Month: April 2016

Wortspiele (wordplays)

delay

Everything bad is good for something!

Even if I had to wait for the bus that was delayed yesterday, I thought that is a good occasion to show you some vocabulary and to tell you a phrase that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

The entire phrase displayed on the screen was:

Verspätung durch starkes Verkehrsaufkommen. 

Delay because of traffic jam.

I have to mention that usually is difficult to translate exactly from german to english. Let me show you what each word means and you will understand what I mean.

die Verspätung = delay (the ending “ung” is typical for feminine words -> “die“)

durch = by/through (preposition that always asks accusative after it)

stark = strong/heavy (“es” ending because of adjective declination; Verkehrsaufkommen is neutrum -> s is the endig for accusative neutrum)

das Verkehrsaufkommen = traffic volume (der Verkehr = traffic; das Aufkommen = appearance/emergence; between them appears an extra “s” that connects the 2 words and makes it easier to pronounce)

Four years ago, talking about the vocabulary with my tutor in the company where I was working, he gave me the following example:

Es kann vorkommen, dass unsere Nachkommen mit deinem Einkommen nicht auskommen und umkommen.

It can happen that our descendants with your salary will not manage and will die.

The root word here is obviously “kommen” = to come.

By adding different prefixes to a root word you can get a totally new word, with totally different meaning!

das Aufkommen = emergence

vorkommen (verb) = to appear/ to happen

die Nachkommen (pl) = descendants/offspring

das Einkommen = income/salary

auskommen (verb) = to get along/to manage

umkommen (verb) = to perish

volkommen = completely/fully (I often hear it in the following context: “Du hast volkommen Recht” = you are totally right)

and I think the list may continue…

…but I will stop here. I think you got the point.

Conclusion: Quote from my german teacher: “I don’t know why people are scared of grammar when learning german. The grammar has an end, but the vocabulary not!”

This may sound a little scary, but remain optimistic! We have an entire life ahead of us to learn german. :))

P.S.: I found 100 words belonging to the word family of kommen. Check it out yourself here. And let me add something – all those words are used in everyday life, they are not just some exceptions put there to make the list look longer.

 

The sex and the elf

 

elf

 

I know that after reading this title you have great expectations but I am going to disappoint you. This post is about the numbers (die Zahlen) in german. Let me tell you a story.

Long time ago when the currency in Germany was still the Deutsche Mark, my husband (at that time not my husband yet) went with 2 other friends in a bar. One of the friends was Italian so he didn’t understand german. They drank some beers and then they wanted to pay. One beer cost about 5,5 DM so they said to the waitress “Sechs ist gut” (six is ok – including the tip). The poor Italian guy was looking stupefied. Obviously he understood “Sex is good”…

The first thing my german teacher told me when learning the numbers was “don’t pronounce 6 like sex”. Now how you shold pronounce it correctly? listen here. That guy has a good german pronunciation (die Aussprache).

 

11 = elf

11 has nothing special, I just find it extremely funny.

Then there is the complicated part after 20. The numbers with two digits are pronounced inversed. For example:

21 = twenty one (in english)

21 = one and twenty (in german) = einundzwanzig

It’s more difficult when hearing bigger numbers. E.g. siebenundsechzig (67). Your brain will automatically think AHA 76…and then your brain will think a second time and will say “wait…is in german so is 67”. LOL! Yes…you will be slower in calculation in german. And yes, you will sometimes write the numbers the other way round, I mean first the 7 then the 6 from right to left.

This being said I hope I made you curious about the german numbers and wish you good luck with learning them.

The Trouble Notes

Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

I was on the streets of Rome just on time to discover this:

 

The 3 talented guys that you just heard are Bennet Cerven violin, Florian Eisenschmidt guitar, and Oliver Maguire percussion. As far as I understood they come from USA, Germany and England.

They are a Berlin-based trio playing a mix of indie gypsy  with oriental and mediterannean motifs. You can read more about them on their website http://www.thetroublenotes.com/

I also found them on Youtube and this are 2 of my favourites:

 

 

Now you may ask yourself what does this have to do with learning german.  NOTHING! Except of the fact that they live in Germany and you may just run into them on the streets of Berlin and fall in love with their music like I did.

I just wanted to share this good music with you!

Viel Spaß beim Zuhören!

Enjoy listening!