Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Bis bald

In the preceding 100 blogs I have been looking at ways to motivate you to learn German. The best motivation is to communicate with German speakers and even better by living in Germany. Failing this you may be motivated by watching German films, by reading German books or by listening to German music.

Probably the least motivating factor in learning German is to have to learn it for an exam, but it is a way that many of us learn. We get motivated to pass an exam to have a piece of paper that says we can do something in German. When I got my Geman O' level piece of paper in 1977 it had precious little to do with communication but I could really conjugate verbs and decline nouns. So what? Things have changed, thankfully and pupils can now speak German.

I hope that some of the previous blogs have been helpful to you. I may add more blogs in the future but it won't be daily. If you have come across this blog for the first time then at least you have 100 to look at, but for today the only German in the blog is...

Bis bald

Monday, 27 April 2009

Blog Number 100

This is blog number one hundred and which words of wisdom am I going to choose for it. Well it isn't a special issue. I will continue with common exam phrases for GCSE.

You need to know vocabulary which is based on the school. Der Lehrer und die Lehrerin are two examples. Put them into a translation program and you get 'the teacher and the teacher' but you know this is that one is male and one is female. You need to know adjectives like schnell und langsam. If you know this then you can translate 'er will ein schnelles Auto haben'.

I think it is best to learn the words in an interesting way. This could be reading German newspapers or watching German DVDs or listening to German music. However if it is getting close to your GCSE then it may well be worth just ploughing through past papers, and make sure that you know 'schreib den richtigen Buchstaben ins Kästchen'. I asked you to look this up yesterday but if you don't know it then the exam paper will be a lot harder for you.

Bis bald

Sunday, 26 April 2009

More Common Exam Phrases

There is a common way of asking question in the reading exam for GCSE and that is to ask what someone wants. Wollen is an important verb so you can expect it to be tested. Was will ich schreiben? Was will ich trinken? In the latter case all you need to know is the name of three drinks in German. You often see the request 'schreib den richtigen Buchstaben ins Kästchen'. In fact if you don’t know this sentence then I will let you look up the words in a dictionary as this will make two times that you have seen the words. Look up a German paper on the internet and you should have new words in your vocabulary.

I have recently written about sein und haben but their importance cannot be overstated. Just think how often we use the verbe to be and to have in English. Have you any idea how often you use these verbs? You can make simple sentences with two nouns and one verb. If you know a few words then you have a chance of translating what you want to say or at least something that resembles what you want to say. Das Café ist zu teuer. Das Café ist sehr nett. Das Café ist nicht sehr sauber, and just for good measure I will tell you that to clean is sauber machen.

Bis bald

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Common Exam Phrases

It generally takes me three goes to learn anything new, so if I look at three German exam papers then I should get the hang of them. Abschnitt A, yes I know that is section A. It does help you remember if you disect the vocabulary and you also learn abschneiden. Fragen und Antworten auf Deutsch. Yes that rings a bell.

How about the verb sprechen? You should recognise it because it is a common question. Sprichst du Deutsch or Sprechen Sie Deutsch? If you want to say he or she speaks then you say er spricht oder sie spricht, and if you want to speak with someone it is sprechen mit... Now you should be able to translate Ingo spricht mit seiner Mutter

Bis bald

Friday, 24 April 2009

Die Motivation

There are lots of revision guides to get you through a German GCSE. The problem is that not everyone gets an A*. Teachers do an excellent job. Resources have improved tremendously since I was at school in the 70s. So why doesn't everyone do very well at GCSE? My answer is motivation. The top pupils will always get good marks and be praised. They have their motivation. For the rest it is about finding the motivation to learn a little bit more each day, e.g. reading a German blog. You will still have to do your homework as well.

I have written about family members. Some words you can guess without ever seeing them before. Meine Schwester oder mein Sohn are two examples. So it shouldn't take long to learn your family. In the GCSE paper that I am going through you need to know der Vater, die Großmutter, die Eltern, die Oma und der Papa. You can’t guarantee the same family members will come up but on this paper you have just gained a couple more points.

Bis bald

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Some more marks

If you know that viel means a lot then you can easily add it to simple sentences. Ich lese viel, ich spreche viel, or indeed ich habe viele Freunde, but because with friends it is an adjective it now has an adjectival ending.

If you know that der Anfang is the beginning then you can probably work out that am Anfang is in or at the beginning. I have mentioned that you need to know your tenses. You can learn them by conjugating them or you can learn them as you go along. Ich muss es tun means I have to do it. Ich musste es tun means I had to do it. Müssen is a modal verb so the verb that follows is the infinite and it in German it comes at the end of the sentence. Am Anfang musste ich eine Sonderklasse besuchen. You should now be able to guess the full sentence, and it may well be that your guess is better than a small dictionary because you know the context.

Ich habe Deutsch in der Schule gelernt is a phrase to learn. It tells people where you learnt your German and it also gives you another mark in the GCSE paper.

Bis bald

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

First couple of GCSE marks

If you want to do well in a German GCSE then you have to use the future and a past tense as well as the present tense. One of the most common past tenses to use is 'I was born' as you can use it in conversation as well as exams. Ich war in Manchester geboren or ich war in England oder in Italien geboren. You do have to learn a few countries so that you can recognise them so have a look at a list. It won't take long. You can also show off your knowledge of German numbers if you learn ich war in 1970 geboren.

Als ich dreizehn Jahre alt war... Now you need to remember to reverse the verb and pronoun after this but if you start with bin ich or habe ich and then the past participle at the end of the sentence. Prepare this kind of sentence for a few different ages and you will have a lot to say to German speakers.

Um...zu is a good thing to learn. It means in order to. Ich sehe fern, um Deutsch zu erlernen. Again put one or two personal examples together and you will easily recognise um...zu. You do have to sit down and learn grammar and vocabulary, but there are easy patterns to follow and easy marks to be gained. You just have your first couple of marks.

Bis bald

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

German GCSE

If you have followed this blog so far I think you are becoming less of a novice and can start to think of GCSE German. If you are thinking of taking this exam then stick with me and I will look at how the reading test works. Firstly look at the instructions which are in English. You have 50 minutes to complete the paper. There are some answers that just require letters to be written in boxes. In section A it says Fragen und Antworten auf Deutsch. In section B it tells you that the questions and answers are in English.

The first words in German are Abschnitt A. Schneiden means to cut. Abschneiden also means to cut but more in a sense of cutting something off (ab) something else. If you didn't know any of this then you still might be able to work out der Abschnitt A because the instructions tell you that you are starting section A. If you know that lesen means to read then you have a very good chance of knowing that lies die Texte means, without knowing anything about commands.

Going through this GCSE paper might take a few weeks but each blog only takes a few minutes to read so stay with it.

Bis bald

Monday, 20 April 2009

Sein und Haben

There are many verbs that are regular. Verbs like kaufen to buy, verkaufen to sell, fragen to ask and glauben to believe all follow the same pattern as set out in yesterday's blog. Once you know how to conjugate verbs in the present tense and once you know the translation of the verb you can say hundreds of things in German. Getting to practice speaking is another matter. However there are a lot of verbs that do not follow this pattern. The most common and because of that you must learn them, are the verbe to be and to have, haben und sein.

ich bin
I am / ich habe I have
du bist you are (informal) / du hast you have (informal)
er ist he is / er hat he has
sie ist she is / sie hat she has
es ist it is / es hat it has
wir sind we are / wir haben we have
ihr seid you are (plural) ihr habt you have (plural)
sie sind they are sie haben they have
Sie sind you are (formal) Sie haben you have (formal)

Bis bald

Sunday, 19 April 2009

The Present Tense

I started to look at the verb 'to make' last time and then talked about personal pronouns. If you take machen and take away the -en you have a stem and this is what you work with to conjugate the verb. In the present tense it is:-
ich mache I make
du machst you make (informal)
er macht he makes
sie macht she makes
es macht it makes
wir machen we make
ihr macht you make (plural)
sie machen they make
Sie machen you make (formal)

Verbs like this are called regular because they follow this pattern. If you are told, or if you look in a dictionary, or if you have a faint memory and you think that glauben is to believe, then you now know how to say 'I believe'. You follow the pattern and it becomes ich glaube. This pattern is fairly easy to learn and it means that you can now conjugate a lot of verbs in the present tense. However if you really want to learn a language then you have to translate some sentences that mean something to you and then say speak to someone in German.

Bis bald

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Personal Pronouns

Many people are not keen on grammar. I think it is great and I am not sure whether this is because grammar has a bad press or whether I am just in a minority. Let's take verbs and the usual starting point is the present tense. It means something is happening now. Let's take the verb 'to make' as and example. In English we say I am making, I do make or I make. They all mean the same thing and they are all happening now in the present tense.

It is easier in German because you don't have three choices. You just say ich mache. Once you have learned the personal pronouns then you don't have to learn them again for any other verb. These pronouns are personal because they stand for people animals or things. I, you, he, she, it, we and they make up the personal pronouns except in German you have to learn three ways to say you. There is du for the person you know well, ihr when you are talking to a group, and Sie (notice the capital) when you are talking to someone you don't know too well. It is the polite way to say you.

So the way to learn the regular verbs is to learn the pattern for the personal pronouns. Ich, du er, sie es, wir, ihr, sie und Sie. The reason we learn the sie and Sie together is because they conjugate in the same way. If you are not sure what conjugate means then look what you have done. You look for the different ways of saying the verb in different tenses.

Bis bald

Friday, 17 April 2009

You too can sound intelligent

There really are a lot of words in English that come from the German language. One word that I was taught in a German class in the 1970s was Ersatz. It means substitute or replacement and it is a word that I have come across regularly since I learnt it - about once every five years. At least I have known what it meant which helps if you are in a quiz and it helps if someone wants to use it to sound intelligent. Now you can sound intelligent too.

A hamster is ein Hamster. I don't know if you know the blues/rock group called The Hamsters but if you translated their name it would be die Hamster. We don't tend to translate proper names but at least you know the plural of der Hamster.

Volkswagen is Volkswagen and BMW is BMW but you need to know your German alphabet to say it correctly. Doberman, Schnauzer, Rottweiler and Dachshund don't change to make English words. In the last few blogs the recurring theme has been German words that are used in English but I will stop this leitmotiv now.

Bis bald

Thursday, 16 April 2009

You know more German than you think

Following on from yesterday's blog, I was thinking about words that we use in English but come straight from the German. I live in Morecambe and very near to my house is a nursery. It's new extension has a big sign saying Kindergarten. You know what it means because I have told you, but it is also worth knowing that it is a compound word made up of die Kinder und der Garten.

I hope you don't have angst about learning German because there is another word that you know. A beer fest is a festival or beer celebration. Either word is a translation of das Fest. You don't need to translate words like frankfurter but we have lost the capital letter and the word Wurst that follows it.

Sometimes German people gave their name to words and that is why we use them. These are words like Fahrenheit, which keeps its capital letter and zeppelin which lost its capital letter. I hope you don't take too much flak if you don't know these words but in German it is an anti-aircraft gun as it is in English but usually we use the word to mean criticism.

Bis bald

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

What is German for coup?

There was a question on a TV quiz programme today that asked for the German word that is used in English which means an attempt to overthrow the government. The question may even have mentioned Hitler's attempt at revolution which was called the Beer Hall Putsch or the Munich Putsch. It means a violent blow in the sense of a coup but it made me think of the words that we use in English that come directly from the German.

The word schadenfreude means to take pleasure in the misfortune of others. If you were writing it in German then is would have a capital s, like all German nouns, but in English it has a small letter. We don't have an equivalent word and that is why we use schadenfreude. I had to use eight words where one word will do. I first come across this word on the Simpsons and it is a word used by Lisa. So you should watch the Simpsons to increase your German (and English) vocabulary.

Bis bald

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Do you have an opinion?

There are some expressions that can be used in many conversations. You will be asked your opinion and this could be on any subject. You may not have an opinion, and even if you do have an opinion you still might want to keep it to yourself. You might be a private person or you may not have prepared answers in German on this subject. Try to be prepared because if it is an exam you will loose marks and if it is a conversation there is nothing wrong with learning from it.

Your answer could be das ist mir egal which means that doesn’t make any difference to me or I don’t mind or more abruptly I don’t care. To make a stronger point you could say das ist mir völlig egal. Try not to say ich habe keine Ahnung, as it is nice to have some idea about the subject of the conversation.

If you say nicht schlecht then literally it is not bad, but just like in English you could be saying expressing an opinion on quality but you could also be saying that something is good. Did you like learning this? Das ist nicht schlecht!

Agreeing with someone is a nice way to get into a conversation, and the way to do this in German is to say du hast Recht oder Sie haben Recht. Ich bin völlig deiner Meinung. You haven’t said anything on any specific subject but you have spoken quite a lot.

Bis bald

Monday, 13 April 2009

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren

How do you write a letter in German? Generally we write our name and address first and if it is formal we put the name and address of the recipient underneath. There is so much variation in English that it is hard to be specific but in German the tendency is to write both names and addresses on the left, and then the place where you are writing the letter and the date on the right. You don’t need to know any numbers for this because it would look like Morecambe, den 12.4.2009

You start the letter Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren which is the equivalent of 'Dear sir or madam'. If you know that you are writing to a man it is Sehr geehrte and to a woman it is Sehr geehrter. The more you learn, the easier the adjectival agreement. When I was at school in the 70s we had to learn adjectival agreements and vocabulary came second. However when you learn a native language you learn vocabulary first.

There is a convention in English that says you write 'Yours sincerely' if you have started your letter dear and the person’s name. If you start with 'Dear Sir' the convention is to write 'Yours faithfully'. At least you don’t have to be concerned with this in German. You can just write Mit freundlichen Grüßen or you can also say Hochachtungsvoll.

Bis bald

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Der beste deutsche Film?

Last week I wrote about the Edukators because it was on Film 4. I have also written about Das Kabarett. I have seen this film a few times but it happened to be a free DVD in a Sunday paper. I have bought some German DVDs including Das Boot (another blog) but this time I will write about Das Leben der Anderen from 2006. The first thing to say is that grammatically we would not say the life of others. We would say lives, and this is how it was translated for an English audience, but at least you have thought about the title even if you haven't seen the film.

It is worth seeing as ‘Das Leben der Anderen’ ist ein erstklassiger Film. It is a film about life in East Germany, in Berlin before the wall came down. It is about the secret police, the Stasi and how they carried out their duties. You can enjoy this film as a story, but you learn German by listening. Even listening to pronunciation of names will help you learn the language. Do you know the German for George? You will if you watch this film. Für mich ist "Das Leben der Anderen" einer der besten deutschen Filme.

Bis bald

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Der letzter Zapfenstreich

I am talking about the post-it notes for one more time because they are a useful resource to help with vocabulary. Im Badezimmer you can label das Bad, der Heizkörper, die dusche (and the verb is duschen), und die Toilette. To go to the toilet is auf die Toilette gehen which doesn’t have quite the same charm as one of our many euphemisms in English. I would prefer to visit the smallest room in the house or even the loo. W H Auden calls it the ‘house where everyone goes’ but the German leaves nothing to the imagination. You could always say die Toilette bitte, and hope for the best.

The next stage is to put verbs with the things in the bathroom. To have a bath is ein Bad nehmen. We do say take a bath in English but you need to practice to know that is how it is said in German. Learn things like ich wasche mich or ich putze mir die Zähne but you do need to know the words for clean and teeth before you can do this. I promise not to mention post-it notes again but even if they only last a couple of weeks you should have learnt your household vocabulary.

Der letzter Zapfenstreich - das ist ein Wordspiel auf Englisch aber nicht auf Deutsch - the last post.

Bis bald

Friday, 10 April 2009

More post-it notes

I recently mentioned my daughter's post-it notes around the house. They have increased in number. You can't walk past the stairs without realising they are called die Treppe. At the top of the stairs you will find der Treppenabsatz, and all the rooms of the house are labelled. Die Küche, das Esszimmer, das Wohnzimmer, die Toilette, das Schlafzimmer und das Badezimmer are all labelled.

There are also more labels on the furniture. Der Bücherschrank, der Sessel, die Vorhänge now have labels im wohnzimmer. There are notes on die Wand and der Teppich, but she hasn’t managed to put a sticker on die Decke.

It is one thing to know the vocabulary. It gives you the chance to understand a question. However it is also important to put a verb in a sentence. Add a few adjectives, maybe an adverb or two and some conjunctions and you are well on your way to a GCSE.

Bis bald

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Edukators

I have written blogs on German cinema, usually because I have watched a DVD. This blog is about a film called 'The Edukators' as it is currently being shown on film 4. It is always good to hear native speakers. Get out of the film whatever you can. Sometimes a film can be seen purely for enjoyment. If it has a good plot that is prima. However you may be able to see deeper meaning. Let's face it, even The Simpsons has about ten levels of understanding. Sometimes I ask my children what the joke is, and sometimes they ask me.

The Edukators is about two anti-capitalist protestors who break into the houses of the rich and re-arrange their furniture. they also leave notes like 'Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei' und 'Sie haben zu viel Geld'. Notice that they don't use du, but I don't think they use Sie out of respect.

The film is about relationships, it is about ideologies and it has an interesting ending, so stay with it even if it is very late on film 4. I am not giving the ending away if I tell you the final note says 'Manche Menschen ändern sich nie'. It is worth making sure that you know the translation before you watch the film.

Bis bald

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

And one more verse and chorus

I am not going to bore you with the full song but I will give you one more verse and chorus. I have written some blogs on different songs in the hope that you would use a little part of a song to help you to get used to the German language. What is clear from the penultimate line of the last blog, is that sometimes you just can't translate songs and then sing them. If you can do it then that is great but only pick on the bits that work for you. Anyway, here is one more verse and chorus.

Hey Delilah,
Ich habe noch so mehr zu sagen,

Wenn jedes kleine Lied das ich für dich schreibe

Deinem Atem verschlagen würde,

Würde ich sie alle schreiben,

Du würdest dich sogar noch mehr in mich verlieben.

Wir würden alles haben.

Oh dass ist was du mit mir machst,

Oh dass ist was du mit mir machst.

Bis bald

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Hey Delilah One more verse and chorus

A couple of months ago you got a couple of verses and a chorus for Hey Delilah by the Plain White Ts. Here it is again with one more verse. I hope that you enjoy it

Hey Delilah
Wie ist es so in New York City?
Ich bin tausend Meilen entfernt
Aber du siehst trotzdem wunderschön aus
Ja du siehst wunderschön aus
Der Time Square leuchtet nicht so hell wie du,
Ich schwöre, es ist wahr

Hey Delilah
Mach dir keine Sorgen wegen der Distanz
Ich bin sofort bei dir, wenn du alleine bist
Höre dir dieses Lied einfach nochmal an
Und Schließe deine Augen
Höre meine Stimme, Sie ist ich
Ich bin an deiner Seite

Oh das ist was du mit mir machst
Oh das ist was du mit mir machst
Oh das ist was du mit mir machst
Oh das ist was du mit mir machst
Was du mit mir machst

Hey Delilah,
Ich weiß die Zeiten werden schwierig,
Aber glaube mir, mein Mädchen,
Irgendwann werde ich die Rechnungen mit dieser Gitarre bezahlen.
Wir werden es gut haben. Wir werden das Leben haben von dem wir wussten dass wir es haben würden.
Meine Worte sind wahr.

Bis bald

Monday, 6 April 2009

Die Feiertags

There is a theme to these latest blogs although you may not have recognised it. Weihnachten, der Heiligedreikönigstag Karfreitag Ostersonntag und Ostermontag sind Feiertags. I should have waited until the appropriate days but the second best option is to write about public holidays as a theme.

I will mention a couple of other holidays before I move on. Der Tag der Arbeit is a common holiday throughout the world and is usually held on the 1st May. Gemany is not an exception to this date and they also celebrate on the evening before this day. It is called der Tanz in den Mai. Now if you know that in takes the accusative when it means movement is occuring, and in takes the dative when you are describing position, then you know that der Tanz in den Mai is the dance into May. It starts on the evening of the 31st April and lasts into the following month.

One public holiday that we don't have in this country is der Tag der Deutschen Einheit, the day of German unity. Unity occurred in 1990 on October 3rd. If you remember the Berlin Wall coming down then you are remembering the wrong date. The Wall came down eleven months earlier on the 9th November 1989, but this isn't a public holiday - well it only affected Berlin.

Bis bald

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Fröhliche Weihnachten

Two blogs ago I wrote about Easter and I mentioned that I was a week early. In the last blog I wrote about the Epiphany and I am either very early or very late. There are no links between this blog and April 6th. In fact I am very early again, let’s say efficient and I will write about Weihnachten. Well there is a theme of public holidays. If you have gone through one winter of learning German they will know that Weihnachten is Christmas. Have you noticed the consistent approach to pronunciation in German? If you read ei it is always pronounced eye. If you read ie it is always pronounced ee. Ironically these sounds are like the second letter in the sequence if you think in English. Maybe this will help you remember the pronunciation.

Weihnachten is celebrated on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Germany, but you get your presents on Christmas Eve. There are slight variations in how Christmas is celebrated in many European countries, but in Germany children also get presents on the 6th December, St Nicholas’s day, but at Christmas the presents may be brought by der Weihnachtsmann. I know it is the wrong time of year but there’s nothing like being prepared to say happy Christmas. Frohe oder fröhliche Weihnachten are the words that you need.

Bis bald

Der Heiligedreikönigstag

Do you know the date of the Epipany? If you know that it is the 6th of January then give yourself a point. You get another point if you know that it celebrates the visit of the Magi or three wise men to the infant Jesus and it follows the twelve days of Christmas. Start counting on Christmas Day, and the twelfth day is January 5th. Twelfth Night is the night between the 5th and the 6th.

The Epiphany in German is the Epiphanias, but it is also known as der Heiligedreikönigstag. What looks like a very daunting word is actually quite simple if you break up this compound word. Holy is heilige. You knowq the word for three. If you didn’t know before I bet you could guess that der König is a king, and you should know the German for day. Now you know what the germans call the Magi. They are kings.

On the 3rd of March I wrote about der Dom in Köln and there is a shrine to the three kings in the cathedral. You will the sarcophagus that is traditionally believed to hold the remains of the three kings. I wonder how they found their way to Germany.

Bis bald

Saturday, 4 April 2009


I am too late for April fool but Germans do have a day for practical jokers on the first of April. the tricks are called Aprilscherze and when you have fooled someone you shout April April rather than April fool. Don't forget the German pronunciation when you say April.

I am not too late to talk about Easter. In fact I am surprisingly a week early. to mention Karfreitag, Ostersonntag and Ostermontag. These words should be obvious to you. All you need to know are the days of the week and the context, so don't think of translating Good Friday with the word gut.

Context is such a good help when learning a language. It is how we learn a native language. Just listen to educational toys and they will repeat words in context. As for learning a foreign language just look at the sign for der Fisch when you buy your fish.

Bis bald

Friday, 3 April 2009

Talking About You

When you learn about verbs in German you start with the infinitive. This is the part of the verb that you find in the dictionary and it means to do something, to play, to sing, to speak etc. In English we conjugate or change verbs depending on who is doing the action. So I speak but he speaks. It is the same in German and the verb does change. This means that you either learn by coming across the different personal pronouns, I, you, he, she, it, we or they, with the verb and you learn by practice. The more common way to learn is to find the patterns of language but there are regular and irregular verbs, and you simply have to learn the conjugations.

There is one big difference in German and that is there are four words for you, du, ihr, Sie and man. The word man is used when we would say 'one' but think it is too posh so we use 'you'. this means that it conjugates in the same manner as he or she or it. Man hat mir gesagt means one has told me, but we would normally say I was told. I will leave ihr for this blog because it is used when you are talking to a group. the big difference between German and English is when you are talking to someone, when do you use du and when do you use Sie? Well Sie is used for formal situations and du is used for people that you know. If people are saying du to you then use it back, but generally start with Sie for German speakers over 16. If you are in doubt and you would like to say du then you can always say wir können uns duzen? It is a good ice breaker, tells people that you can speak some German so they don’t just speak English, and it adds to your vocabulary, so learn this sentence.

Bis bald

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Post-It Notes

My daughter is taking her German GCSE this year and last week she came back from school asking for post-it notes. This week I am looking around the living room and everything is labelled. From where I am sitting I can see das Feuer and it is still stuck on the fire (it's a good job it is summer). Der Kaminsims is just above the fire. Der Couchtisch is right next to me as I am working on my laptop and sat on a Sessel. I can also see the sticker labelled das Fenster and if I walk out of the room I pass die Tür.

Labels are not a bad idea to help you learn vocabulary. You may know all the words that I have mentioned. One or two may be new to you. Well you are in charge of the labels and they do fall off after a few days so you will not have time to get too fed up with them.

Bis bald

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Should I use fahren?

If you want to say I am going to, then it is fairly easy in English. In German the word for 'go' changes depending on whether you are going by car or by foot. If you are not going too far then you can zu Fuß gehen, but once you use an engine then to go becomes fahren. I am going to Manchester may become ich gehe nach Manchester, but if you get in the habit of saying ich gehe zu Fuß nach Manchester then you should get it right. Unless you live near the centre of Manchester the sentence should be ich fahre nach Manchester. If it helps you remember then say ich fahre mit dem Auto nach Manchester. You could also fahre mit dem Fahrrad, mit dem Bus, mit dem Zug oder mit dem Flugzeug.

I have mentioned compound words recently. If you know fahren then you may be able to guess that abfahren is to depart. Ausfahren has a few meanings but do look out for die Ausfahrt otherwise you may miss your exit. Similarly you may want die Einfahrt if you want the entrance or the slip road.

Bis bald