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Key Words and Phrases from Chancellor Merkel's Speech, Part 1

Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't often give televised addresses, however, she recently went on TV to speak about the measures being taken in Germany to slow the spread of COVID-19 and appeal to the public. 

 

Chancellor Merkel opens the speech by acknowledging how difficult recent weeks have been. The word die Begegnung can mean "the encounter," like when you bump into someone on the street, but here it refers to social interaction.

 

Uns allen fehlen die Begegnungen, die sonst selbstverständlich sind.

We are all missing the interactions that are otherwise taken for granted.

Caption 10, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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She refers to the "restrictions" and "closures" that are defining daily life at the moment. 

 

Es sind Einschränkungen, wie es sie in der Bundesrepublik noch nie gab.

They are restrictions such as have never been seen before in the German Federal Republic.

Caption 33, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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Ich weiß, wie hart die Schließungen, auf die sich Bund und Länder geeinigt haben, in unser Leben und auch unser demokratisches Selbstverständnis eingreifen.

I know how severely these closures, which have been agreed upon by the federal and state governments, are interfering with our lives and with our democratic self-image as well.

Captions 30-32, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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Chancellor Merkel describes Germany as eine Gemeinschaft, which can be translated as "a community," "an association," or "a collective." The community now has the task of practicing social distancing. The word for task, die Aufgabe, can be used to describe a household task, but also a much larger undertaking.

 

Und wir sind eine Gemeinschaft, in der jedes Leben und jeder Mensch zählt.

And we are a community in which every life and every person counts.

Captions 63-64, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Ich glaube fest daran, dass wir diese Aufgabe bestehen, wenn wirklich alle Bürgerinnen und Bürger sie als ihre Aufgabe begreifen.

I firmly believe that we will succeed in this task if all citizens really see it as their task.

Captions 21-22, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Chancellor Merkel uses the adjective solidarisch, as well as its opposite unsolidarisch, to describe different behaviors. 

 

Seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg gab es keine Herausforderung an unser Land mehr, bei der es so sehr auf unser gemeinsames solidarisches Handeln ankommt.

Since the Second World War there has been no challenge to our country that has depended so much on us acting together in solidarity.

Captions 26-28, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 1

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Hamstern, als werde es nie wieder etwas geben, ist sinnlos und letztlich vollkommen unsolidarisch.

Hoarding as if nothing will ever again be available is senseless and ultimately completely lacking in solidarity.

Captions 62-63, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 2

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Note the use of the word das Hamstern above. This is a nominalization of the verb hamstern, which relates to the food collection method of a certain animal and is slang for horten / "to hoard." The noun der Hamsterkauf is related to der Einkauf, but rather than "the shopping trip" it is more like the English expression "panic buying."

 

When talking about social distancing or keeping a distance from people you encounter when you have to leave the house, the term in German is Abstand halten. Chancellor Merkel says that even though it is difficult, this is one of our greatest weapons against the spread of the virus.

 

Im Moment ist nur Abstand Ausdruck von Fürsorge.

At the moment, distance is the only way to express care.

Caption 42, Coronavirus Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel - Part 3

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Further Learning
Watch the Chancellor's speech on Yabla German and listen for these key words and phrases. If you would like to work on your listening comprehension by means of a daily news briefing, try listening to Deutsche Welle's Langsam gesprochene Nachrichtenwhich is made especially for German learners. If you would like to learn about how the situation is unfolding in Germany, you may find Der Spiegel to be a good resource for articles in English as well as German. 

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Sottotitolo 28, 27, 26, 25, 22, 21, 23, 20, 64, 63, 62, 61, 10, 9
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