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Frohe Stunde

Yesterday, I was walking in the October sun miraculously blessing Hamburg with its autumn presence this year, when I noticed the board from the picture outside one of the coffee/cocktail bars. I am a real fan of the German language and find it annoying how it seems to “swallow” all kinds of unnecessary English rubbish […]

Mal mal wieder!

Hello again, we’re back to German spelling. Spelling of the word “mal” may be tricky in German. That’s why I decided to list a couple of rules with examples: 1. The noun Mal (das Mal) is capitalized (as any German noun): Zum ersten Mal nach 15 Jahren reiste deshalb ein türkischer Ministerpräsident nach Kairo. Wir […]

Zusammen oder getrennt?

This is a valid question not only at the end of a meal in a restaurant that we shared with others… This question also applies to German spelling. Do you know how to write verb combinations like kommen hören, sitzen bleiben or kennen lernen? The German spelling reform that was supposed to give definite answers […]

German relative pronouns – was or das?

When to use was and when das as relative pronouns? 1. das relates to a single, definite and neuter noun as in the following examples: Die Botschaft, die der Papst mitbringt, ist viel mehr Wert als das Geld, das wir hier ausgeben. Wir hatten eine Auseinandersetzung über das Erbe, das meine Generation hinterlässt. Das Abkommen, […]

Time expressions in German – the key with correct answers

Remember our last week’s sentences with time expressions? Below you’ll find the correct sentences with short explanations. 1. Eines Nachts macht sie sich tatsächlich auf den Weg. Nachts here is the genitive form of the noun die Nacht, nowadays only used in this time expression (in other instances the grammatically correct form is einer Nacht). […]

Time expressions in German

Some time expressions in German are really misleading and I have to admit that I keep forgetting the correct spelling and the rules behind it. I collected a couple of sample sentences with typical time phrases including both the correct and the wrong spelling versions: 1. Eines Nachts/ Eines nachts macht sie sich tatsächlich auf […]

Correct German Spelling

Following up on our last week’s topic – spelling – I continue with words that are difficult not only for learners of German but also Germans themselves. genau so / genauso When the so in genau so is stressed and further described (e.g. by the phrase introduced by wie) it’s written separately: Alles läuft genau […]

bestechlich ≠ bestechend

After devoting a lot of time recently to different language learning methods and approaches in the recent posts, I decided to go back to something more specific again today. Look at the German adjectives in the title of this post. They look suspiciously similar, don’t they? Beware, though! Consider following examples: Andreas Rickenbacher findet die […]

The pros of learning a language in a group

Last week I discussed the cons of learning a language in a group, already mentioning some pro arguments (it’s really difficult to keep these apart). The main advantage of this method: interaction and fun! I remember that the fun I had with the people from the group I learned with highly influenced my willingness to […]

The cons of learning a language in a group (pros yet to come)

There are certainly many different types of groups in which you can learn foreign languages. Most of them, however, share the same features. You can learn in a language school in your country or go abroad for an organized summer language course; you can meet once a week or have daily meetings and so on, […]

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