Category Archives: German

Word of the Day – “es”

es-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a meaning at one of the most basic words ever:

es

Es can mean fusion crust and unicorn and towel. And even girl. Isn’t that fascinating.
Now you’re all like “Well, duh… it’s because es means it. Boring. Talk about something useful instead. We’d have a few ideas like conditional or written past. “
And you’re right. Es doesn’t sound like an interesting word to talk about. It means it and that’s it. Except it isn’t. There are some differences between German es and English it  and there’s specifically one use that trips up many learners because the es doesn’t seem to make sense.
So today we’ll take a detailed look at es. We’ll check out what it is used for, how it compares to English and how it is translated. It’ll be a little nerdy today but it’s worth it and at the end we’ll all be … esperts. Hahaha.
Meh… let’s find out of whether the explanation will be better than the jokes. Continue reading

Word of the Day – Style special – “noise”

german-words-for-noiseHello everyone,

and welcome to our German word of the Day. A quick word off topic first. Last week we had a poll about the WordPress snow. The majority does like it, and quite a few people do not and find it irritating, or it even slows down their computer. So I’ve decided that we’ll just do it like a real winter. Some days it snows, at others it doesn’t :). Oh… if you want you can also turn it off by disabling all Java Script but that’ll be for all pages then. And if you’re logged into your WordPress account you can tick a box “no snow anywhere” somewhere.

With that said, let’s get right to our topic. It’s been a while since we’ve had our last style special so I figured it’s time for another one. No, this is not about beauty and fashion. I do that too, but on my  other blog. Here, a style special is  whirlwind of verbs. Lots of verbs and they are all about the same stuff. Just different styles.  Not all of the verbs are exactly the definition of useful. In fact most of them aren’t. But they’re not fancy science vocab either and I think it’s good to take a glimpse into the less traveled fields of a vocabulary every now and then because it just gives a more complete picture of the language.
And our picture today we’ll be painted of sounds because we’ll look at verbs for

noises

Nature is full of noises. And humans have always tried to capture that in language. Buzz, hum, squeak, sizzle, hiss… the list of verbs for sounds is sheer endless. Some, like hiss or screech really just stand for the sound while others like to crack have taken on real meanings over time.
Today we’ll have a look at German words for noises. Not animal noises, just those noises that are around us every day. And who knows… maybe the way German captures those gives us new insights about the German language itself. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “brauchen”

brauchen-gebraucht-verbraucHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. A very special one because….
it is number 200!!!! Wohooo! The 200th post.
And can definitely say that I would have stopped long ago if it wasn’t for your support… your many many nice and interesting comments and your donations. You’re all awesome and you all should become fluent!! You hear me, German? Make yourself easy for them,okay?
Seriously. Thanks a billion and let’s do another 200 :)
All right. With that out of the way, let’s look at one of the most important words ever. A word you’ll need every day.  Get ready to explore the meaning of

brauchen

Brauchen means to need. Actually, we should hedge and say  it means to need someone or something  because it only works with nouns or names. But we’ll get to that later on. First, let’s take a quick look at the origin of the word because it is both fascinating and helpful in understanding the brauchen-family. Continue reading

What is the difference – “wissen and kennen”

click picture for creditsHello everyone, and welcome to another German Word of the Day – What is the Difference Special. Today we’ll look at the difference between kennen and wissen A real problem… unless your mother tongue is, say, Spanish or Italian or French or Portuguese. Or Swedish or Norwegian or Finnish or Hungarian. Because all these languages have two words as well. That’s right English. Can’t give German the “Really?? Two words for one thing?“-look this time ;). Anyway, for a native speaker of English having two options for to know is really something to get used so today we’ll look a pretty straight forward way to tell them apart. And if you’re mother tongue is one of the above, you could read it anyway and share in the comments whether that would work for your language as well. Sounds good? Cool. Continue reading

Word of the Day- “klappen”

klappen-meaningHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll take a look at the meaning of

klappen

And why? Because it is colloquilicious :)
Klappen is what experts call what must be one of the least English looking English words: onomatopoeia… an attempt to capture a sound in speech. The inspiration of klappen, which is of course related to English clap, is the sound of two swans gracefully swimming by… or in other words: two objects hitting each other.
Of course clapping hands comes to mind but interestingly, this specific clapping sounds a little different in German.

  • I clap my hands.
  • Ich klatsche  (pron. clutchuh) in die Hände.

Maybe the German version is more about imitating the result of many people applauding, which does sound a little wet. Or maybe Germans just have sweaty hands… I don’t really know.
But anyway, Continue reading