German Language Blog

Mastering expression of likes and dislikes in German

One of the challenges English speakers face when learning German is expressing likes or dislikes. It’s not uncommon for learners to find it tricky to differentiate between saying they like doing something and saying they like something, as English does not distinguish between them. When expressing a liking for an object, German uses the transitive […]

Weathering the German language storm

As spring approaches, the shifting weather patterns offer a unique insight into the German language. Like in many other cultures, proverbs about the weather are a common thread in German discourse. While Germans may not engage in small talk as frequently as English speakers, mastering these proverbs is a testament to your command of the […]

If only German didn’t have two words for ‘only.’

On your journey of learning German, you inevitably encounter a situation that requires you to express something limited to an amount, some people, things or an activity. That is straightforward and can be expressed using the adverb nur (only).  Here are some example sentences: Es kostet nur einen Euro. It only costs a Euro. Nur […]

Das Jugendwort des Jahres 2023

Hallo liebe Lernende, herzlich willkommen zur nunmehr 32. Episode unseres Podcasts. Sollte euch dieser Podcast gefallen, dann bewertet ihn doch bitte und sendet uns Anregungen oder Themen für neue Episoden. Mehr Informationen über die Produzenten erfahrt ihr unter Das heutige Thema ist das Jugendwort des Jahres 2023. Dies wurde letzte Woche auf der Frankfurter […]


Hallo liebe Lernende! Während sich der Mensch in der Bautechnik erst seit der Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts der Fertigbauweise bedient, verwendet er in der Sprache seit jeher vorgefertigte Bauteile. Charakteristisch für diese sprachlichen Fertigteile ist, dass sie der Form nach recht stabil sind. Daher können sich diese recht einfach eingeprägt und angewendet werden. All diejenigen, […]

Hats off! More German idioms

German Idioms are part of everyday language use and a great way to articulate something that often cannot be summed up with a hundred words. This article examines some commonly used German idioms, sayings and proverbs around items of clothing which lend themselves perfectly to form metaphors. We’ll illustrate their meanings, give examples and delve […]

Monkey Business: German Idioms and Expressions

Prefabs in construction are relatively new, having been used since the middle of the twentieth century. Prefabricated components in language, on the other hand, have been in use for centuries in the form of idioms and expressions. Like other languages, German has a large spectrum of phrases at its disposal, and new phrases are regularly […]

Comparing in-person German lessons with online lessons

When considering the study of German in London, students have the option to select between in-person or online lessons. Both approaches offer distinct benefits, and learners should evaluate their personal preferences and educational objectives. This comparative examination delves into the advantages of in-person German instruction. An Immersive Learning Environment with In-Person Lessons A notable advantage […]

The vital role of language learning in a ChatGPT Era

In a world increasingly shaped by advanced technologies like ChatGPT, the importance of foreign language learning may seem diminished at first glance. However, the opposite holds true. While ChatGPT and other AI-driven tools have undoubtedly transformed communication, the demand for individuals proficient in foreign languages remains high. In fact, foreign language skills have become a […]

The uniqueness of Swiss German

Communicating in Switzerland presents unique challenges. Among other things, Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The largest language group, accounting for more than 60% of the Swiss population, is German. However, the German spoken in Switzerland differs in several ways from the standard German spoken in Germany or Austria. There are […]

Minority Languages in Germany

Germany is home to many minority languages still spoken by different ethnic communities across the country. These languages are an important part of Germany’s cultural heritage and identity. While German is the official language, minority languages are still spoken by various communities. Low German or Plattdeutsch Low German, also known as Plattdeutsch, is a West […]

The German language in post-Brexit London

With the UK’s exit from the European Union, London businesses are now operating in a new economic landscape. One of the challenges businesses face is communicating with their European counterparts in new ways. Germany is Europe’s largest economy and an important trading partner for the UK. As such, understanding German is becoming increasingly important for […]

Gender-neutral language in German

Inspired by a recent question from one of their freelance translators about inclusive/gender-neutral language in German (below—feel free to skip past it if you don’t read German), German Language Services would like to delve into the topic of “Gendern” as it’s become known. Translator: …ich frage mich, wie dieser Kunde es (inzwischen) mit dem Gendern hält. […]

Der König

Willkommen zu unserem Podcast. Um mehr über die Podcaster zu erfahren, schaut nach unter Ein König ist ziemlich oft im Spiel. So auch als Figur beim Schachspielen, auf deren Mattsetzen eine Schachpartie angelegt ist. In vielen geläufigen Kartenspielen findet man auch einen König, der in der Rangfolge an zweiter Stelle steht. Beim Kegelspiel, einer […]

German: its Speakers, Geography and History

German Speakers and German-speaking countries Standard German is the official form typically taught in schools in German-speaking countries. We also teach Standard German in our German courses, which is widely understood and an official language in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. Note the term an official language as opposed to the official language: Standard […]

Which London businesses engage a German Tutor?

London businesses find that having German-speaking staff generates more success when transacting in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. You may wonder what type of companies engage the services of a German tutor in London. There probably aren’t many industries that German Language Coach has not taught. Which industry needs German language talent? Many of our German […]

A day in the life of a London German Tutor

Preparation on both parts is critical in making or breaking a successful German lesson. My lesson planning may involve following the syllabus of a course book or bespoke learning material, correcting homework, reading a piece on economics or simply keeping up to date on current affairs. A healthy interest in politics and the economy makes […]

Lack of foreign languages & the economic costs

Shortage of language skills A shortage of language skills has been identified as a barrier to trade. A recent British Chamber of Commerce survey shows that 70% of businesses have no foreign language abilities in the markets they serve. With the second-biggest UK export market being Germany, insufficient German language skills would hold back any […]

Was ist gendern?

Hallo liebe SchülerInnen, Herzlich willkommen zu unserem Podcast. Neulich wurde ich gefragt: “Genderst du?”. “Ich mache was bitte?” war meine Antwort und zog sofort meinen Duden zu Rate, um herauszufinden, was ich denn da eigentlich gefragt wurde. Dort steht unter gendern: bestimmte sprachliche Mittel verwenden, um Menschen aller Geschlechtsidentitäten sprachlich sichtbar zu machen. Da fiel […]


Hallo liebe Zuhörerinnen und Zuhörer.  Ich bin Malte, der unbezahlte Praktikant bei German Language Coach und mache mit großer Freude den Podcast.Heute ist der vierte Tag des Jahres 2022. Daher ist es angebracht Euch ein gesundes, frohes neues Jahr zu wünschen.Nun ist es üblich, dass sich viele Menschen für das neue Jahr etwas vornehmen. Diese Neujahrsvorsätze […]

In-person German language learning

With offices returning to almost normality in London, in-person German language lessons are back on the agenda for many businesses. We have all spent the last 19 months online, our eyes watery and kaput, with patience wearing thin. Why would you not want in-person language training with a German tutor delivering lessons at your office? […]

Wer hat das Fußballspiel erfunden?

Hallo liebe SchülerInnen, Herzlich willkommen zu unserem Podcast, in dem es um Fussball geht. Momentan wird ja die Europameisterschaft ausgetragen. Ich will mich hier allerdings nicht mit dem Erfolg oder Misserfolg der deutschen Nationalmannschaft auseinandersetzten, der englischen Nationalmannschaft schon gar nicht, denn über deren ausgebliebenen Erfolg zu sprechen, bedürfte ja einer ganzen Podcast-Serie. Vielmehr möchte […]

Minority Languages in Germany

The general view is that in Germany, people only speak German. Not directly related to learning German but an interesting aspect of German culture are Germany’s minority languages, three of which recently gained protected status: the Danish language, the North Frisian language and Low German in the State of Schleswig Holstein. Probably the most well-known […]

Leben in Deutschland nach dem Brexit

Hallo, liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler! Herzlich Willkommen zu unserer neuesten Podcast-Episode. Das Vereinigte Königreich verließ ja, wie euch sicherlich bekannt ist, am 31. Januar 2020 die Europäische Union. Dann gab es eine elfmonatige Übergangsfrist bis zum 31. Dezember 2020, während derer sich für Briten und Nordiren nichts Wesentliches änderte. Doch seit dem 1. Januar 2021 […]

Living in Germany post-Brexit

Since Brexit happened and everything has been firmed up, UK nationals who live in Germany require a residence permit. That process is surprisingly straightforward. Options Studying in Germany is possible and requires a student visa. The same applies to vocational training. You can also apply for a permit to set up a self-employed business or […]

Pandemie und Präpositionen

Hallo liebe Deutschlernerinnen und Deutschlerner, herzlich willkommen zu unserem vierundzwanzigsten Podcast.  Es ist euch sicherlich nicht entgangen, dass wir uns inmitten einer weltweiten Epidemie, einer Pandemie befinden, während derer die meisten Menschen in Ihrer Bewegungsfreiheit eingeschränkt und ihre Aktivitäten begrenzt sind. Ich dachte, es bietet sich daher an, dass ich diesen Podcast einer bestimmten Gruppe […]

The German prepositions ‘zu’ and ‘nach’

Whist learning German, grammatical queries do come up. I want to use this opportunity to illustrate another topic that students ask me during their German courses: What is the different usage of the prepositions ‘zu’ and ‘nach’? The preposition ‘nach’ can mean after when used with time; for example, Nach dem Fußballspiel gehen wir ein […]

Helikoptereltern helikoptern

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und liebe Schüler, Herzlich willkommen zu unserem Podcast. In die 28. Dudenauflage von 2020 wurde ein neues Wort aufgenommen: die Helikoptereltern. Wer oder was sind denn Helikoptereltern? Vielleicht sind es gut betuchte Väter und Mütter, die ihre Kinder per Hubschrauber in die Schule bringen lassen? Einen Moment bitte, ich schlage mal im […]

Langeweile kommt auf

Hallo liebe DeutschlernerInnen! Willkommen zu unserem Podcast. Wenn ihr mehr erfahren wollt, was ich tagsüber mache, dann schaut es euch an auf language coach Es ist nun schon eine lange Weile her seit meinem letzten Podcast. Wir befinden uns inmitten der Corona-Krise und viele Leute arbeiten immer noch von Zuhause oder machen Homeoffice, wie man […]

German Modal verbs

Studying German, learners come across modal verbs expressing desire, ability, obligations or probability. In German, we conjugate the modal verb, which retains the second position in the main clause. The main verb is added in its infinitive form to the end of the sentence. For example: Ich darf meine Hausaufgaben nicht vergessen. Challenges What is […]

Genug von Netflix und essen mit Chopstix

Hallo Liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler, Herzlich willkommen zu unserem neuesten Podcast vom 27. April 2020. Sicher wundert ihr euch, was das für Musik ist, die ihr da eben gehört habt. Doch dazu gleich mehr. Ich bin nun schon mehrere Wochen Gefangener. Natürlich nicht Insasse einer Besserung -oder gar Justizanstalt, sondern zu Hause. Alles wegen der […]

The steroids for language learners

Google translate appears to be a handy tool when you learn German. A word or phrase in English often produces the desired result in a foreign target language. Students often assume that online translation software or dictionaries are acceptable instruments when learning German. Learning German An online dictionary is convenient when abroad and needing to […]

Die Zuhörer

Hallo, liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler, Herzlich Willkommen zu unserem Podcast, in dem es um euch, meine Zuhörer, gehen soll. Wieso um die Zuhörer werdet ihr euch fragen. Also, kürzlich habe ich mir mal die Statistiken meines Podcasts bei den verschiedenen Streaming-Diensten angeschaut. Dabei bemerkte ich, dass Spotify am beliebtesten ist. Diese Statistiken habe ich etwas […]

In German: Is a Beemer he, she or it?

A Beemer, or BMW, made by the famous German car manufacturer Bayrische Motorenwerke in Munich, is a popular accessory for many and complements the German language learning experience perfectly. The car’s satnav and onboard systems set to German helps to pick up new vocabulary and learn the German imperative when the friendly satnav lady reminds […]

der BMW oder die BMW?

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler, herzlich Willkommen zu unserem Podcast. Beim Deutschlernen befindet ihr euch sicherlich manchmal in der Zwickmühle, weil ihr entscheiden müsst, ob das Nomen, welches ihr gerade benutzen wollt, männlich, weiblich oder sächlich ist. Hier geht es um Genus, also um grammatikalisches Geschlecht, welches übrigens nicht nur in der deutschen Sprache existiert.  […]

Ist die britische Königin deutsch?

Hallo und herzlich willkommen! Heute ist der 6. Januar 2019. Das Jahr ist 6 Tage alt und es ist ja noch angebracht, euch ein Frohes Neues Jahr zu wünschen. Ich sage: Prosit! Das heutige Thema: Ist die Britische Königin nun wirklich deutsch? Die Boulevardpresse in aller Herren Länder unterstellt der Königin ja hin und wieder, […]

German grammar terminology (part 4)

Genus The definite articles indicate the grammatical gender of nouns. Der – masculine noun, die – feminine noun, das – neutral noun. Grammatical and biological gender ought not to be mixed up. However, with people, grammatical gender coincides with biological gender. Tense Tenses are forms of verbs indicating when something is taking place, has taken […]

The Perfect tense German

The perfect tense (das Perfekt) is the past tense that German speakers most often use when describing events that have been completed. Language learners sometimes get thrown by using two different auxiliary verbs, or helping verbs, when forming the perfect in German. The helping verb, together with the past participle, in layman’s terms, sometimes referred […]

Der Adventskranz

Hallo und willkommen zu unserem zwölften Podcast, in dem es um den Adventskranz geht. An den vier Wochenenden vor Weihnachen wird in vielen deutschen Haushalten ein Kranz mit 4 Kerzen aufgestellt – nämlich der Adventskranz. Was ist nun eigentlich ein Adventskranz? Also, ein Kranz ist ein aus Zweigen geformtes kreisförmiges Gebinde. Und der Advent? Advent ist abgeleitet aus […]

Do German nouns have gender identity issues?

Sometimes, while teaching German, students ask why German nouns change genders. It is ‘die Tür’, a feminine noun, and suddenly somewhere mid-sentence, it is ‘der Tür’. ‘Der’ is the definite article for masculine nouns. Do German nouns have gender identity issues? A justifiable question from an unsuspecting student or an intelligent question from a grind? […]

Brexit, Dexit, Grexit, Frexit, Itexit

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler! Willkommen zu unserem 10. Podcast. Heute geht es um ein Thema, das Europa seit fast 3 Jahren beschäftigt. Das Thema ist Brexit. Ist es nun der, die oder das Brexit? Wie ihr in unserem ersten Podcast schon erfahren habt, bestimmt das Geschlecht des dem Anglizismus zugrunde liegenden deutschen Wortes das Geschlecht […]

Versprochen ist versprochen

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler! Herzlich willkommen zu unserem neunten Podcast. Das Thema heute: Versprochen ist versprochen Ihr werdet euch sicherlich an unseren gestrigen Podcast vom 15. Oktober 2018 erinnern. Gar nicht so lange her, oder? Ich hatte ja nach der vierjährigen Pause versprochen, nun regelmäßig einen neuen Podcast zu veröffentlichen. Da versprochen nunmal versprochen ist […]

Faule Ausreden

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler! Herzlich willkommen zu unserem achten Podcast. Das Thema heute ist: Faule Ausreden Ihr werdet euch sicherlich an unseren letzten Podcast vom Sommer 2014 erinnern. Wie? Sommer 2014? Alles berechtigte Fragen, denn der letzte Podcast ist ja auch über vier Jahre alt: Aber gerade deshalb ist das Thema dieses Podcasts ‘Faule Ausreden’. […]

Indo-Aryan Austronesian in the German language

Often during German lessons, I get asked if there are words in German that are of Indo-Aryan or Austronesian origin. Many words covering religion and philosophy originate in Hindi, Arabic, Malay and Tamil. They made their way into German via the English language. There is der Bambus, which originates from Malay. From Bangla, we have der […]

German words of Russian origin

When taking German lessons or attending a German course, you’ll come across many German words of foreign origin. German, like other languages, borrows words typically from Latin, Greek, English and French. Less well known are Russian words that have made their way into the German language, often through the linguistic development of the part of […]

How many people do speak German?

Only 1.571% of the world speaks German. Why learn German, you may ask? Please read on. There are about 7,000 languages worldwide. Many languages are threatened by extinction, especially languages natives speak in Asia and America. Only a handful of people speak some languages. More than 50% of languages have less than 10,000 speakers; more […]

German Inventions

Many world-changing innovations originated in Germany, some widely known but others less so. The printing press Most of us take books for granted, but in the mid-fifteenth century Johannes Gutenberg, a craftsman from Mainz, developed the movable type printing system and an oil-based ink enabling books to be produced in large quantities. The car Several […]

Cologne Carnival

The English often considers Germans relatively staid people; efficient, punctual, officious, meticulous, but devoid of humour and party spirit. However, if you attended one of the German festivals, you would soon realise that they certainly know how to party! One of the most significant events is the Kölner Karneval which ranks alongside Rio de Janeiro […]

Who learns German in London?

We often get asked whether there is a market for learning German in the City of London and who learns German and why. Yes, there is a large market for foreign language learning, especially German. Corporations approaching us are German companies co-opting their staff to learn German or reacquaint themselves with the language at some stage. Then some people […]

Das Sommerloch

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler. Herzlich Willkommen zu unserem nunmehr siebten Podcast. In diesem Podcast geht es um das Sommerloch. Im Duden wird das Sommerloch als besonders an wichtigen politischen Nachrichten arme Zeit während der sommerlichen Ferienzeit definiert. Es geht bei diesen Ferien natürlich nicht um die Schulferien, sondern um die Parlamentsferien, wenn viele Politiker im Sommerurlaub sind. Das Nachrichtenvolumen der Presseagenturen geht daher natürlich spürbar zurück. […]

German Loan Words In English

In an increasingly interconnected world, where businesses are outsourced and partnerships are vital to expanding businesses globally, being fluent in English alone is not enough. You work in a dynamic, multi-cultural environment even if you are not running your own business. With that come issues like bonding well with co-workers of different nationalities and avoiding […]


If you’re a World Cup fan, you’ll inevitably have seen, or at least heard of, Germany’s epic opening match where they walked away from Portugal with a 4-0 win. Hooray for Deutschland! To offer her congratulations in person, German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled across the globe to Brazil to watch the match for herself and […]

Die Deutsche Bundeskanzlerin

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler. Herzlich Willkommen zu unserem sechsten Podcast.  Und diesem Podcast geht es um die Deutsche Bundeskanzlerin. Der Bundeskanzler oder die Bundeskanzlerin leitet die deutsche Regierung. Zur Zeit leitet Frau Dr. Angela Dorothea Merkel die Bundesregierung und somit die Deutsche Bundeskanzlerin. Aber warum ist es Frau Dr. Merkel? Ist sie vielleicht Ärztin? Nein, Frau Dr. Merkel hat im Fach […]

Die Lieblingsinsel der Deutschen

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler. Herzlich Willkommen zu unserem fünften Podcast! Ihr werdet euch sicherlich wundern, warum ich am Telefon bin. Der Grund ist ganz einfach: ich bin im Urlaub. Ich hatte die Nase vom Arbeiten gestrichen voll und dachte, ich mach mal eine Pause. Also habe ich eine Woche Mallorcaurlaub gebucht. Und das ist […]

Der Anglizismus des Jahres

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler! Herzlich Willkommen zu unserem 4. Podcast. Und in diesem Podcast geht es um den Anglizismus des Jahres. Was ist überhaupt ein Anglizismus? Ein Anglizismus ist ein Wort aus dem Englischen, das in die deutsche Sprache übernommen wurde. Und jedes Jahr wählt Deutschland den Anglizismus des Jahres. Der Anglizismus des Jahres muss ein englisches Wort sein und es muss weit verbreitet […]

Die Fußballweltmeisterschaft

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler. Herzlich Willkommen zu unserem 3. Podcast. Heute ist der 2. Juni 2014. Es sind noch knapp 2 Wochen bis zum Beginn der Fußballweltmeisterschaft in Brasilien. Da ist es doch mal an der Zeit, dass wir uns anschauen, wie Deutschland in der Geschichte so gespielt hat.  Die erste Fußballweltmeisterschaft fand 1930 […]

Wer spricht alles Deutsch?

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler. Herzlich Willkommen zu unserem zweiten Podcast! Ich habe kürzlich gelesen, dass nur 1,57% der Weltbevölkerung Deutsch spricht. Da muss man sich doch fragen, warum wir überhaupt Deutsch lernen. Eine berechtigte Frage, find ich. Und diese Frage möchte ich hier heute beantworten. Schauen wir uns mal einige Statistiken an: Weltweit gibt […]

Der, die oder das Podcast?

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler und herzlich Willkommen zu unserem ersten Podcast. Und in diesem ersten Podcast geht es auch gleich um das Wort Podcast. Wir wollen herausfinden, woher das Wort kommt, ob es der, die oder das Podcast ist, und warum. Ihr wisst natürlich alle, was ein Podcast ist, denn ansonsten würdet ihr heute diesen Podcast nicht hören können. Ich habe […]

German Expatriates in London

Almost 40,000 Germans are living in London. More than Winston Churchill would ever have envisaged. In contrast to other nationalities, Germans living in London keep a low profile; they do not dominate the high street with schnitzel restaurants or sausage shops. Instead of finances permitting, many young professionals opt to live in Wimbledon, Chelsea, Kensington, Highgate, […]

British Expats in Germany

Over the years, Germany has had a large British expatriate community, mainly through military personnel stationed there since 1945. Then, there was an influx of British builders & workers in the seventies and eighties who came to work in Germany – immortalised in the television series Auf Wiedersehen Pet! However, they did not settle permanently but returned […]

Plautdietsch – low German

What is Plautdietch (Plattdeutsch), and do people worldwide speak that language variant? Plautdietsch or Mennonite Low German is a Low Prussian dialect. ‘Low’ refers to the plains of northern Germany, and Dietsch (Deutsch) means German. As mentioned in our previous article, Germans were invited by the Russian Empire to settle there. Amongst Germans from many […]

Study in Germany

Suppose you’re currently honing your German language skills with our Private German Lessons or undertaking another form of German study to take up one of the many excellent opportunities for higher education in Germany. In that case, you will undoubtedly have many questions regarding the level of teaching you can expect and the steps you […]

German Industries

As we mentioned in our previous blog, Germany has a thriving job market. However, it also has an ageing population, leading to shortages of workers in some key sectors. This ageing population is partly responsible for shortfalls in the healthcare sector. Current figures suggest that Germany needs 5,000 additional doctors; it also urgently requires nursing […]

Silvester – New Year’s Eve in German

Germans, like many others worldwide, celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one with festivities and fireworks. Others opt for a quiet night by watching “Dinner for One” on TV, a British sketch from the 1920s which has become an unlikely New Year’s tradition in Germany despite being virtually […]

The Hairy Wife and German Reflexive Verbs

When learning German, you will have come across reflexive verbs. Reflexive verbs also exist in English and can sometimes be translated as ‘myself’, ‘yourself’ etc. For example, He is pouring himself a cup of tea. – Er schenkt sich eine Tasse Tee ein. What does the term ‘reflexive verb’ actually mean? The verb has an […]

German in a Globalised World

In an increasingly globalised world where English is more or less the undisputed international language of business, what place is there for multilingualism? Several global companies believe that foreign languages, specifically German, play an important role in helping employees integrate into today’s multicultural workplace. The software giant SAP, which has its headquarters in Walldorf, is […]

Martin Luther and the German Language

Few people can be unfamiliar with Martin Luther, the German theologian and instigator of the Reformation. The story of Luther posting his disputations of some of the doctrines and practices of Roman Catholicism, his 95 Theses, on the door of his local church in Wittenberg is exceedingly well known, even though some scholars doubt whether […]

The brothers Grimm and the German dictionary

The brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm are, of course, famed for fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin and Cinderella, known and loved by children around the world 200 years after the brothers published their first collection of folk tales. However, the brothers were not just storytellers. They were also trained lawyers and linguists, […]

Konrad Duden & German Orthography

Since 1880 one name has been the authoritative source for the correct spelling, pronunciation and usage of German words: Duden. Duden is to German, what the OED is to English. Konrad Alexander Friedrich Duden was born on 3 January 1829 in Wesel, Germany. After completing his secondary education, he studied history and philology at Bonn, […]

Das Oktoberfest

One of the most famous gems of German culture known worldwide is the Oktoberfest, a 16-day festival celebrating beer annually in Munich, Bavaria. The name suggests that it takes place in October, although nowadays, this is only partly true. It begins in September, having been brought forward to benefit from better weather conditions. This year will see the 180th festival will start on […]

German Words of Arabic Origin

Like many languages, German has evolved to include words that originate from other languages; many of these surprisingly derive from Arabic. Arabic words feature commonly in many Western languages and were most often introduced centuries ago. However you prefer to drink it, ‘Kaffee’ derives from the Arabic ‘qahwa’. Coffee drinking originated in 15th century Yemen, […]

Irregular German Verbs in the present

Irregular verbs, sometimes called strong verbs, have irregularities in the present tense indicative or the simple past indicative and the past participle. In today’s blog, we would like to look closely at irregular verbs in the present tense indicative. Indicative means that we are stating facts when using that verb. If you are not already […]

The prepositions ‘an’ and ‘auf’

I see students struggle with the German prepositions ‘ an’ and ‘auf’ during my lessons. Both describe locations and require either the Accusative or the Dative case. If we can ask ‘wohin’ (where to), then the preposition requires the Accusative, and if we ask ‘wo’ (where), then the Dative is needed. This begs the question […]

Understanding word frequency in German

A frequency dictionary can be of great help when learning German. It does not, however, replace a conventional bilingual or monolingual dictionary. Let’s look at a few German words and their frequency in the German language: the most frequent word being the definite articles der, die, and das and their various forms. You may already […]

Accusative and Dative in German

Whilst providing German tuition, students often ask me what the Accusative and the Dative are. Accusative and Dative are cases that tell the function of nouns in a sentence. Many languages use cases, including English. In German, the direct object requires the Accusative case, and the indirect object requires the Dative. The direct object in […]

German Adjective Declension

Declining adjectives is one of the most challenging parts of German. Most students taking German courses or private lessons with us struggle with that aspect of the language, even intermediate and advanced learners. Adjectival declension is dependent on the article that precedes the adjective. There are three ways of declining adjectives: with a definite article, […]

‘Present Perfect Continues’ in German

During many years of teaching German to English speakers, I found that many students struggle with the same aspects of German due to the different structures of English. This blog post serves to highlight recurring problems to help learners of German to overcome these challenges. For example, yesterday, I was teaching a regular student in […]

German Business Partners

Germans are proud of ”made in Germany” as a synonym for quality and reliability. In business meetings, Germans are relatively formal, detail-oriented and direct. They tend to say exactly what they want and mean. They are decision-making and problem-solving oriented, although these processes can take quite some time to complete, especially considering some German companies’ […]

Business etiquette in Germany

I often get asked during German lessons what the proper business etiquette in Germany is. Here is a little synopsis about meeting German business partners for the first time: When meeting with business partners for the first time, ensure you are on time, dressed appropriately and armed with ample business cards. Your business partner will probably […]

You know more German than you think

You shouldn’t be daunted at embarking on German lessons. It’s likely you already know a lot more German than you think. Our two languages are closely related, both being West Germanic languages, so you’ll find that many words are almost identical, if not in spelling, then in pronunciation. The terms Hand and Finger for example, […]

Why learning German is so worthwhile

The British don’t have the best reputation for proficient speakers of foreign languages. Changes to school curriculums are attempting to remedy this situation and prevent future generations from being thought “lazy” by the rest of Europe because so many of us don’t take the trouble to learn a second language. But is it too late […]

Swiss German

Have you ever taken a plane to Zurich or Basel, expecting upon arrival that people would sound like your friends or colleagues from Germany – but then feeling somewhat puzzled when hearing them talk? The reason is that Swiss Germans have a very strong Allemanic dialect in their everyday conversation, called “Schweizerdeutsch”. This, however, should […]

Three good reasons to learn German

German is widely spoken in Europe: Count the 80 Million inhabitants of Germany, add Austria, the German-speaking part of Switzerland plus Luxemburg, and German-speaking minorities in Northern Italy, Southern Denmark and the Alsace in France, and you get the picture. Of course, there is more than just the holiday aspect since Germany is not exactly […]