11 German Words for Holy Week and Easter (Karwoche und Ostern)
Christian Holidays are often public holidays in Germany, so these are good words to know whether you're non-religious, atheist, agnostic, or religious.
The schedule carries over into school and school breaks, too. One of my clients is currently on Osterferien, Easter Holidays, and doesn't have school this week or next.
This week is Karwoche, or Holy Week, and in a non-pandemic year there would be much singing of the Bach Passions: the Matthäus-Passion (St. Matthew Passion), the Johannes-Passion (S…
What are the Two Most Important Past Tense Verbs in German?
When you first learn German - or first start learning German - you say everything in the present tense. You learn only a little bit of the past tense, mainly the two verbs here, and then later you learn the Perfekt, or the spoken past tense (Ich bin gefahren. Wir haben ein Buch gelesen.).
This is the order you would ideally learn everything in:
Present tense --> these two verbs --> a bunch of the Perfekt
If you learn the past tense in any other order than that, it is out of order.
How to Use Separable Verbs in German
Separable verbs are not hard to understand, however learning to use them takes practice and time.
For the purposes of this first section, we'll use two separable verbs in the present tense – so we'll use them to talk about now.
A separable verb (in German: ein trennbares Verb, plural: trennbare Verben) is a verb that requires you to do three things :
remove the prefix from the verb
conjugate what's left
tack the prefix on to the end of the sentence.
What's the Difference Between "Verkehr" and "Stau"?
When you're at the A1 level, "Verkehr" and "Stau" can be tough to differentiate. Most people say "It has something to do with cars!!" If you said that, you're correct! But what's the difference?
The difference is essentially the same as in English, but one use of "Verkehr" might trip you up.
Read on to learn the difference and how not to get tripped up by the one use of "Verkehr"!
Was bedeutet "Verkehr"?
Verkehr is simply the word for traffic. You can have multiple types of Verkehr:
"wohin" vs. "woher"
If you learned German in college, chances are you learned both “woher” and “wohin” at the same time.
Do you ever drive in reverse and forwards at the same time?
I didn't think so.
Why so many US textbook authors think this is a good idea is beyond me.
In drivers education, first you learn to drive forwards, you get a feel for the car, and then you learn to drive in reverse.
It's not that hard, textbook authors!
*Nicole facepalms and sighs with exasperation.*
That's a really good way to get permanentl…
4 Reasons Minimalists Should Learn German (And Why German is Easier than English!)
If you are already living with less or a minimum amount of possessions, or would like to, this philosophy works in your favor when learning German. Experience a language which is significantly more predictable than English; German is a great language to explore!
You'll also discover here how, in many ways, German is actually easier than English. I say this as a native English speaker, a near-native German speaker, and an instructor for both languages.
Of course both languages have their own un…
What does "zwischen den Jahren" mean?
At the end of the year a lot of Germans use the phrase zwischen den Jahren. Between the years?! That's not possible!
Or is it?
There are two things you need to know about this phrase zwischen den Jahren.
1. It's a real thing.
A lot of German offices shut down on Heiligabend (Christmas Eve) and don't open again until after Neujahr (New Year's Day). That means all their everything must be done on December 23rd! Since they won't be back to work until the new year has begun, then they have finis…
5 Easy Books for A1 (Beginning) German Learners
And how to get the most out of each book!
If you are an A1 German learner, then that means you are at the beginning level of German. You're a beginner. It stays that way for a while.
The A1 level is key for you because it gives you the basics of German grammar. A1 is the foundational level for all other levels. I frequently tell people:
Think of the A1 level like the foundation of your house. You can't build a house on sand. If you don't have a good foundation, you're going to have a lot of…
How to Live Like a German
and make German a part of your everyday life.
Sometimes it amazes me how quickly people can pick up German words and sentence structure, even though they've never been to Germany and haven't learned German before.
Clients come to a lesson and they have no idea what German bread tastes like, but they can talk about German breakfast: das Brot, die Marmelade, der Kaffee.
It can be a source of frustration, however, to learn German, but only to have all these North American elements around us: sp…
Quick Guide to the «W-Fragen» in German and English
The free PDF in this blog post has been completely overhauled and updated!
The W-Fragen in German, here with a free PDF for you to download, are question words.
They are also known as 'open-ended questions. In English the W-Fragen also begin 'w': who, what, when, where, why, and how.
You begin learning the W-Fragen at the A1 level in German.
(These questions are different from the ja/nein Fragen or yes/no questions in German begin with the verb ("Arbeiten Sie heute?" "Kommen Sie aus Bayern?").)