A few notes to increase your learning skills in German

This forum is dedicated to learning German (Deutsch) easily
Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:41 pm

A few notes to increase your learning skills in German

Post by Admin » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:13 pm

For beginners who just started learning German or for newcomers in Germany, the German language could look very difficult to absorb at first look - specially words, grammer, then comes the slangs which are widely used in everyday life.

But hold on, put a smile on your face and let me start :-)

In fact, many German words are similar to English. Talk about 'fish', in German its 'Fisch'. Fish is masculine, so 'der Fisch', plural form 'die Fische'.

Remember, all plural forms in German are with the article 'die'.

Very similar with English, is 'photo', in German 'Foto' ('das Foto, plural die Fotos), so is

English word 'hobby' – in German Hobby (das Hobby, plural die Hobbys).

English 'business' is same-same in German 'Business' :-) - 'das Business', It has no plural form.

Similarly, English 'chaos' is also 'Chaos' in German – 'das Chaos', it has no plural form.

Information is something universal either in English or in German. It is usually expressed as 'i'.

So while learning German, look for similarities with English, it will help you to capture German words faster than you ever thought and believe me, its a very useful way. So don't get nervous about German words.

At the end of this lesson, you will find a list of common, similar words in English and German.

Many German words are a combination of two or more words

You will encounter this often.

For example, 'Zahn' in German means 'tooth'; 'Arzt' means 'doctor', so

a dentist in German is a 'Zahnarzt'.

'Haus' means house or home and 'Rat' means advice or council, so although 'Rathaus' means 'town hall' but in fact, it's the place where you make reporting when you come to stay in a new city in Germany. Every foreigher has to report in 'Rathaus'. They also issue you residence documents. So you do some kind of counselling there :-)

'Hof' means yard and 'Bauer' means farmer

so 'Bauernhof' means farm or a farmer's yard [Bauer + n + hof]

'Auto' means car and 'Unfall' means accident

so 'Autounfall' means car accident.

'Schwein' means pig and 'Fleisch' means meat

so 'Schweinefleisch' means pork [Schwein + e + fleisch]

'Rind' means cow: 'Rindfleisch' means beef.

'Apfel' means apple, 'Kuchen' means cake.

so 'Apfelkuchen' means Apple cake

'Kopf' means head, 'Schmerz' means pain or ache.

so 'Kopfschmerz' is headache, usually it is used in plural form 'Kopfschmerzen'.

'Regen' means rain and 'Bogen'means arc or curve.

so 'Regenbogen' means rainbow.

'Haupt' means main or head, 'Bahnhof' means railway station.

So 'Hauptbahnhof' means main or central railway station.

You can again break the word 'Bahnhof' into two: 'Bahn' means train and 'Hof' means yard. So Bahnhof literally means where all the trains come and stop or halt for a while.

Truely, this is one of the beauties of German Language: you combine two or more words to get a new one with a new meaning or a new expression.

Verbs commonly used in daily life

In your daily life in Germany, you will notice the frequent use of some verbs. However, many of them are used with prefixes.

Let's say, you are in your classromm or in office, then one of your colleagues asks you 'Mach bitte das Fenster auf'. He or she means - please, open the window.

Again your colleague could request you 'Mach bitte das Fenster zu' – please, close the window.

In both cases, the main verb is 'machen' which means 'to do something'.

So when you use the prefix 'auf', the verb becomes 'aufmachen' – to open something, and

when you say 'zumachen', it means – to close something. It could be used also for the doors

Mach bitte die Tür auf – please open the door (let's say someone rings or you want some fresh air inside).

Mach bitte die Tür zu – please close the door.

In German, the prefixes normally go to the end of the sentence. But there are other rules as well. I suggest, you read this lesson as well: Separable Verbs in German and their usage

Another commonly used verb is 'sagen' – to say something

Here comes the prefixes 'ab' and 'zu'.

absagen – to refuse or reject something, while

zusagen – to accept something

Er hat meine Einladung abgesagt – He refused/rejected/canceled my invitation.

Er hat schon zugesagt – He already accepted it.

You will also hear the verb 'zustimmen' meaning to agree with someone or something, like ther's a discussion about something, say on climate change, and you agree with the points of one of your colleagues,

so you could say,

Ich stimme Dir zu - I agree with you.

Licht anmachen

Very commonly used.

Kannst du bitte das Licht anmachen? - Can you please turn the light on?

Schalte bitte das Licht aus – Please turn the light off.

Again, here the main verb is 'machen'. With the prefixes 'an'and 'aus' it becomes

anmachen – to turn something on

ausmachen – to switch something off

Entspann dich!

Also frequently used. Let's say, you have an exam tomorrow and you are quite a bit excited or stressed!! Your friends notice that and assure you

Entspann dich! - Just relax! (everything's going to be fine!)

Special verbs that can confuse you

Well, there are verbs in German, whose usage can really confuse you.

Let's take an example: the verb 'einstellen' usually means to hire, to recruit, or to stop (any service, for example)

einstellen – to hire, to recruit, or to stop

Bitte stellen Sie jetzt das Rauchen ein! - Please stop smoking now!

Die Firma hat dieses Jahr viele neue Mitarbeiter eingestellt. - The company has hired/recruited many new employees this year.

But when the same verb is used with the reflexive pronoun 'sich', it means 'to adjust', a completely different meaning than above. The pronoun 'sich' means – oneself.

sich einstellen - to adjust oneself (to a new situaion, so to say)

Worauf Sie sich einstellen müssen, wenn Sie im Ausland Erfolg haben wollen? - Whereupon do you need to adjust youself, if you want success abroad?

Another verb is 'vorstellen'

In its stand-alone form 'vorstellen' means to introduce someone or something.

Darf ich Ihnen Herrn Wolf vorstellen? - May I introduce Mr. Wolf to you?

But when used with the reflexive pronoun 'sich' it means:

sich vorstellen – to introduce oneself

Darf ich mich vorstellen? - May I introduce myself?

A beauty of German language - the word 'mal'

'mal' is frequently used in everyday German. Literally it means 'times'. For example

einmal – once

zweimal – twice

dreimal – thrice or three times and so on.

nochmal – again

But in most cases, its use in daily conversation is for 'aesthetic' purposes. Example:

Moment mal! - Wait a moment! or Wait a second!

Warte mal! - Wait a moment!

Schau mal! - Look (here)!

Probier's mal! - Give it a try! or Just try this!

Who is a 'Geisterfahrer'?

'Geisterfahrer' means wrong-way driver, someone who drives on the wrong side of the road or in opposite direction instructed for a given lane.

It originates from two words: 'Geist' means ghost and 'Fahrer' means driver.

So 'Geisterfahrer' literally also means 'Ghost driver'. They cause many accidents on the roads and you will often hear about this on Radio. Normally very young-aged drivers or teens cause such accidents, and many accidents happen on the Weekend.

Geisterfahrer are also called 'Falschfahrer' (wrong driver).

'Falsch' – wrong, false and 'Fahrer' - driver

Typical family names in German

This is certainly a very special beauty or characteristic of German language. If you notice, you will find most of the family names in German bear some meanings or expressions – like, natural or occupational titles.

Let's start with 'König' whose English meaning is king.

Example: Alexander König, Christoph König, Dieter König, Franz König

'Jung' means young in English

German names: Ferdinand Jung, Hans Jung , Joachim Jung

German word 'Vogel' means bird.

Ex: Andreas Vogel, Barbara Vogel, Florian Vogel , Heiko Vogel

German word 'Jäger' means hunter.

Ex: Elisabeth Jäger, Georg Jäger, Karl Jäger

German word 'Groß' means great

Ex: Dieter Groß, Heinrich Groß, Maria Groß

German word 'Engel' means angel, so now let's get to know some angels :-)

Jakob Engel, Klaus Engel , Robert Engel , Ulrich-Karl Engel

From angels now come to wolfs :-) . German word 'Wolf' means wolf.

Examples - Bernd Wolf, Erich Wolf , Hans-Joachim Wolf , Markus Wolf

German word 'Fischer' means fisherman.

So, Otto Fischer , Stefan Fischer, Thomas Fischer

German word 'Richter' means judge.

- Elke Richter , Helmut Richter , Ingo Richter

As you know already, 'Bauer' means farmer

so, Florian Bauer, Ina Bauer, Manfred Bauer, Sebastian Bauer

'Schumacher' is a family title in German originated from the word 'Schuhmacher' means shoemaker.

Schuh - shoe

Macher - maker

However, in the family name Schumacher, 'h' is missing :-)

A famous personality with this family title is the Formula1 Champion - Michael Schumacher and his brother Ralf Schumacher.

'Schneider' means dress maker or cutter. It's a occupational title.

Examples: Anita Schneider, Diana Schneider , Ingolf Schneider

A List of common, similar words in English and German

English – German

agent - Agent

amateur - Amateur

arena - Arena

bar - Bar

bank – Bank

bestseller – Bestseller

basis - Basis

bonus - Bonus

boss - Boss

bus - Bus

broccoli - Broccoli

casino - Casino

club - Club

code - Code

comeback - Comeback

detail - Detail

dimension - Dimension

disco - Disco

emission - Emission

episode - Episode

experiment - Experiment

emotion - Emotion

film - Film

forum - Forum

garage - Garage

golf - Golf

hand - Hand

highlight - Highlight

horror - Horror

humor - Humor

immigration - Immigration

institution - Institution

internet - Internet

jeans - Jeans

job - Job

journal - Journal

karma - Karma

kindergarten - Kindergarten

kebab - Kebab

label - Label

lust - Lust

lounge - Lounge

macho - Macho

material - Material

meter - Meter

model - Model

motivation - Motivation

name - Name

norm - Norm

operation - Operation

orange - Orange

optimist - Optimist

party - Party

pause - Pause

patient - Patient

person - Person

phase - Phase

pizza - Pizza

profit - Profit

prophet - Prophet

quiz - Quiz

quantum - Quantum

radio - Radio

recycling - Recycling

regime - Regime

religion - Religion

sand - Sand

sauna - Sauna

service - Service

slogan - Slogan

software - Software

station - Station

talent - Talent

team - Team

terminal - Terminal

test - Test

ticket - Ticket

tango - Tango

tour - Tour

T-shirt - T-Shirt

tunnel - Tunnel

uniform - Uniform

van - Van

virus - Virus

vitamin - Vitamin

wind - Wind

workshop - Workshop

workaholic - Workaholic

yoga - Yoga

yacht - Yacht

zombie - Zombie

zone - Zone

Read wonderful articles (English & German) on Science & Tech, Environment, Health and many other topics only on BlogArena.

Have comments or suggestions? Let us know: info@shamskm.com

Post Reply