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Using the verb kennenlernen

The verb kennenlernen ("to get to know," "to make the acquaintance of," "to meet") is without a doubt an important one, but it's a bit tricky. For our beginners and anyone who needs a review, let's look at various conjugations of this separable verb as we look at some sentences from Yabla German


First of all, here it is again in the infinitive. Note that kennenlernen is one word:


Der Vermieter möchte uns kennenlernen.

The landlord would like to meet us.

Caption 42, Mein Weg nach DeutschlandL Auf Wohnungssuche

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In this next example, kennenlernen is used in the present tense, and more specifically in the third person singular. You'll note that lernen gets conjugated, whereas kennen remains in the infinitive but moves to the end of the sentence:


Man lernt mehr Leute kennen.

One gets to know more people.

Caption 37, Anna Am Strand: in Mexiko

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The same thing, which is normal for separable verbs, happens in the simple past tense:


Und so lernte die Prinzessin ihren Ehemann kennen.

And this is how the Princess met her husband.

Caption 35, Märchen - Sagenhaft: König Drosselbart

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In the following phrases, which you will most certainly need to know, kennenlernen is integrated into a subordinate clause with zu:


Schön, dich kennenzulernen. -Schön, dich kennenzulernen.

Nice to meet you. -Nice to meet you.

Caption 10, Paula & Heide: aus Berlin

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Freut mich, dich kennenzulernen. -Hallo.

Pleased to meet you. -Hello.

Caption 16, Nicos Weg: Feste und Feiertage

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Nun, ich freue mich, Sie dann kennenzulernen.

So, I am looking forward to meeting you then.

Caption 49, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch

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In the present perfect, which is often used to talk about the past in German, we see the participle of the verb: 


Ich habe diesen netten Kerl kennengelernt.

I met this nice guy.

Caption 35, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Die Verabredung

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And this example also refers to what has already happened: 


Aber ich find's nett, Sie kennengelernt zu haben.

But I think it's nice to have met you.

Caption 36, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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Further Learning
There's no shortage of examples on Yabla German, so have a look and practice telling people it was nice to meet them, or talking about when you first met various people you know. 

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The N Declension in German, Part III

In a previous lesson, we discussed N declensions in German that use nouns having to do with titles, professions, and objects. To review, the term "N declension" means that there are certain masculine nouns (with a single neuter exception—see below!) that have an "-n" or "-en" added to the end in all singular grammatical cases except the nominative case. This week we will take a look at some other N declensions that are exceptions to the rule.


There are certain masculine nouns that take the N declension, but also add the genitive "s" to the N declension "en" in the genitive case only:


Ich möchte euch sagen, dass wir aus einer anderen Welt kommen, aber wir sind Botschafter des Friedens.

I want to tell you, uh... that we come from another world, but we are ambassadors of peace.

Captions 68-69, Es war einmal... der Weltraum: Die Saurier

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Fisch ist ein Symbol des christlichen Glaubens und fällt nicht unter das Abstinenzverbot.

Fish is a symbol of the Christian faith and does not fall under the abstinence prohibition.

Captions 66-67, Cettina und Sabine: Ostern

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Thus the masculine nouns der Friede and der Glaube become respectively des Friedens and des Glaubens in the genitive case. Other examples of N declension nouns that end with "-ens" in the genitive case include der Buchstabe ("the letter"), der Funke ("the spark"), der Gedanke ("the thought"), der Name ("the name"), and der Wille ("the will").


And now, the biggest exception of all the words taking the N-declension:


Und so ritt der Prinz schließlich schweren Herzens zurück nach Hause. Allein.

And so the Prince finally rode with a heavy heart back home. Alone.

Caption 32, Märchen - Sagenhaft Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse

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All of the nouns that take the N declension are masculine, with the single exception: das Herz. As you see above, the nominative das Herz becomes the genitive des Herzens. It's doubly exceptional for the fact that it also takes the additional "s" in the genitive case.


Further Learning
This wraps up the last part of our series on N declensions in German. We've included a list below of 132 words that take the N declension. While the list is not complete, they're the words you're most likely to come across in everyday use. Go through the list below (being sure to look up any words you don't know in a translation dictionary!) and then go to Yabla German and find some of the words in their N declension form as used in a real-world context.


List of Common N declension Words (all masculine nouns unless noted) Words marked with asterisks* take an extra "s" in the genitive case.


Absolvent Affe Afghan
Afghane Agent Architekt
Assistant Athlet Autist
Automat Bandit Bär
Baske Basque Bauer
Biologe Bote Brite
Brite Bube Buchstabe*
Bulgare Bulle Burmese
Bürokrat Bursche Chinese
Chirurg Christ Däne
Demokrat Demonstrant Diamant
Diplomat Dirigent Doktorand
Drache Egoist Elefant
Emigrant Erbe Experte
Falke Fink Finne
Fotograf Franzose Friede*
Funke* Fürst Gatte
Gedanke* Genosse Glaube
Graf Grieche Gynäkologe
Hase Held Herr
(das) Herz Hirte Idealist
Immigrant Insasse Ire
Journalist Junge Jude
Kamerad Kandidat Kapitalist
Katholik Knabe Kojote
Kollege Komet Kommunist
Komplize Konsonant Kroate
Kunde Kurde Laie
Lieferant Lotse Löwe
Mensch Monarch Musikant
Nachbar Nachkomme Name*
Narr Neffe Ochse
Pädagoge Pate Philologe
Philosoph Planet Pole
Polizist Portugiese Praktikant
Präsident Prinz Produzent
Psychologe Quotient Rabe
Rebell Riese Rumäne
Schimpanse Schöffe Schotte
Seismograf Sklave Soldat
Sozialist Soziologe Spezialist
Student Terrorist Therapeut
Tourist Türke Utopist
Vagabund Wille*  


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Adjectives with -bar

Just as a German word ending with -weise can automatically be identified as an adverb, there are a number of German adjectives ending with -bar. These adjectives contain the root of a verb, not unlike adjectives constructed with "-able" or "-ible" in English. Let's look at some of the more common ones. 


Die meisten der Pilze waren leider nicht essbar.

Most of the mushrooms were unfortunately not edible.

Caption 13, Pilze sammeln: mit Eva

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Wusstest du, dass die Hände eines Menschen genauso unverwechselbar sind wie sein Gesicht?

Did you know that the hands of a human being are just as unmistakable as their face?

Captions 2-3, Deutsch mit Eylin: Mehr Geheimnisse über Hände

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The verb essen means "to eat," and essbar translates to "edible." The verb verwechseln means "to mix up," so unverwechselbar refers to something that can't be mixed up. 


Haptisch begreifbar sind die Angaben.

The details are understandable on a haptic level.

Caption 14, Holocaust-Gedenktag: Gedenkstätte am Michelsberg

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The verb begreifen means "to grasp" or "to comprehend."


Das ist auch hundert Prozent ökologisch abbaubar.

That's also one hundred percent biodegradable.

Caption 26, Lerchenberg: Du bist, was du isst

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The verb abbauen has many translations along the lines of "to disintegrate" or "to dismantle." The adjective abbaubar is related to this, and whether it's preceded by biologisch or not, it generally means "biodegradable." 


Als Erster in eine Welt hineinzugehen, die eigentlich nicht berechenbar ist, die nicht in jedem Detail voraussehbar ist, das ist etwas ganz Spezielles.“

"To be the first to enter a world that is actually not predictable, that is not foreseeable in every detail... That is something very special."

Captions 40-43, extra 3 Öffentlicher Personennahverkehr (ÖPNV)

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Another similar good word to know is vorhersehbar, which also means "predictable."


Als wir mit der Planung des Minihauses angefangen haben, ging es uns eben darum, diese Geschichte des Ortes und des alten Gebäudes, äh, in dem neuen Gebäude lesbar zu lassen und erlebbar zu machen.

When we began planning the Minihaus, it was important to us to make the history of the place and the old building, um, remain visible in the new building and make it tangible for people.

Captions 31-33, Umweltbewusstes Wohnen: Architekturpreis Green Building

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Of course, lesbar can also quite literally mean "legible."


Sie wurde erst nach dem Fall der Mauer wieder begehbar.

It was first accessible again after the fall of the Wall.

Caption 14, Eva zeigt uns: die Berliner Mauer

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Here we see that the adjective begehbar doesn't relate quite as directly to begehen, which means "to commit" or "to perpetrate." 


... dass wir unser Handeln möglichst gut begründen und kommunizieren, damit es nachvollziehbar wird.

... that we justify and communicate our actions as well as possible so that they are comprehensible.

Captions 19-20, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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And this hopefully also describes this lesson!


Further Learning
You can find many more adjectives like these on Yabla German, such as bezahlbardankbar, denkbar, and machbar. Before you look these up, can you guess what they mean?

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The N Declension in German, Part II

In last week's lesson, we discussed N declensions in German that use nouns having to do with people, animals, and nationalities. To review, the term "N declension" means that there are certain mostly masculine nouns that have an "-n" or "-en" added to the end in all grammatical cases—except the nominative singular case. This week, we will take a look at some other categories of nouns that use N declensions.


There's yet another general category of people whose masculine nouns take the N declension:


Also die Haare, die Kleidung ... alles Mögliche, was an einem Menschen auffallen kann.

That is, the hair, the clothing... all sorts of things that can be noticeable about a human being.

Captions 4-5, Deutsch mit Eylin: Menschen beschreiben

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Here the masculine noun der Mensch takes the N declension in the dative case. Other nouns in this general category of people that take the N declension include der Bauer ("the farmer"), der Held ("the hero"), der Nachbar ("the neighbor"), and der Held ("the hero"). Note that Bauer and Nachbar just take an -n ending rather than the more usual -en. Some noble titles used in names such as Prinz ("Prince"), Graf ("Count"), and Zar ("Tsar") also take the N declension. Unique among the religions, even der Christ ("the Christian") uses the N declension.


The next category is professions:


Elegant, fast schwungvoll: die Kuppel des britischen Architekten Sir Norman Foster direkt über dem Plenarsaal.

Elegant, almost bold: the dome of the British architect Sir Norman Foster directly above the plenary chamber.

Captions 12-13, Berlin: Hauptstadt des vereinten Deutschland

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The profession der Architekt ("the architekt") becomes des Architekten in the genitive case. Other professions taking the N declension include der Chirurg ("the surgeon"), der Katholik ("the Catholic"), der Philosoph ("the philosopher"), der Pilot ("the pilot"), and der Poet ("the poet").


The next category of N declension nouns are objects:


Aber du wolltest uns doch heute einen Androiden zeigen!

But you wanted to show us an android today!

Caption 56, Es war einmal... der Weltraum: Die Saurier

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The noun der Android becomes den Androiden with the N declension. Other masculine nouns for objects that take the N declension include der Automat ("the automat"), der Asteroid ("the asteroid"), der Diamant ("the diamond"), der Telegraf ("the telegraph"), der Planet ("the planet"), der Komet ("the comet"), and der Satellit ("the satellite").


Stay tuned for Part III of "The N Declension in German" in the coming weeks. We'll be taking a look at some exceptions in the N declension category and show you a master list of N declension words.


Further Learning
Take a look on Yabla German for some of the words above to see them used in a real-world context. Be careful when searching for words used in an accusative, dative, or genitive case—otherwise the words you found will likely just be plural nouns and not N declensions at all!

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Food Groups and Groceries

From cooking programs to videos featuring open-air markets, we have lots of food-related content on Yabla German. Just recently, we sent out a lesson about ordering in restaurants. This week, let's look at vocabulary you'll need for navigating a grocery store in Germany. Let's start with the food groups:


Im Sommer kann man das verschiedene Obst und Gemüse sehen, das hier angebaut wird.

In the summer, you can see the various fruits and vegetables that are grown here.

Captions 9-10, Berlin: Domäne Dahlem

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Viele Getränke, aber auch Milchprodukte wie Sahne und Joghurt sind in Mehrwegflaschen oder -gläsern erhältlich.

Many drinks, but also dairy products such as cream and yogurt, are available in returnable bottles or jars.

Captions 11-12, WWF Deutschland: Tipps zur Vermeidung von Plastikmüll

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Und mein Vater wollte sie darin unterstützen, und aß dann auch kein Fleisch, keinen Fisch und keine Eier mehr.

And my father wanted to support her and then also ate no more meat, no more fish, and no more eggs.

Captions 12-13, Deutsch mit Eylin: Ernährungsformen

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Die Säcke mit Getreide und Kartoffeln waren bald leer.

The sacks with grain and potatoes were soon empty.

Caption 37, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die Weiber von Weinsberg

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Here are some additional categories of groceries:


Da fehlen die richtigen Gewürze.

It lacks the right spices.

Caption 10, Nicos Weg: Was darf es sein?

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Früher konnte man hier Körner, Kräuter und Gemüse kaufen.

Previously you could buy grain, herbs, and vegetables here.

Caption 33, Unterwegs mit Jenny: die Heidelberger Altstadt

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Besonders groß sei die Nachfrage nach haltbaren Lebensmitteln wie Konserven und Nudeln.

Particularly high is the demand for non-perishable groceries like canned foods and pasta.

Captions 8-9, Coronavirus: Trotz Hamsterkäufen keine Versorgungsprobleme

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Ihr mögt ja Experten in Sachen Geflügel sein.

You may be experts in poultry-related matters.

Caption 5, Großstadtrevier: Nicht mit mir

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And finally, here is some additional vocabulary for your next grocery store visit: der Einkaufswagen (the shopping cart), der Einkaufskorb (the shopping basket), der Gang (the aisle), das Regal (the shelf), die Kasse (the cash register / the check-out), die Tiefkühlkost (frozen food), das Kühlregal (the refrigerated shelf), das Würzmittel (condiment), das Sonderangebot (the special offer), die Einkaufstüte/Tüte (the shopping bag), der Kassenbon/der Beleg (the receipt). 


Further Learning
Look at your grocery list and practice asking where the various items might be found in German. You can also watch other videos related to food on Yabla German.

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The N Declension in German, Part I

The term "N declension" sounds pretty formidable, but the concept is pretty simple: N declensions are primarily masculine nouns that have an "-n" or "-en" added to the end in all grammatical cases except the nominative case.


Included among these masculine nouns that take the N declension are many that describe a person, animal, or nationality, and end in "e."


Schnell infizierte der Hubschrauberpilot auch seinen Kollegen Karsten mit der Lust am Häkeln.

The helicopter pilot quickly infected his colleague Karsten with the desire to crochet.

Captions 28-29, Häkelhelden: Polizisten im Einsatz

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Thus the nominative noun of the person, der Kollege, becomes den Kollegen in the accusative case. How do we know that Kollegen isn't the plural form? If Karsten's colleague Hans had been there too, it would have been "... auch seine Kollegen Karsten und Hans." The ending of the possessive pronoun or the definite article tells you if the noun is plural or not.


Masculine nouns for people that end in "e" and take the N declension also include: der Junge ( "the boy"), der Kunde ("the customer"), der Neffe ("the nephew") and der Hirte ("the shepherd").


Da gibt es zum Beispiel den Drachen der Kontrolle, den Drachen des Ergebnisses und den Drachen der Bedeutung.

For example, there is the dragon of control, the dragon of results, and the dragon of meaning.

Captions 26-28, Deutsch mit Eylin: Mein Bücherregal und Präpositionen

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As you see, the mythical animal der Drache becomes den Drachen in the accusative case. Masculine nouns for animals that end in "e" and take the N declension also include: der Affe ("the ape"), der Bär ("the bear"), der Fink ("the finch"), der Hase ("the hare" or "rabbit"), der Löwe ("the lion"), der Ochse ("the ox"), and der Spatz ("the sparrow.")


Der Sohn eines Russen und einer Radiojournalistin hatte einen Ausreiseantrag gestellt.
The son of a Russian and a German radio journalist applied for an exit visa.


Here, the masculine noun ein Russe becomes eines Russen in the genitive case. Other nationalities that take the N declension include der Grieche ("the Greek"), der Ire ("the Irishman"), der Finne ("the Finn"), der Pole ("the Pole"), der Rumäne ("the Romanian"), der Slowake ("der Slovakian"), der Tscheche ("the Czech"), and der Türke ("the Turk"). Although referring more to an ethnic group or religion than a nationality, der Jude ("the Jew") also takes the N declension.


It may take some time before you start speaking and writing the N declensions correctly. A big part of learning this simply comes from hearing and speaking enough German over the course of several years. And remember: even native German speakers get it wrong occasionally, so don't feel too bad if it seems difficult: it truly is!


Stay tuned for Part II of "The N Declension in German" in the coming weeks.


Further Learning
Yabla published a lesson related to this topic in 2016: Read "Weak Masculine Nouns Not Ending in -E" and see if that helps you to further understand this Yabla German lesson.

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Asking for and Giving Directions

Even with our smartphones and GPS, we sometimes need to ask a local for directions or where we can find a certain type of establishment. Let's look at some important verbs and phrases you need to know. 


Wie komme ich von hier zum Hauptbahnhof?

"How do I get from here to the main train station?

Caption 66, Deutsch mit Eylin: Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel in Hamburg

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In addition to this structure, you should know the words der/die/das nächste and der/die/das nächstgelegene (singular), as well as in der Nähe.


Wo ist die nächste / die nächstgelegene Tankstelle?
Where is the nearest gas station? 

Gibt es einen Geldeautomaten in der Nähe?
Is there an ATM nearby?


Das ist im Zentrum, in der Nähe vom Arbeitsamt.

That's in the city center near the employment office.

Caption 13, Nicos Weg: An der Ampel links

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Wenn ich mich nun plötzlich für Mantras interessiere, gehe ich in die nächste Buchhandlung

If I'm suddenly interested in mantras, I go to the nearest bookstore

Captions 51-52, Deutsch mit Eylin: Informationsfülle

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Das nächstgelegene Krankenhaus wird angeflogen.

[They're] flying to the nearest hospital.

Caption 12, Rettungsflieger: Im Einsatz

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When giving directions, the word for straight is geradeaus, and this can be combined with gehen or fahren. For turning, you can say abbiegen, but also fahren for someone who's in a car or on a bike. 


Am Zoo musst du ungefähr noch mal hundert Meter geradeaus.

At the zoo you have to go straight again about a hundred meters.

Caption 43, Melanie und Thomas: treffen sich

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Also, geradeaus, dann rechts, dann links, und dann wieder geradeaus, ja? 

So, straight ahead, then right, then left, and then straight again, yes?

Captions 19-21, Mein Weg nach Deutschland: Unterwegs auf der Straße

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To cross a street or plaza, you can use the verb überqueren or simply gehen with the preposition über


Da muss man aufpassen, wenn man die Straße überqueren will.

You have to be careful when you want to cross the street.

Caption 22, Shuah: Auf der Straße in Berlin

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Dann geht ihr über den Grafenplatz und kommt in die Krugstraße.

Then you cross Grafenplatz and get on to Krugstrasse.

Caption 19, Nicos Weg A1 Folge 42: An der Ampel links

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Giving directions can quickly get quite complicated! Here's an example with other important vocabulary, such as the separable verbs entlanggehen and vorbeigehen


Geht die Krugstraße entlang, überquert die große Kreuzung, dann geht ihr am Theater vorbei und an der nächsten Ampel rechts. Weißt du, wo?

Go along Krugstrasse, cross the big intersection, then you go past the theater and turn right at the next traffic light. Do you know where it is?

Captions 22-25, Nicos Weg A1 Folge 42: An der Ampel links

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Further Learning
Pick four locations in your neighborhood and practice describing how to travel between them. Then describe where the nearest ATM, pharmacy, or gas station can be found, consulting the examples on Yabla German if you need more guidance.

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More German Verbs for "Assume"

In a previous lesson, we saw examples of the verb annehmen and the verb / preposition combination davon ausgehen translated as "to assume." These are among the most common words for "assume," but let's take a look today at some more German verbs that can also be translated as "assume."


Ja, vorausgesetzt, Sie unterschreiben dieses Schuldbekenntnis.

Yes, assuming you sign this confession.

Caption 24, Marga Engel schlägt zurück; Der Engel von Leipzig

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The separable verb voraussetzen is also commonly translated as "to provide," in the sense of fulfilling a condition.


Es wird allerdings auch behauptet oder vermutet.

However, it is also claimed or assumed.

Caption 8, Es war einmal... der Mensch: Der Neandertaler

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The verb vermuten is also often translated as "to suspect," "to presume," or "to expect."


Trifft ein Goalgetter mal nicht das Tor, wird ihm sehr schnell eine Formkrise unterstellt.

If a goal-getter doesn't make a goal, a lack of form is very quickly assumed.

Caption 7, Fußball und die Frauenwelt: Der Goalgetter

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The verb unterstellen may also be translated as "to imply," depending upon the context.


All of the verbs above deal with the definition of "to assume" as "to take for granted or as true." But there are also definitions of "to assume" that mean "to place oneself in," or "to feign," or "to take over" something such as a debt or responsibility.


Deshalb bin ich der Ansicht, dass Kapitän Dickie, der sehr erfahren ist, das Kommando übernehmen soll.

Therefore, I am of the opinion that Captain Dickie, who is very experienced, should assume command.

Captions 26-27, Es war einmal... der Weltraum: Die Saurier

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Du sollst hier auch mal ein bisschen Verantwortung übernehmen.

You should also for once assume a little responsibility.

Caption 21, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

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The verb übernehmen may also be translated as "to take over."


Tourismus spielt hier und in vielen anderen Ländern eine immer wichtigere Rolle.

Here and in many other countries, tourism is assuming an increasingly important role.

Caption 5, WissensWerte: Tourismus und Nachhaltigkeit

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The verb spielen is often translated in this context as "playing" a role, however "assuming" a role may be an equally valid option.


The verbs anmaßen and mutmaßen are occasionally translated as "to assume," but often anmaßen is more accurately translated as "to presume," and mutmaßen as "to conjecture" or "to speculate."


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and search for the verbs above to see the various German translations in a real-world context.

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kommen aus and kommen von

One of the first phrases you learned in German was likely similar to the following: 


Hallo, mein Name ist Julia und ich komme aus Düsseldorf.

Hello, my name is Julia and I'm from Dusseldorf.

Caption 1, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Besuch

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Several German prepositions can be translated as "from," but when talking about the permanent fact of your country of origin or hometown, you will always use aus


There are instances, however, where von is used with the verb kommen to reference location. One is when you are talking about getting from place to place: 


Aber wie komme ich von Deutschland nach England oder Schottland?

But how do I get from Germany to England or Scotland?

Caption 16, Jenny: Reiseziele

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Wie komme ich von Stuttgart zum Europapark?

How do I get from Stuttgart to Europapark?

Caption 12, Reiseplanung: Anruf bei einem Reisebüro

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Kannst du mir bitte den Weg erklären, wie ich von hier aus am besten zur Stadthalle komme?

Can you please explain to me the way to get to City Hall most easily from here?

Captions 31-32, Melanie und Thomas: treffen sich

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In these sentences, von is paired with the appropriate preposition for the place that follows. 


Another instance in which the preposition von is used is when a person has just been somewhere and expresses that they have come directly from that location. 


Ich komme gerade von der Agentur für Arbeit.

I have just come from the employment agency.

Caption 19, Nicos Weg: Weiterbildung

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One thing to be aware of is that there are also two separable verbs, davonkommen and auskommen, which have distinct meanings. In this case, what looks like a preposition is actually part of the verb. 


Ich weiß gar nicht, wie die Menschen früher ohne Kreditkarte ausgekommen sind.

I have no idea how people got by before without credit cards.

Caption 18, Kein Kredit: im Land der Klone

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Das heißt, so ein Verleumder kommt einfach ungeschoren davon?

That means such a slanderer easily comes away unscathed?

Caption 22, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

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Further Learning
After looking at these examples from Yabla German, create your own sentences or questions (one of each type!) to practice saying out loud. 

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It's Elementary!

Da gibt es Zahlen und man muss addieren, subtrahieren, multiplizieren und dividieren.

There are numbers, and you have to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

Captions 4-5, Deutsch mit Eylin: Denk schnell!

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Welches Fach ist das? Ja, das ist Mathematik oder Mathe.

Which subject is this? Yes, this is mathematics or math.

Captions 7-8, Deutsch mit Eylin: Denk schnell!

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To add (addieren), subtract (subtrahieren), multiply (multiplizieren) and divide (dividieren) form the four elements of elementary arithmetic (die Grundrechenarten). And we all know that 1 + 1 = 2, which we say out loud as "one plus one equals two." But how do we say these basic calculations in German?


With addition (die Addition), we use the plus sign ("+," das Pluszeichen). To make an equation (die Gleichung), we also need the equal sign ("=," das Gleichheitszeichen).


To learn to speak a basic equation, let's take the basic 1 + 1 = 2 as an example:


Eins plus eins ist gleich zwei.
One plus one equals two.


Sometimes native German speakers drop the gleich and just say ist. It's also common to hear the slang version, much as in English:


Eins and eins macht zwei.
One and one makes two.


Let's keep to the more formal versions from here on out, though!


In subtraction (die Subtraktion), we use the minus sign (das Minuszeichen):


Eins minus eins ist gleich null.
One minus one equals zero.


With multiplication (die Multiplikation), you'll see the multiplication sign ("x," das Malzeichen). Note that mal is often used in German to refer to the frequency or number of times something has happened, such as in "once" (einmal), "twice" (zweimal) or "three times" (dreimal).


Zwei mal zwei ist gleich vier.
Two times two equals four.


The last section of elementary arithmetic is division (die Division). This uses the division sign (das Geteiltzeichen) which may be written as ":," "÷," or "/." 


Vier geteilt durch zwei ist gleich zwei.
Four divided by two equals two.


Native German speakers sometimes drop geteilt and simply say vier durch zwei, for example.


So while even the basic German math terms aren't super easy, at least they're easier than math itself.


Ich fand Mathe immer super ätzend.

I always found math really unpleasant.

Caption 22, Nicos Weg: Schule

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Further Learning
Get together with another student and write out some numerical addition, subtraction, multiplication and division equations. Then take turns reading them aloud. You can also go to Yabla German and search for Mathe and Mathematik to find some videos where the topic is discussed.

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Nuances of sich freuen

In the spirit of the season, today's newsletter is about expressing joy and happiness with the reflexive verb sich freuen. You may know that the related noun is die Freude, which is the German word for "joy."

For sich freuen, what can get confusing is whether to use the preposition auf or über, and sometimes you don't need either. First, let's take a look at sentences in which a subordinate clause with dass allows the expression of happiness, joy, or contentedness about something that is either happening or has already happened. 


Amy, wir freuen uns total, dass du bei uns bist.

Amy, we're really happy that you're with us.

Caption 68, Cats: Amy singt „Erinnerung“ bei The Voice Kids

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Ich freue mich sehr, dass wir die Eröffnung der Verhandlungen beschließen konnten,

I am very pleased that we were able to decide to begin the negotiations,

Caption 23, Angela Merkel: Gemeinsame Pressekonferenz mit Barack Obama

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This can also happen with the conditional and may involve the conjunction wenn:


Wir würden uns total freuen, wenn ihr beim nächsten Mal zu uns kommt.

We would be very happy if you joined us next time.

Caption 60, SingInKA-Chor: Interview

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Aber ich würde mich auf jeden Fall freuen, sie mal kennenzulernen.

But I would definitely be happy to meet her.

Caption 21, Cassandra Steen: Interview

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Often, however, there is no subordinate clause, and what is happening or has happened is expressed with a noun. In this case, you need the preposition über, which in this case translates to "about." 


Der Tierschutzverein Nied freut sich über jede ernstgemeinte Unterstützung.

The Nied Animal Protection Society is happy about any serious support.

Caption 58, Für Tierfreunde: Tierheim Nied

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Veranstalter Christian Müller freut sich über die hervorragenden Rahmenbedingungen.

Organizer Christian Müller is happy about the outstanding conditions.

Caption 31, Wintersport: Engadin Snow 2009

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With the preposition auf, the meaning of sich freuen changes slightly, because the future is referenced. Therefore, the most common translation of sich auf etwas freuen is "to look forward to something."


Sie freuen sich auf diesen Tag, genauso wie auch ich.

They're looking forward to this day, just like I am, too.

Caption 7, Allessa: Zu Weihnachten wünsch ich mir dich

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Ich freue mich auf deine Nachricht.

I'm looking forward to your message.

Caption 46, Deutsch mit Eylin: Ernährungsformen

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Further Learning
What are you happy about? What are you looking forward to? Construct a few sentences, looking for extra examples on Yabla German if you get stuck. 

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Some Christmas Holiday Terms in German

Christmas is, as in most countries where Christianity is a major religion, a major holiday in Germany. Of course, other religious holidays such as the Muslim Ramadan and the Jewish Hanukkah are also celebrated in Germany at this time of year. Although the German word for Christmas (das Weihnachten) is a neuter noun, it's rare that you use a definite article with the name of a holiday—in the same way that you rarely hear "the Christmas." Let's take a look today at some typical Christmas terms you'll hear in Germany during this holiday season.


Manchmal wird der Adventskalender auch einfach Weihnachtskalender genannt.

Sometimes, the Advent calendar is also called simply the Christmas calendar.

Caption 9, Eva erklärt: den Adventskalender

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Wir haben jedes Jahr im Advent Stollen gegessen und die Kerzen am Adventskranz angezündet.

We ate stollen every year during Advent and lit the candles on the Advent wreath.

Captions 24-25, Nicos Weg: Lieblingsfeste

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Advent (der Advent) is the period prior to Christmas preparing for its celebration. Connected with Advent, you have the Advent calendar (der Adventskalender) and the Advent wreath (der Adventskranz). Although the word "stollen" is also an English word, not everybody knows that it means the German style of Christmas cake: der Stollen or der Weihnachtsstollen.


Und die Bescherung, ist die vor dem Essen oder nach dem Essen bei Ihnen?

And the gift exchange, is it before dinner or after dinner for you?

Caption 41, Weihnachtsinterviews: Cettina in Linkenheim

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Die Bescherung may also be translated as "the gift-giving" or "giving out the presents" etc. If you're wondering why kids in Germany have to wait until just before or after dinnertime to open the presents, they are in fact opening them early: Die Bescherung takes place on December 24th on Christmas Eve (der Heiligabend). Parents in Germany probably discovered that if the kids get to open their presents on Christmas Eve, it's possible to sleep in later on Christmas day!

Die Geschenke liegen meistens unter einem geschmückten Tannenbaum.

The presents are usually under a decorated Christmas tree.

Caption 33, Weihnachten in Deutschland: Weihnachtstraditionen

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You probably know the song "O Tannenbaum" already. Sometimes the Christmas tree is also called der Christbaum.


Also das Schönste an Weihnachten für mich ist eigentlich der Glühwein.

The nicest thing about Christmas for me is actually the mulled wine.

Caption 23, KIT: Was ist für dich das Schönste an Weihnachten?

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So while Americans of legal age are reaching for their eggnog at Christmas, Germans will be imbibing Glühwein.

Heute wollen wir mit euch Plätzchen backen.

Today we want to bake Christmas cookies with you.

Caption 3, Weihnachtsplätzchen backen: mit Diane und vielen kleinen Helfern

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Felicia hat ein gutes Plätzchen für das Tipi gefunden.

Felicia has found a nice little place for the tipi.

Caption 67, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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In the first caption, the singular of Christmas cookies is das Plätzchen, which literally means "little place." Note that in the second caption, Plätzchen is used more literally and is not about setting up a tipi on some Christmas cookies!


Der Nikolaus bringt den Kindern Süßigkeiten.

Saint Nicholas brings the children candy.

Caption 16, Deutsch mit Eylin: Pronomen

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Nikolaus–more formally der Sankt Nikolaus–is the German equivalent of Santa Claus. In fact, Nikolaus is the historical basis for Santa Claus, who first widely appeared under this moniker in 19th-century America.


Further Learning
Watch some of the videos above on Yabla German, and happy holiday wishes from all of us here at Yabla!

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The World of Work, Part III: Fields and Professions

To conclude our series of lessons on jobs and professional fields, today we'll look at three additional job categories: education, business/sales, and crafts/trades. 


While der Erzieher / die Erzieherin refers to educators working with any age level, it is der Lehrer / die Lehrerin that you will find in compound nouns like die Klavierlehrerin, der Yogalehrer, etc. The English word "trainer" is borrowed in German, and means both coach and trainer. 


Hört auf das, was eure Lehrerinnen und Lehrer zum Coronavirus sagen.

Listen to what your teachers say about the coronavirus.

Caption 26, Bundesamt für Gesundheit: Coronavirus und Schulen

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Es gibt begleitende Aktionen rund um das Theaterstück sowie Unterrichtsmaterial und Workshops für Lehrer und Erzieher.

There are accompanying activities having to do with the play, as well as educational materials and workshops for teachers and educators.

Captions 28-29, Theaterstück über gesunde Ernährung: Henrietta in Fructonia

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Mit spezieller Ausrüstung, einer Begleitperson und einem ausgebildeten Trainer können sich die Rollifahrer à la Tarzan von Baum zu Baum schwingen.

With special equipment, a companion, and a skilled trainer, the wheelchair users can swing from tree to tree à la Tarzan.

Captions 4-5, Tarzan im Rollstuhl: Waldseilpark für Menschen mit Handicap

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In business and sales, there are many different jobs and titles, from employee (der Mitarbeiter / die Mitarbeiterin) to CEO (der Geschäftsführer / die Geschäftsführerin), consultant (der Unternehmensberater / die Unternehmensberaterin) to accountant (der Buchhalter / die Buchhalterin). 


Und das ist der Makler.

And this is the real estate agent.

Caption 33, Mein Weg nach Deutschland: Auf Wohnungssuche

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Der Kaufmann hatte kein Glück in der Stadt

The Merchant had no luck in town

Caption 17, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die Schöne und das Biest

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Ich sehe, Sie haben in Izmir als Verkäuferin gearbeitet.

I see you worked in Izmir as a saleswoman.

Caption 39, Mein Weg nach Deutschland Auf Arbeitssuche

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Ein Mann im Rollstuhl hat sich auf eine Stelle als Buchhalter beworben.

A man in a wheelchair has applied for a job as an accountant.

Caption 43, Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Einbürgerungstest

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An important remaining category is people who work in various crafts and trades. 


Der dritte Bruder war ein geschickter Tischler.

The third brother was a skilled carpenter.

Caption 17, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die drei Brüder

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Lackierer, Maurer, Klempner, Berufskraftfahrer.

Painters, bricklayers, plumbers, professional drivers.

Caption 19, Nicos Weg: Jobs und Gender

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Further Learning
In the video quoted above, Lisa and Sebastian talk about what jobs are more often done by men or women. Do you agree? Watch it on Yabla German

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Der Familienstand

The German noun der Familienstand may be translated as "family status," "marital status," or "civil status." The different categories parallel the English usages of "single," "married," "divorced," and "widowed." You may have to state your status when you fill out job applications or write your work resumé, but there are also some options available when doing so, as we'll discuss below.


Ich bin 36 Jahre alt und ledig.

I am 36 years old and single.

Caption 32, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

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A person who is single is unverheiratet (unmarried). And while ledig translates as "single," it's not to be confused with the adjective/adverb einzeln, which may be translated as "singly" or "individually."



Annemarie ist verheiratet und hat zwei Kinder.

Annemarie is married and has two children.

Caption 24, Deutsch mit Eylin: Die Familie

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For the difference between verheiratet (sein) and geheiratet (haben), see this Yabla lesson.


Ulla lebt in Frankfurt und ist von ihrem Mann geschieden.

Ulla lives in Frankfurt and is divorced from her husband.

Captions 38-39, Deutsch mit Eylin: Die Familie

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The process of divorce is called die Scheidung (the divorce).


Der verwitwete Mann zog in ein Altersheim.
The widowed man moved into a nursing home.


A widow is called eine Witwe, and a widower ein Witwer.


If you happen to be divorced (geschieden) or widowed (verwitwet), it's perfectly permissible to write on a German job application or resumé that you are single (ledig). For official governmental documents, however, it's best to write geschieden or verwitwet, as your precise status may have legal implications.


To recapitulate:


Der Familienstand besagt, ob man ledig, verheiratet, geschieden oder verwitwet ist.

Your marital status indicates whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed.

Captions 54-55, Deutsch mit Eylin: Personalien und Namen

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Further Learning
Read this page about Familienstand and job applications in German. You can also go to Yabla German and search for the above terms that you have learned to see them used in a variety of different contexts.

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The World of Work, Part II: Fields and Professions

This week, we'll look at professional fields and how they are described in German. Of course, there are too many jobs to cover all of them, but we can look at some common ones and resources on Yabla and elsewhere. 


One important field is healthcare and social services, which in German is die Gesundheitsfürsorge, or der Sozialdienst. This includes so many jobs, such as der Arzt die Ärztin (the doctor), der Chirurg die Chirurgin (the surgeon), der Anästhesiologe die Anästhesiologin (the anesthesiologist), der Sozialarbeiter / die Sozialarbeiterin (the social worker), and der Pfleger / die Pflegerin (the caregiver). 


Wenn ich weniger Schokolade essen würde, wäre mein Zahnarzt bestimmt zufriedener mit mir.

If I ate less chocolate, my dentist would certainly be happier with me.

Captions 30-31, Konjugation: Das Verb „essen“

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Die gelernte Krankenschwester Anita Ackermann hat das Kitz in den ersten Tagen mit der Milchflasche gepäppelt.

The trained nurse Anita Ackermann pampered the fawn with the milk bottle during the first days.

Captions 12-13, Ein etwas anderes Haustier: Reh Mia hält sich für einen Hund

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Jetzt bin ich Psychotherapeutin.

Now I'm a psychotherapist.

Caption 42, TUDYKA: Interview mit Uschi

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Let's look at a few more professional fields. Another area is what we call STEM in English (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and MINT in German (Mathematik, Informatik, Naturwissenschaften und Technik). This would involve jobs like lab technician (der Laborant / die Laborantin) or electrician (der Elektriker / die Elektrikerin) and mechanic (der Mechaniker / die Mechanikerin), of which there are many types. 


Die Programmierer haben sich ihre Ziele für die Zukunft hoch gesteckt.

The programmers have set their goals for the future very high.

Caption 45, Roboter: Fußball-Robocup

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Mein Vater ist Anwalt und meine Mutter Ingenieurin.

My father is a lawyer and my mother is an engineer.

Caption 14, Nicos Weg: Meine Eltern

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As a final category for today, let's look at jobs in the fields of law (das Recht), administration (die Verwaltung), and public safety. In the example above, Nico mentions that his mother is a lawyer, and though law firms or accounting firms are often private, many of the jobs in this category are government jobs. In this case, the person is a public official (der Beamte / die Beamterin). Der Sachbearbeiter / die Sachbearbeiterin and der / die Fachangestellte are two titles that are most often paired with a job description. Essentially, the person is a clerk or administrator in a specific area. 


Ich wollte eigentlich ja auch nur fragen, ob du schon einen neuen Steuerberater hast.

I actually just wanted to ask if you had a new accountant yet.

Captions 8-9, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Ich weiß genau, wie Sie sich fühlen

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Der Polizist zeigt der Frau den Weg.

The policeman shows the woman the way.

Caption 54, Deutsch mit Eylin: Pronomen

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Further Learning
We'll look at more categories of professions soon, but for now, you can look at this website, which has an exhaustive list of jobs, and watch this video on Yabla German, in which Nico and his friends discuss different professions.

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Inconvenient, unsuitable and just plain annoying!

Some days, everything seems like a pain. But then sometimes, things really are not working as they should and can sour even the best of moods. For instance, today I tried to update the payment method on the Berlin subway (BVG) app called Fahrinfo ("ride information") and got the spinning wheel of nothing happening every time. Eventually I wound up downloading another BVG app, and it accepted my payment method the first time. I have to admit that the inconvenience–it was a good half hour of messing about–got me quite annoyed!


So breathe in, breathe out, take a chill pill. Let's take a look today at some common German expressions for English terms like "inconvenient" and "unsuitable."


Also, umständlicher geht's nun wirklich nicht.

Well, more inconvenient is really not possible.

Caption 65, Pastewka: Hochzeit mit Hindernissen

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... Armbrustpfeile aber nur zwei, weil das zu umständlich war.

... but crossbow arrows only two, because it was too cumbersome.

Caption 47, Die Armbrust: im Mittelalter

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So while the adjective/adverb umständlich may be translated into English as "inconvenient," depending upon the context, it could also be translated as "cumbersome" or simply "awkward."


Entschuldigen Sie die Umstände.

Please excuse the inconvenience.

Caption 18, Nicos Weg: Im Hotel

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Doch trotz der Unannehmlichkeiten zeigen sich die Eltern solidarisch.

But despite the inconvenience, the parents show themselves solidly united.

Caption 7, Rheinmain im Blick: Eltern unterstützen streikende Erzieherinnen

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If you look at translations of the English noun "inconvenience," you'll note that it's usually in plural form in German as die Umstände or die Unannehmlichkeiten. In other cases, die Umstände may be translated as "the circumstances" or "the conditions." A more casual translation of die Unannehmlichkeiten could be simply "the hassle."


... indem man ungeeignet erscheinende Wahlmöglichkeiten einfach ausschließt-

... by simply excluding choices that appear unsuitable.

Caption 8, Jenny: Reiseziele

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The adjective/adverb ungeeignet may also be translated as "inadequate" or "improper." Alternately, "unsuitable" may be translated as unpassend or unangemessen, depending upon the context.


Last but not least, "annoying" has a wide choice of German words available: ärgerlich, nervig, lästig, störend, unangenehm, nervend, belästigend, nervtötend, leidig, unerfreulich, and verdrießlich, for example. Any one of these qualifies as a description for my recent experience with the Berlin subway Fahrinfo app!


Further Learning
Look up the "annoying" words above on your favorite online dictionary to discover the subtle nuances that differentiate their meanings. Then look for some of them on Yabla German to see them used in a real-world context.

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The World of Work, Part I: Describing Employment

The relationship people have with work evolves throughout their lives, and our relationship with work as a society is also currently seeing some changes. 


First of all, there is the type of employment: full-time or part-time? Employed, self-employed, or freelance?


Die meisten Leute, die bei einem Arbeitgeber angestellt sind, werden für diese Arbeit am Ende des Monats bezahlt.

Most people who are employed by an employer are paid for this work at the end of the month.

Captions 4-5, Eva erklärt: Bankkonten

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Und bin selbstständig und habe also diese Probleme nicht mehr.

And I'm self-employed and don't have these problems anymore.

Caption 43, TUDYKA: Interview mit Uschi

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Für die Wirtschaft, die großen Unternehmen genau wie die kleinen Betriebe, für Geschäfte, Restaurants, Freiberufler . . .

For the economy, for large companies as well as small businesses, for shops, restaurants, freelancers ...

Captions 44-45, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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Wollen Sie Teilzeit oder Vollzeit arbeiten?

Do you want to work part-time or full-time?

Caption 20, Nicos Weg: Bewerbungsgespräch

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People work in offices, factories, institutions, businesses, and any number of other places. And of course, we can't forget working from home, the word for which has been adopted into the German language.


Nun, wenn Sie morgen früh um neun Uhr ins Büro kommen könnten, können wir Sie direkt einarbeiten.

So, if you come to the office tomorrow at nine a.m., we can train you right away.

Captions 29-30, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Ich arbeite fünfzehn Stunden in der Woche und, äh, habe auch ein Homeoffice.

I work fifteen hours a week and, uh, have a home office too.

Caption 13, Finanzassistentin: Sarah interviewt Cettina

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In German, you can talk about der Job, die Arbeit, die Stelle, der Beruf, or die Karriere. These words may reflect different levels of dedication and permanence. 


Mein eigentlicher Beruf ist Buchhändlerin, aber seit ich in Berlin lebe, arbeite ich als Kellnerin und Barista in Cafés.

My actual occupation is book dealer, but since I've lived in Berlin, I've worked as a waitress and barista in cafés.

Captions 15-16, Berlin: Judith und die „Brezel Bar“

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Further Learning
How would you describe your job or the career of someone you know? Find the right words in examples from Yabla German and then write up a few sentences of your own.


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Phrases with es

You've likely already encountered them: In German, there are many verbs that are always used with the personal pronoun es, and some common phrases that employ it as well.


Some of these are related to weather, such as regnen, schneien, donnern:


Glaubst du, dass es morgen regnet?

Do you think that it will rain tomorrow?

Caption 50, Deutsch mit Eylin: Satzanfänge

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Das geht zwar nicht, wenn es schneit.

True, it's not possible when it's snowing.

Caption 16, Nicos Weg: Praktisch!

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You have likely already seen sentences with es geht and es gibt:


In diesem Video geht es um Personalpronomen.

This video is about personal pronouns.

Caption 2, Deutsch mit Eylin: Personalpronomen

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Und es gibt letztendlich noch eine Menge anderer Faktoren.

And there are ultimately a lot of other factors.

Caption 49, Deutsch mit Eylin: Tierkreiszeichen

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Two verbs to distinguish between are fallen (also auffallen and sich einfallen) and fehlen, which in this form appear as es fällt (auf, ein) and es fehlt. 


Vielleicht fällt es dir auch schon auf, dass es an treffenden Beschreibungen von Geschmacksrichtungen fehlt.

Maybe you have already noticed that there is a lack of accurate descriptions for flavors.

Captions 26-27, Deutsch mit Eylin: Geschmack beschreiben

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Oder fällt es dir leicht, andere Menschen für deine Ideen zu gewinnen?

Or do you find it easy to win other people over to your ideas?

Caption 33, Deutsch mit Eylin: Weniger müssen, mehr dürfen

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Further Learning

Create some more sentences using es and verbs like dauern, klingeln, and weather verbs like hageln or nieseln. If you're not sure where to start, first search for examples on Yabla German. You can also search for variations such as es gab in the past tense, or es fehlen for plural.

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