Joined: 25 Sep 2007
|Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:13 pm Post subject: A few notes to increase your learning skills in German
|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.
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
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
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