Category Archive for: ‘Culture’

Bad German Words

Seven German words that sound bad, but aren’t

German and English derive from the same base language so they have a great many similarities. I always tell new students that they should seek to make connections between English and German but also other words – especially newer so-called

Relationships In German E1404894949183

Degrees of Friendship and Relationships in German

Because of Switzerland’s strict immigration laws it used to be when you asked non-Swiss why they were in Switzerland the answer would usually be one of two things: 1. work, 2. love. With the Schengen-Dublin agreement that changed and more

German Animal Expressions

Pig-dogs, Pony Farms, and Monkey Theaters – Expressions in German

When you get to know a language well enough you discover that no matter how boring your teachers may have made them out to be or how simply rediculous à la Eddy Izzard’s “Le singe est sur la branche” they

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Telephoning in German — What you need to know

[Ring, ring, ring. Click.] Marathon Sprachen. Langenegger am Apparat, guten Tag. Ah, ah, ah, … English?… Oh, yes, English is ok. … The above telephone conversation occurs on a regular basis even with people who have a B1 or higher

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Visiting the doctor in German — zum Arzt gehen

Going to the doctor is never fun, but going to the doctor in a foreign language can add even more stress to a situation. With this in mind it’s important to remember a few important things: bring proper medical paper,

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Skiwortschatz — German Ski Vocabulary

It’s January and in German-speaking Europe that means it’s skiing season (die Skisaison). The word Ski in German presents this very phonetic language with a bit of a challenge because Germans typically say “she” for Ski and often even spell

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What are they asking after I buy my groceries? — German shopping vocabulary

Working with the expat community in Zurich there is a question I hear again and again and a short story that gets recounted. It goes something like this: “I was in the Migros the other day and I bought my

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im Urlaub oder auf Urlaub? Urlaub vs. Ferien — Vacation and Holidays in German

It’s that time of year again in Switzerland and Europe in general. The cities are quieter than usual and offices can appear as if they were abandoned, but without air conditioning in them, they may as well be when the

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Speak about the game — Fussball Wortschatz

For Germany fans this past Thursday was not a great day as the Italian team won the match 2-1 in Warsaw, however, Germany and Germany fans went into the match with a great deal of optimism. See this YouTube video

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Indirekte Fragen — Taking the Directness out of German

Many of you may have recently seen a picture circulating around the web recently that graphically represents stereotypes of European languages and cultures. Austrian speak German, as do the Swiss, Liechtensteiners and South Tyrolleans (Südtirol). That said, the way these

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Lesen Sie diesen Blog! — The imperative in German

Many of my students are parents. Why is this important? Because it is one of the few things you can be if you want to correctly use the informal imperative and be not only grammatically, but also contextually correct. The

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German Letter and E-Mail Basics

Every week I receive e-mails from students and readers asking me to clarify grammatical points and every week I receive the following e-mails with the following salutation: “Liebe Christian”. Now if you’re looking at that and think there is nothing

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