Category Archives: Word of the day

This section brings you the German word of the day and a round up on how to use it.

Word of the Day – Wundertütenspecial #2

wundertute-2Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. And this time it’s time for another so called Wundertüten-Special. A real Wundertüte is bag full of wonders…. well, actually more a bag full of stupid little stuff like gum and stickers. But kids love it and I think you might like the word-Wundertüte too. What is it exactly? It’s bag full of cool surprise words. You know.. these colloquial terms that you won’t get in the official study material. Their meanings are often quite specific but often they are really the only way to express a certain idea so people use them every day. Maybe every other day.  Okay, at least once a week. Well, definitely more than they use Birne which is part of many a beginners text books… unless… if they’re really big fans of pears they actually mig… okay, I’ll stop that now. The words in the last Wundertüten-special were definitely pretty cool so I’d say let’s open this one and find out. Sounds good? Awesome. Continue reading

Prefix Verb Shorts – “aufmachen”

aufmachenHello everyone,

and welcome to a  couple truths:  German has a plenty of prefix verbs that need explaining and summer is coming. Shabamm.
Time for a series that tackles both.

Prefix Verb Hot Pants

I mean shorts. Prefix verb sho.. whatever.
Every learner knows the problem… German has bazillion of these things and while not all of them are enough material for a whole Word of the Day many of them are really really useful and worth a look. And that’s exactly what a Prefix verb short is going to be. A short, quick look at the word. No fluff, no bullshit, no fun. And because they are so… well… short, we’ll probably do more than one a week. Or maybe just throw some in here and there so you get to learn more. Isn’t that great? So let’s get right to it with a look at the meaning of

aufmachen

This one really is pretty simple but that’s good so we can get an impression of the format. First we’ll always take a look at the parts. Which basic verb do we have, which prefix and what notions does this prefix have in store.
So … let’s do that for aufmachen, and maybe a warning right away:

!!!    Aufmachen does NOT mean to make up   !!!

Make up one’s mind, make up an example, make up for something … if you used aufmachen for these it wouldn’t even be understood. So what does it mean? Well, we have auf and machen. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “Teil 2 – teilen”

teilenHello everyone,

and welcome to the second Teil of our look at the Teil-family, and today is going to be just as awesome and inspiring as eating leftovers… exactly…  not very much. Meh. But what can we do. There’s nothing else so let’s dig in.
In the first part we learned all about the noun Teil, like… that it’s related to deal, that it means part, we learned that das Teil is for tangible parts while der Teil is for the rest and we learned a all those really useful Teile like Vorteil, Nachteil or Hinterteil. Today we’ll take a l… what? Oh right, we didn’t learn Hinterteil. Well, it means rear part.  This one.
What? Oh, right… NSFW. Meh, too late I guess. Sorry :)
Anyway, so today we’ll talk all about verbs and the basic one is of course Continue reading

Word of the Day – “schieben”

schieben-aufschieben-verschHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at another random, boring verb that you’ll never use and its super lame cousins.
On the edge of your seat yet? Perfect :) . Then let’s dive right in and talk about

schieben

Schieben is related to the English word to shove. They both come from the same root as words like  shoot, shut, shun, scoot or shuttle:  the mega turbo uber kind of ancient root *skeub- which meant as much as  making something move quickly by applying a force from behind. So … it’s kind of what I do with the interns, when I kick their lazy ass for being on Facebook all day. Hmmm… I wonder if the Indo-Europeans had lazy interns too. Like… some Intern-Europeans… meh, anyways.
Seriously though… the core of the root was probably just broad idea of  to (make)  move quickly. But this whole notion of a pushing force (as opposed to pulling) was definitely in there very early on and it’s  totally part of words like shove or shootContinue reading

Word of the Day- “der Reiz”

Hello everyone,

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

der Reiz

A gentle balmy wind on the skin, the slight fragrance of cherry blossoms in the air, the refreshing bitterness of a cold beer on the tongue, the pollen induced itching in my nose, the first sting of a mosquito on the arm, the sound of birds going crazy at 5 in the morning in the ear.
Besides being all very “spring”-y these things have one thing in common… each one is something we perceive with our senses. Or put in one word – a Reiz.
Reiz  comes from an  old Germanic root that was at its core about carving or scratching a surface with a sharp object. This root evolved into words like to write and to scribe in English and reißen (to rip) or schreiben (to write). And there was reizen, which in the beginning was very true to the core meaning of carving or scratching a surface. But soon the meaning broadened, people started using it in an abstract sense too. What abstract sense? Continue reading