Leçons Allemand


Bis zum... Not just "until"

There are many videos on Yabla German that end with the following sentence:


Ich verabschiede mich bis zum nächsten Mal. Tschüs!
I'll say goodbye until next time. Bye!

Caption 36, Jenny erklärt - Zeitintervalle

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Indeed, the preposition bis is most often translated as "until" when used in sentences about time. You have also likely seen von and bis zu (or ab and bis zu) used together to denote a timespan. Note the use of the dative.


Das zwölfte internationale Trickfilm-Festival in Wiesbaden vom vierzehnten bis zum siebzehnten Oktober im Biebricher Schloss.    
The Twelfth International Animation Festival in Wiesbaden from the fourteenth until the seventeenth of October at the Biebrich Palace.

Captions 18-19, Internationales Trickfilmwochenende - im Biebricher Schloss

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In Deutschland haben Kinder ab dem Alter von drei Jahren bis zur Einschulung einen Anspruch auf...

Starting at the age of three until enrollment in school, children in Germany are entitled to...

Caption 20, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 18

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When we speak about deadlines in English, we use the preposition "by." As it turns out, this is one of many instances in which "by" is not equivalent to bei. Indeed, bis and bis zum/zur are used to express this as well. 


und die Sturmschäden werden bis zum Ende des Jahrhunderts um gut fünfzig Prozent zunehmen.

and the storm damages will increase by a good fifty percent by the end of the century.

Caption 20, Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft - Naturgefahrenreport

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Ob wir das schaffen bis zum Trainingslager, ist fraglich,

If we manage that in time for the training camp is questionable,

Caption 38, Fußball - Saisonpremiere - Part 1

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Further Learning
Any time you speak about a deadline in your German class or in a real-life situation, note the use of bis or use it yourself! Examples could include... Bis wann muss die Hausarbeit abgegeben werden? (in class), Bis wann müssen wir das Zimmer geräumt haben? (at a hotel), or Bis wann muss der Bericht fertig sein? (in a meeting).

Continuer la lecture

Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei

In English, one way of saying that an event is finished or done with is to say that it's "over." In German, the word über, though usually meaning "about,"  is sometimes translated as "over" when it is referring to the physical placement of something: 


Ganz zum Schluss verteile ich meinen Zuckerguss über den Kuchen.

Right at the end, I spread my sugar frosting over the cake.

Caption 36, Apfelkuchen - mit Eva

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But in German, if you want to say that an event is over, the word über turns out to be a kind of false friend: the correct term here is vorbei


Doch diese Zeiten sind vorbei.

But those times are over.

Caption 12, Christina Stürmer - Wir leben den Moment

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Meine Stunden bei der Gepäckverladung der Bodenverkehrsdienste sind vorbei.

My hours at the baggage loading area of the ground traffic services are over.

Caption 45, Selbst versucht - Gepäckabfertigung bei Fraport

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Es ist jetzt vorbei, ich starte neu.

It's over now, I'm starting anew.

Caption 7, Beatrice Egli Irgendwann

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Depending upon the context, vorbei can also be translated as "passed," or "gone," or "past," to name a few possibilities:


Vier Jahre sind vorbei und unser Team ist mit dabei.

Four years have passed and our team is in.

Caption 9, Die gestiefelten Zwerge - Am Kap der Hoffnung steht der Cup

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... denn dann ist der Zauber vorbei.

... because then the magic is gone.

Caption 57, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Aschenputtel

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Der Winter ist vorbei.

The winter is past.

Caption 2, Jahreszeiten - Der Frühling

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Another possibility for expressing that something is over or has passed by is the adverb vorüber


So, jetzt ist der Haxen fertig, die drei Stunden sind vorüber.

So now the knuckle is finished, the three hours have passed by.

Caption 45, Kochen mit Cettina - Schweinshaxe

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Ein Jahr weht vorüber...

A year flies past...

Caption 24, rheinmain Szene - Selig - Part 1

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and see the many other examples of vorbei and vorüber in a real world context. See too if you can correctly translate the title of this week's lesson: Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei. Hint: the direct translation "fat years" isn't quite right! 

Continuer la lecture

Auf einen zukommen

The above is a common German phrase that appears a bit odd in English, in that it seems to have the prepositions "on" and "to" in it, but that's not the case. On its own, the verb zukommen means "to belong to" or "to be assigned to," but when you add the preposition auf, together with a direct object such as einen, mich, dich, sie, ihnuns, etc., its meaning changes: 


Ich weiß ja noch nicht, was auf mich zukommen würde.

I don't know yet what would lie ahead of me.

Caption 83, 18 Miss-Kandidatinnen - beim Friseur

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Wir wussten, was auf uns zukommt.

We knew what to expect.

Caption 55, Fußball - U21-Nationalmannschaft - Part 1

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...weil wir eben zu viele Einflüsse haben, die auf uns zukommen.

...because we just have too many influences that are reaching us.

Caption 29, Gamification - Wie Spielen den Alltag interessanter macht - Part 1

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Wie wenn Störtebeker eine Hanse-Kogge auf sich zukommen sah.

Like when Störtebeker saw a Hanseatic ship approaching him.

Caption 89, Großstadtrevier - St. Pauli rettet HSV - Part 2

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Die Koggen, die du heute Abend auf dich zukommen siehst...

The ships that you'll see coming toward you tonight...

Caption 92, Großstadtrevier - St. Pauli rettet HSV - Part 2

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Damit war eigentlich nur gemeint, ob euch klar war, wie viel da auf euch zukommt.

I actually just meant whether it was clear in your mind how much there is in store for you.

Caption 20, Luxuslärm - Interview - Part 3

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As you see above, depending upon the context, auf [einen] zukommen is variously translated as "to be expecting someone or something," "to be reaching someone or something," "to be approaching someone or something," "to be coming toward someone or something," and "to be in store for someone or something." 


Further Learning
Look at the examples above on Yabla German to get a better grasp of the contexts in which auf einen zukommen is used so that you can better understand its meaning and learn how to integrate the phrase into your own vocabulary.

Continuer la lecture

Sentences with je... desto... and je... umso...

In English, we would say "the more you practice, the better you will speak German." In German, these types of parallel comparatives are called Proportionalsätze, and are constructed as follows:


Je + comparative adjective (phrase)desto or umso + comparative adjective (phrase).


Take a look at the examples below, paying special attention to the positions of the adjectives (or the words mehr or weniger) and the verbs in both clauses. 


Und je positiver das ausfällt, desto motivierender.

And the more positive that is, the more motivational.

Caption 65, Gamification - Wie Spielen den Alltag interessanter macht - Part 1

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Je niedriger die Regionalklasse, desto günstiger wirkt sich das auf den Versicherungsbeitrag aus.

The lower the regional classification, the cheaper it makes the insurance payment.

Captions 10-11, Kfz-Versicherung - Was ist die Regionalklasse?

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Denn je kälter es wird, desto weniger Zeit dürfen sie draußen sein.

Because the colder it gets, the less time they're allowed to be outside.

Caption 4, Im Zoo - Tiere im Winter

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Je mehr Energie ich spare, desto weniger muss ich auch jagen. So einfach ist das.

The more energy I save, the less I have to hunt. It's that simple.

Caption 17, Für Tierfreunde - Geparden

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Ja, und je braver wir zum Hund sind, desto mehr macht er, was er will.

Yes, and the nicer we are to the dog, the more he does just what he wants.

Caption 25, Haustiere als Geschenk? - Vier Pfoten unterm Weihnachtsbaum

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Often, you will see the word umso rather than desto


Aber je mehr uns davon gelingt, umso besser.

But the more it succeeds for us, the better.

Caption 31, Angela Merkel - beim Nachhaltigkeitsrat - Part 2

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Je eleganter man wirkt, umso mehr wird man auch anerkannt... gesellschaftlich, beruflich...

The more elegant one appears, the more one is also accepted... socially, professionally...

Caption 42, Auf dem Laufsteg - Modelcollege in Wiesbaden

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Further Learning
Based on the structures you see above, make up your own sentences with je and desto umso. If you need some comparative adjectives to get you started, you can find a few helpful tables on this page. You can also visit Yabla German and look for further examples.

Continuer la lecture

Zählen and zahlen

Sometimes it's good to just set the record straight, and with that intention, let's take a look at zählen and zahlen. Short and sweet: zählen is "to count," and zahlen is "to pay."


Sie zählen die Stimmen nach dem Ende der Wahl.

They count the votes after the end of the election.

Caption 4, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 6

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Das macht zusammen vierzig Euro fünfzig. Zahlen Sie bar oder mit Karte?

All together that is forty euros and fifty cents. Will you be paying in cash or with a card?

Caption 7, Nicos Weg - Folge 16: Zahlen, bitte!

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Although you might be able to come up with a mnemonic device that you find helpful, simply remembering that Ich möchte zahlen means "I would like to pay" may be enough to help you sort it out. At the same time, you might still find that you get flustered mid-sentence trying to remember which verb is correct. It doesn't help that the noun die Zahlen means the "the numbers." It is the plural version of the noun die Zahl:


Der Adventskalender hat vierundzwanzig Türen, und auf jeder steht eine Zahl.

The Advent calendar has twenty-four doors, and each one has a number on it.

Caption 11, Eva erklärt - den Adventskalender

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In English, "to count" can also mean "to matter." Zählen is also used to mean "to count," "to count as" or "to number among." Take a look at these examples: 


Beim Blocken zählt jede Sekunde.

When blocking, every second counts.

Caption 37, Olympische Spiele - Beachvolleyball

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Sie zählt mit zu Deutschlands erfolgreichsten Sängerinnen.

She is counted among Germany's most successful singers.

Caption 2, Cassandra Steen - Geheimnis für positive Energie

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And one final note: you probably have wondered what the difference is between zahlen and bezahlen. The truth is that they are often interchangeable, but there are some instances where zahlen is wrong. For example, when you speak about paying a person for a service, you would generally use bezahlen and not zahlen


Further Learning
Look up the meanings of the related verbs anzahlen, zurückzahlen, and auszahlen, and search Yabla German to find them used in a real-world context. Some words related to zählen are die Volkszählung ("census") and der Stromzähler ("the electricity meter").

Continuer la lecture

The Verb ausschließen and the Adjective ausgeschlossen

If you examine the root word and prefix of the separable verb ausschließen and the adjective ausgeschlossen, you find the verb schließen ("to shut") and the prefix aus ("out"). These words may, in some contexts, be translated respectively as "to shut out" to "shut out," but they are more commonly used in a figurative sense. 


Dafür kommen die Zoobesucher aber ganz schön nah an die Geparden ran, direkter Blickkontakt nicht ausgeschlossen.

In return, the zoo visitors come pretty close to the cheetahs, direct eye contact not being ruled out.

Captions 37-38, Für Tierfreunde - Geparden

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BHF ist angezählt, ein Verkauf nicht ausgeschlossen.

BHF is down for the count, a sale has not been ruled out.

Caption 49, Journal Wirtschaft - Business News

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Väter sind nicht grundsätzlich vom Training ausgeschlossen.

Fathers aren't necessarily excluded from the training [sessions].

Caption 39, Neuer Fitness-Trend - Kinderwagen-Workout

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Weitere Windparks in der Ostsee sind nicht ausgeschlossen.

Additional wind parks in the Baltic Sea haven't been ruled out.

Caption 18, Windenergie - Ostsee-Windpark Baltic 2 speist Strom ins Netz

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Thus, the adjective ausgeschlossen is generally translated, depending on the context, as "excluded" or "ruled out." As a simple interjection, however, an exclamatory Ausgeschlossen! means "impossible." 


The verb ausschließen has a similar meaning: 


Wir schließen aber nicht aus, dass wir irgendwann mal wieder eine Show machen.

But we won't rule out that we'll do a show again some day.

Caption 28, rheinmain Szene - Michael "Bully" Herbig

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Some other possible translations of ausschließen, depending on the context, can be "to exclude," "to preclude," "to expel," "to eliminate," and "to disqualify."


Note that the verb ausschließen always has the last syllable written with an ß rather than ss. Just to make it slightly complicated, however, the simple past tense (Indikativ) and subjective mood (Konjunktiv II) of ausschließen are written with ss instead of ß: ich schloss aus ("I ruled out") and ich schlösse aus ("Were I to rule out"). You can easily remember this in that long vowel sounds like ie always take the ß afterwards, and short vowels like o the letters ss.

Continuer la lecture

The Proof is in the Pudding

The German language does not have an equivalent to the rather odd phrase above, which originated in the proverb that the proof of the flavor of a pudding is in the eating of it. The phrase means that the end result is the mark of the success or failure of one’s efforts or planning. The most common words used as "proof," or "evidence," or "to prove" in German are the noun der Beweis and the verb beweisen. Here are some examples of the noun:


Den Beweis tritt die hübsche Münchnerin ausgerechnet in der alpinen Bergwelt Österreichs an.

The pretty Munich resident produces the evidence, of all places, in the alpine mountain world of Austria.

Captions 5-6, Im Höhenflug - Ariadne (die Ex von Lothar Matthäus)

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Endlich ein Beweis dafür, dass ich nicht im Baum sitze und was auf dich schmeiße.

Finally, evidence that I'm not sitting in the tree throwing something at you.

Caption 32, Piggeldy und Frederick - Streiten

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The phrase unter Beweis stellen, however, which is literally "to place under proof," is usually best translated to English with a verb:


Und ich freue mich sehr, meine Fähigkeiten, die ich an der Universität erworben habe, im realen Leben unter Beweis zu stellen.

And I am very excited to demonstrate the skills that I acquired in university in real life.

Captions 16-18, Berufsleben - das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 2

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Here are some examples of the verb beweisen:


So beweist NIKI, dass sich Wirtschaftlichkeit und guter Service miteinander verbinden lassen.

That's how NIKI proves that economy and good service can be connected with one another.

Captions 34-35, Fluglinien - Niki Air

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Doch wir sind hier nicht etwa beim Seniorenturnen, wie uns Daniela Katzenberger eindrucksvoll beweist, sondern bei einer Benefizveranstaltung.

But we are not here at some sort of senior gymnastics event, as Daniela Katzenberger impressively proves to us, but rather at a benefit event.

Captions 14-16, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell - Kick für Kids

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Im Video zur ersten Single muss Clueso dann auch gleich beweisen, dass er noch fit ist.

In the video of the first single, Clueso must also then immediately prove that he is still fit.

Captions 6-7, Clueso - ist endlich erwachsen

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Die Person muss beweisen, dass sie wegen ihrer politischen Überzeugung, Religionszugehörigkeit, ihrer Rasse, Nationalität verfolgt wird.

The person must prove that because of their political convictions, religious affiliation, or their race or nationality, they are being persecuted.

Captions 20-21, Flüchtlingskrise - 10 Vorurteile, die nicht stimmen

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and see the various forms of der Beweis and beweisen used in a real-world context. If you want to go deeper, read this German Wikipedia article about the legal differences between der Hauptbeweis, der Gegenbeweis, and der Beweis des Gegenteils.

Continuer la lecture

The verb gelingen

You probably came across the verbs gehören and gefallen quite quickly when you began learning German. They both belong to a group of verbs in German that require a dative object. They are both a bit perplexing at first because most past participles in German begin with ge- (and gehört is indeed the past participle of hören), and also because they follow a particular structure when used in a sentence that doesn't necessarily match the structure in English.


Also, mir gehört er auf jeden Fall nicht.

Well, it definitely doesn't belong to me.

Caption 49, Das Urban-Art-Projekt - Polnischer Militärhubschrauber

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Das gefällt mir richtig, richtig gut.

I really, really like it.

Caption 5, Auto-Bild-TV - Tops & Flops der IAA

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Notice that in the case of gehören we use the same structure in English, whereas with gefallen the sentence doesn't translate directly. The closest we could come in English is "It pleases me," but this is rarely used nowadays.


Now let's look at gelingen. We notice right away that, like gehören and gefallen, it begins with ge-, which can cause some confusion since it resembles a past participle. Gelingen is indeed the infinitive, and gelungen is the participle. 


Gelingen means "to succeed," "to work out," or "to manage to do something." When we express this in English, the structure is very different. You could almost say that the subject and object are switched. Whereas Das gehört mir is easily translatable as "That belongs to me," there is no such easy direct translation for phrases like Es gelingt ihnen or Es ist mir gelungen in English.


Den Tauchern gelingen die ersten Filmaufnahmen dieses Verhaltens.

The divers manage to get the first film footage of this behavior.

Caption 35, Alpenseen - Kühle Schönheiten - Part 3

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Zusammen mit seiner Freundin gelingt ihm dann beim dritten Versuch endlich die Flucht.

Together with his girlfriend, he finally manages to escape on the third attempt.

Caption 20, 25 Jahre Mauerfall - Radtour durch die Geschichte

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In the sentences above, the subjects are die ersten Filmaufnahmen and die Flucht and the objects are den Tauchern and ihm. In English, this is essentially reversed, or the adjective "successful" is employed. Here are a few more examples: 


Dem treuen Charlie gelingt zur Halbzeit, was er in sechshundertundzwei Bundesligaspielen nicht geschafft hat.

Faithful Charlie achieves at halftime what he hasn't managed in six hundred and two national league games.

Captions 28-29, Fußball - Prominente beim Benefizspiel

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Das ist uns nicht gelungen und... jetzt gilt es natürlich die nächsten Spiele hochkonzentriert anzugehen und dann die möglichen Punkte zu holen.

We were unsuccessful and... Now it's necessary of course to approach the next matches highly concentrated and then to get all points possible.

Captions 50-51, Fußball - U21-Nationalmannschaft - Part 3

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Further Learning
Some verbs that follow similar structures in German (but not always in English!) include: fehlengehorchenpassenschmecken, and wehtun. Look these up, and then go to Yabla German to see them used in a real-world context.

Continuer la lecture

Spannend, entspannt, gespannt, and verspannt

If you look carefully at the words gespannt and entspannt in the sentence below, you'll notice that gespannt is a participle (of spannen), whereas entspannt is an adverb. 


Dann werden die Pferde vor die Kutsche gespannt und man kann ganz entspannt durch Dahlem fahren.

Then the horses are hitched up in front of the coach and one can ride very leisurely through Dahlem.

Captions 39-40, Berlin - Domäne Dahlem - Part 1

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However, you have probably also seen gespannt used as an adjective, and also perhaps come across spannend or verspannt. Let's take a look at some examples and clarify the meanings of all of these words. 


Above, entspannt is used as an adverb to mean "leisurely" or "in a relaxed way." As an adjective it means "relaxed," or you might see it as the verb entspannen, which means — you guessed it — "to relax." 


Aber es entspannt mich. -O ja.

But it relaxes me. -Oh yes.

Caption 15, Kolkhorst - Konzert

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Und das ist sehr, sehr, sehr entspannt im Gegensatz zu München, Hamburg, Berlin.

And that's very, very, very relaxed in contrast to Munich, Hamburg, Berlin.

Caption 19, Fernsehmoderatorin - Sonya Kraus

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Spannend is an adjective used to describe something that is "exciting," "interesting," or "intriguing."


Auf der Berlinale zu laufen ist schon wahnsinnig spannend.

Attending the Berlinale, indeed, is insanely exciting.

Caption 7, Berlinale - Schauspieler Jürgen Vogel

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Ich finde es sehr spannend, wie viele Facetten so ein Film hat

I find it very exciting how many facets a film like this has.

Caption 48, Filmtrailer - Der kleine Rabe Socke

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Be aware: spannend almost never describes people. It means "exciting" and NOT "excited," which is the meaning of the adjective gespannt. 


Ich bin mal gespannt, wie es klappt. Ich hoffe, es gefällt euch.

I am excited to see how it will go. I hope you like it.

Caption 41, Eva Croissant - Interview - Part 2

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Two other words you should know are angespannt and verspannt. They both translate as "tense" in a more negative sense, and often refer to the body rather than the mind.


Bauch ist leicht angespannt. Wenn wir hochkommen: ausatmen...

The belly is slightly tensed. When we come up, breathe out...

Caption 34, Workout mit Erik - Übungen für Arme, Beine, Po, Rücken

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Genau da, wo er so verspannt ist, da muss er ziehen.

exactly where it is so tense, it has to stretch there.

Caption 32, Nackenschmerzen, steifer Nacken, steifer Hals - Übungen gegen Nackenverspannungen

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Further Learning


Make sure that you understand all related words and can identify what part of speech they occupy in sentences using context clues. This includes the verbs spannensich entspannen(sich) verspannen, and anspannen. There are many examples available on Yabla German.

Continuer la lecture

All about auswärts

You are probably familiar with the name of the German governmental department responsible for relations with foreign countries: das Auswärtige Amt. This is the German equivalent of the Department of State in the United States or the Foreign Office in the United Kingdom. The adverb auswärts, however, is often used in sports: 


Und wir fangen noch auswärts an...

And we are still starting with an away game...

Caption 49, Basketball - Deutsche Bank Skyliners

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A literal translation of the above would render auswärts as only "away," but for clarity it's been translated for meaning as "an away game." In the next captions, you see the word as part of some nominalizations:


In dieser Saison gab es beim zweimaligen Aufeinandertreffen für beide Seiten einen Auswärtssieg.

In this season there was, during the two-time clash, an away victory for both sides.

Captions 40-41, Basketball - Deutsche Bank Skyliners

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In der vergangenen Auswärtspartie durfte der US-Amerikaner schon 'ran.

In the last away game, the American could already participate.

Caption 7, Deutsche Bank Skyliners - Basketball-Bundesliga

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Typisch Auswärtsmannschaft.

Typical away team.

Caption 32, Großstadtrevier - St. Pauli rettet HSV - Part 9

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The adverb auswärts has some practical usages outside of sports, however! Let's take a look at some examples as shown on the German dictionary site Duden


Lass uns doch auswärts essen!
But let's eat out


Or optionally:


Lass uns doch auswärts essen gehen!
But let's go out to eat! 


This is a very good one to know when you're tired of cooking and washing dishes at home!


Viele Schulkinder kommen von auswärts.
Many schoolchildren come from elsewhere.


This usage of auswärts means von einem anderen Ort or "from another place."


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and take a look at some of the links above to see how auswärts is used in a real-world context.

Continuer la lecture

Neuter Relative Pronouns: das or was?

Putting it in the simplest possible terms, a relative pronoun is a specific word in a sentence that has a relative clause. It's much easier to understand when you see an example: 


The book that I read is quite old.


This sentence is dependent upon "that I read" because without these words, it would not be clear which book is meant. The word "that" is the relative pronoun in the sentence. 


In the German language, the relative pronoun is dependent upon the gender of the subject noun: 


Das Buch, das ich gelesen habe, ist ganz alt. 
Der Mann, den ich gesehen habe, war ganz alt. 
Die Frau, die ich gesehen habe, war ganz alt.


As you can see, the definite articles in the nominative case must take on the accusative case as relative pronouns: das/das, der/den, die/die.


But in the case of neuter nominatives, the German word was (usually translated as "what") is also used as a relative pronoun. The use of was as a relative pronoun is generally restricted to two usages, one of which is for neuter substantivized superlatives (nouns based upon adjectives), such as das Beste or das Schönste:


Das Schönste, was ich gelesen habe, war ein Buch von Goethe.


The German word was is also used as a relative pronoun with neuter demonstrative and indefinite pronouns, such as das, dasjenige, dasselbe; alles, einiges, nichts, vieles, manches, weniges, etwas, and so forth.


Das, was Sie hören, ist Musik von Mozart.
Es gibt einiges, was ich noch lernen sollte.


It is incorrect to use the relative pronoun das in the three examples above. 


Further Learning
Here are some examples featuring relative pronouns on Yabla German. See if you can fill in the missing relative pronoun with either das or was:


Gab's etwas,          nicht so gut war?

Was there something that wasn't so good?

Caption 30, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Weil oder obwohl? - Part 2

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Das Mädchen,            am Spielfeldrand niedlich zu den Jungs hinsah...

The girl who, on the edge of the playing field, looked sweetly at the boys

Captions 2-3, Olli Schulz - Spielerfrau

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Als wäre das Leben,           hier einmal war, verbraucht.

As if the life that once was here were used up

Caption 8, Christina Stürmer - Millionen Lichter

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Er ärgert sich auch über manches,           über ihn geschrieben wird.

he also gets angry about some of what is written about him.

Caption 19, Thomas D - Ärgernisse

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Aspirin ist ein Medikament,           ich nehme, wenn ich Kopfschmerzen habe.

Aspirin is a medication that I take if I have a headache.

Captions 13-14, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren - Der Relativsatz - Part 16

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Das ist das Beste,           es gibt auf der Welt.

That's the best thing that there is in the world

Caption 36, Monsters of Liedermaching - Ein Pferd

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Milch ist ein Getränk,           ich nicht mag.

Milk is a drink that I do not like.

Caption 29, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren - Der Relativsatz - Part 16

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Alles,           mit Kommunikation und Sprache zu tun hat.

Everything that has to do with communication and language.

Caption 26, Anja Polzer - Interview - Part 1

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Deinen Namen zu nennen ist wohl das Schönste,           ich sage.

Naming your name is absolutely the most beautiful thing that I say

Caption 35, Xavier Naidoo - Ich kenne nichts (das so schön ist wie du)

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Es gibt am Flughafen wohl nichts,           es nicht gibt.

Indeed, there's nothing that you won't find at the airport.

Caption 42, Flugreisen - Was mache ich, wenn...

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Click on the video links to see if your choices were correct!


Don't feel bad if this seems hard—even native speakers sometimes get it wrong by accident or as slang usage. The full title of the song above by Xavier Naidoo is "Ich kenne nichts (das so schön ist wie du)." According to grammar rules, the das should have been was. It's also a common mistake among native speakers to say or write things like Das Buch, was ich gelesen habe and Das Buch, dass ich gelesen habe. Luckily, we now know the correct way to write it!

Continuer la lecture

Adjectives with un- and -los

In English, the prefixes "in-" and "un-" and the suffix "-less" are used to suggest a lack or negation when they are added to an adjective. In German, you will see un- and -los for negative adjectives (and adverbs!). Sometimes the resulting adjective will look similar to its English equivalent:  


Allein bin ich hilflos, ein Vogel im Wind.

Alone I am helpless, a bird in the wind.

Caption 19, Nicole - Ein bisschen Frieden

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Und keinen Schreck kriegen, das fühlt sich erst mal völlig unbequem an.

And don't be scared, at first it feels completely uncomfortable.

Caption 50, Die Schmerzspezialisten - Diese Schlafposition solltest du unbedingt vermeiden!

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Also ich finde Dramen wirklich unnötig und versuche ich auch zu vermeiden.

Well, I find drama really unnecessary and I also try to avoid it.

Caption 20, 2raumwohnung - Liebe mit Musik am Laufen halten

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Drei Lehrstellen blieben in diesem Jahr unbesetzt, es gab einfach zu wenig Bewerber.

Three apprenticeship positions were left unfilled this year, there were simply too few applicants.

Caption 13, Deutsche Welle - Lieber Ausbildung als Studium

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At the same time, you will need to be careful and learn the words individually, as there are plenty of adjectives that don't translate so clearly. Sometimes, a different suffix or prefix is used in the other language, and other times the real translation is a word that looks completely different. There are also plenty of false friends lurking about!


Es sind so wenig Menschen arbeitslos wie seit zwanzig Jahren nicht.

There haven't been so few unemployed people in twenty years.

Caption 43, Angela Merkel - Neujahrsansprache - Part 1

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Fast lautlos schwebt das größte Passagierflugzeug der Welt über den Rhein-Main-Airport.

The largest passenger plane in the world hovers almost silently above the Rhein-Main-Airport.

Caption 5, Rund um den Flughafen - Der neue Airbus A-380

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Also, ich bin komplett fassungslos, weil ich hab nie gedacht [sic], dass ich ge'... gewinnen werde und, ja...

Well, I am completely stunned because I never thought that I would wi'... win and, yes...

Caption 4, Wintersport - 7. Austrian Freeski Open - Part 3

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Further Learning
Do you know what the following adjectives/adverbs mean? Take a guess, and then see if you are right using a German to English dictionary. Mackellos, zeitlos, gehörlos, hoffnungslosgnadenloserfolglos, beispiellos, drahtlos, unverschämt, unfähig, unabhängig, unabsehbar, unerträglichunfassbar, unflexibel, unverbindlich.

Continuer la lecture

Populist Movements in Germany

Some people see the rise of populism, with Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit movement in the UK, as a threat to democracy. Fans of Trump and Brexit, however, see these developments as a legitimate expression of democracy. Germany too has seen a rise in populist movements in recent years, but with Germany's history—the Nazis, the Second World War, and the Holocaust—the country is particularly sensitive to extreme right-wing political movements.


There was a major controversy in 2011 when it was discovered that the murder of nine immigrants in Germany, all previously falsely attributed by the German police to immigrant criminal gangs, turned out to have been committed by a group of German neo-Nazis called the NSU (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund).


Weil die parlamentarische und politische Aufbereitung des NSU-Komplexes erfolgt ist...

Because the parliamentary and political preparation of issues surrounding the NSU have taken place...

Captions 9-13, Aufklärung der NSU-Verbrechen - SPD fordert Sonderkommission

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Die NSU-Morde scheinen bei ihm großen Eindruck hinterlassen zu haben.

The NSU murders seem to have left a great impression on him.

Caption 23, Blumio - Rappen für gute Unterhaltung

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In 2014, a political movement called Pegida was founded in Dresden. The name stands for Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, or "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident." The founder of Pegida resigned in 2015 after releasing images showing him posing as Adolf Hitler and making racist statements, but he was later re-elected to lead the movement. 


Ich war auch nur einmal bei Pegida.

I’ve only been to one Pegida demonstration.

Caption 62, Böhmermann - Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um? - Part 2

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Also in München: 100 Leute Pegida, 45 000 Gegendemonstranten.

So in Munich: 100 Pegida people, 45,000 counter demonstrators.

Caption 70, Böhmermann - Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um? - Part 2

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The AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) political party, however, which was founded in 2013, has been far more successful. 


Man sollte auch nicht den Fehler begehen, AfD immer nur mit Flüchtlingen zu verknüpfen und jeden Menschen, der die AfD wählt, mit Antiflüchtlingsbewegung zu verknüpfen.

You shouldn't make the mistake of always just linking the AfD with refugees and associating every person who votes for the AfD with the anti-refugee movement.

Captions 47-49, Böhmermann - Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um? - Part 3

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The AfD party currently (February 2019) occupies 91 (12.8%) of 709 seats in the German Parliament. 


The conservative Bavarian CSU leader Franz Josef Strauß once declared, "Rechts von der CSU darf es keine demokratisch legitimierte Partei geben," or "No democratically legitimate party should be allowed to exist to the right of the CSU." But with the AfD firmly established in German parliament, it appears Strauß's idea of limiting the right wing has now been overstepped. German voters, like voters in many countries in recent years, appear to be fed up with career politicians who seem to do nothing for the common man. Whether these right-wing parties and movements will actually change things for the better remains to be seen.


Further Learning
Read some German Wikipedia articles on Pegida and the AfD and get more insight into the rise of populism in recent years in Germany.

Continuer la lecture

The verb ziehen

This week, let's take a look at the verb ziehen. It's true that there are many nuances, but we'll focus for now on the two main translations, the first of which is "to pull":


Super, Jo. Und ihr helft mit ziehen, ja?

Super, Jo. And you'll help us pull, right?

Caption 6, JoNaLu - Heiß und kalt

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Viele haben aber wohl schon darüber nachgedacht, wie es wäre, einfach mal den Stecker zu ziehen.

Many have, however, likely already thought about how it would be to simply pull the plug.

Captions 5-6, Vierzig Tage offline - Ein Selbstversuch

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Relatedly, in English, we say "to take a ticket" or "to draw a number," but in German ziehen is also used for this purpose: 


Zieht sich 'n Ticket, vier siebzig für die Fahrt ist ja ganz schön hart

She takes a ticket, four seventy for the ride, it's quite tough [quite a lot] indeed

Caption 27, Cro - Bye Bye

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The second common meaning of ziehen is "to move," "to migrate," or "to proceed."


Rötlich-violette Schwaden ziehen durchs Wasser, das hier fast frei von Sauerstoff ist.

Reddish-violet vapors move through the water, which here is almost oxygen-free.

Caption 8, Alpenseen - Kühle Schönheiten - Part 5

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Sie ziehen von Haus zu Haus und verlangen Süßigkeiten.

They proceed from house to house and demand sweets.

Caption 16, Cettina erklärt - Halloween

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Interestingly enough, there is a common usage of ziehen which can be translated as "to draw," but also implies movement towards something. In a way, it is a combination of the two meanings.


Kaum scheint die Sonne, zieht es die Schleckermäuler an die Eisdielen.

The sun is scarcely shining and it draws [those with a] sweet tooth to the ice-cream parlors.

Caption 1, Eis - Eiskalte Leidenschaft

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Ich als Hamburger bin hier eigentlich als Flachlandtiroler und dennoch zieht es mich immer wieder in die Berge.

As a resident of Hamburg, I am actually known as a "flatland Tyrolean" and yet I am still repeatedly drawn to the mountains.

Captions 3-4, 48 h in Innsbruck - Sehenswürdigkeiten & Tipps - Part 1

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Further Learning
There are many sentences that include the verb ziehen on Yabla German, so do a quick search if you need more examples. You can also review past newsletters in which we looked at the phrases Bilanz ziehen and Es zieht! 

Continuer la lecture

Don't Lose Your Head!

There are a number of expressions in English that involve the noun "head," among them ones like the headline above, "to give someone a heads up," or "out of their head." Most phrases like this can't be translated into German directly, and the slang or idiomatic phrases in German that use der Kopf are not directly translatable to English either.


Ach, mach dir keinen Kopf [Umgangssprache], Lothar. Du kannst ja gar nichts dafür.

Oh, don't make yourself a head [slang, don't worry], Lothar. You can't do anything about it.

Caption 36, Großstadtrevier - Neben der Spur - Part 10

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Warum machst du dir einen Kopf?

Why do you make yourself such a head [idiom, why do you worry so much?]

Caption 1, Mark Forster - Chöre

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It's a bit difficult in a literal translation to understand what is meant by sich keinen Kopf machen, but luckily the Yabla videos also clarify the meaning: The Großstadtrevier video states "slang, don't worry," and the Mark Förster video states "idiom, why do you worry so much?"


Wann finde ich endlich die Zeit, meinen Kopf freizubekommen?
When will I finally find the time to get my head free? 


This doesn't mean that your head is literally stuck in something, but rather that you want to find the time to "clear your mind." Another variation is den Kopf freimachen


Although we all know the English expression "to lose your head," it's usually a figure of speech meaning somebody is becoming irrational.


Wir machen ihn einen Kopf kürzer
We'll make him a head shorter.


This expression, like the origin of the English expression, could mean to execute somebody by lopping off their head, but einen Kopf kürzer machen is usually used figuratively to mean that you will reprimand somebody or "teach them a lesson."


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and search for the term Kopf and see the various ways such expressions are used.


Continuer la lecture

Die Grippe and other winter ailments

Winter in Germany means it's cold season. Luckily, we at Yabla German have you covered if you find yourself needing to discuss your ailments in German.


With the lack of sunlight in regions of northern Germany, it's normal to feel a bit under the weather or have a low energy level in the winter months. 


„Frederick", jammerte Piggeldy, „ich bin schon ganz schlapp."

"Frederick," yammered Piggeldy, "I am already totally exhausted."

Caption 19, Piggeldy und Frederick - Der Himmel

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But sometimes being particularly exhausted can also be the sign of an impending cold. 


Sie leiden unter Erkältung oder bekommen sogar eine Grippe.

They suffer from a cold, or even get the flu.

Caption 3, Eva erklärt - Gesundheit

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Bei Husten oder Schnupfen kann man in der Apotheke Hustenbonbons oder zum Beispiel Nasentropfen kaufen.

If you have a cough or runny nose, you can get cough drops in the pharmacy or buy nose drops, for example.

Caption 23, Eva erklärt - Gesundheit

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In particular, nausea or fever can be a sign of the flu.


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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Wenn man übermäßig schwitzt oder Schüttelfrost bekommt, sollte man auf jeden Fall mit einem Fieberthermometer Fieber messen.

If you sweat excessively or get the chills, you should definitely take your temperature with a thermometer.

Captions 31-32, Eva erklärt - Gesundheit

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The flu can luckily often be prevented with immunization, or die Impfung.


Bist du eigentlich gegen die Schweinegrippe geimpft?

Are you actually immunized against the swine flu?

Caption 24, Deutsche Musik - Thomas Godoj

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Further Learning
Watch the video Eva erklärt: Gesundheit in its entirety to get an overview of various symptoms and cures for winter ailments. If you already have a cold, we at Yabla wish you gute Besserung! Otherwise, bleib gesund!

Continuer la lecture

What's the difference between gern and gerne?

I recently received an email in German in which the writer replied gerne geschehen, a standard response when somebody has thanked you for something. I often hear this phrase in spoken German, but usually as gern geschehen, without the -e after gern. The adverbs gern and gerne have the same meaning, usually translated as "gladly" or "like," so how do we know which one to use in which contexts? 


The answer is very simple: you can use both interchangeably. The original Old German word, from which our modern usage originates, is gerno. This eventually became the modern German word gerne. Even as recently as 20 or so years ago, teachers may have admonished students for using gern instead of gerne in their written German. But eventually, the language as it is spoken began to have an impact on what was considered correct usage, and with time, the dropping of the extra syllable -e allowed for the word to be accepted on equal footing as either gerne or gern: they are, for all intents and purposes, the same word! 


Let's take a look at some examples of gern and gerne being used in a spoken context on Yabla German


Ich würde gern mit dir in einer Altbauwohnung wohnen.

I would like to live with you in an apartment in an old building.

Caption 7, AnnenMayKantereit - 3. Stock

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Ich würde gerne aus privaten Gründen meine Stunden reduzieren.

I would like to reduce my hours, for personal reasons.

Caption 10, Berufsleben - Probleme mit Mitarbeitern - Part 4

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Ich würde in der Tat gern wissen, wie groß das Team ist, mit dem ich dann zusammenarbeite.

In fact, I would like to know how big the team is that I would be working with

Captions 48-49, Eva erklärt - Bewerbungen - Part 2

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Danke, aber Sie dürfen mich gerne duzen.

Thanks, but you can gladly address me informally.

Caption 36, Das Lügenbüro - Die Bewerbung - Part 1

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Wir würden gern mal auf Deutschlandtournee gehen.

"Well, we would like to tour Germany. [Magicians]

Caption 34, 3nach9 - Ehrlich Brothers - Show-Magier - Part 1

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Die kannst du gerne haben.

You can gladly have them.

Caption 26, JoNaLu - Der Piratenschatz

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Further Learning
Take a look at these interesting articles about gerne and gern at Tandem GöttingenGerman with Nicole, and the Zwiebelfisch series at Der Spiegel magazine. You can also search Yabla German for other examples of gerne and gern being used in conversations. In a forthcoming lesson, we'll discuss the the difference between gerne and mag!

Continuer la lecture

German Computer Verbs

This week, let's look at some verbs related to computers and technology! Many of these phrases are intuitive for anyone who speaks English, for example eine Mail öffnen or ein Fenster schließen, or ein Programm neu starten


Below, you can see that the verb anhängen ("to attach") also works for email attachments:


Es sieht so aus, als hätte ich die PDF-Datei an die E-Mail angehängt.

It looks as though I attached the PDF file in an email.

Caption 36, Berufsleben - Probleme mit Mitarbeitern - Part 1

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However, it is often necessary to learn some new vocabulary. For example, to unlock a computer or cell phone, we use the verb entsperren or freischalten, and not aufschließen or entriegeln as you would for a door. And then, of course, there are the words that are relatively new to both languages. 


Den Mac-Nutzern empfehlen die Spezialisten, ein von Apple bereitgestelltes Sicherheitsupdate herunterzuladen und zu installieren.

The specialists recommend Mac users download and install a security update that has been provided by Apple.

Captions 15-16, Apple-Trojaner - Wie man ihn beseitigt

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Mein Management hat mir eine E-Mail weitergeleitet.

My management forwarded me an e-mail.

Caption 23, Schauspielerin - Jessica Schwarz - Part 1

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Ich habe auch ein E-Mail-Konto für Sie eingerichtet, welches Sie überprüfen können, sobald Sie eingeloggt sind.

I have set up an email account for you as well, which you can check as soon as you are logged in.

Captions 34-35, Berufsleben das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 4

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The infinitive forms of the verbs and participles from the examples above are anhängen ("to attach"), herunterladen ("to download"), installieren ("to install"), weiterleiten ("to forward"), and sich einloggen ("to log in").


Further Learning
For a list of words (including nouns and adjectives) related to computers and technology, you can look at this extensive list. Missing from this list are many "Denglisch" verbs related to technology (downloaden, updaten...), but these should not be used in your German class anyway! They are often used in office settings, but are still essentially slang and used mostly among younger co-workers. It is best to know the real German words.

Continuer la lecture