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GERMAN LANGUAGE AND DSR WORD OF THE WEEK

DSR, Deutsche Schule Rochester, the German School of Rochester, offers German language classes for people of all backgrounds, ages, and skills, starting at age three.

Located at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, 2415 Chili Avenue, in Gates, NY, Deutsche Schule Rochester currently offers in person and online classes.  

For more information, you may contact them in Facebook, online at deutscheschulerochester.org, or by email at JB@deutscheschulerochester.org.

Word...  October 14th

spalten    to split as for breaking up wood, and figuratively, to describe disunity.  
Last week included the Tag der Deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity), the reunification of the Germany on 3 October 1990. Reflecting on how united the country actually is, in many respects Germany remains gespalten into East and West.
Pensions are now similar and so is life expectancy, but income is lower in the East, the economy there stills lags behind, as does digital infrastructure. Politically the country is split too, with polls showing the far right AfD in first or second place in the East's Länder (states), as well as a worryingly sizeable minority who are dissatisfied with democracy and would prefer an autocratic state.

Word... October 7th

vereint/vereinigt  United   
Both words are forms of verbs, vereinen/vereinigen, with very similar meanings;to unite. Both are derived from the word ein (one), though vereinigen comes from einig, which means both united and in agreement.
Countries are always vereinigt: Vereinigtes Königreich (United Kingdom; England, Scotland, Wales, and Nothern Ireland), Vereinigten Staaten (United States), but the international grouping is die Vereinte Nationen (United Nations).

Last week saw the 50th anniversary of Germany’s admission to the Vereinte Nationen.

When the UN was formed in 1945, Germany was still officially termed an “enemy state” in the UN Charter. In the years that followed, the division of Germany prevented UN membership. However, the two Germanies were admitted into the UN in 1973, both becoming members at the same time. Since 1990, when Germany became vereinigt again, the Federal Republic remains as the sole German member state.

Word... September 23rd

der Erfolg    Success
Erfolg comes from the verb folgen (to follow), like the word Reihenfolge, sequence or order .
The German team had much Erfolg, success, when it won the Basketball World Cup final in the Philippines. Germany does have an active professional federal league, and several German players work in the USA or Canada, including Germany’s top scorer, Dennis Schröder. Last week, to everyone’s surprise, the team won the final against Serbia, having defeated the favorite, USA, in the semifinal!
On the other hand, the men’s soccer team, after a terrible series of losses against Poland, Columbia and Japan, sacked their manager. Two days later they unexpectedly beat France, so maybe they too can now hope for a bit more Erfolg in the future.

Word... September 16th

das Blatt - Leaf
This word has the same Old German root as the English word blade and is indeed also used to describe the blade of a tool or oar or a shoulder blade (Schulterblatt). It is also used for a sheet of paper and hence for a newspaper, for example the business daily, das Handelsblatt.

Word... September 9th

die Tüte - Bag

This word is derived from an Old Low German word for a horn or other cone-shaped object.  
The Schultüte (lit. school bag), are conical round or sometimes hexagonal bags given to those starting their first year in primary school, filled with goodies like sweets and chocolates, but also school supplies, games, toys and lucky charms.

The word Tüte is also applied colloquially to a cannabis joint, also cone-shaped. The left-wing newspaper Die Tageszeitung reported about a bill for the legalisation of the drug with the following double-entendre headline:
“Einigung auf Cannabis-Legalisierung: Das Gesetz ist in der Tüte“.  The law is in the bag, or joint.

Word... September 2nd

selbst...self 
This word has the same Germanic root as its English equivalent. It is frequently combined with other words: selbstgemacht (self or home made), selbstsicher (self assured), selbstständig (independent) or die Selbstbedienung (self service).

The compound word that has been in the news this week is die Selbstbestimmung (self-determination). The Federal Cabinet has decided on a new Gesetz to replace the 40-year old Transsexuellengesetz, which has been criticised for treating the issue of gender change as a medical condition; it requires two psychological assessments, often involving intrusive personal questions.  The new Selbstbestimmungsgesetz (Self-determination Law) allows a person officially to register the gender of their choice and an appropriate forename with a simple procedure at a Standesamt (registry office). In accordance with a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, individuals can choose to be registered as male, female or diverse. There are safeguards to prevent misuse and minors will need the agreement of their parents.  The conservative CDU and CSU as well as the far-right AfD have strongly criticised the proposed law. Some would say they should exhibit less Selbstinteresse (self-interest).

Word... August 26th

unentschieden; undecided – This word has the same origin as die Entscheidung (decision), which comes from the verb entscheiden (to decide), and is derived from the verb scheiden (to divorce, separate or depart).  It is often applied to the results of sports matches or games that are drawn or tied.

The event that ended up unentschieden for Germany resently was the match against South Korea in the group stage of the Women’s Football World Cup in Australia, where the final score was 1:1. The German women’s team and their supporters had hoped that they could make up for the men’s poor peformance in the last two World Cups. Indeed it all seemed to be going well, with the team starting off with the tournament’s most decisive victory, 6:0 against Morocco.  But it was not to be; after losing 1:2 to Columbia, the team needed a win to stay in the tournament. The unentschieden result meant that the German team finished in third place in their group and did not progress to the knockout stage. So in the end they shared another word of the week with the men’s team: das Aus.

Word... August 19th

der Hagel

Hail – This word has the same Indoeuropean root as the English term hail, from which the ‘g‘ has gradually disappeared. Besides describing a weather phenomenon, it is also used figuratively for a mass of usually unpleasant things; bombs, stones, criticisms, insults.

Hail is not uncommon in Germany even in summer, but this week there was a fall of Hagel in exceptional quantities in the town of Reutlingen in Baden-Württemberg. The town center looked as though it was mid-winter. Hailstones between 2/10 and 1/2 thick had blocked the drains and piled up in the streets to a height of 12 inches. The town sent out its snow-plows to clear the roads, while a huge mass of ice and water flowed down the pedestrian shopping zone.

Take German lessons at Deutsche Schule Rochester.

Word... August 5th

schlichten
...to mediate, from an old Germanic word meaning to smooth.  A secondary meaning is to smooth material such as wood or leather. The figurative meaning of smoothing out opposing standpoints is the primary meaning.

In Germany, one of the longest-running disputes of the year has been between Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the rail union EVG (Eisenbahn- und Verkehrsgewerkschaft) over pay rates. The union called several short Warnstreiks and was in the process of calling a full strike, when DB proposed a Schlichtung to settle the dispute.

Each side nominated a Schlichter or Schlichterin. This week they managed to achieve a compromise which both sides accepted, though the EVG has to put it to its members for a vote.

Take German lessons at Deutsche Schule Rochester.

Word... July 22nd

Doch, part 3 

Seeking Affirmation

If people make a statement with a doch in it, and it is NOT in the context of reverting a negative, then what the doch does is it seeks your approval.  It's use in a German sentence looks like a statement of fact, but the doch gives it a certain desire for affirmation or response, without really asking openly.

Guck mal, das da drüben ist dein Professor.    Look, that is your professor over there.
Guck mal, das da drüben ist doch dein Professor.    Look, it’s your professor over there now, isn’t it?

Mein neues Kleid ist schön.    My new dress is nice.
Mein neues Kleid ist doch schön.    My new dress is quite nice, don’t you think? (Agree with me please!)

Ich habe dir gesagt, das der Film langweilig ist.    I did tell you, the movie was gonna be boring.
Ich habe dir (doch) gesagt, das der Film langweilig ist.    I did tell you that the movie was gonna be boring before, didn’t I? (Concede that I was right please!)

Du kannst nicht ohne Training einen Marathon laufen.    You cannot run a marathon without training.
Du kannst doch nicht ohne Training einen Marathon laufen.    Oh please / come on. You can’t run a marathon without training. (Really think you can?)

Doch makes a statement into a statement that you want  the people to agree with, be it because you are in doubt, because you want to for them to be aware of the fact you said, or because you think it is obvious.

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Doch – meaning depends on intonation

Thomas kommt doch nicht zu spät.
This sentence can mean 3 things.
    So Thomas will NOT come late after all.
    Thomas won’t be late, will he?
    Thomas? HE will not be late, come on.

The first one is an inverting-doch. The person who said the sentence was of the opinion Thomas was going to be late until new info indicates that he will make it in time…  To get this meaning you need to stress the doch pretty strongly.
The second sentence is an expression of uncertainty. Here the stress is on spät and the voice carries the idea of uncertainty. It is a statement but it sounds a bit like a question.
The third example is expressing that Thomas is such a punctual guy that it should be clear that he is not going to be late, how can someone not know that. The stress is on Thomas and on spät and the voice sounds certain.
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...from https://yourdailygerman.com/

Take German lessons at Deutsche Schule Rochester.

Word... July 15th

Doch, part 2

Toning down commands
doch is often used to kind of “cushion” an imperative (sentences with an exclamation point at the end). The doch makes them sound a little less blunt and possibly even inviting.

Wir gehen ein Bier trinken. We are going to have a beer.
Komm mit!        Join us!! 
Komm doch mit!    Come on, join us.     OR     Why don’t you join us?

Denk mal nach!            Think for once!
Denk doch mal nach!        Think for once… I mean come on, why not?

Sei endlich still!        Shut up already, dammit!
Sei doch endlich still!    Shut up now, will you?

The first one was changed from inviting to super inviting. The second one just got added a little encouragement, and the third one is pretty harsh either way.

So a single doch cannot just change a harsh command into a friendly invitation. Phrasing and also tone of voice are really big factors here. But the doch definitely adds a “personal note”, and that’s why it’s a little more approachable than without it.  

...from https://yourdailygerman.com/

Take German lessons at Deutsche Schule Rochester.

Word...  July 8th

doch, part 1

doch is related to 'though', and 'after all', 'contrary', and 'but'.  
Although, don't think in terms of translations, though.  
doch can be captured by 4 functions, or feelings or vibes.

One, and most common, way it functions turning around a 'no'.
This is the most famous meaning of doch.

          “Ich bin klüger als du.”    “I am smarter than you.”
          “Nein, bist du nicht.”        “No, you are not.”
          “Doch, bin ich doch.”        “Yes I am.”
          “Nein, bist du nicht.”        “No, are not.”
          “Doch!”                “Am too!”
          “Nein.”                “No.”
          “Doch.”                “Yes.”

Doch doesn’t always have to be in the beginning of a sentence and there doesn’t even have to be a direct “No.”.  For example, "Ich habe morgen doch Zeit."     "I do have time tomorrow after all." 
Using doch means that there IS a nein in the “air”.  At some point in the past, it was said that there will NOT be time tomorrow. 

A deceiving example is "Ich habe doch keinen Hunger mehr."
"Actually, I am not hungry after all", as to say ", although I thought/made you think I was."
Basically, there is the option to do something, or NOT do something. It is that you initially choose NOT do something, and, after getting more information, chose NOT to NOT do something, after all.

Listen to how doch influences the meaning of this sentence...
Thomas kommt nicht zur Party.        Thomas won’t come to the party.
Thomas kommt DOCH nicht zur Party.    Thomas won’t come to the party after all.
Doch adds more information,  "although originally thought he would".


...from https://yourdailygerman.com/

Learn more from Deutsche Schule Rochester.

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Word...  July 15th

Doch, part 2

Toning down commands
doch is often used to kind of “cushion” an imperative (sentences with an exclamation point at the end). The doch makes them sound a little less blunt and possibly even inviting.

Wir gehen ein Bier trinken. We are going to have a beer.
Komm mit!        Join us!! 
Komm doch mit!    Come on, join us.     OR     Why don’t you join us?

Denk mal nach!            Think for once!
Denk doch mal nach!        Think for once… I mean come on, why not?

Sei endlich still!        Shut up already, dammit!
Sei doch endlich still!    Shut up now, will you?

The first one was changed from inviting to super inviting. The second one just got added a little encouragement, and the third one is pretty harsh either way.

So a single doch cannot just change a harsh command into a friendly invitation. Phrasing and also tone of voice are really big factors here. But the doch definitely adds a “personal note”, and that’s why it’s a little more approachable than without it. 

...from https://yourdailygerman.com/

Learn more from Deutsche Schule Rochester.

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Word...  July 22nd

Doch, part 3 

Seeking Affirmation

If people make a statement with a doch in it, and it is NOT in the context of reverting a negative, then what the doch does is it seeks your approval.  It's use in a German sentence looks like a statement of fact, but the doch gives it a certain desire for affirmation or response, without really asking openly.

Guck mal, das da drüben ist dein Professor.    Look, that is your professor over there.
Guck mal, das da drüben ist doch dein Professor.    Look, it’s your professor over there now, isn’t it? (What a coincidence)

Mein neues Kleid ist schön.    My new dress is nice.
Mein neues Kleid ist doch schön.    My new dress is quite nice, don’t you think? (Agree with me please!)

Ich habe dir (doch) gesagt, das der Film langweilig ist.    I did tell you, the movie was gonna be boring.
Ich habe dir (doch) gesagt, das der Film langweilig ist.    I did tell you that the movie was gonna be boring before, didn’t I? (Concede that I was right please!)

Du kannst (doch) nicht ohne Training einen Marathon laufen.    Oh please / come on. You can’t run a marathon without training. (Really think you can?)
Du kannst (doch) nicht ohne Training einen Marathon laufen.    You cannot run a marathon without training.

Doch makes a statement into a statement that you want  the people to agree with, be it because you are in doubt, because you want to for them to be aware of the fact you said, or because you think it is obvious.

************************************************************
Doch – meaning depends on intonation

Thomas kommt doch nicht zu spät.
This sentence can mean 3 things.
    So Thomas will NOT come late after all.
    Thomas won’t be late, will he?
    Thomas? HE will not be late, come on.

The first one is an inverting-doch. The person who said the sentence was of the opinion Thomas was going to be late until new info indicates that he will make it in time…  To get this meaning you need to stress the doch pretty strongly.
The second sentence is an expression of uncertainty. Here the stress is on spät and the voice carries the idea of uncertainty. It is a statement but it sounds a bit like a question.
The third example is expressing that Thomas is such a punctual guy that it should be clear that he is not going to be late, how can someone not know that. The stress is on Thomas and on spät and the voice sounds certain.
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...from https://yourdailygerman.com/

Learn more from Deutsche Schule Rochester.

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Fragen

Fragen means to question or ask.  Similar German words, when meanign to ask, are, fragen, bitten, verlangen, fordern, erfragen, and anfragen.  German words that also mean to question are fragen, befragen, in Frage stellen, ausfragen, bezweifeln, and prüfen.

Word...  July 1st

dürfen, a helper verb, has several meanings, including "to be allowed to" or "may," depending on the context of the sentence. 

For example, the question uses dürfen as a helper verb, but the answer does not.
Question: Darf ich auf dieToilette gehen? (May I go to the restroom?)
Answer: Ja, du darfst. (Yes, you may.)

     ich    darf
     du    darfst
     er, sie, es     darf
     wir    dürfen
     ihr    dürft
     sie    dürfen
     Sie    dürfen

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Word...  June 24th

Stechen is a verb, meaning to sting or stab. 
      This word has the same Old German root as der Stecker, and has a list of different meanings, including to win a trick at cards and to engrave on copper or steel.  It also means to joust with a lance, which leads stechen to the word die Stichwahl (run-off election).
     A large numbers of German residents took part in a Stichwahl a couple weeks agofor the Turkish presidency.  Some 300,000 Turkish voters also are German citizens,  the largest contingent outside of Turkey.  Stichwahl, run-off election.


Word...  June 17th

"irgend-", when paired as irgendwie (somehow), irgendwo , irgendwann is the German word for "some". So it seems. But it's not that simple.  

Irgend actually used to be two words back 1000 years ago: io and (h)wergin.  Io is related to the older German word je.  Je is akin to yonder and its core notion is “over there”.  The original combination of io and h(wer)gin actually meant in some location over there or simply: somewhere.  Germans then slowly mumbled it into the shape it has today, but for a long long time it exclusively meant "somewhere".
Only some 300 years ago, people started using it in a more general sense of some-ness. 
In this example, "This will take somewhere between one hour and a half away", it's using somewhere, but it’s not strictly about location.  
The main purpose of somewhere is to communicate some-ness.  Used that way, Irgend soon lost it’s connection to location. The wo-part has diappeared completely in any case.  For a while, irgend could be used as a stand alone word, but that use has declined sharply.  In fact, the only idiomatic example  is, "Versuch, wenn irgend möglich, nicht zu spät zu kommen".    "Try, if somehow possible, not to be late".

There's more versions of irgend, which can be found found on YourDailyGerman.com
https://yourdailygerman.com/meaning-irgend/

Word...  July 8th

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Word...  June 10th

8 Basic German Words for Questions & How to Use them

Wo (where), as in Wo wohnst du? (Where do you live?)

Woher (where from), as in Woher kommst du? (Where are you from?)

Wohin (where to), as in Wohin gehst du diesen Sommer? (Where are you going to go this summer?)

Wann (when), as in Wann fliegst du nach Deutschland? (When do you fly to Germany?)

Was (what), as in Was machst du dieses Wochenende? (What are you doing this weekend?)

Wer (who), as in Wer ist das? (Who is that?)

Wie (how), as in Wie alt bist du? (How old are you?)

Warum (why), as in Warum gehst du nach Hause? (Why are you going home?)

MORE>>  takelessons.com


Word...  May 27th

What German word means to need or to want.

If it's a thing you need, "Ich brauche eine Fahrradpumpe"  (bicycle pump)

If it's something you need to do, "Ich muss einen Job finden."

If it's something you don't have to do, "Du brauchst mich nicht zu wecken."  You don't have to wake me.

If it's a thing you don't need, "Ich brauche keine Lesebrille"... reading glasses.

brauchen, and müssen, among others

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How do you say what you need or want?

If it's a thing you would like to have:
Ich hätte gern... 
einen Schäferhund 
eine Seniorenkarte/ senior entrance ticket
ein großes Pils

If it's a thing you need:
Ich brauche einen Kredit
Ich brauche eine Fahrradpumpe/ bicycle pump
Ich brauche ein Visum

If it's something you need to do:
Ich muss einen Job finden
Ich muss eine Bewerbung /job application schreiben
Ich muss mal. (I have to use the bathroom. This is the version for family and friends!!)

If it's something you don't have to do:
Ich brauche nicht um sechs Uhr aufzustehen/ I don't have to get up at six in the morning.
Du brauchst mich nicht zu wecken. You don't have to wake me.

If it's a thing you don't need:
Ich brauche keinen Schirm/ umbrella.
Ich brauche keine Lesebrille/ reading glasses.
Ich brauche kein Auto
...und keinen Kredit, keine Fahrradpumpe, 
kein Visum.

How do you say what you need or want?

If it's a thing you would like to have:  Ich hätte gern... 
einen Schäferhund; eine Seniorenkarte (senior entrance ticket); ein großes Pils.

If it's a thing you need: Ich brauche einen Kredit; Ich brauche eine Fahrradpumpe (bicycle pump); Ich brauche ein Visum.

If it's something you need to do: Ich muss einen Job finden; Ich muss eine schreiben (job application); 

Ich muss mal (I have to use the bathroom. This is the version for family and friends!!).

If it's something you don't have to do: Ich brauche nicht um sechs Uhr aufzustehen I don't have to get up at six in the morning; Du brauchst mich nicht zu wecken You don't have to wake me.

If it's a thing you don't need:  Ich brauche keinen Schirm (umbrella); Ich brauche keine Lesebrille (reading glasses); Ich brauche kein Auto (...und keinen Kredit, keine Fahrradpumpe, kein Visum).

Word...  May 20th

Gemütlich.

For some people, it means drinking, dancing and singing together, in close proximity to one another.
It can also refer to a living room design. Das ist aber gemütlich bei Dir!  ...meaning, it is cozy and welcoming.
When referring to a person, they are not easily ruffled, not taking things too seriously. 
AND, it can be used for the weather, but only when it is NOT gemütlich.   "Heute ist es aber ungemütlich", or "Heute ist es wirklich ungemütlich draussen."

Even a person who is usually very gemütlich, can be annoyed by someone's behavior, and say,
"Jetzt werde ich aber gleich ungemütlich!"   "It won't be long before I get unpleasant!"

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Word...  May 13th

KummerspeckKummerspeck, combination of Kummer, meaning Grief, and Speck, meaning bacon, is the word Germans use to describe the extra weight someone gains after excessive overeating caused by heartbreak, grief or sorrow. Many people turn to eating after a period of stress or boredom as well. It is a general word used to explain the extra weight gained after a time of comfort eating due to unhappiness or depression.

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Word...  May 6th

Luftikus

A masculine noun coined by students in the 19th century from the word air (“Luft”) and by adding the Latin ending -kus. Originally used to describe an airhead, i.e., a carefree person with head in the clouds. In English one might equate it with someone who is featherbrained or a dreamer. Today the meaning has shifted to describe somebody who is reckless, unreliable and superficial, and has a negative connotation to it. Phrases such as “she realized quickly what a Luftikus he was” are very common in today’s conversations among German speakers.   On the other hand, it can also be used to describe an eccentric person, an oddball or crack pot. A happy-go-lucky character who just wants to have fun.

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Word...  April 29th

FerienYou have heard of Urlaub, meaning vacation.  Ferien is the time of no work or school, so it also means vacation.Either can be used, but “der Urlaub” generally refers to time off that you’re allowed to take (e.g., scheduled time off from work), while “die Ferien” refers to a period of free time with no obligations (e.g., a retiree travelling abroad).

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Word...  April 22nd

LieblingsLieblings means favorite.  Unlike English, the German speakers always combine it with a noun. By saying, "This book is my favorite", a German would say, "Das Buch ist mein Lieblingsbuch."  Your favorite ice cream may be your "Lieblingseis".

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Word...  April 15th

Kosten

Everyone who has been to Germany as a tourist, knows the question: Was kostet das? How much is it?

'Kosten' also means, however, to try something tasty.

The question, Kann ich mal kosten? is very important, if someone is preparing a meal, and it smells good. You might get a early spoonful.

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Word...  April 8th

Abschalten.  It means to turn off, but not the power, only thoughts.  If you bring a problem home from work, and can't stop talking about it, your spouse  might say:You need to take a break... Du musst mal abschalten.

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Word...  April 1st

"Nestbautrieb".In Springtime, birds start building a nest. With humans, it means the desire to paint the shutters, clean the windows, turn the house or apartment into a welcoming place, and finally do all the repair work for which the weather had been too cold the last six months!  It's a feeling you typically have in Spring; "Nestbautrieb".  

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DSR Word of the Week: List
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