are also a few couples here.

Captions 47-48, Valentinstag in Karlsruhe

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Und wurden Sie heute Morgen mit einem romantischen Frühstück überrascht oder einem Blumenstrauß?

And were you surprised this morning with a romantic breakfast or a bouquet of flowers?

Captions 58-59, Valentinstag: in Karlsruhe

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Die Karlsruher Pyramide befindet sich mitten im Stadtzentrum von Karlsruhe und ist ein beliebter Treffpunkt für Verabredungen.

The Karlsruhe Pyramid is located in the middle of the city center of Karlsruhe and is a favorite meeting place for dates.

Captions 5-6, Valentinstag: in Karlsruhe

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Und haben Sie da schon was geplant für Ihre Lieben?

And have you already planned something for your loved ones?

Caption 36, Valentinstag: in Karlsruhe

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Achtung! Eine Verabredung is not always a date, and verabredet sein doesn't always mean you have a date. It may just mean you have an appointment. Similarly, it is possible to say Ihr Lieben without it indicating romantic love. 


Besonders Diamanten sind ein Symbol für ewige Liebe.

In particular, diamonds are a symbol of eternal love.

Caption 12, Valentinstag in Karlsruhe

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Ich bin dafür, dass, wenn man jemanden richtig gern und lieb hat, man ihm jeden Tag das ein kleines bisschen zeigt...

I am of the opinion that you if you really are really fond of someone and love them, then you show them that a little bit every day...

Captions 41-43, Valentinstag: in Karlsruhe

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Further Learning
In addition to Diane's interviews, learn about what Valentine's Day is like in Germany from the point of view of a florist and check out the free Valentine's course from Yabla German and smarterGerman mentioned above!


Continuer la lecture

The prepositional negation nicht ohne

The standard negation in German — when you say that something is "not" by using nicht — is relatively straightforward for native English speakers. Although its placement in a sentence may differ from English, often falling at the end of a sentence (Ich liebe dich... nicht!), it usually parallels the use of the English word "not." A standard German phrase combined with the preposition ohne ("without") might read:


Das ist nicht ohne Risiko,

This is not without risk,

Caption 14, Die letzten Paradiese: Die Schönheit der Alpen 1

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Nee, nee, nee, mein Lieber, nicht ohne dich.

No, no, no, my dear, not without you.

Caption 75, Großstadtrevier: St. Pauli rettet HSV

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Und da bin ich nicht ohne Sorge.

And there I'm not without worries.

Caption 60, Holocaust-Gedenktag: Gespräch mit jüdischen Schülern

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Note that in the above cases, the phrase nicht ohne has an object that defines what is lacking, in the above examples Risiko, dich, and Sorge respectively. But what does it mean when somebody says nicht ohne without an object? To say "Oh, that's not without" in English is a sentence fragment with no clear meaning.


To say nicht ohne with no defined object in German, however, is an idiomatic or slang usage that has been in use since at least the 17th century, according to the Redensarten-Index website. To leave a word out of a sentence is what's known in linguistics as an ellipsis. This particular ellipsis is more difficult to immediately understand than most of those in English, however. 


Ein Radfahrer... Das ist nicht ohne.

A bicyclist... That is difficult.

Caption 22, Knallerfrauen: Mathehausaufgaben

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Mein Fahrgestell ist nämlich auch nicht ganz ohne.

My undercarriage isn't exactly without its dangers, either.

Caption 27, Oskar - Gehen, wenn es am schönsten ist: Nur die Liebe zählt

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Thus, depending upon the specific context, the phrase nicht ohne can mean that something is difficult, dangerous, or to be taken seriously.


Further Learning
Read the above link for the Redensarten-Index and search for more examples of nicht ohne on Yabla German to see other ways that the phrase can be used in German sentences.

Continuer la lecture

The preposition seit: "since" or "for"?

One of the most common mistakes that native German speakers make when translating the preposition seit to English is to always render it as "since," but in contexts where the English word is meant to be used to indicate the passing of a period of time, it should usually be translated as "for." The mistake seems to be common with Europeans speaking English, as I hear it regularly on the streets and in cafés and restaurants in Berlin, where so many Europeans are speaking English as a lingua franca.


Yes, I have been going there since (correct: for) many years.
We've been wanting to visit Paris since (correct: for) at least a decade.
I have lived in Berlin since (correct: for) 16 years. 


It's easy to see how this mistake is made, as the German sentence uses the word seit and as it's actually correct to use "since" if a specific year is used in the same sentences: 


Yes, I have been going there since 2016.
We've been wanting to visit Paris since at least 2010.
I have lived in Berlin since 2004. 


Here are some examples of seit used on Yabla German with the correct English translations "for" and "since." Note the way that the context of each sentence changes which English word is used.


„Mir ist so“, maulte Piggeldy, „als tue ich das schon seit Tagen!“

"For me it's like," muttered Piggeldy, "as if I have already been doing this for days!"

Caption 11, Piggeldy und Frederick Wanderdüne

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Seit Montag wird das Lied im Radio gespielt

The song has been playing on the radio since Monday

Caption 33, Liza Ein Lied für Opel

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sie schreibt ihr Referat, an dem sie schon seit zwei Wochen arbeitet.

she is writing her paper that she has been working on for two weeks.

Caption 15, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren Relativsätze mit Präpositionen - Part 6

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Seit vergangener Woche hat die Kranich-Airline nun ihren ersten gebrandeten A dreihundertachtzig in Betrieb.

Since last week, the crane airline has now had its first branded A three hundred and eighty at work.

Caption 9, Rund um den Flughafen Der neue Airbus A-380

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Na ja, ich krieg' ja seit Monaten keine Wochenendzeitungen mehr.

Oh well, I haven't been getting a weekend newspaper for months.

Caption 8, Großstadtrevier Von Monstern und Mördern - Part 4

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OK, ihr seid jetzt seit April in Deutschland, ja?

OK, you have been in Germany now since April, right?

Caption 1, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren Relativsätze mit Präpositionen - Part 4

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Ich spiel' jetzt schon seit zehn Jahren Handball

I've been playing handball for ten years now

Caption 7, Jenny und Alena Handball

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Also, die Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie gibt es seit dem Jahr zweitausend-und-acht

Well, the sustainability strategy has been there since the year two thousand eight

Caption 37, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell Nachhaltigkeit

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A general rule of thumb is to translate seit as "since" if it refers to a specific date such as a year, month, or day of the week. If it is referring to a length of time, such as "many years," then seit is usually translated as "for."


Further Learning
Compare other contexts in which seit is used on Yabla German and study some other uses of the word in which the preposition seit can also be translated as "because."

Continuer la lecture

Kannst du berlinern?

Have you ever seen "Berlin" as the verb berlinern? It means to speak with a Berlin dialect. Now you may not necessarily want to learn to speak like a waschechter Berliner (Berlin native), but it's good to get your ears around hearing it a bit so it's easier to understand! This week we'll go through some sample videos of people speaking Berlinerisch. Here are some of the main features of the dialect. 


Ick (or icke) instead of ich


Ick [ich] hab' die alle manipuliert, ick hab' die alle manipuliert.

I've manipulated them all, I've manipulated them all.

Caption 17, Rapucation Lernen durch Rapmusik - Part 4



Wat instead of was


Und Bananen, so wat [so was] fressen bei uns nur die Affen, du Affe.

And bananas, only apes devour stuff like that where we live, you ape.

Caption 60, Die Klasse Berlin '61 - Part 2



Keen and weeß instead of kein and weiß; in fact, most standard German "ei" sounds are pronounced as "ee": 


Alle keen [kein] Zuhause oder wat [was]? -[„Die Anstalt“, Regie: Axel Bock]

All of you don't have a home or what? -["The Institution", directed by Axel Bock]

Caption 53, Alexander Hauff Showreel - Part 2



Dett [dass] ick [ich] nicht deine Geliebte bin, weeß [weiß] ick [ich] och [auch],

I do know that I'm not your lover,

Caption 14, Mathieu Carriere Ein Mann will nach oben


You probably noticed too that dass in the above is spoken as dett and auch as och: a translation to standard German would be: Dass ich nicht deine Geliebte bin, weiß ich auch.


Another typical feature of Berlinerisch is that the hard German "g" is rendered as a soft German "j": janz jenau!


Sind janz [ganz] schön viele. -Bärbel.

That is a whole lot. -Bärbel.

Caption 12, Die Klasse Berlin '61 - Part 12



There are also a number of words that are unique to Berlin, such as der Kiez instead of die Nachbarschaft:


Gitarrist Jürgen Ehle wohnt seit fünfundzwanzig Jahren in dem Kiez und schwelgt in Erinnerungen.

Guitarist Jürgen Ehle has lived for twenty-five years in the neighborhood, and luxuriates in memories.

Captions 3-4, Pankow Rolling Stones des Ostens



Further Learning
Read the German Wikipedia page about the Berlin dialect and look for some of the unique Berlin words on Yabla German to accustom yourself to understanding it.

Continuer la lecture

Je nach and je nachdem...

It's good to get familiar with the phrase je nach (and je nachdem), which is usually translated as "according to" or "depending on." Here are some examples.


Ähm, wir haben natürlich je nach Film junge Pärchen da. Wir haben, ähm, die Actionfans da.

Um, we have, of course, depending on the film, young couples here. We have, um, the action fans here.

Caption 22, Autokino Gravenbruch

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Wenn die fünfhundert Gramm Mehl abgewogen sind, kann man je nach Belieben noch eine Prise Salz hinzugeben.

When the five hundred grams of flour are measured out, you can also, according to taste, add a pinch of salt.

Captions 7-8, Bayrische Spätzle mit Christiane

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Je nach der Branche, in der man arbeiten möchte, kann man auch Arbeitsproben oder die Referenzen der letzten Arbeitgeber hinzufügen.

Depending on the field that you would like to work in, you can also add work samples or the references from the previous employers.

Captions 30-31, Eva erklärt Bewerbungen - Part 1

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Stimmt nicht! Flüchtlinge bekommen je nach Situation eine Bleibe und Versorgung im Wert von zweihundertsiebenundachtzig bis dreihundertneunundfünfzig Euro pro Monat.

Not true! Refugees receive, according to their situation, shelter and provisions at a value of two hundred eighty-seven to three hundred fifty-nine euros per month.

Captions 7-8, Flüchtlingskrise 10 Vorurteile, die nicht stimmen

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Darin enthalten sind allerdings noch nicht die Kosten für das Autogramm, so werden je nach Bekanntheitsgrad des Schauspielers schnell bis zu zweihundert Euro für die Fan-Erinnerung fällig,

However, this still does not include the cost of the autograph, so depending on the level of fame of the actor, up to two hundred euros can be soon owed for the fan memento,

Captions 12-14, Star Wars Treffen der Fangemeinde

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Historisch hatten die entweder Leder oder halt, äh, Turban, und gewickelt, je nachdem, wo sie beim Militär waren,

Historically, they had either leather or just, uh, a turban and wrapped it around, according to where they served in the military,

Captions 17-19, Mit Schwert und Schild Gladiatorenschule in Trier

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Je nachdem is correct when it is followed by a subordinate clause as is the above case, whereas je nach dem is only correct when followed by a masculine or neuter noun – and only when the definite article is mentioned, which is usually not the case (for example, you would never say je nach dem Belieben; only je nach Belieben is correct). Je nach dem is, for example, correct in je nach dem zugrunde liegenden Gedanken.


Further Learning
Write down some example sentences in English using "according to" and "depending on" and translate them into German. You can ask your teacher or a classmate to check your work for you. You can also go to Yabla German and find some other examples of sentences using je nach.

Continuer la lecture

Celebrating in German

New Year's Eve is just around the corner! We at Yabla wish you einen guten Rutsch and hope to contribute to your festivities with some relevant vocabulary. 

Eine kurze Frage: Wie feiern Sie Weihnachten? -Mit der Familie.

A quick question: How do you celebrate Christmas? -With the family.

Caption 10, Weihnachtsinterviews: Diane in Karlsruhe

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Wir werden wahrscheinlich mit ein paar Freunden feiern.

We will probably celebrate with a few friends.

Caption 5, Silvester Vorsätze für das neue Jahr: Karlsruhe

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The noun die Feier is used for a party or celebration, although it's normal to hear die Party as well. You may remember from our recent newsletter that the preposition auf is used: Wir gehen auf eine Party for "We're going to a party," and Wir sind auf einer Party for "We're at a party."


Hauptsache sie haben Spaß. -Hauptsache: Party und schöne Stimmung!

The main thing is that hey have fun. -The main thing: party and good vibes!

Caption 63, Fastnacht - Karneval: Karnevalisten

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Und natürlich drückt das auf die Partystimmung.

And, of course, that puts a damper on the party atmosphere.

Caption 60, Heute-Show 30 Jahre Mauerfall: So feiern die Deutschen ihre Einheit

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Fun fact: die Stimmung can refer to instruments being in tune, but also means "mood" or "atmosphere." 

And finally, a slang usage related to celebration is Lass es krachen!, which literally means "Make noise!" 


Also, dann wünsch ich dir viel Spaß. -Danke schön. -Und lass es krachen!

So, then I hope you have a lot of fun. -Thank you. -And make some noise!

Caption 17, Fasching mit Cettina

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Further Learning
For more about New Year's Eve in Germany, you can do a quick search for our related videos on Yabla German. You can also review our previous newsletters on the topic: Learn about the origins of the word Silvester and make a few New Year's resolutions in German!

Continuer la lecture

Christmas Eve Traditions in Germany

For the last weeks, many Germans have been visiting Christmas markets, opening the windows of their advent calendars, and celebrating Nikolaus. Tomorrow night is Christmas Eve, which is called der Heiligabend or der Heilige Abend in German. Let's look at some vocabulary associated with Christmas Eve traditions. 


Many families in Germany will have gotten a Christmas tree and decorated it in time for Christmas Eve. A Christmas tree can be referred to as der Tannenbaum (which is simply "the fir tree"), der Weihnachtsbaum, or der Christbaum.


Jetzt schmücken wir den Baum noch mit ein paar goldenen Kugeln.

Now we'll decorate the tree with a few golden balls.

Caption 57, Frohe Weihnachten der Christbaum

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In Germany, it is traditional to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve rather than the next morning. The exchange of gifts is known as die Bescherung


Wie machen Sie das mit der Bescherung?

How do you do your gift exchange?

Caption 7, Weihnachtsinterviews Diane in Karlsruhe

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Families may go to mass as part of their Christmas Eve tradition:

Meistens gehen wir auch vorher... vorher noch in die Kirche

Usually we also still go beforehand... to church beforehand.

Caption 37, Weihnachtsinterviews Cettina in Linkenheim

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A traditional Christmas Eve meal in Germany is rather simple, consisting of either fish, or sausages with potato salad. The large Christmas feast is generally eaten on Christmas day. Throughout these days, there are also many sweets that are typically consumed. For more information on these, we would suggest watching the following video by Eva:


Nachdem ich euch ein typisches deutsches Weihnachtsessen gezeigt habe, kommen wir nun zum Wichtigsten, nämlich den Weihnachtsnaschereien.

After I've shown you a typical German Christmas meal, we now come to the most important [thing], namely, the Christmas goodies.

Captions 9-10, Weihnachtsessen mit Eva

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Further Learning
For more holiday vocabulary, check out our recent blog post. There are a number of individual videos on Yabla German that will certainly get you into the Christmas spirit. Listen to a traditional Christmas song, see Krampus parade around at the Christmas market in Munich, and watch some Germans decorate a Christmas tree under water. Or watch one of our feature films, such as Ein Sack voll Gold or Weihnachtsmann gesucht, starring a young Christoph Waltz!

Continuer la lecture

Indefinite pronouns in the dative case: jemandem

The words "somebody," "someone," "anybody," and "anyone" are indefinite pronouns that are usually translated as jemand in German. The indefinite pronoun jemand is similar to the definite pronouns I (ich), you (Sie or du), we (wir), or they (sie), but is referring to an indefinite rather than specific person.


Just like the definite pronouns in German, jemand is also subject to changing its form when used in the dative case after prepositions like nach, zu, mit or von. In the dative case, jemand gets an additional -em ending:


Sie suchen nach jemandem für ihre Marketingabteilung.

They're looking for someone for their marketing department.

Caption 8, Berufsleben das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 1

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Es ist lange her, dass ich so eine Verbindung zu jemandem gespürt habe.

It's been a long time since I felt such a connection to anyone.

Caption 53, Die Wohngemeinschaft Die Verabredung - Part 1

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Habt ihr mit jemandem Probleme, sagt's ihm ins Gesicht

If you have problems with someone, tell him to his face

Caption 57, Golo Smile

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Der Vorschlag müsste von jemandem kommen,

The proposal would have to come from someone

Caption 46, Pastewka Neue Serie für Kessler

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This is also true when the sentence structure requires the dative case, such as when you give somebody something:


Jemandem einen Korb geben.

To give someone a basket.

Caption 17, Eva erklärt Sprichwörter - Part 3

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The above expression usually is an idiom that means you are rejecting something that has been offered. Another figure of speech that you may already know is:


Und wenn ich jemandem die Daumen drücke, dann wünsche ich der Person ganz viel Glück.

And if I press my thumbs for someone, then I'm wishing the person a whole lot of luck.

Captions 28-29, Eva erklärt Redewendungen

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Further Learning
Look for other examples of how jemandem is used in a real-world context on Yabla German and try devising some sentences of your own using jemandem and have a fellow student check your work! If you're feeling brave you can explore the related expressions irgendjemandem and irgendwem!



Continuer la lecture