Category German word construction

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 […]

Visiting the doctor in German — zum Arzt gehen

Going to the doctor is never fun, but going to the doctor in a foreign language can add even more stress to a situation. With this in mind it’s important to remember a few important things: bring proper medical paper, make sure you understand everything clearly, and keep a sense of humor about you. In […]

German Nouns with N-Declination — Nomen der N-Dekination

Sound. So much of language comes down to sound. What is the easiest sound to make? In German this is one of the reasons for adjective endings being what they are — mostly ending in -en, right?! It’s that same basic principle that is to blame for you getting Name and Namen mixed up or […]

spürbar oder merkbar and the German suffix -bar

Last week we started looking at a list of words I was asked about by one of my Stammtisch regulars, Edvin. Last week we looked at the words dauernd and dauerhaft, which brought up the interesting topic of the German suffix -haft for adjectives. Edvin also has another similar question on the long list of […]

dauernd vs. dauerhaft and the German suffix -haft

At our Stammtisch last week, one of our attendees, Edvin from Slovenia, asked me if I could quickly clarify the difference between some words. Thinking it would only be a few words, I said sure. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a page long list of words he wanted to know how […]

German Family Vocabulary & German Adjectival Nouns

With the holiday season quickly approaching, many of you are getting ready to see your family again. Yes, that family, you know the ones your aunt, who likes to complain a lot (meckern), your loud uncle who doesn’t seem to understand that there is no need to yell (schreien) when speaking to people that are […]

im Urlaub oder auf Urlaub? Urlaub vs. Ferien — Vacation and Holidays in German

It’s that time of year again in Switzerland and Europe in general. The cities are quieter than usual and offices can appear as if they were abandoned, but without air conditioning in them, they may as well be when the mercury climbs to 30 degrees. It’s summer and summer means vacation time. Most employed people […]

Speak about the game — Fussball Wortschatz

For Germany fans this past Thursday was not a great day as the Italian team won the match 2-1 in Warsaw, however, Germany and Germany fans went into the match with a great deal of optimism. See this YouTube video to get an idea of how excited they were. The victory for Italy meant that […]

Scheisse — Sometimes a little vulgarity is necessary

Yesterday the world embraced the idea of being Irish, at least for the day as pubs around the world served out copious amounts of Ireland’s most famous export: Guinness. As the green dyed beer, pints of Guinness, shots of Baileys and chasers of Jameson went down the atmosphere in the pubs seemed to get better […]

Bleib dran: da-compounds

English speakers often haver to crack a smile when listening to German and hearing the word “damit” which sounds like a curse in English. However, the smiles quickly change to faces of confusion when a flurry of “dran“, “drauf“, “davon” etc come at them and they aren’t quite sure what to make of them. Then […]