Author Archives: christianlangenegger

We’ve moved…

Dear followers of the Marathon Sprachen WordPress blog, After two years of trying to unravel the mysteries of the German language here, we’ve decided to move. The new site is at http://www.marathonsprachen.com and features some asked for services like recommended books. We’d greatly appreciate it if you would follow us from the new site. Your […]

Telephoning in German — What you need to know

[Ring, ring, ring. Click.] Marathon Sprachen. Langenegger am Apparat, guten Tag. Ah, ah, ah, … English?… Oh, yes, English is ok. We’ve moved our site. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/telephoning-in-german-what-you-need-to-know/

How to practice your German — Du musst mehr sprechen!

Anytime a new student comes to me for German lessons, and they have already learned some German, I hear the same story – “Whenever I try to speak German (here in German speaking Switzerland), be it in a grocery store, a restaurant, or simply on the street, people answer back in English.” This is especially […]

Oktoberfest Terminology and Songs

When many people think of Germany there are a few things that come to mind, but one of them is usually Oktoberfest. The world’s largest folk festival (Volksfest) and it’s been taking place since 1810 attracting over 6 million visitors. The original Oktoberfest takes place in Munich (München) and the locals simply call it Wien, […]

German Grammar Basics — What you need to know to understand German

I’ve been teaching German for almost ten years, and the one thing that I understand is that many learners have such a tough time because of grammatical terminology. In English speaking school systems, grammar is generally avoided, whereas German seems to worship grammar. One could say that the formal teaching of English grammar has been […]

German indefinite pronouns – not being explicit, maybe in vague

I have often written and still maintain that German is a language of precision. However, when it comes to indefinite pronouns, many are left scratching their heads. First off German has many indefinite pronouns that are very similar in meaning and using the correct depends more on how well the speaker/writer understands common German collocations […]

German Verbs With Inseparable Prefixes — Nicht trennbare Verben

Verbs, they seem to be one of the trickiest types of words to learn because there are so many of them and every sentence needs them. They also often have multiple meanings that change when put together with prepositions and in German when they have separable prefixes. I’ve already written about verbs with separable prefixes […]

Correlations in German — Combining ideas in sentences

Quite a few of my students are presently preparing for their B1 and B2 German Exams (Goethe Zertifikat). As we progress through different learning materials, I place a huge focus on writing. Writing is a great way to apply grammatical rules, because you have time to think about it. Writing in this respect is an […]

Germans can’t “make” friends — Freundschaften entstehen

One of my first posts was on the verbs machen and fahren. In that post I stated that German speakers are makers and drivers and that when in doubt, travel is done by driving and other things that are normally “done” in English are “made” in German. While Germans can make many things, one of […]

Death in German — So sicher wie das Amen in der Kirche

Anyone who has studied German literature in the past 50 years will know the novella Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) by Thomas Mann. For most of us, death is an uncomfortable topic because it causes reflection on our own mortality and often means loss. However, next to taxes, it’s one of the two inevitable […]