Category Archives: German

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 Russian or Polish 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

Word of the Day – “der Zweifel”

zweifel-bezweifeln-verzweifHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day, number 140… or uhm.. something. Not sure actually. I just know it’s not enough. Not even close. We need more words. Moooooore. We need to be like word eating zombies. Woooords. Oh, there’s one. Let’s eat

der Zweifel.

 Der Zweifel means the doubt. And clearly the two words aren’t related.
Or are they?
Dun dun dunnnn
They aren’t, Emanuel was sure of it. Two words that don’t even share a single letter just can’t be related. And yet, there was this weird feeling in his gut. A feeling he knew all too well. A feeling that had never wronged him. There was no doubt, he had to take a dump. And so there he sha sat in the Chamber of Tiled Walls, his mind wandering. “Zweifel. Zwei-fel. Zwei… oh my god!” Such were his thoughts. Luckily, the etymological dictionary was there, conveniently placed next to the toilet, for, as so many others, he liked to ingest while eges… gee, what am I blabbering. I’m sorry. So… the word Zweifel directly comes from the word zwei . And that does make sense. For example… Continue reading

Word of the Day – “sorgen – prefixed”

sorgen-besorgen-versorgen-mHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of

sorgen

And of course that means that we’ll look at the prefixes, too… besorgen, versorgen… these fellows. I gotta warn you though; this one is uber tough. There are only a handful prefix-versions but the meanings of those are freaking crazy. I’m actually… ahem…  worried, we might not make it this time. Maybe we’ll just not be able to get a hold of it.
Okay, no… of course we’ll get a hold of them. They’re not so bad. I just wanted to shoehorn in the word worry. Why? Let’s find out. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “die Decke”

decke-decken-entdecken-germHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of

die Decke

And that means of course that we’ll cover (hint, hint) the whole  decken-family – “the Deckens”. Decke is just a nice icon for it, so that’s why I picked it.
The Deckens are probably some of the oldest words ever. Forget all those super ancient Indo European roots we see all the time. Those are like… recent. The root of  Decke dates back freaggin’ 160 million years to when it was the name of a Dinosaur… the Stegosaurus, also known as Stegstar or just Stegs. Those were just for friends though. The Stegosaurus was a cool dude who took it easy and he was widely known for his massive tile like spikes along his back that provided him with protection and extra awesome. The dinosaurs then “perished” because of “a comet”(yeah, right) but the other animals remembered them and passed on their story to mankind. Continue reading