Language is funny, isn’t it? I remember when I was a teenager, fighting my way through puberty with the help of a whole host of wonderously creative expletives that (I thought) only my friends and I understood. I was reminded of one of them a few months ago on a trip back to my hometown when I heard a young person shout “That’s shan, that is!”
It could mean anything, couldn’t it, but I know for a fact that ‘shan’ means (or at least meant, in my time) something equating to the adult use of the term ‘bollocks’ or ‘bullshit’. The origin of the term fails me- who knows where youth pick up this crap from? Lush, mint, ace, minging (and variations thereof): You’ve got to love the vivid colours of the slang used by the youth of Britain (innit?)
This is a preview of The Fun Side of German: Dead Trousers and Chest Warts.
Do you know what the German phrase “blaumachen” means?
Well, tell us and enter to win one of ten copies of the book “Easy German”!
“Easy German”, written in English, full of great little easy-to-follow German lessons. This book features grammar and everyday phrases, using language and building up the reader’s knowledge in simple stages.
Music can be a boon to language learning. Photo copyright picture alliance / Maximilian Schönherr
During my first year in Germany, German music became very important to me. Though I never could get into bands like Kraftwerk or Rammstein, other artists who sang in German were staples in my DIY, trial-by-fire, at-home German lessons. I had almost a decade of German study behind me, but it still took me hours to translate a song. Once I understood what was being said, however, that vocabulary, those turns of phrase, and their definitions were in my brain for good.
This is a preview of Learning German: Foreign Language Learning With Music.
Nothing can complicate a conversation like a foreign language. Photo (cc) flickr user julien ‘
“Are we using du or Sie?” A woman leaned over to me to ask this question this morning in an exercise class. “Du,” I answered. There was nothing remarkable about the exchange, and afterwards that woman used the information to address the teacher. But still, every time it happens, every time the concept of du vs Sie gets brought up in conversation here I am reminded that I live in Germany. It’s one of those little differences that has not faded into the background of my life.
This is a preview of Learning German: Minding Your Dus and Sies.
Reason to improve your German skills #1 – Not mistaking a clothing store (Passion for Fashion) for a sex shop.
So, you think you want to keep on learning German? Well then you’ve progressed a lot further than many expats living in Germany (I won’t tell you how much…or how little German I’ve studied the past few weeks…) Yes, it takes courage, determination, much intelligence, and some very very patient and slow speaking Germans to keep you going, but don’t give up. One day…..maybe thirty years from now, you will be able to order your meal using the right articles. Anything is possible.
This is a preview of Learning German: 15 More Fun Words and Expressions.
I would say this is a pretty important German expression to know. It means (if you haven’t figured it out already) – “No sex with Nazis!” Photo Kristi Fuoco
I’m gonna tell you something important so listen up. German is ridiculously hard to master. It is kicking my butt every single day (and I’ve always considered myself good at languages.) After two and half months in Germany I still feel like I am speaking like a beginner (or Kinder Deutsch as I say to people here.) This is partly due to German being very hard and partly due to most Germans being able to speak English (especially in a big city like Hamburg.) But, I refuse to give up!
This is a preview of Learning German: 15 Fun Words and Expressions.
“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” Ludwig Wittgenstein was completely correct in this statement, if I ponder back and realize the feeling of illiteracy I experienced during after my initial stay in Germany. In order to explore foreign soil, it is important to know the local language.
My German knowledge was confined to the formal greetings and very basic words. In my initial days, I was quite comfortable in university campus but when I had to step alone out of campus I was like a lost baby in the fair; I didn’t know how to ask, what to ask, or how to follow any instructions, verbal or written. I couldn’t read the boards, the names of shops, the caution notices i.e., literally anything. Now, that sounds adventurous!