The curious German language

Learn German through fun facts: once you know these quirks, you're sure to find the language easier right away.

Speak and listen - that's the way to do it.
Speak and listen - that's the way to do it. Belinda Pretorius -

Creative Anglicisms

English words like "cool" or "chill" have long since made it into German. The language of young people continually makes use of English: for example, the word "cringe" (to be embarrassed) became the youth word of the year 2021. Pure copying, however, is too boring for Germans: "handy" in English describes a thing that is practical, but in German it is a word for “cell phone”. Native speakers of English are just as unfamiliar with "longseller", that is, a book which has sold successfully for a long time, as they are with "home office" or "home trainer”.

Special emotions

When something embarrassing happens to someone else, many people feel the shame along with the other person. The Germans have a precise word for this feeling: “Fremdschämen”. Similar words exist for other emotions: melancholy feelings about one's own life are called "Weltschmerz" (literally, “world-pain”), the fear of missing something important "Torschlusspanik" (literally, “panic at the closing door”). But there are also more joyful words: in Germany, many people look forward to upcoming events so eagerly that they downright thrill for them in anticipation - "Vorfreude" (literally, “pre-joy”) is the word for this.

Different views

Language also differs from region to region. In Bavaria the bread bun becomes a "Semme(r)l" and in Baden a "Weck". The “c” in "China" is pronounced as a "k," "ch" or "sch," depending on the region.

Dreaded grammatical rules

Similarly tricky are the three forms of the definite article in German: der, die, das. Everyone who learns German eventually realizes this – yes, there really are three of them. And here’s another fun fact: with the word “yogurt”, you can say der, die, or das.

The best comes last

If you have a cold, you have a "frog in your throat" (Frosch im Hals), as in English. If something is ridiculous, "even the chickens are laughing" (lachen ja die Hühner). And if you don't notice the obvious, you have "tomatoes over your eyes" (Tomaten auf den Augen). These idioms are countless, and sometimes so regional that Germans from other parts of the country don't understand them. So when learning German, always bear this typical German saying in mind: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen! (literally, “No master has ever fallen from the sky!”, or “No one masters anything without hard work”).


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