German Vocabulary retirement

German Vocabulary: Retirement

Just five days after winning the football World Cup in Brazil, Philipp Lahm announced his retirement from Germany’s national football team. He will still play for Bayern München, at least until his contract ends in 2018.

Though it might be too early for most of you to think about retirement, here are some vocabulary and expressions around retirement you can use.

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german vocabulary list Peer Steinbrück

German Vocabulary List: Jemandem den Stinkefinger zeigen

german vocabulary list Peer SteinbrückWeniger als zwei Wochen vor den Bundestagswahlen in Deutschland ist Peer Steinbrück, der Spitzenkandidat für die SPD und dadurch Herausforderer von Kanzlerin Merkel, wieder einmal in den Schlagzeilen.

Während eines Fotointerviews mit der Süddeutschen Zeitung zeigte er der Kamera den Stinkefinger als er seine Reaktion auf Titel wie Problem-Peer oder Peerlusconi darstellen sollte.

Peer Steinbrück ist nicht der erste Prominente, dem diese Geste schadet. Der Fussballer Stefan Effenberg wurde aus der deutschen Nationalmannschaft geworfen nachdem er dem Publikum während eines Spiels den Mittelfinger zeigte.

Translation

Less than two weeks before the Bundestag (federal) elections in Germany Peer Steinbrück, frontrunner for the SPD and hence challenger of chancellor Angela Merkel, makes headlines, again.

During a photo interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung he gave the finger to the camera when asked to show his reaction to titles like Problem-Peer or Peerlusconi.

Peer Steinbrück ist not the first celebrity who is harmed by this gesture. Footballer Stefan Effenberg was expulsed from the German national team after he gave the audience the finger during a match.

Exercise

Diskutiert in den Kommentaren, ob ein Spitzenpolitiker wie Peer Steinbrück solche Gesten machen darf. Gibt es diese Geste auch in eurem Land? Wie anstößig ist es, wenn jemand den Stinkefinger zeigt? Denkt ihr, diese Geste beeinträchtigt seine Chancen bei der Wahl?

Discuss in the comments if top politicians like Peer Steinbrück should be allowed to make such gestures. Is there a similar gesture in your country? How offensive is it to give someone the finger? Do you think this will damage his prospects on election day?

Vocabulary

  • der Spitzenkandidat = frontrunner
  • der Herausforderer = challenger
  • die Schlagzeile = banner headline
  • jemandem (Dat.) den Stinkefinger (Akk.) zeigen = to give so. the finger
  • anstößig = offensive

Bild via Süddeutsche Zeitung

Freitag 13

Freitag, der 13. als Unglückstag und seine Bedeutung

Freitag 13Da heute Freitag, der 13. ist und dies einigen Leuten als Unglückstag gilt, möchte ich in diesem kurzen Artikel den Ursprung dieses Volksglaubens erklären.

Freitag als Wochentag gilt vor allem in katholischen Gegenden als der Todestag Jesu. Die Protestanten hingegen sahen ihn lange Zeit sogar als glückbringenden Tag.

Die 13 gilt in einigen Kulturen, z.B. in Deutschland oder auch Nordamerika als Unglückszahl.

Da an diesem Tag nicht mehr Unglücke als an einem normalen Tag geschehen, sagt man, es handele sich um einen Aberglauben.

Dieser Aberglaube rührt wohl daher, dass die beide Symbole, der Freitag und die Zahl 13, für sich gesehen bereits Unglück bedeuten. Beides an einem Tag kann folglich nur noch mehr Pech bedeuten.

Die 13 überschreitet die zwölf, die auch als harmonische Zahl gilt, nur um eins. Damit wird das geschlossene Zwölfersystem überschritten. Ausserdem ist sie nur durch 1 oder sich selbst teilbar, also eine sogenannte Primzahl, was ihr vielleicht eine gewisse Besonderheit verleiht.

In anderen Kulturen jedoch, z.B. der jüdischen oder japanischen, gilt die 13 sogar als Glückszahl.

  • Unglückstag (m.) – fatal day
  • Volksglaube (m.) – popular belief
  • Wochentag (m.) – weekday, day of the week
  • glückbringend (Adj.) – talismanic
  • Aberglaube (m.) – superstition
  • Pech (n.) – bad luck
  • Primzahl (f.) – prime (number)
  • Glückszahl (f.) – lucky number

Mich würde interessieren, ob die 13 in eurer Heimat auch als Unglückszahl gilt bzw. welche anderen Symbole als unglückbringend angesehen werden. Seid ihr abergläubisch oder nicht?


Bild von W.J.Pilsak

five digit postal code

20 Jahre Fünfstellige Postleitzahl – 20 Years Five Digit Postal Codes in Germany

Heute vor zwanzig Jahren wurde in Deutschland die fünfstellige Postleitzahl eingeführt. Durch die Wiedervereinigung war das alte Postleitzahlensystem zu ineffizient geworden und manche Städte und Gemeinden in der ehemaligen DDR und BRD hatten nun die gleiche Postleitzahl.

five digit postal codeOK, some interesting vocabulary in this short summary. Twenty years ago the German post office introduced the new and effective five digit postal code. Due to the reunification of Germany in 1990, the old system, a combination of the two existing systems in the Bundesrepublik and the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, became inefficient and also led to the problem of cities having the same postal code.

As this change took place in the 90ies it had to be sold as being “hip”. Therefore the Deutsche Post introduced Rolf, a yellow rapping hand (five fingers = five digits) who promoted the new postal codes with short clips during the commercial breaks on TV. His tagline was “Fünf ist Trümpf” five is trump (card) with the u of Trumpf turned into an Umlaut to rhyme better. I embeded some of those clips below.

On top of that some well known German film directors created ads in their own movie style. They start about one minute into the video below.

I remember that the change was not well received by the German public who did not want their postal codes to change. Some said it was pure bureaucracy, a waste of taxpayer money and almost everyone did not understand how the new system would work at all. And how on earth should people remember their new postal code? Some even named the new system “Postleidzahlen” postal suffering codes

Every German household then received a big yellow book “Das Postleitzahlenbuch” with all of the old postal codes transcribed into the new five digit ones. I am pretty sure that my parents still have this book somewhere forgotten on a shelf.

Of course, today everybody got used to the new postal codes, yet I still remember the one I grew up with: 1000 Berlin 51. Probably due to writing a lot of Ansichtskarten aus dem Urlaub – picture postcards from a vacation. In times of email and Instagram the postal code has lost a lot of its importance, I guess.

Our key vocabulary is

die Postleitzahl = postal code
fünfstellig = five digit
die Wiedervereinigung = reunification

german homophones

List of German Homophones

german homophonesHomophones exist in every language, and of course we have a few of these confusing words in German. Technically homophones are words that sound the same but are written differently.

Most homophones are just two words that sound the same, but we have rare cases when three or even four words can be homophones.

Here is a list of German homophones

bis (prep.) until, to  Biss (noun, masc.) bite 
Boot (noun, neutr.) boat bot (past tense of bieten) bid, offer
Bund (noun, masc.) Federation bunt (adjective)  colorful 
das (def. article) the  dass (conjunction) that 
fällt (present tense of fallen) falls Feld (noun, neutr.) field
Heer (noun, neutr.) army  her (adverb) from
Held (noun, masc.) hero  hält (present tense of halten) holds
isst (present tense of essen) eats  ist (present tense of sein) is
kannte (past tense of kennen) knew Kante (noun, fem.) edge
konnten (past tense of können) could Konten (noun, pl.) accounts
Küste (noun, fe.) coast küsste (past tense of küssen) kissed
Lehre (noun, fem.) apprenticeship Leere (noun, fem.) emptiness, void 
Leib (noun, masc.) body Laib (noun, masc.) loaf
Lied (noun, neutr.) song Lid (noun, neutr.) eyelid
Mahl (noun, neutr.) dinner, feast mal (prep.) times
man (pronoun) one, you, they Mann (noun, masc.) man
Meer (noun, neutr.) sea mehr (adjective) more
nahmen (past tense of nehmen) took Namen (noun, pl.) names
Rat (noun, masc.) advice, council Rad (noun, neutr.) wheel
seit (prep.) since seid (present tense of sein) are
Städte (noun, pl.) cities Stätte (noun, fem.) location, place
Ställe (noun, pl.) barn Stelle (noun, fem.) place, position
Tod (noun, masc.) death tot (adjective) dead 
fiel (past tense of fallen) fell viel (adjective, adverb) much 
Wahl (noun, fem.) election Wal (noun, masc.) whale 
war (past tense of sein) was wahr (adjective) true
Wende (noun, fem.) turn Wände (noun, pl.) walls
wider (prep.) against wieder (adverb) again 

Homophones with more than two words are

Sie (pronoun, polite) you sie (pronoun, 3rd Pl.) they
sie (pronoun, 3rd Sing.) she sieh! (imperative of sehen) look!
Stadt (noun, fem.) city statt (prep., conj.) instead, in place of
Statt (noun, fem.) stead (old German)

More homophones that are technically homonymes. Homonymes are words that are spelled the same, pronounced the same way but have different meanings.

arm (adjective) poor Arm (noun, masc.) arm
Steuer (noun, neutr.) steering wheel Steuer (noun, fem.) tax 
Tau (noun, masc.) dew Tau (noun, neutr.) rope 

Das Schmankerl – little tidbit

Wer nichts wird, wird Wirt. The one who doesn’t become somebody (= who fails, is a nobody) becomes an inkeeper.

When it comes to the use of homophones in music, Rammstein is probably the band I think of first.
It becomes very apparent in their song “Du hast”. They obviously play with the words du hast you have and du hasst you hate.

literary periods in germany

Literary Periods in Germany – Deutsche Literaturepochen

literary periods in germanyAs Germany is known for its literary heritage I thought that it would be interesting for you to learn a bit more about our literary history. To start this series let’s give you a quick overview of the literary periods in Germany.

You should take this as a rough timeline and guide as it is virtually impossible to name an exact year as starting point or end of the individual periods, some of them overlap, too.

I will also go into more detail of the most important periods, their emblematic works and authors in dedicated articles to follow.

 Years Period
 700-1000 althochdeutsche Epoche
1100-1500 mittelhochdeutsche Epoche, Höhepunkt Hochmittelalter um ca. 1200
1500-1600 Humanismus, Reformation, Renaissance
1600-1720 Barockliteratur
1720-1780 Aufklärung
1740-1790 Empfindsamkeit
1770-1780 Sturm und Drang
1780-1830 (Weimarer) Klassik
1800-1835 Romantik
1815-1848 Biedermeier
1825-1848 junges Deutschland und Vormärz
1830-1880 Realismus
1880-1900 Naturalismus
1890-1920 Moderne/Impressionismus
1900-1950 Tradition und konservative Erneuerung
1910-1925 Expressionismus (im Exil auch nach 1933)
1915-1925 Avantgarde/Dadaismus
1919-1932 Literatur der Weimarer Republik/Neue Sachlichkeit
1933-1945 Exilliteratur
1945-1968 Nachkriegszeit, Trümmerliteratur und Zeit des Wirtschaftswunders
1968-1975 die 68er-Generation
ab 1980 Postmoderne
ab 1985 neue Subjektivität
ab 1990 Zeit nach der Wende

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German Summer reading list

Deutsch Happen Summer Reading List for German Learners

German Summer reading listLooking at the weather this spring summer still seems far, but I’ve been asked by a couple Deutsch Happen learners for some Buchtipps (m,pl.)book recommendations for the Sommerpause (f)summer break.

Frankly, this is always a bit challenging as you are all at different levels and have different preferences, interests and so on.

So, I thought why not give you some book recommendations that are public domain and include both some of the Klassiker (n,pl.)classics as well as popular choices of the moment.

As these books are freely available, you will get a impression of the book’s difficulty and writing style. If you like a Buchtitel (m)(book) title in particular you could still go to the Buchladen (m)book store and purchase it or ask whether they have it in your Stadtbücherei (f)local library.

Without further ado, here is the Deutsch Happen Summer Reading List.

Belletristik (f)fiction, Romane (m,pl.) – romance, Kurzgeschichten (f,pl.)short stories, Novellen (f,pl.)novellas

Sachbücher (n,pl.)nonfiction, Philosophie (f) - phylosophy

Belletristik (f)fiction (popular)

  • Der Schatz im Silbersee – Karl May
    If you like Karl May, you can search for the author on the site and will find many of his most popular works including the Winnetou series.
  • Die Fieberkurve – Friedrich Glauser

And in case you’re a fan of Franz Kafka like I am, there are several of his works available including

Der Leckerbissentidbit am Ende

Die Schrecken der deutschen Sprache – Mark Twain

You can also visit Projekt Gutenberg for the full catalog of available works (but I find it a little overwhelming to be honest)

I hope you’ll find this list both useful and inspiring, and as always please comment on Facebook or Twitter and let me know what books you’ll be reading over the summer.

If you want to support Deutsch Happen, please consider our new subscription option that you find on the right side or below this post. Thank you, vielen Dank!

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