Category Interrogatives

What are they asking after I buy my groceries? — German shopping vocabulary

Working with the expat community in Zurich there is a question I hear again and again and a short story that gets recounted. It goes something like this: “I was in the Migros the other day and I bought my groceries. I didn’t understand how much the cashier asked for, but I saw what I […]

Wishes, sarcasm, and linguistic imagery in German — More Konjunktiv II

The other week we looked at how to use the German Konjuntiv II form for being polite and expressing unreal conditional clauses. This week I want to look at a few other ways that we can use conditionals. If you apply these you’ll also be able to add a touch of sarcasm to your spoken […]

Indirekte Fragen — Taking the Directness out of German

Many of you may have recently seen a picture circulating around the web recently that graphically represents stereotypes of European languages and cultures. Austrian speak German, as do the Swiss, Liechtensteiners and South Tyrolleans (Südtirol). That said, the way these cultures and languages communicate is different. In the graphic German is represented as a straight […]

Decoding German Questions to Unlock the Answer

Anytime I start teaching a new student I realize one thing. Most people believe that there is no system to the new language they are learning. The good news is though that there is. In this blog post I want to decode “entschlüsseln” German questions, so that you can correctly answer them. We’ve moved. You’ll […]

German Locational Adverbs — (Wo? Wohin? Woher?)

Happy second day of Christmas! During this time of year many like to go home to spend time with their family and friends. Where are you spending your Christmas. Where do you normally spend your Christmas? Sometimes when answering these questions we need to use adverbs of place. They are even good for asking for […]

Wozu diese Wo-Komposita?

Last week we talked about “da-compounds”. This week we’re looking at their cousins the “wo-compounds”. Wo-compounds are used in questions when asking about the object of the preposition (‘for what’, ‘about what’, etc.).  We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/wozu-diese-zu-komposita/

Something unknown – irgend

There are some words in German that leave the learner simply puzzled. They appear all over the place one hears them but seemingly always in a different context or with other words. One of those words is “irgend”. We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/something-unknown-irgend/

Asking where in German — Woher, wo, wohin

Visit almost any German speaking country and one of the questions you’re sure to be asked within the first few minutes of meeting someone is: “Woher kommen Sie?” (Where do you come from?) It’s not meant to be a rude question, but one of interest. People really want to know where you are from, in […]