Word of the Day – “eigentlich”

eigentlich-meaningHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. And today we’ll have a look at the meaning of

eigentlich

Eigentlich is super tricky. Many students use eigentlich the way they use actually.

  • Actually, I like beer.
  • Eigentlich mag ich Bier.

I mean, why not, right. That’s what it says in pretty much all dictionaries. But … dictionary shmictionary! The two sentences do not express the same thing. You should not use eigentlich the way you use actually in English. Seriously! Stop it! Eigentlich is not the  actually we love so much. Like… it looks right on paper, but in practice roughly 87,21 percent of the eigentlichs non-native speakers use are out of place (source).
Why is eigentlich such a “faillite epique”?
Well, that’s what we want to find out today. So are you ready to dive in and look at how eigentlich is used? Cool.

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Word of the Day – “die Schranke”

Hello everyone,

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

die Schranke

Schranke as well as its brother der Schrank are great examples for the harsh beauty of the German language. I mean just look at it. Schrank!  it sounds like a gearbox failure, and yet it means something like loving caress, as tender as a as a butterfly’s wi… okay of course this is crap. Schranke and Schrank are rather worldly things. And Schrank is actually pretty common.  In fact, most of you probably have a Schrank at home and if you’re one of those people who put little post its on stuff to learn vocabulary, then you’ll know that a Schrank is a wardrobe. Or a cabinet. Or a cupboard. Or an armoire. Or a locker…. basically it’s a huge-ish piece of furniture that you use to store stuff in and – and this is the crucial part – Continue reading

Word of the Day – “werben”

werben-werbung-meaning-germHello everyone,

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

werben

Werben comes from the super ancient Indo-European root *uer. The core meaning of that was  to turn, to bend and a lot of words came from that like whirling, worm or the German werfen (to throw) which is basically talking about bending your arm.
Now, werben very early on shifted from the idea of turning in circles to the idea of running around and back and forth. Not much later people started adding the notion that you do all the busy running because you want to get something and so the word eventually became “to be busy in order to get something“. And very soon this took up the core notion of advertising.

  • Der Ritter wirbt um die Liebe der Prinzessin.
  • The knight courts the princess.

Literally, this means that the knight is all around the princess, being all nice, bringing her flowers, singing her songs, writing her poems, slaying her dragons and opening her gown… Continue reading

Word of the Day – “passen”

passen-passt-mir-germanHello everyone,

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

passen

And not only that. We’ll also look at all its prefix versions. And its fancy sister passieren. And its beauty-secret… depends on how much time we have.
So, let’s not waste any and dive right in to passen. Passen is a super common and super broad. And the same goes for the English brother to pass. Just think of all the different uses of that passing a test, passing salt or passing time. In fact, there are “pass-words” in many European languages and they’re all super useful.
It all started with Latin word passus.Back in ancient Rome, a passus was a step/stride. Soon the Romans made that into the verb passare which literally meant making steps and was basically about walking from one place to another place. Continue reading

Word of the Day – ” die Mühe”

muehe-geben-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. I hope you’re all well and energized because today we’ll take a thorough look at the meaning of

die Mühe

Mühe is a bit of a weird word. Like… if your boss gives you a new task, he’s probably gonna be like “Give yourself Mühe.” You, still new to German, do as your told but then two days later when you walk up to him and say “Hey boss, just wanted to let you know that I really have a LOT of Mühe with that task.”, he’ll furrow his eye brows and be all like skeptical and displeased. And you’re just thinking to yourself  “So, I’m supposed to give it to myself, but I’m not supposed to have it?! Yeah right.”
What sounds like some sort of riddle is due to the fact that depending on the phrasing Mühe can mean effort as well as trouble or even toil. And these are actually closely connected. Just imagine… Continue reading