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German Preposition Cases, Part IV

This week we're doing the last part of this German Preposition Cases series. Let's take a look at those tricky dual-case prepositions that require either the accusative case or the dative case for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 

 

The German dual-case prepositions are an, auf, hinter, in, neben, unter, vor, zwischen, and über. As a general rule, if the preposition suggests motion or movement from one place to another, it takes the accusative case. If there is no motion or movement suggested,  it takes the dative case. Please take a moment to review the dative and accusative cases in the previous lessons. 

 

The nominative pronoun ich becomes mir in the dative case and mich in the accusative case. Note in the following how "because of me" suggests no movement and uses the dative pronoun, whereas "send to me" suggests the motion of sending something and thus takes the accusative pronoun.

 

Er fragt sich: „Liegt es nur an mir, dass es jetzt schneit?“

He asks himself, "Is it just because of me that it's snowing now?"

Caption 10, Jan Wittmer Weihnachtslied

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Wenn Sie sie einfach direkt an mich schicken würden...

If you'll just send them directly to me...

Caption 31, Berufsleben das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 1

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The German feminine of the definite article "the" is die. In the next captions, there is no movement when discussing a scale of numbers, so the nominative die becomes the dative der. Apparently, viewing something conveys some motion in that you are actively looking at something, thus a "view of a bridge" uses the accusative die.

 

Auf der Skala eins bis zehn: Bei dir bin ich zehn

On a scale of one to ten: With you I am ten

Captions 16-17, 2raumwohnung Liebe mit Musik am Laufen halten

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Das ist die Draufsicht auf die Brücke.

That is the view of the bridge.

Caption 40, 48 h in Innsbruck Sehenswürdigkeiten & Tipps - Part 1

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Back to the nominative personal pronoun "I," which in dative becomes mir and in accusative becomes mich. As you'll notice, the passive phrase "is situated" gets the dative case, and the active phrase "to get it behind me" receives the accusative case:

 

Hinter mir befindet sich die ehemalige amerikanische Botschaft.

The former American Embassy is situated behind me.

Caption 3, Berlin der alte amerikanische Sektor

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Ja, ich wollte es einfach hinter mich bringen.

Yes, I just wanted to get it behind me.

Caption 9, Die Wohngemeinschaft Probleme - Part 2

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Hopefully these examples will help give you an idea of when to use the dative (no motion, passive) or accusative (motion, active) cases with the above dual-case prepositions.

 

Further Learning
We just went through the dative and accusative cases for the dual-case prepositions an, auf, and hinter. Try looking on Yabla German for dative and accusative examples of the remaining dual-case prepositions in, neben, unter, vor, zwischen, and über. It will help you find them if you look for specific accusative and dative definite articles or pronouns when you do the search!

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Levels of Understanding

In German, the verb verstehen is used in a wide variety of contexts, from hearing what someone says to understanding a fact or the nature of a particular situation or circumstances.

 

Habt ihr es verstanden? -Ja.

Have you understood it? -Yes. 

Caption 26, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Relativsätze mit Präpositionen

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Wenn du ein Wort im Untertitel nicht verstehst, dann kannst du es anklicken.

If you don't understand a word in the subtitle, then you can click on it.

Captions 27-28, German Intro: Jenny

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Trotzdem kann ich verstehen, dass es nicht fair für sie ist, alles bezahlen zu müssen.

Nevertheless, I can understand that it is not fair for her to have to pay for everything.

Caption 40, Die Wohngemeinschaft:Probleme

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Das kann ich gut verstehen, ich habe selbst zwei Kinder.

I can understand that well, I have two children myself.

Caption 25, Berufsleben: Probleme mit Mitarbeitern

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When you are expressing a deeper level of comprehension, for example being able to follow why something happened the way it did, reconstruct a line of thought, relate to something, or grasp connections, there are additional verbs you can use.

 

Zwar ist das Wort „Nachhaltigkeit“ in aller Munde, Kinder können das aber kaum nachvollziehen.

Indeed, the word "sustainability" is in all mouths [idiom: on everyone's lips], but children are hardly able to understand it.

Captions 4-5, Schüler lernen Nachhaltigkeit: Bildungsinitiative gestartet

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Und das müssen wir wirklich alle begreifen. Im Moment ist nur Abstand Ausdruck von Fürsorge.

And that's what we all really need to understand: At the moment, distance is the only way to express care.

Captions 41-42, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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Da begriffen die drei Brüder, dass alles nur ein Trick gewesen war.

Then the three brothers realized that it had all just been a trick.

Caption 85, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die drei Brüder

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One verb that you may encounter is kapieren. In English, we use "to get" to mean "to understand" and this is a similar slang expression. 

 

Und es wäre schön, wenn du es endlich mal kapieren würdest.

And it would be nice if you would finally understand that.

Caption 48, Oskar - Gehen, wenn es am schönsten ist: Der Panther

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Mann, du kapierst es einfach nicht. Ich war das nicht!

Man, you just don't get it. It wasn't me!

Caption 31, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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Further Learning
You can find many examples on Yabla German, but also consider the first four above. Which of these could be replaced with a verb other than verstehen?

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German Preposition Cases, Part III

This week we're continuing the German Preposition Cases series. Let's examine the prepositions that always require the genitive case for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 

 

Let's start out by taking a look at the genitive case for nouns as follows for the definite article "the," with the nominative case followed by the dative case: 

 

der => des
die => der
das => des
die
(plural) => der

 

And for the indefinite article

 

ein (masculine) => eines
eine => einer
ein (neuter) => eines

 

Remember too that if there is no definite or indefinite article, the adjective must still take the case appropriate for its gender with the preposition. And while accusative and dative prepositions aren’t (with some exceptions) usually accompanied by altered nouns, masculine and neuter singular nouns preceded by genitive prepositions get the suffix “-s” or “-es.” Generally plural nouns don't change.

 

The common German prepositions that require the genitive case are anstatt or stattauβerhalb, innerhalb, trotz, während, and wegen. The preposition statt, which is not to be confused with the separable verb stattfinden, takes the genitive case. Here, the plural die Runden becomes the genitive der Runden:

 

... heizte Vettel statt der geplanten drei insgesamt sechs Runden über den Asphalt.

... instead of the planned three laps, Vettel sped six laps over the asphalt.

Caption 46, Formel-1-Autorennen Sebastian Vettels Homerun

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Here, the singular feminine noun die Wertung becomes the genitive der Wertung:

 

... und er fährt hier außerhalb der Wertung mit.

... and he's riding here without being scored.

Caption 35, Trial-Meisterschaft in Bensheim - Part 2

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Note that if a masculine or neuter proper noun is used, such as the continent das Asien, the proper noun has "-s" added as a suffix:

 

Bislang gibt es außerhalb Asiens überhaupt noch keine vergleichbare Drehscheibe.

Until now, outside of Asia, there hasn't been a comparable [yuan trading] hub at all.

Caption 40, Frankfurt wird Handelszentrum für die chinesische Währung Yuan

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In the following, the masculine nominative ein Dom becomes the genitive eines Doms:

 

Wir haben vier Segmente innerhalb eines Doms.

We have four segments inside a dome.

Caption 52, Bildverarbeitung Sirius Advanced Cybernetics

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It's also often possible to use außerhalb or innerhalb as dative prepositions by pairing them with von for the dative case: außerhalb von and innerhalb von.

 

Here, the nominative die Perücke, with the adjective goldene Perücke, becomes the genitive goldener Perücke. It is important to note that if no definite or indefinite article is present, the adjective takes the genitive ending: 

 

Trotz goldener Perücke hat der einst vornehme Herr wohl schon bessere Zeiten gesehen!

Despite the gold wig, the once distinguished gentlemen has indeed seen better times!

Caption 3, Architektur Karlsruher Brunnen - Part 2

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In this next caption, the neuter nominative das Training becomes the genitive des Trainings

 

Und wie ist das passiert? Während des Trainings?

And how did it happen? During the training?

Caption 33, Jenny und Alena Handball

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And in the last of our genitive case examples, the masculine nominative der Getriebeschaden becomes the genitive des Getriebeschadens

 

... wegen eines Getriebeschadens zurück in die Boxengasse.

... go back into the pit lane due to transmission damage.

Caption 43, Formel-1-Autorennen Sebastian Vettels Homerun

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You may have noticed that the personal pronouns were not listed at the top of this lesson. That's because personal pronouns aren't generally used in formal German, however the usually genitive prepositions anstatt or statt, trotz, während and wegen are sometimes used with personal pronouns informally — but with the dative case!

 

Thus the singular and plural personal pronouns "I," "you," "he," "she," , "it," "we," and "they" take the dative case with the above genitive prepositions:

 

ich => mir
du => dir
Sie
(formal "you") => Ihnen
er 
=> ihm
sie 
=> ihr
es
=> ihm
ihr => euch

wir => uns
sie
=> ihnen
Sie (formal "you" plural) => Ihnen

 

Probably the most commonly-heard example is, instead of saying "because of me" as meinetwegen, you'll often hear:

 

Und ihr seid auch da. Etwa wegen mir?
And you are here too. Somehow because of me?
Caption 2, Otto Waalkes: Hier kommt Otto!

 

Remember too that meinetwegen also has a slang usage meaning "I don't have anything against it". We'll cover the informal usage of dative personal pronouns with usually genitive prepositions in another lesson! 

 

Further Learning
To recap, the common German prepositions that require the genitive case of definite and indefinite articles and nouns are anstatt or stattauβerhalb, innerhalb, trotz, während, and wegenGo to Yabla German to look for more examples of prepositions whose nouns, pronouns, and adjectives formally take the genitive case. Also review Part II in this series about prepositions that require the dative case.

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Expressing "anyway" in German

There are several ways to express "anyway" in German, depending on the function that the word is supposed to have. There are four main words to know, but you'd be surprised at which words can take on a similar meaning. 

Let's start with examples in which "anyway" has a confirming function, which can be expressed with ehsowieso, or ohnehin. In the following sentences, there is a match in what is going on, or something may already be the case.

 

Ist das aber kalt! und schwimmen kann ich sowieso nicht.

Is that ever cold! and I can't swim anyway.

Captions 35-36, Piggeldy und Frederick: Der Himmel

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Ich hab ja auch eh nichts mehr zu verlieren.

I have nothing left to lose anyway.

Caption 11, Das Lügenbüro: Die Bewerbung

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...aber da ich ohnehin lieber ein Marmeladenbrot essen möchte, werd' ich jetzt rübergehen zum Brot und mir eine Scheibe Brot schneiden. 

...but since I'd rather have a slice of bread with marmalade anyway, I am going go over to the bread and cut myself a slice of bread. 

Captions 5-6, Jenny: beim Frühstück

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However, eh and sowieso can't always be used. For sentences in which "anyway" has a contradictory meaning (and could potentially be replaced with "despite that" or "nevertheless"), trotzdem is the word you're looking for. 

 

Die Hühner legten aber trotzdem weiter Eier und sogar mehr als sonst.

But the chickens kept laying eggs anyway, and even more than usual.

Captions 17-18, Cettina und Sabine: Ostern

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Hätte ich voll Angst vor, aber würde ich trotzdem machen.

I would be totally afraid of it, but I would do it anyway.

Caption 51, Free Birds: Interview mit Nora Tschirner & Rick Kavanian

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There is then also a conversational "anyway," which various words in German provide in particular contexts. As you will notice right away, these words are not always or even usually translated as "anyway," but the equivalent phrase uses it to express the intended meaning. 

 

Gut. Und wo befindet sich Bayern überhaupt?

Good. And where is Bavaria located anyway?

Caption 10, Bundesländer: Bayern

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Wer braucht schon Hollywood?

Who needs Hollywood anyway?

Caption 1, Berlinale Schauspieler: Jürgen Vogel

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Wie alt ist er denn?

How old is he anyway?

Caption 8, Ein Herz für Tiere: Tierschutzhof und Border Collie

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Na, jedenfalls, arbeiten wir mit sechs Kameras.

Well, anyway, we'll be working with six cameras.

Caption 34, Otto Waalkes Hier kommt Otto!

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Na ja, wie auch immer, also, wie Sie das mit der Kerze hingekriegt haben, das war... fantastisch.

Well, anyway, so, however you did that with the candle, that was... fantastic.

Caption 13, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Bist du verliebt?

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Further Learning
You can find many examples of sowieso, eh, ohnehin, and trotzdem being used on Yabla German. When you see one, consider why the chosen word is being used. When you find yourself using the word "anyway," you can consider which German word would fit the particular meaning you are conveying.

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German Preposition Cases, Part II

This week we're going to continue to go through cases used with German prepositions. If you are an advanced German speaker, this will be nothing new for you, but will hopefully be helpful for beginners as a learning tool and for intermediate German speakers as a refresher. Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that are modified by prepositions take either the accusative, dative, or genitive case, but to make things slightly confusing, some prepositions require either the accusative or dative case, depending upon the context. In Part II today, let's examine the prepositions that always require the dative case for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 

 

Let's start out by taking a look at the dative case for nouns as follows for the definite article "the," with the nominative case followed by the dative case: 

 

der => dem
die => der
das => dem

 

And for the indefinite article

 

ein (masculine) => einem
eine => einer
ein (neuter) => einem

 

And for the singular and plural personal pronouns "I," "you," "he," "she," , "it," "we," and "they":

 

ich => mir
du => dir
Sie
(formal "you") => Ihnen
er 
=> ihm
sie 
=> ihr
es
=> ihm
ihr => euch

wir => uns
sie
=> ihnen
Sie (formal "you" plural) => Ihnen

 

Remember too that if there is no definite or indefinite article, the adjective must still take the case appropriate for its gender with the preposition.

 

The common German prepositions that require the dative case of nouns and pronouns are aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, and zu. Here are some examples from Yabla German. The article in the feminine noun die Mode becomes der in the dative case.

 

Die gute alte Kaffeemaschine ist dabei etwas aus der Mode geraten.

The good old coffee machine has to some extent gone out of style in the process.

Caption 12, Eva zeigt uns wie man Kaffee kocht

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Here, the nominative pronoun ich becomes mir in the dative case:

 

In diesem Haus wohnen außer mir noch mehrere Familien in Mietwohnungen.

In this house live, other than me, several other families in rental apartments.

Captions 5-6, Zu Besuch bei Jenny Am Hauseingang

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Here, the indefinite feminine article eine (for die Flasche) becomes einer in the dative case, and the neuter ein (for das Glas) becomes the dative einem:

 

Ob es sich bei einer Flasche oder einem Glas um eine Mehrweg- oder Pfandflasche handelt...

With a bottle or a jar, whether it happens to be returnable or a bottle with a deposit...

Caption 48, Eva erklärt Mülltrennung

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The dative preposition gegenüber is a bit unusual, in that when it is used on its own, it falls after the item it modifies:

 

Dem Clubhaus gegenüber liegt ein feiner Sandstrand.

Across from the clubhouse lies a fine sandy beach.

Caption 31, Golf in Wien

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You can see this above in the correct word order dem Clubhaus gegenüber (not gegenüber dem Clubhaus!). If you wanted to place gegenüber before das Clubhaus, however, you must add the dative preposition von to the mix. So it would also be acceptable to formulate the sentence above as Gegenüber von dem Clubhaus liegt ein feiner Sandstrand. This would be translated exactly the same into English.

 

Here, the nominative pronoun ihr becomes euch in the dative case:

 

Jasmin und ich werden heute mit euch üben,

Jasmin and I will practice with you today

Caption 2, Diane erklärt Fragewörter

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And here, the masculine indefinite article ein (for der Monat) becomes the dative einem:

 

Erst nach einem Monat bleibt das Küken fast den ganzen Tag alleine.

Only after a month, the chick stays alone almost all day.

Caption 30, Alpenseen Kühle Schönheiten

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The feminine definite article die (for die Römerzeit) becomes the dative der:

 

... seit der Römerzeit ein befestigter Alpenübergang

... since Roman times a fortified Alpine crossing

Caption 23, Die letzten Paradiese Die Schönheit der Alpen 2

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With the preposition von, the nominative pronoun er becomes the dative pronoun ihm:

 

Es ist genau das, was seine Anhänger von ihm hören wollen.

It is exactly what his supporters want to hear from him.

Caption 25, Tagesschau Amtseinführung von Donald Trump 

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And finishing up our A to Z of dative pronouns, the nominative pronoun du becomes dir in the dative:

 

Sorry, das läuft auf meinem alten Laptop nicht. Da müssen wir zu dir.

Sorry, this doesn't run on my old laptop. We'll have to go to your place.

Caption 35, Die Pfefferkörner Gerüchteküche

 Play Caption

 

 

Further Learning
To recap, the common German prepositions that require the dative case of nouns and pronouns are aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, and zu. Go to Yabla German to look for more examples of prepositions whose nouns, pronouns, and adjectives take only the dative case. Also review Part I in this series about prepositions that require the accusative case.

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Sehen, schauen, and kucken

We have "to see," "to watch," and "to look" in English, but there are even more verbs in German, and the meanings are often prefix-dependent. In German, the three verbs/verb roots are sehen, schauen, and gucken / kucken. Gucken or (more commonplace) kucken is slang and is more popular in northern Germany, whereas schauen is slang in southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. To gain an understanding of how these verbs are used, it's best to look at various examples and see how added prefixes affect the meaning.

Below, you can see examples of these three verbs without any prefixes.

 

Die anderen Tiere sind im Winter leider nicht draußen zu sehen.

The other animals are unfortunately not to be seen outside in the winter.

Caption 20, Berlin: Domäne Dahlem

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Wo sehen Sie sich selbst in zehn Jahren?

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Caption 55, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Hast du schon im Schrank geschaut? -Ja.

Have you already looked in the closet? -Yes.

Caption 4, Nicos Weg: Vorm Fahrradladen

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Ich bin runter und habe geguckt, war aber nichts.

I went down and looked, but there was nothing.

Caption 28, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell: Erdbeben in Südhessen

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Based on these examples, you might come to the conclusion that sehen is always translated as "to see" and schauen and kucken are translated as "to look." However, this is simply not the case. It is instead the prefixes that reliably determine the translations. As you see below, sich etwas anschauen and sich etwas ansehen both mean "to (take/have a) look at something," as does sich etwas ankucken.

 

Und einen Brauch wollen wir uns heute ansehen.

And we want to take a look at one of these customs today.

Caption 6, Eva erklärt: den Adventskalender

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Zuerst schauen wir uns einige Farben an.

First, we will look at some colors.

Caption 6, Eva erklärt Farben

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Der Arzt schaut sich den Fuß jetzt erst mal an.

First, the doctor will take a look at your foot.

Caption 5, Nicos Weg: Beim Arzt

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Kuckt euch diese alte Kamera an.

Look at this old camera.

Caption 21, Drei Leute beim Kofferpacken

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The phrases mal sehen, mal schauen, and mal kucken are essentially synonyms and can mean either "let's have a look at" or "let's see," depending on the context. 

 

Mal schauen, wie weit die Cannelloni sind.

Let's see how far along the cannelloni are.

Caption 41, Cannelloni: mit Jenny

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Mal kucken, was die anderen Jugendlichen hier im Jugendforum so treiben.

Let's see what the other young people here in the Youth Forum are up to.

Caption 10, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell: Nachhaltigkeit

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Aussehen and ausschauen both refer to a person's appearance. Note: It is not possible to say auskucken in this context!

 

Du siehst gut aus.

You look good.

Caption 3, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Bist du verliebt?

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Also, er hat mich gefragt: „Wie möchtest denn... Herr Otto, wie möchtest denn ausschauen?“

Well, he asked me: "How would you then like... Mr. Otto, how would you like to look then?"

Caption 9, Otto Waalkes: Friseur

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The verb "to watch" is most often translated as zusehen or zuschauen

 

Auf den Besuchertribünen kann jeder den Abgeordneten bei der Arbeit zusehen.

On the visitors' stands, everyone can watch the representatives at work.

Caption 23, Berlin: Hauptstadt des vereinten Deutschland

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Vielen Dank fürs Zuschauen.

Thank you for watching.

Caption 27, Eva zeigt uns: Kleidungsstücke

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When it comes to watching television or a film, there are various expressions involving all three verbs.

 

Am Freitag sehe ich fern.

On Friday, I will watch television.

Caption 17, Nicos Weg: Am Sonntag koche ich

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Wir haben viel zusammen gekocht und Filme gekuckt.

We often cooked together and watched films..

Caption 32, Fine: sucht eine Wohnung

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Wenn du den Fernseher anmachst, was schaust du?

When you turn on the television, what do you watch?

Caption 36, Peyman Amin: Der Modelmacher

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Further Learning
There are many, many examples of these verbs (sehensich etwas ansehen, zusehen, aussehen, and the slang versions) used in context on Yabla German. When you notice an incongruity between the two languages or an exception, make sure to take note of it.

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German Preposition Cases, Part I

This week we're going to go through the cases used with German prepositions. If you are an advanced German speaker, this will be nothing new for you, but will hopefully be helpful for beginners as a learning tool and for intermediate German speakers as a refresher. Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that come after prepositions take either the accusative, dative, or genitive case, but to make things slightly confusing, some prepositions require either the accusative or dative case, depending upon the context. Let's take a look in Part I today at the prepositions that require only the accusative case for the nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 

 

For a basic start, let's look at the accusative case for nouns as follows for the definite article "the," with the nominative case followed by the accusative case: 

 

der => den
die => die
das => das

 

And for the indefinite article


ein (masculine) => einen
eine => eine
ein (neuter) => ein

 

And for the personal pronouns "you," "him," "her," and "they":

 

du => dich
Sie (formal "you") 
=> Sie
er 
=> ihn
sie 
=> sie
uns => uns

 

Remember too, that if there is no definite or indefinite article, the adjective must still take the case appropriate for its gender with the preposition.

 

The common German prepositions that require the accusative case of nouns and pronouns are für, um, durch, gegen, entlang, bis, ohne, and wider. The BBC website Bitesize cleverly suggests a good way of remembering them: in that order, the first letter of each word combined makes the phrase "fudge bow." If you can remember that phrase, with very few overlaps into dative and genitive prepositions, you'll be able to know if the preposition you are about to use requires the accusative case!

 

Here are some examples from Yabla German

 

Ich wollte dir gerne ein paar Sachen für den Umzug mitbringen.

I wanted to bring you a few things for the move.

Caption 5, Nicos Weg A2 Folge 22: Freizeitstress

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Wenn es um mich geht, ist es reflexiv.

If it's about me, it is reflexive.

Caption 54, Deutschkurs in Tübingen Akkusativ - Action

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Der schwebt also durch den Raum.

So it floats through the space.

Caption 36, Das 1. Newtonsche Gesetz erklärt am Beispiel des Dodomobils - Part 2

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Ich habe echt nichts gegen dich gesagt.

I've really said nothing against you.

Caption 7, Die Pfefferkörner Gerüchteküche - Part 2

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Sie streute sie die Krümel von ihrem einzigen Stück Brot den Weg entlang.

She scattered the crumbs from her single piece of bread along the way.

Caption 48, Märchen - Sagenhaft Hänsel und Gretel

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Note that the preposition entlang usually appears after the noun when used in the dative case. There is also a genitive use of entlang, but more on that in a later lesson!

 

Das war's von Rhein-Main-Szene. Bis nächste Woche. Ciao, ciao.

That's it from Rhein-Main-Szene. Till next week. Ciao, ciao [Italian: Bye, bye].

Caption 64, Frida Gold Interview - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Don't forget that bis ("till" or "until") is more commonly seen as a conjunction than as a preposition. 

 

Wie sollte sie es nur ohne ihn aushalten?

Just how was she supposed to make it without him?

Caption 70, Märchen - Sagenhaft Die Weiber von Weinsberg

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Wer wider besseres Wissen vortäuscht...

Whoever pretends despite better knowledge...

Caption 41, Großstadtrevier Schatten der Vergangenheit - Part 12

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German to look for more examples of prepositions whose nouns, pronouns, and adjectives take only the accusative case. And don't forget the key phrase "fudge bow" for remembering them, as ridiculous as it sounds! A chocolate violin, anyone? Sounds sweet...

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German Expressions of Frequency

In addition to adverbs of indefinite frequency, such as oft or häufig, and adverbs of definite frequency, such as täglich or morgens, there are also expressions for talking about how often something occurs. In English, we often say that something happens "once a month" or "every other week." How do we express this in German? 

 

You likely know the phrase jeden Tag, or "every day." But do you know how to say "every other day"?

 

Dazu gehört auch, dass den Jungvögeln jeden zweiten Tag ein Tisch mit Knochen gedeckt wird.

This also means that every other day, a table is set with bones for the young birds.

Caption 29, Die letzten Paradiese: Die Schönheit der Alpen

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You can say jede zweite Woche for "every other week," but generally something happening at particular intervals will be expressed with alle and not jede zweite. Take a look:

 

Die Bergbahn fährt alle zwanzig Minuten hoch zum Königstuhl und alle zehn Minuten zurück runter in die Innenstadt.

The mountain railway goes up to the Königstuhl every twenty minutes and back down to the city center every ten minutes.

Captions 12-13, Jenny zeigt uns: Das Heidelberger Schloss

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Bei warmen Temperaturen gebären sie alle acht bis zehn Tage dreißig bis vierzig Jungtiere.

In warm temperatures, they give birth to thirty to forty young every eight to ten days.

Caption 14, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Wir finden hier alle vier Wochen eine Schildkröte.

We find a turtle here every four weeks.

Caption 42, Ausgrabungen Auf den Spuren der Dinosaurier

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Das Projekt „Lunch Beat“ besteht in Hamburg seit dem vergangenen Sommer und findet in unregelmäßigen Abständen alle zwei bis drei Monate statt.

The project "Lunch Beat" has existed in Hamburg since last summer and takes place at irregular intervals every two to three months.

Captions 9-10, Lunch Beat: Tanzen in der Mittagspause

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To more specifically state that something happens "once" in a particular time interval, we can use the word einmal in + dative.

 

Das tue ich für gewöhnlich einmal in der Woche.

I typically do it once a week.

Caption 2, Wäsche waschen mit Eva

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Einmal in der Woche trainiert Astrid Bittner-Utsch Frauen und Männer, die ihrem Traumberuf ein Stück näher kommen wollen.

Once a week, Astrid Bittner-Utsch trains women and men who want to get a little bit closer to their dream profession.

Captions 9-10, Auf dem Laufsteg: Modelcollege in Wiesbaden

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Leon, wieso? -Einmal im Jahr gibt es diese Mathe-Olympiade.

Leon, why? -Once a year, the Math Olympics take place.

Caption 20, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

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Further Learning
Based on what you see above, how do you express "once a month"? What about "every five days" or "every five years"? Can you find another way to say "every other day"? For more practice, you can go to Yabla German to look for more examples, or translate some basic sentences about your current routine into German. 

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Gender agreement in the phrase "one of these..."

One of these days, we were going to have to get around to gender agreement in quantifier pronouns, and it might as well be today! When you say the phrase "one of these...", the word "one" is an indefinite pronoun called a "quantifier pronoun." In German, if you refer to two or more of something as a quantifier pronoun, you don't need to worry about the gender of the noun that it's referring to, you just say the number zwei, drei, vier, or however many you mean to say. But if you are referring to just one thing, then the quantifier pronoun "ein" has to match the gender of the noun to which it's referring.

 

There are two common ways to express the phrase "one of these..." in German. In the first way, the quantifier pronoun ein is followed by the dative preposition von and the noun which is being referred to:

 

Wir nehmen eins von diesen Modalverben,

We'll take one of these modal verbs

Caption 20, Deutschkurs in Tübingen Können, dürfen, müssen - Part 1

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Und dann nehmen wir eine von diesen Präpositionen und dann wissen wir, es ist Dativ.

And then we take one of these prepositions and then we know it is dative.

Caption 12, Deutschkurs in Tübingen Wechselpräpositionen

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Such dir eine von diesen vielen Banken aus.

Select one of these many banks.

Caption 9, Kurzfilm-Festival Shorts at moonlight - Part 3

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In the first example above, the quantifier pronoun ein is referring to the neuter noun das Modalverb, thus it is rendered neuter as eins. The same logic proceeds with the following examples: the feminine nouns die Präposition and die Bank require the feminine quantifier pronoun eine. Thus, if you used a masculine noun such as der Mensch, you'd say einer von diesen Menschen...

 

The second way to express the phrase "one of these..." in German is using the quantifier pronoun ein followed by the genitive case of the article: 

 

Und eine dieser Sachen war, äh, und ist auch noch, Plastikverpackung.

And one of these things was, uh, and still is, plastic packaging.

Captions 59-60, TEDx Der Supermarkt der Zukunft - Part 1

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Hinter einer dieser Türen steht ein geiles, neues Auto.

Behind one of these doors is an awesome new car.

Caption 15, Mathematik Das Ziegenproblem/Monty-Hall-Problem

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The first example above is very straightforward, using eine for the feminine noun die Sache. The second example follows the same construct, but since the quantifier noun is preceded by the dative preposition hinter, the feminine quantifier pronoun eine must be rendered dative as einer to agree with both the dative preposition hinter and the feminine noun die Tür

 

It's a bit complicated in theory to always have to think ahead to the gender of the noun you are going to modify, but with a little practice it's something you'll soon get used to!

 

Further Learning
Go to Yabla German to find more examples of "one of these." You may also find a tandem partner that you can work with to make up some phrases using "one of these" in English, and then try making your own translations into German, cross-checking each other's work. Be sure and translate using both the dative and genitive versions that we learned about above!

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German Adverbs of Indefinite Frequency

These German adverbs answer the question of how often something happens or is the case — Wie oft? Let's take a look at how to describe the most frequent to least frequent occurrences. 

First of all, we have immer, or "always." Like in English, there are different options for the placement of adverbs in German sentences. In this first sentence, the word einfach is also serving as an adverb, and both adverbs are placed after the verb. 

 

Es ist einfach immer was los und man ist in einer halben Stunde hier oben.

There is simply always something going on and you are up here in half an hour.

Caption 20, 48 h in Innsbruck: Sehenswürdigkeiten & Tipps

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Meistens, häufig and oft describe a relatively common or frequent occurrence. Note that, in this particular example, meistens is in the first position with the verb immediately following, which gives it extra emphasis. In the other two examples, the adverb comes after the verb (although not the participle!). 

 

Meistens sind ja die Fenster dann auch noch recht schmal.

Most of the time, the windows are also really narrow.

Caption 57, Feuerwehr Heidelberg: Löschfahrzeug

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In Deutschland ist das Wetter im Herbst häufig kühl und feucht.

In Germany, the weather in autumn is frequently cool and damp.

Caption 6, Herbst: mit Eva

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Große Erfindungen werden oft von ungewöhnlichen Ereignissen inspiriert.

Great inventions are often inspired by unusual events.

Caption 3, 200. Geburtstag: Die Geschichte des Fahrrads in 2 Minuten

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From manchmal to selten, the frequency of something happening or being the case decreases rapidly.

 

Es ist nur manchmal einfach etwas schwierig, wenn man zusammenlebt und so gut befreundet ist.

It is just sometimes a bit difficult when you live together and are such good friends.

Caption 34, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Probleme

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Ab und zu kann es aber auch mal ganz schön laut werden.

Once in a while it can, however, get pretty loud too.

Caption 62, Rhein-Main-TV: Badesee Rodgau

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Seinen schicken Umhang trug er gar nicht mehr, und mit seinem Pferd ritt er nur noch selten.

He no longer wore his chic cloak and he rode his horse only rarely.

Captions 38-39, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse

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Finally, we come to "never." It is also possible to say fast nie or "almost never."

 

Also, früher wollt ich nie zum Klavierunterricht gehen.

Well, at the time I never wanted to go piano lessons.

Caption 35, Deutsche Bands: Glashaus

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Further Learning
Many examples of these words can be found on Yabla German, and you can also look up the following German adverbs of definite frequency: täglich, wöchentlich, monatlich, jährlich, morgens, nachmittags, and abends. For more information on adverb placement, take a look at this helpful page.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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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.

 

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(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.

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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."

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