Wednesday, October 10, 2012


After yesterday's post about, Schmeichelhaft, a word that I am not that big a fan of. I decided to balance that out with a word that I really like and don't get to use so often.

wütend - angry, furious, irate, enraged

wütend sein - to be angry, furious

It is such a fun word to say and hear. The 'wüt' sound like 'voot' and the 'end' is well 'end' but the 'd' has a subtle 't' sound to it. The way is sounds together  'woot - ent' conjure the image of a Stereotype of some country guy slapping his knee and shouting something like. "Voot ent that be a beauty, Jasper? . ."

It just makes me grin a little whenever I hear it. Even if the word is about being seriously angry!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I learned a new word this weekend. I am not so sure about it yet. I have this feeling that as soon as I embrace this word that someone will jump out and say 'haha tricked you.'

The word in limbo on my brain is

schmeichelhaft - flattery

Like I said before, I am not sure what to think about this word. Schmeichelhaft just doesn't convey to me the same positive energy that I would expect with flattery. It makes me think of Gnomes and Snow White's little guys. HUH? Yeah, I don't know where that association comes from. But that is the image that pops into my mind when I hear this word.

schmeicheln - to flatter

Um. . .  I don't know if I really want someone to schmeicheln me. It sounds uncomfortable. It makes me think of, smite and tickle. The oh mightily lord on high is the only one I know who can smite something and tickling is well tickling, most of us are not fans.

My Freund said it is more like streicheln, to pet, as in to pet a dog or a cat. I guess to pet an animal is a form of flattery for that animal. Great, This is a much better word to associate with schmeicheln however I have to say. I don't want to think of getting petted either. Though I will take petting over smiting and tickling any day.

streicheln - to pet

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wladimir Kaminer

It's about time for another German Author, enough with the music lets get some Lit.

And on that note here is Wladimir Kaminer.

Wladimir Kaminer's webpage  (Source)
Wladimir Kaminer is one of my favorite German Language authors. He is originally from Russia. Born in the late sixties in Moscow he moved to Berlin shortly after the fall of the Wall. Though Russian is his first language we writes in German.

I first learned of him through my Brother. My Brother was reading one of his books, Schönhauser Allee, while he was visiting for a few months a while back. He left the book behind and I ended up reading it too. It is a collection of short stories, all revolving around Schönhauser Allee where Kaminer had lived with his family.

His book was the first that I actually read all the way through. First German language book that is. This I am sure is for a few reasons. One, the German he uses is understandable. He doesn't use long complicated complex sentences. I was able to follow along well enough not to get discouraged. Second he wrote short stories or chapter segments that were self contained and so after reading I felt like I accomplished something the length of the book wasn't a daunting task. Third he is funny, he has a great ability to make fun of people and situations in such a way that it is just funny and endearing. His humour isn't aggressive, it is just honest.

Around the same time that I was reading Schönhauser Allee, a special aired on the television which followed him and his family on a visit Caucausus. Kaminer goes Kaukausus  You can follow the link and watch it. It is just an under an hour, all in German. It is cool you get to hear his Russian accent in German. His personality really shines through even if you don't understand. He has a contagious smile and a natural dry sense of humour.

His book Russendisko was recently made into a film. That I haven't seen yet!!! Here is the trailer.

Matthias Schweighöfer and Friedrich Mücke act together again. They were in the movie Friendship that I talked about in this post. This movie looks like fun. I can't wait to rent it from the Videothek.

I look forward to seeing the movie. I guess I should probably read the book while I wait for it to come out on DVD.

Friday, October 5, 2012


This summer, my Freund and I took a little road trip up north. It was really great. Though it made me realize how much I missed having a car. Or at least regular access to one.

Now don't get me wrong.  I don't miss it as a function and necessity, I did a lot of commuting in my time for school and work. I miss it rather as an oasis and as place to have quality time. What's she talking about' you may be wondering but just let me explain.
Here in Berlin, you don't need a car. The Public transportation in the city and the train service in general in Germany is quite extensive and impressive. So no need for a car. Maintaining one can be quite expensive as well. So thank goodness for the BVG.

However it is just that PUBLIC transportation and that means you need to share it with the public. Not even considering who may be sitting next to you, it is that fact that a stranger is sitting next to you, that you don't sing along to the song your listening too or you may stop the conversation you were having until you are out of ear shot of others. It is for these kinds of reasons that I miss a car.

I miss being able to jam out and sing and have conversations with others unguarded. (ok a little guarded, we can still see you in your car oh nose-pickers out there!! We can still see you.) Sitting in a car, even stuck in traffic is a perfect opportunity to have some quality time for yourself or with others.

Anyway. . . I really just wanted to share another German word.

der Stau - bottleneck, holdup, traffic jam

We got stuck in traffic on our way home. I was kind of excited and entertained. Hence the photos. My Freund no so much.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

In der Tat

I had already heard this phrase a few times before. It had always been in the middle of a conversation or it seemed to just fit the situation so I never really asked specify what it meant.

In der Tat - indeed, truly

die Tat - action, deed

The other day I was playing a board game with my Freund. It is one of our favorites, but we hadn' played it in a long time. As we started to play I sayed something like, 'Finally we get to play' to which my Freund replied 'In der Tat.' 

As I mentioned above, I had heard this phrase before and had never asked what it meant. I had always directly translated this phrase as 'in the act'. This time though, I asked for clarification. 

Translating this directly in my head as 'in the act' never conveyed the right mood. 'Indeed' is a word of agreement and 'in the act' seems to me to be more like 'we're doing it', or given a negative mood something more like 'duh.' So it makes more sense now that I know it means indeed and not 'in the act.'

Maybe you can image the scene the other night over the game table. I say, 'Yeah, we finally get to play!' and my Freund says,'duh, we're playing!' OK, He didn't really say that and his enthusiam to play was matched to mine. So I was more confused by his 'In der Tat' response than offended. Eitherway I didn't let the sentence 'In der Tat' go by without an explanation.

It is great to finally learn the real meaning. 

Lesson learned: Ask; even if you think you know what it means.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I have to share with you an animal name I just learned. 

das Faultier - sloth

This is one of the funniest animal names ever! and it makes so much sence! German and it literalness is priceless.

faul  - lazy

das Tier - animal

So Sloth, in German, is 'lazy animal' Faultier. hehehe! 

Ok granted the word 'sloth' does refer to laziness in English, though it is just not used in this capacity very often. So when I heard the German name it just made me laugh. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Typ und Kerl

In English I often use the word dude, or guy when referring to a man. One of the staples of modern vocabulary. I took me quite a while to find the German equivalent.

It just sounds odd to me to say, "Der Herr da." 'The Sir there' when I am pointing out a guy. Or "Der Jung da." 'The youth/boy there'. Unless of course it is an old man or a young kid. We really need some age-neutral word for a male.
Who would have thought the word 'Guy' would be so necessary. It is quite an important word for communicating. One you don't really notice until it is gone.

der Typ - guy, dude
der Kerl - guy, dude

Here in the ad for the Movie Ted, they use the word Typ. Typ is pronounced more like 'tip' but the 'i' has a little of an 'u' sound to it. Tuip, kind of like the first bit of the word tulip.

die Type von Family Guy hat ein Kinofilm gemacht, wa! The guy from Family guy made a movie.  Here Typ has an extra 'e' apparently it is Berliner Slang.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Drum roll please!!!! 
May I present . . . Deichkind! Die Crew vom Deich!

Deichkind Webpage (source)

That was 'Limit' from their Album, 'Noch fünf minuten mehr Mutti' Five more minutes Mom. This was the hit playing on all the stations back in 2002 when I was in Regensburg for a semester abroud. It was catchy and fun. It didn't matter that I didn't understand much. I could still pick out key words and that was enough. I was an instant fan and bought the CD. My first German Language purchase.

Deichkind is from Hamburg, they first formed in 1997. They have a electric hip hop sound with lyrics that have a fun and humorous tone. They are known for their wild and odd coutumes, of which you just got a taste of in the last video.
Their first single was Bon Voyage, below. I like this song because I find that they pronounce everything quite clearly and their gentures help out alot. I am not a fan of the chick but with the basic beat and the clear German I find it to be a good song to just listen to and to see what you can understand.

So since this and their second album (the one I bought) in 2002, their wasn't much to hear from them. There was one single that did well Remmi demmi. It is more that they were just off my radar then any sort of real pause.

It wasn't till 2008 when they released Arbeit Nervt, 'Work is annoying' that I noticed them again. This album was quite different from the previous songs and style that I was familir with. In fact it wasn't that much my style. It was more of a crazy 'let's get drunk' kind of party Style, which really isn't my style.  Case in point below. . .

Deichkind - Arbeit nervt from Topo on Vimeo.

They have a new Album out, Befehl von ganz unten and again it is a little different from the previous releases. I gave you a sneak peak in last monday's post, of the single Bück dich hoch. I like it. The boys have redeamed themselves in my book with the new singles. Here is one of them Der Mond. Quite a melencoly mood for the Crew von Deich, but again it is 10 years and a few member changes (ie the addition of Ferris MC) since I first ever heard them, they are due a moody song. Do you recognize the members form the last video? yeah I thought maybe not.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Glow Pears and Flower Onions

Here is one of my latest German word discoveries! Actually it is two words. The German words do not necessarily connect on their own, but through their English translations they do.

Our hall light burnt out and it is too high for me to change on my own. So I had to get my Freund involved. Some times it sucks living in an altbau when your short. The ceiling is so high that the 6 ft tall Freund of mine has to stand on the last step of the ladder to change the light bulb.

Well because of this situations I realized I didn't have the vocabulary for this task.

 How many Germans does it take to change a light bulb? um . .  anybody got an idea?

The word for light bulb in German is Glühbirne. Glow Pear. That is interesting that they named it after a pear and we named it after a bulb. The word in German for a flower bulb is not a Blumenbirne ( flower pear) but rather a Blumenzwiebel (flower onion).

die Glühbirne - light bulb

birne -pear

die Blumenzwiebel - flower bulb

zwiebel - onion

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Here is a word that my work colleague, a fellow native English speaker also with a German Freund, shared with me. Again it is a word I knew already, but I hadn't ever really though about. She was the one who also also brought Kaiserschnitt to my attention.

Maultaschen are a traditional German meal. They are best described as Giant Ravioli. In fact that is how they were translated on the Restaurant Menu. My Friend's Freund thought this translation was odd, but then he realized that in fact Mouth Pockets did sound a little weird in English

Maultaschen - mouth pockets, giant ravioli

Hehehehe, mouth pockets, are they mouth pockets as in pockets made of mouths or mouth pockets in that they are pockets that fit in the mouth? I guess you have to deside which way you prefer to think about it.

These are a simple but guilty pleasure of mine. When we eat then, we slice the Maultaschen in long slices and then fry them in a pan. Oh yeah fried in oil yummy goodness!

(source and recipe)
Das Wasser läuft mir im Mund zusammen! (translation and explanation here)

This is so German that there is even a recipe auf Englisch on the German Mission to the United States website. Go check it out and maybe have some Maultaschen for dinner. I think I will!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ferris MC

Here is a new Post!

How about someone new. That is, new to me. Ferris MC.

I just learned about Ferris MC. I realized after looking him up that I have seen him before, here or there, but never knew who he was. 

Ferris MC is a German Rapper and Actor. He currently is a member of Deichkind, one of my favorite German band. ( I guess they will be next weeks Monday post). With this membership he apparently renamed himself Ferris Hilton (it sounds like Paris Hilton). Though most people will probably still be calling him Ferris MC. As my Freund does.

This evening we watched Tatort, a weekly German TV series and guess who was playing one of the bad guys. Ferris MC. So that was my formal introduction. Though as I said before I had already been exposed to his music here and there.

Here is one of his more popular songs. Reimemonster. Which I assume uses his last name, Reimann as part of the title. 

Here is a classic rap group appearance; the two main rappers, Ferric MC and Afrob and then a bunch of other guys that don't seem to be doing anything other then jumping and roaming around.

That one I had heard before but hadn't really paid attention to it. This next one is new to me. Ferris Mc apparently had a ruff childhood and much of his music reflects that and this one is no exception.

Sorry the video was not so great but most I find are blocked. Such a bummer. Ferris MC has more videos available to watch on

As I said before he joined the group Deichkind about 4 years ago and has been there under my nose all that time and I only now just noticed him. Though if you are already familiar with Deichkind then you know their videos often involve elaborate costumes. So no surprise I didn't notice the new member. 

Here is one last video. Viel zu Spat! Another good one.

And last but not least, here is a little Deichkind before you go. See if you can find Ferris MC. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Joko & Klaas

I thought for today's Media Monday I would introduce Joko and Klaas.
Hier ist Joko (Links) und Klaas (Rechts) (Source)

This pair first started as the hosts of MTV Deutschlands' show MTV Home. This was just the spring board for the two's fame. Their story is comparable to Carson Daly the Host of MTV's RTL Total Request Live in the late 90's early 2000's. Wow.  . . I am taking a moment to realize I am older then I think I am.

The Show, MTV Home aired from 2009 to 2011. Such a short time but it really made an impact. It was unique and simple and Funny!

Here is the intro:

These guys Interviewed musicians mostly but others as well in their studio that looked like a living room. They had a co-host chick Pauline. She is the blond with the blue tank top. She was also an MTV VJ. What made this fun was all of the additional skits. Often Joko and Klaas competed for ridiculous things.

One of their repeat segments was Aushalten - to hold out, to last. In these episodes the two would have to go through the same task, often a painful one and who ever held out the longest won.

The other popular segment they had was MTV Zuschauer Kribs. MTV Audience Cribs. Instead of visiting famous peoples homes they visited regular peoples' homes, always late at night and with a friend to help surprise the expecting renter. Once Joko surprises them they get to show us their pad. It is often quite hilarious.

Now the guys are the face of Sparkasse, a German Bank, 'Giro sucht Hero'. They had a huge competition against one another and this year the public gets to get involved. Team Joko vs Team Klaas.
To be totally honest I don't get it. It is just obviously marketing. Though they had a special on TV this weekend and it was fun. Though I had to take breaks, I literally watched a movie in the middle of it and then came back to it and the show was still running!! Dude Germans have a longer attention span than I do. Epic tv show watching is a German accomplishment!

Here the guys are trying to recreate the gingle for Sparkasse.

There is so much more to share. If you want more just YouTube them. These guys have a good foot in German Entertainment and will be around for a while. It is good to get to know them if you are interested in Germany and German culture.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

K. O.

Heute hab Ich lange gearbeitet und jetzt bin ich K.O.

Here is a late and super quick dose of Deutsch today. And it is actually some Dinglish.

K.O.- short for 'Knock Out'  pronounced 'Kah O'

It took me actually quite a long time to realize that people were saying KO and not some interesting sounding German word.

This is used when you are tired and wiped out. An appropriate blog topic then since I am super sleepy and wiped out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


This summer has turned out to be crazy here in Berlin. The sun shines everyday but a storm cloud rolls through at least twice a day if not every other hour and dump it's cargo all over the city. What's the deal?

And now it is chilly again! I had to wear a sweater yesterday and it looks like today too. Well at least I have learned a new word for storm and I think it fits the current situation in Berlin.

das Unwetter - storm

Hahaha German sometimes can be so simple. Like Unkraut a 'non herb' now we have the 'non weather',  or better the 'none too good weather'.

the other words for storm are:
der Sturm               -this is to me the classic and poetic word for Storm.
der Starkregen       -Strong Rain, I had heard this used but had never realized it was one word.
die Wetterstörung   -another interesting word, the Weather disturbance

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ad: Dr. Pepper

Dr. Pepper is making a run for it in Germany. I have seen quite a few ads around the city for one of my beloved American soft drinks. (Root Beer!! I await your arrival)

Ein Schluck sagt mehr als 1000 Worte. 'One sip says more then a 1000 words.'

der Schluck - gulp, mouthful, swallow

I used 'sip' in the translation of the Ad, because I think it sounds better then 'gulp'. The German word for 'sip' is similar, it is a small gulp, a Schlückchen.

das Schlückchen - sip

The fact that Dr. Pepper is actually advertising in German is interesting. I wonder how they are doing. I haven't noticed anything other then the Subway ads. I can find Dr. Pepper at the more expensive specialty stores, but they always had it. Though before they had it in cans and they had stickers slapped on them saying Imported out of the USA. (I find that hilarious)

The other thing I wonder about is how the locals actually find the taste. My Chinese friend said it tastes like medicine and drank no more then a Schlückchen and my Polish friend said it was ok, but too sweet. And the German take on it.  . . . I actually don't know yet. My Freund hasn't tried it yet and I am not making a special trip to the expensive store to buy it. So I guess I have to wait till my local Späti stocks it.

Anyone tried it yet or had their non-American friends try it?

Monday, July 16, 2012


How about a movie for this Monday's post?

One of the first German movies I ever watched, auf Deutsch, was Sonnenallee.


This movie takes place in Berlin during the late 70's. It is about some East Berliner teenagers who live on Sonnenallee. Which is a real street in Berlin and the wall had apparently crossed right over it, cutting the northern end from the southern end. It is actually not far from where I live. Well back then in the East rock and roll was verboten and so were many other things. The main focus of this movie is Rock and Roll and the power and influence of Music. The movie is a fun comedy and gives you a interesting and lighthearted peek into a time in German History that was not so lighthearted itself.

verboten - banned, illegal, forbidden

It is a good movie. I recommend it!

Here is the German Trailer. Enjoy


Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Attention Attention today we have Hinweis!

der Hinweis - tip, clue, hint, sign, instruction, notice

Hinweis is a seeming simple word that has a range of meanings. It is simply a hint or tip or it can also be a notice or notification. Like a notice about the closing of a Subway station or changes to a schedule.

It is a cool word because it is one of those combo words.

hin - there
Note: In combination with words it is used when referencing something moving away from you or the subject: for example Wo hin? - Where to?

weisen - to point, to show 

When you are pointing out something you can say. Ich weise da hin. I am pointing there or Ich weise darauf hin. I am pointing that out. Hence the origin of Hinweis.

It can also be used more as an indicator. Wet grass can be an indicator that it rained. ok bad example but you understand. Or swelling can be a Hinweis of an illness. That was better. a little

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tim Bendzko

Tim Bendzko is a relatively new voice in the German language music scene. A singer songwriter who comes out of Berlin. He played for FC Union Berlin for a while after high school but has since ended up focusing solely on his music.

Tim Bendzko's Webpage  (pic source)

He released his first single in June 2011. 'Nur noch kurz die Welt retten' reached 2nd place in the German music charts. It is a smooth song with a catchy beat. The video for this song (below) was filmed in the US.

Since then he has released a few more songs, all of which come from his debut album 'Wenn Worte meine Sprache wären' the title song  'Wenn Wore meine Sprache wären' and 'Ich laufe.' Below is the video for 'Ich Laufte.' Oh the sad eyes! What a great head of hair he has too may I add. I find he looks slightly different every time I see him. His has soft light eyes one time and hard dark eyes another. He looks boyishly young like a teenager and then looks his age the next.

Since he popped on to the scene a little over a year ago he has been nominated for all kinds of 'Shooting Star' and 'Newcomer' prizes. So everyone has taken notice of him. In little over a year he has made a good impression and is off to a good start. I look forward to hearing what he does next.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Yesterday was the feast day of Die Sieben Schläfer von Ephesus. The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus is a Christian Legend that dates back to early Chrstianity. Seven young Christians hid in a cave to escape percecution and slept for 300 years. There appears to be many versions of this story but the main theme is the same. Seven guys sleep for a very long time. Kind of like Rip Van Winkle who fell asleep for only twenty years up in the Catskill Mountains.

This day is an important day in the Farmers Almanac. It is called a Lostag in German. (I couldn't find a direct translations of this word). It is a specific Calendar day, in this case 27th of June, that farmers have used to predict the coming weather. Kind of like Groundhogs Day. It is said that what ever the weather is on Siebenschläfertag, it will stay for the next seven weeks!!

NO!!! It was pouring down rain yesterday!! SO seven more weeks of rain!!! I really hope this isn't true.

In researching this day I found this cute guy.

der Siebenschläfer - the edible dormouse, Glis glis
It is a large dormouse that was at one point raised for food, hence 'edible' in it's English name. I prefer it's German name, Siebenschläfer, which refers to the fact that it is a hibernating animal and sleeps through the winter.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Here is a new word that my co worker shared with me. She too is a fellow North American living in the German Hauptstadt.

das Unkraut - weed

das Kraut - cabbage, herb (Herb is usually in the plural die Kräuter)

hahhaha! Isn't that funny! The non-herb! It makes them sound so less pesky. In stead of noticing all of the weeds in a garden, you would notice all the non-herbs. Doesn't that just sound better?

German's Unkraut combo word reminds me of a some Spanish words. (that is Spanish from the Americas) The word for herb is la yerba and the word for mint is a combo word, la yerba buena, the good herb. Cute huh?

And for those of you wondering, because I was wondering too. Unkraut is not used to mean Weed, you know the other kind of herb.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Here is a word I find fun to use.

hautnah - very close, 'skin close'

die Haut - skin, dermis, hide

nah - close

It is so close that it is 'Skin close'. . .  we don't have a word like this in English, 'skin close.' Though it makes sense, at least to me. To convey this we would have to say something more like "it was so close that it grazed my skin" but we don't have a word for very close with 'skin'. Do we?
I like this word it sounds playful to me. It always makes me think of 'skin to skin' for some reason, like two people were snuggleing and they were skin to skin. They were hautnah.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sportfreunde Stiller

In honor of the Europa Cup! Today's post is about Sportfreunde Stiller.

Sportfreunde Stiller's Webpage

The band comes out of a town in Bavaria called Germering, near the Bayern Capital Munich. The band was formed in 1996 and originally named it 'Stiller'. After the trainer Hans Stiller of the local team SV Germering. Peter Brugger and Florian Weber (left and middle in the photo) played on this team for a few years (The third Band member is, Rüdiger Linhof). Later they had to rename the band since the rights to the name 'Stiller' belonged to a band in Hamburg. They then changed the name to 'Sportfreunde Stiller.' Which is translated to 'Friends of sports Stiller.' This is often used in the names of Sports clubs. This was a nice choice considering their football/soccer back ground and orgin of the name 'Stiller.'

The association with Sports and Football /Soccer is the main theme of this groups music. Their first album in 2000 was called 'So wie einst Real Madrid.' The Single 'Independent' from their second album is on the sound track of the  FIFA '03 computer game. There are a few other songs that have the names of Famous German players in them as well.

In 2006 the year of the world cup in Germany. They released their album ' You have to Win Zweikampf' the first single was ' '54, '74, '90, 2006.' The years that West German won the World Cup and 2006 the year they were hoping for. For the 2010 world cup in South Aftrica, the song was changed to ' '54, '74, '90, 2010.' However Germany didn't win this one either.
Here is the only link to the video I could find, and it can't be viewed in Germany! go Figure! The Video for this song is cool. It is worth watching.

Here is a live version from 2006.

This guys can rock. It is cool how they have found a very unique niche in the German music scene. I would think they wouldn't get very far with a sports theme but they have. Their music is being sampled on TV during the Euro Meister, The Europa Cup. It has me humming this song all day long.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Quer Stapel

So as I mentioned in the previous post we did some moving last week. Many friends helped. This time they were almost all German. My Brazilian friend and I were out numbered! It was a great opportunity to learn some new German words.

quer - across, crossways, diagonally, at right angles

Basically the way this word seemed to be used was in turning an object the other way. For example when stacking boxes, if they wanted you to turn it long ways or vise versa as you were stacking it, they would use quer. I can't remember using it in a sentence, I would just say, 'quer' and gesture if I caught someone in the moment.

Another word I learned was stapeln.

stapeln - to arrange something in a pile, to pack closely

der Stapel - pile, stack

This is what they did with all the stuff! It was packed into the rented moving truck, from top to bottom, front to back. It actually was a little nerve racking for me when we drove through Berlin! The truck was so full! Though the guys had done a great job with the stapeling and we had no problems getting back to my apartment!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Back with a new word for you!

Umziehen - to move (house)
[and to change (cloths), another topic another time]

Well this isn't really a new word for me but I will share it with you because it is one of my excuses as to why this blog has suffered this month. A full time Job (yeah!) and a new roommate (Yeah!Yeah!) happened around the same time and well that all took priority over a daily dose of Deutsch. So a quick Entschuldigung and now on with de' Deutsch!

Umziehen is a tricky word I find. It changes it's base and the 'um' keep running around in the sentence. Umziehen changes to umgezogen in the past tense. So wierd! ziehen to zogen! It makes me think of fog and zombie at the same time:  zog and fombies maybe. . . so with this word you have to remember the stem change when using it in past tense. You can't just add the ge- to it and be done with it. Not always the easiest thing to remember when your learning this word, but it makes it more fun to use it! Just say it out loud, um ge zogen! heheheh

The 'um' prefix is detachable. (There is a proper name for these kinds of verbs, you learn it in school, but I have forgotten it.) woh! Check out my English, Forget just changed to Forgot! Ok German doesn't seem quite so out there anymore. . .  Back to 'um', it is a detachable prefix and so often gets put at the end or near the end of the sentence. Like a kid that doesn't want to hold mom's hand the whole time. It often breaks away but doesn't do too far.

Here are some examples:

Ziehst du um?                                         Are you moving? 
Sie sollen nach Berlin umziehen.          They should move to Berlin. 
Ich ziehe um.                                          I am moving. 
Er ist zu mir umgezogen.                       He moved in with me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Here is a quick little post.  

zustimmen - to agree, concur

I find this a interesting and logical word. It includes the word Stimme which can mean voice or vote. So it can be thought of as 'putting/ adding your voice to something' or 'giving something your vote.' I like words like this, that is, a word that gives you clues to what it means, so long as you are familiar with the root word.

die Stimme - voice, vote

Monday, June 4, 2012

die ärtzte

I have been avoiding these guys for a while, not because I don't like them, but because it is die Ärtzte and they are "Die Beste Band der Welt!" The pressure is on!

The Band was first formed in 1982 by Farin Urlaub and Bela B. after their other band Soilent Grün, named after the scifi movie Soylent Green, broke up. Farin Urlaub which is his alias. Is a fun name because it sounds like "Fahr in Urlaub" 'Go on Vacation.'

Die Ärtzte went through a few different Bass players. The first was Hans Runge aka Sahnie until he left after their second album. Then Hagen Liebing, aka 'The Incredible Hagen', who was never officially a member of the band despite playing with them for a few years.

The group broke up in 1988. Both Farin and Bela B. started new separate acts but after a couple of years with no real success they decided to come back together and reunite die ärtzte.

This time they again brought on yet another bass guitarist, Rodrigo González. He had been the lead guitarist with Bela in his Band Depp Jones. The band he had started in the break between the active years of die ärtzte.

Die Ärtzte in the 80's pushed some buttons and some limits. In 1987, three of their song were banded. The German Federal Centre for Media Harmful to Young Persons, Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien'' or BPjM banded the songs, 'Geschwisterliebe' (Sibling Love; a song about incest), 'Claudia hat 'nen Schäferhund' (Claudia has a German Shepherd) and Lullaby. They were placed on the List of Media Harmful to Young People better know as the Index.

Being put on this list meant that these songs could not be played on the Radio or sung in Concerts. It severely limited their ability to promote the albums these songs were on. To get around this die Ärtzte would play the music to the banded song and let the crowd sing the lyrics!

Here is Geschwisterliebe, uncensored.

Even though these guys have been around for 30 years, I only really know them from the last couple of years so. Here is an acoustic version of one of their older one, 'Zu Spat'

There are quite a few good one that I don't know what to share next. Maybe it is just best for you to go and listen to them yourself and find out which song of their you enjoy most.
But here is one more, Unrockbar.

Their newest album is out, 'auch'! It has been plastered all over Berlin. I can't wait to hear what new songs they have on it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


I have just recently learned this word and have found that in at least a work setting it has become quite handy.

weiterleiten- to forward, transfer, transmit

weiter- along, forward, more, onward, resume

leiten - to guide, lead, convey, route

I get a lot of emails that I end up forwarding to others or that get forwarded to me. Which at some point gets brought up in conversation. 

This has given me a lingual boost. That I am sure no one is aware of. I find my self looking for opportunities to use this word in conversation. Before I had only been using schicken, to send, in these situations. Which is correct, but doesn't sound as smart as weiterleiten.

Oh yeah, words that make me feel smart! Until I use them incorrectly and then they don't!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Note: Correction to the previous post 
Here is a new word I finally learned. I say finally because I have over heard people use it here and there and it had always caught my attention. It just sound cool, 'Neidisch', but I had always forgotten to write it down and remember it.

Neidisch - envious, jealous

auf jmnd neidisch sein - to be jealous of smb.

Note: jmnd.= jemand - somebody, someone

der Neid - envy

There appears to be an online debate (at least on Leo) about whether in German one says, 'Grün vor Neid' or 'Gelb vor Neid'. That is Green with envy vs Yellow with envy'.

I checked on Google, and the Search for 'Grün vor Neid' had about 620,000 results and 'gelb vor neid' had only 172,000. So if we go with that Grün is the winner.

In looking this up I learned another word.

der Eifersucht - this is a stronger form of Jealousy, I guess it could be considered the clinical name of Jealousy.

Eifersucht is different from Neid, because the person is fearful of loosing something or someone. In English we use the same word, and so we have many levels of Jealousy, in German they make a distinction. I find the word itself interesting. It is made up of Eifer and Sucht.

der Eifer - eagerness, enthusiasm, fervor, zeal

die Sucht - addiction, dependency

So this is an 'enthusiastic addiction' or a 'fervorous dependency'. Which is a good way to think of a crazy jealous person. Those that we hear about it the news or watch in movies. Those that have serious Jealousy issues. This word also seems to be more often used as a poetic word for jealousy, a clearly more  passionate version.

Yeah, neidisch just doesn't roll off the tongue like Eifersucht does! hehehe

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wer zuerst kommt. . . .

I learned a new phrase last night!  Update; Correction!

Wer zuerst kommt, mahlt zuerst.  

Whoever comes first, grinds first.

Mike cleared me up, you can see in the comments below, that this phrase comes from the time when farmers would go to the mill to grind their grain. So whoever got there first, got to grind their grain first. . . In the original post I translated mahlen as to paint (malen).

zuerst - first, first of all

mahlen - to grind

malen - to paint

In my defense. . . The German guy that told me this saying, translated it as 'paints' and even moved his hand as if he were painting! So that makes me wonder if my own error, is a common one? That said, the fact that the internet browser prompted me to change my spelling to from 'malen' to 'mahlen', should have been a huge red flag. I just assumed I had miss spelled to paint. arg!!

Well anyway. . .  now that I have the correct version of this saying, it does ring a bell. Maybe we do have some old saying that is similar, or maybe I am getting my signals crossed with the story of the little red hen, which was also brought to my mind with the mentioning grinding grain.

Friday, May 11, 2012

AD: BaumWOLLE und SprengSTOFF

Here is a new ad on the subway. Nothing super spectacular about this one, though there is a play on words.

"Das ist kein Baumwolle, das ist Sprengstoff" "That's not Cotton, that's explosives" 
die Baumwolle - cotton

der Sprengstoff - explosives, blasting agent, pyrotechnic material

Both of these nouns deserves some deciphering. 

First Baumwolle. This word is a combination of der Baum, tree, and die Wolle, wool. Tree wool, better known as Cotton. I think this word is kind of cool since you realize that cotton looks a lot like wool in it's natural form, but it comes from a plant and not an animal.

Sprengstoff is also an interesting word. It comes from Sprengen to blast, blow up. I have to admit I had always thought this word was spelt "Springstoff." From the verb Springen is to jump, bounce, leap, spring. Similar but not the same, I digress. . .

The other half of the word is stoff, which has many meaning.  Der Stoff means material, matter, stuff, tissue, substance, and Cloth. And that is where the play on word comes in.

"Das ist kein Baumwolle, das is sprengSTOFF"  "That's not Cotton, that is blasting MATERIAL/CLOTH"

Get it? I hope it is clear. By the way the enthusiasm of the model really conveys the message, . . boring. Not quite what I would consider to be, as the Fonz would say, "Dynamite!"

der Baum - tree

die Wolle - wool

der Stoff  - cloth, material, matter, stuff, tissue

Sprengen - to blast, blow up

Springen - to jump, leap, spring

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Do you ever find yourself at the store or at the dinner table and you want to ask (in German of course) for a particular item, but you don't know what it is called? This happens to me often.

Then this is a word for you.

das Dingsbums - doohickey, thingy, thingamabob, thingamajig

das Dingsda - whatsit, whatchamacallit ( sounds just like 'the thing there')

It is funny to see these words written out in English. They really only belong in the spoken language. Is there a spell check for thingamabob?

This word has been one of my language life savers!! I learned it form a 7 year old. Note to self: Hang out with kids more often!
Too bad there isn't a Dingsbums Candy Bar!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Culcha Candela

Culcha Candela's Webpage
This group comes out of Berlin. They have a strong DanceHall sound, but have created a nice mix with Reggae, Hip Hop and Salsa beats. Which gives them a recognizable sound and rhythm.

The group was started first by Johnny Strange, Itchyban and Lafrotino. They were later joined by Larsito, Mr. Reedoo, Don Cali  and DJ Chino. Though Lafrotino is not a current member of the group. The group members have a range of backgrounds. Johnny Strange is German and Ugandan, Itchyban is Polish, Lafrotino, Larsito and Don Cali Columbian, Mr Reedoo is German and DJ Chino is from Korea.

There multicultural heritage has come through in their music. Not just in the rhythm that they have but in the lyrics and content of there music. Through their music they also comment on the issues that effect us. Like in their song 'Schöne Neue Welt'.

I first heard of these guys back in 2007 when they released their hit, Hamma! It is probably one of their more well known songs! Hamma is slang for Awesome, Hot, Sexy. I think of it as similar to, the not so often used term, Bangin' or Fine. 'Hamma' is also not used so often in spoken German. More in exaggerated circumstances as is the same with the use of Bangin in US-American English. Here is the video for Hamma.

These song have a really loud and heavy quality and that is mostly what we hear from them on the radio. Their music has a much wider range then what is represented on German Radio. Songs like African Children and Extranjero soy are two examples of the other end of their musical spectrum. They will be touring to promote their latest album, Flatrate, this summer! Flatrate Open Air 2012 coming to a German city near you!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bonus Post: Paper Graffiti Art

Here are some shots of the Paper Graffiti I mentioned in this post These can all be seen along the raised train tracks between Alexanderplatz and Hackescher Markt here in Berlin.

The monkey and the scuba girl caught my eye but then I noticed the 'Back of a Sign Post' next to it.

There is a bunch from El Bocho. 

"Hey Kalle, da Reißt einer Plakate ab!"  "Ich Ruf Die Bullen"  "Hey Kalle, there someone ripping of a poster!" "I'm calling the police."
abreißen - to rip off, to break something away from something, Thanks Mike for the correction!

"I miss my plattenbau." I discussed Plattenbaus in this Post.

 A few others that where noticeable.

This Little Lucy girl I often see in Prenzlauer berg. And she is always hurting her Kitty Cat.

I have no idea about this huge Guy. I just noticed him for the first time. I guess he must be new, because how could you miss that!

I almost totally missed this one. Whoever put it up there, put some effort into it because it is on the glass behind the metal. That takes some time!

These triangles are everywhere. I don't know anything about them. But they always catch my eye.

Then the last of the bunch this giant colorful pill! (over an old torn el Bocho girl)

Friday, April 27, 2012


So I really like street air and graffiti and I have been noticing more and more thing are being stuck to the walls then actually painted on them. Like this

I have more photos somewhere! I will have to post them later as a bonus post! But for now you get what I mean. They use glue and adhere the art to the walls and other surfaces, instead of using spray paint. It is just as in your face as traditional graffiti but somehow it isn't as off putting.

der Kleber - glue

das Kleben - glueing , adherence

kleben - to glue, adhere, bond
festkleben - to glue, adhere, bond
verkleben - to glue, adhere, bond
aufkleben - glue on

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring is here!

The weather here in Berlin in finally warming up!! Spring is in the air!!

der Frühling - Spring

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Im Griff

So I have been on hiatus for the last two weeks or so. My new Job swung into high gear and I wasn't quite prepared to juggle both work and the blog. But things have since slowed down and the dust has settled. So I am back on. And with that I have a new phrase to share.
                          .                         .                     .

This is a good question or phrase to have in your repertoire. 

Hast du es im Griff? - You got this, Do you have it under control, Do you have it covered?

Ich habe es im Griff? - I got it, I have it under control, I've got it covered

There are times when we want to be polite, but may not want to offer our help out right. We all know these kind of situations. Like when I am cooking and my Freund sticks his head in the door and asks, Hast du das im Griff?  He doesn't necessarily want to help, but he wants to be polite and let me know he is available if I need help. Or when he is washing the dishes, I may ask if, Er hat es im Griff. Does he have it under control? Though with dish washing this is tricky, because it can back fire on me and he makes room for me at the sink. Darn!!

This phrase has a subtlety that one doesn't necessarily learn how to express in a foreign language. I can remember a few times that I would have preferred to use this phrase, just to be polite, but didn't know it at the time and resorted to asking if whoever needed or wanted some help. In these situations the answer was always no. Just as I said before it is just one of those social niceties.

That said, with Grandma and those in positions above you, stick with asking if they need help. You can never go wrong with that, but for friends and colleagues this is very useful to have on use.

der Griff - grasp, grip, hold

Monday, April 23, 2012


Today, as requested, here is Knorkator!

Knorkator Website

These guys are crazy!! Heavy metal meets comedy improv. They are quite provocative and not for the faint of heart!

Knorkator is a heavy metal band from Berlin. They have been on the Berlin-Brandenburg tour racket since 1994, but didn't branch out from the regional music scene until 1998. In 2000 they finally had some national fame when they competed for the German entrance to the Eurovision Song Contest.

They are known for their wild live performances. The vocalist, Stumpen, is tattooed down one side of his body and usually only wares a pair of white boxers or a body suit, as in the photo above. Buzz Dee is the Jimi Hendrix-remixed looking guitarist and Alf Ator is the keyboardist with quite a  range of outfits, a dress, monks robes and a tutu to name a few.

Something interesting I found out is that Alf Ator was actually born in Mongolia. His parents were a German, Mongolian couple, (I am not sure which parent was German and which was Mongolian). He moved to Berlin until 1986 after his parents split and took his German Citizenship.

In 2008, Knorkator had announced that the band was breaking up. Though after 2 years they announced their reunion and celebrated with their "77 minute tour." It was called this because their set list was set to run only 77 minutes and they even had a large clock on stage to keep them on track. They played at the Wachen Open Air concert, that I posted about here.  Most of there concert from Wacken is viewable here on youtube.

Below is a TV New segment about Knorkator, it is a great introduction to the band, even if you can't understand all that is being said.

I have to admit that I hadn't hear of this band before. It was requested as a Media Monday Post topic, from my Bro. That said, I think I really like them. It is not the style of music that I would naturally turn to, but it is also not the first time that I have found out that I like a heavy metal band, thanks to my brother's introduction, ie. System of a Down, Metallica. Though still, you will never see me at one of their concerts. I can enjoy and appreciate their music from home.

Here is the Wir werden alle Sterben video below and two links to their songs Klonen and Alter Mann.
'Wir Werden' has a cool banjo intro, that I wish was just a slight bit longer and the warbally pulses at the beginning of 'Klonen' really sound cool and the black and white video is rad too!

The band's name, Knorkator, apparently comes from the combination of the old outdated Berlin Slang 'knorke,' which I have already mentioned in this post and the suffix -ator  that apparently indicates might and power. For example Terminator and Gladiator. The group wanted to be the best and most awesome of German bands. Though since Die Arzte already proclaimed themselves to be the Best German band in the world, Knorkator took the title, "Deutschlands meiste Band der Welt" Which can be translated as "Germany's most band in the world!" (?) Which doesn't make the most sense, but we get what they mean, right?

Here is a video of Knorkator singing Boney M's 'Ma Backer'. I usually only like to show groups original work, but I thought this was cool and had to share. Plus, it is a great example of their Live performances. The mess on the stage is due to their Vegetarian Air-catering, "vegetarische Flugverköstigung," where they throw sliced veggies at the crowd. (prime example of why I will not be going)  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wen man von Teufel spricht

You know how when we have been talking about someone and then they walk in the door or call, that in English, we say, "Speak of the Devil!"

They have the same saying in German, "Wen man vom Teufel spricht!"

der Teufel - Devil

It is used the same way as in English. As an exclamation. You just say it. It doesn't need to be incorporated into a sentence.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I have been reminded of a new word to share.

One of my native English speaking Co-workers has shared with me her newest German word discovery! Kaiserschnitt. I had learned this word sometime before, but since, had forgotten about it.

der Kaiserschnitt - c-section, Caesarean section

At first glance, this seems to be a crazy weird translation. I too have always though this was such a weird word. I still think it still sounds a little odd, but now that I did a little research it makes sense. The term Caesarian comes from Caesar, as in Julius Caesar. Caesar in German is Kaiser. Aha!

Why didn't I realize this before? Well most likely because I usually refer to it as a C-Section, and so never made the Caesarian-Kaiser connection.

I wonder, can we do the same thing in German and call it a K-Schnitt?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ad: Mut

No, this is not a mixed breed dog! This is German for courage.

der Mut - bravery, courage, grit, moxie, spunkiness

There were a few different Misereor ads post around Berlin for a while. I took a picture of two of them. I was waiting to collect all of the ads, but I missed my chance. They are an international Help/Aid organization.

This one says, " Mut ist, dahin zu gehen, wo andere fliehen." Which translates as, " Courage is to go where others are fleeing from."  That translation wasn't so smooth.
This one says, " Mut ist, zu blieben. Auch wenn die Schlagzeilen verschwinden." This translates as"Courage is to stay even when the headline has gone."

Monday, April 2, 2012


Oh! Do these guys sure look like they like to party and have a good time! Their energy on stage is quite contagious and their music videos give me 'happy party time' vibes.
Kraftklub's webpage

This is a young new group and quite fresh on the German Music Scene. They have be performing under the name Kraftklub since, the end of 2009, and they released their first single, 'Adonis Maximus', in February 2010. Though they didn't get widespread notice until September 2011 when they entered the Bundesvision Song Contest with their song 'Ich will nicht nach Berlin.'

Did you notice anything a little off about their cloths? It was all body paint!! I guess they had some speedos on, but other than that it was paint!

Despite the release of the two song, the group never actually released an album until, January 2012. Mit K their debut album, hit stores and then hit the charts. The album shot to number one. The single from that album is 'Songs für Liam.'  Here is the band performing with Casper. I have heard this guys name a few times but I don't know anything about him, yet. You can see the actual music video, without Casper, on there webpage.

That is it so far. Like I said they are still quite new, I really hope to hear more from them soon.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I was sitting in the park yesterday evening, having a beer and chatting with my Freund. There was a beautiful clear sky and so far only the moon and two bright stars (actually they were Venus and Jupiter) were out. I was telling my Freund that I had been seeing these stars for the past couple of weeks, and it felt odd now to see them up there in the sky but without the TV tower also in view. I had been near Alexanderplatz a lot lately after dark and had only been noticing them when I was in that area. Right near the TV Tower.
Well to cut to the chase. I didn't know quite how to say that and learned a new word.

das Blickfeld - field of view/vision, range of vision, horizon and more.

There are quite a few meaning to this word, all related but with subtle differences. The root word Blick and feld though themselves have a few different translations as well.

der Blick - glance, look, sight, vision

das Feld - area, domain, field, span, zone

The Picture is not from a park bench in the evening, but I thought I would throw it in here since I has the TV Tower in the Blickfeld!