Freundschaftsbezeigungen: 20 Words from Europe That Will Make You Doubt Your Linguistic Skills

Today, we have a guest post written by Martha Simons!

One of the defining aspects of a continent is it languages. Even when visiting the different countries in a continent, among the many things you could be interested in is the unique language spoken there. In fact, you will be tempted to learn a few words just to identify with the locals or have something to take back home. Europe is no different from other continents since the languages here have pleasant surprises for you.

Some European languages are known to have oddly long words, for instance, German. However, in other instances, an European language speaker will find a correct word for something or situation and render the rest of the world, including English speakers, speechless for the lack of a suitable translation to match that. Even a polyglot will have a hard time if faced with such a situation. Here is a look at some of these words from Europe that will make you doubt your linguistic skills.

Words that are strangely long

 

Long words can be complex. They increase your chances of missing a letter or two when writing or biting your tongue severally when pronouncing. What’s more, some of these words are hard to translate fully to other languages. Here is a look at some examples;

1. Freundschaftsbezeigungen

This is not only long, but also “clumsy” as Mark Twain would put it, referring to its arrangement. Freund means “friend” and the correct translation of the word Freundschaftsbezeigungen is “demonstrations of friendship.”

2. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung

It’s no doubt, German is known for its long words. Surprisingly, they are not rare or special words in this language as you are likely to come across them regularly in a conversation or when reading printed materials such as newspapers. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung is one of these words and it stands for liability insurance for the motor vehicle.

3. Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlung

This is another of the dauntingly long terms in German. In most languages, this term is composed of at least four words. It is used to denote “meetings of the legislature.” Won’t it be just easier to break it into “general states representatives meetings”, then find a German term for each word to form a sentence? Probably, but that’s German for you!

You will not find these long words in German only. European languages have quite a number of them. Here are other examples: Continue reading

There is still time! How to learn German up to level B1 in 2017

As many people liked my post about learning French in 2017. I decided to do a German version. German is for most people more difficult than French, so I cannot guarantee that you’ll reach level B2 by the end of the year if you use these resources, but it is certainly possible to reach the  B1 level, and the best of all is that most of the materials recommended here is free of charge!

 

Knowing the language

As I recommended in the article on the French language, it is best to start slowly. Therefore, one of the best resources is Duolingo, which covers both writing and listening comprehension from the beginning. Another great and free option is the Deutsche Welle course called “Audiotrainer“. The course consists of small audios with words and phrases in German and English that must be repeated.
Another basic and fast course to get to know German is the Mission Europe course.

Choosing your first course

Once you know the basics of the language, you should choose a more complete course.
I recommend starting with two Deutsche Welle courses. My favorite is the Deutsch – Warum Nicht? course. The course is a bit old (early 90’s), however it is very good, interesting and well organized. The advantage of this course is that the characters are always the same and you are get curious to know more about them and their stories.

The second course I recommend is the interactive course “Harry”. As the structure is multimedia, it is a great course to do in front of the computer. Just like the “Deutsch – Warum nicht?” course, the characters are always the same and you are get curious to know what happens to them.

Another course I always recommend is the Assimil, although I find the French version better, the German version is also very good and the course follows the same structure as the French course. The first texts are short and simple; the audios are slow and repeated twice. After the first week, the texts become longer and the audios have a more natural rhythm. After the 50th lesson, we begin to practice reverse translation and the lessons take about an hour to complete, while in the first cycle they take only 30 minutes.

It’s time to talk!

Once you get a basic notion of the language, you should start practicing it. The best tool for this in the market is the Italki website, which has thousands of teachers available online. You can get individual lessons or buy a package. Other option is to participate in language exchanges in your city, using sites like Meetup.com and Couchsurfing to find foreigners or apps like HelloTalk.

FSI: to train phonetics and for those who like to suffer

Although I recommend the French FSI course, I do not recommend the German one, because besides being old, is not as well structured as the French version. Therefore, I do not recommend the Basic Course (FSI German Basic Course). However, the introduction course (FSI German Programmed Introduction Course) is easier and structured, very good for learning the German phonology. The course can be found here.

For the grammar lovers

As always, for grammar lovers, I recommend my favorite book series “Practice Makes Perfect“. As I said before, I love this series because they have specific courses, such as the course of pronouns and prepositions, the basic or complete grammar, verb tenses; in addition to vocabulary and conversation courses.

Another good German grammar book, but to more advanced students is the Klipp Und Klar: Ubungsgrammatik course, available for levels A1/B1 and B2/C1.

Culture

And, as always, I recommend that you be in constant contact with the culture of country, watching movies, listening to podcasts and radio or reading books, magazines or newspapers.

Good luck and start right now your studies !!!

Studying abroad: German in Hamburg

Today, I will talk about my experience in Germany, the last place where  I studied a language. If you want to know more about my other experiences, look at the posts about how I studied Spanish and French abroad.

In August 2015, I started to learn German and I still am studying, albeit at a slower pace. To improve quickly and use as a motivation, I decided that I would go to Germany in January 2016. Continue reading

My favorite children’s books in German

As I commented in my video 233 days of German, I read many children’s books to help my German. The advantage of children’s books is that they have a simpler language and many illustrations that show what’s going on. My favorite books were from the collection “Wieso? Weshalb? Warum?“. That collection explains to children how the world works in simple language. Storybooks are also interesting, but sometimes vocabulary is not as important for an adult, one reason why I don’t read a lot this kind of book. Nevertheless, I decided to put here a mixture of fiction and non-fiction to please those who like both genders.

livros infantis

Nonfiction Books

Continue reading

10 German words to express yourself better

The German language is famous for the relatively long words. The reason is that in German is common to combine two words or more to form a new one with its own meaning. This makes the creation of new words in the language very simple and that’s the reason there are so many unique words in German. Here are some I find very interesting.

Zugzwang = Zug (move) + Zwang (being forced)

Have you ever felt trapped, forced to take a decision? That’s what the word “Zugzwang” describes. The term comes from the chess and describes the moment the chess player is forced to make a move that will surely worsen his game.

Nowadays, “Zugwang” describes the pressure to make a strategic move, to make an important decision.

zugzwang Continue reading

Review of the course Harry – Deutsche Welle

Harry – gefangen in der Zeit is the newest course of network Deutsche Welle. And, of course, I tried the course to tell you all about it.

The story and characters

Harry is a grumpy man who is visiting the Black Forest in Germany while on holiday with his girlfriend Julia. He is from the fictional country Traponia and does not speak German; consequently, Julia always serves as an interpreter for him. One day, he wakes up alone in his hotel room and goes alone to the Black Forest, where he is struck by a lightning. After that day, all his days are always the same. Harry is stuck in a time warp and he wakes up every day on April 31st, at 7 am in his hotel room.

Now, he needs to learn German and get out of this time warp. But what caused this time distortion? In whom can he trust? Where’s Julia? Continue reading

German movies 2

After a long time, finally a post about movies. You can check the first about German movies here.

Die Welle – The Wave

The film is based in an experiment that occurred in United States. “The Wave” tells the story of a high school teacher that creates a microcosm of an autocracy to show his students how this kind of government works and its consequences. The teacher loses the control of the experiment and the autocratic movement grows inside and outside the school.

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days – Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage

Continue reading