Tag Archives: German tutor

Foreign Languages after Brexit

Spanish is on the increase, French is on the decrease and German is hardly being learned at all in UK schools.

80% of all 15 – 30 year olds in the EU speak at least one foreign language, in the UK only 32% of 15 – 30 year olds speak a foreign language.

Learning a foreign language has almost become a forgotten skill, yet it opens doors to other cultures, makes the speaker stand out and hugely enhances employability. According to a recent study, German is the most sought after foreign language amongst employers in the UK. After all, the language spoken by the largest number of people as their mother tongue in the EU is German.

Where does that leave the UK after Brexit? Assuming Brexit goes ahead, foreign languages become even more important to avoid the UK becoming isolated. Not being able to understand foreign cultures closes doors in the world of business and prevents access to markets.

After Brexit, learning another language, especially German, seems to become even more indispensable.

Ein namenloser Bube

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler,

Herzlich Willkommen zu unserem Podcast!

Das heutige Thema: Ein namenloser Bube. Warum namenloser Bube und um welchen Buben geht es  hier überhaupt? 

Na ist doch klar – es geht um das vor 2 Tagen geborene Kind von Harry und Meghan, Herzog und Herzogin von Sussex. Gala und Bunte-Abonnenten unter uns werden wissen, von wem ich spreche.

Harry ist doch der Enkel von Königin Elizabeth. Und der Harry hat, wie unsere Gala-Abonnenten sich noch erinnern, letztes Jahr die Meghan geehelicht, weil es sich doch nicht ziemt, das Junggesellenleben ewig zu genießen. 

Und diese beiden sind nun Eltern geworden. Einen Namen haben sie dem Kind bis dato allerdings noch nicht gegeben. Daher das obige Thema dieses Podcasts.

Wie wird der Junge nun heißen? Heinrich oder Fritz etwa, um die deutschstämmigen Vorfahren Harrys zu ehren, oder doch Luke, Jack oder Jaxson, um den Wurzeln der amerikanischen Mutter gerecht zu werden? Oder werden die Eltern mit Jacob, Oliver oder Kevin den englischen Namensgebungstrends folgen? Prinz Kev? Prinz Heinrich oder doch Prinz Jaxson?

Wir werden uns wohl noch einige Tage gedulden müssen, um zu erfahren, wie das Kind, das übrigens in 7. Folge Anspruch auf den britischen Thron hat, heißen wird.

Und damit der Geduldsfaden nicht gleich reißt, verabschiede ich mich erstmal und sage Auf Wiederhören, bis zum nächsten Mal.

Grammar terminology (part 4)

Grammatical gender of nouns is indicated by the definite articles. 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.

Tenses are forms of verbs indicating when something is taking place, has taken place or will be taking place. For example, the present tense (das Präsens) is used to describe something that is in the process of happening, to describe facts or the eternal truth. The perfect tense (das Perfekt) describes events that are completed or happened in the past.

A relative pronoun is used to introduce a relative clause to explain the antecedent of the previous clause in more detail. In German, the finite verb is moved to the end in a relative clause.

A modal verb is used to modify a main verb to indicate that something may, can, must, or is allowed to happen. Modal verbs are conjugated and used together with an infinite that is placed at the end of a sentence.

The subjunctive is used to describe something that is not real, wishful thinking or attached to conditions. Sometimes in laymen terms it is referred to as the conditional.

That brings us to the end of our 4 weekly instalments, which explain German grammar in more details. Please get in touch if you are interested in learning or improving your German.

Grammar terminology (part 3)

Possessive articles indicate to whom or what something belongs. For example: Is this your pen? No, this is my pen.

A conjunction joins words or groups of words. Some conjunctions in German are und (and), oder (or), aber (but), weil (because), and dass (that).

An infinitive is the base form of a verb, which has not been changed to show tense or given any endings. In German, an infinitive always ends in -en or -n, and is the form of the verb found in the dictionary (e.g. machen, gehen).

Conjugation simply refers to a set of endings (and sometimes vowel changes) for verbs which help to mark person and tense. For example, “to be” = I am, you are; sein = ich bin, du bist, etc.

Declension refers to the change of article, adjective or noun depending on case. For example: Der nette Mann kauft der jungen Frau einen schönen Blumenstrauß.

Cases indicate the function of a noun in a sentence. In German, the subject of a sentence is in the Nominative case, the direct object in the accusative case and the indirect object in the Dative case. For example: Der nette Mann kauft der jungen Frau einen schönen Blumenstrauß.

Instalment 4 is due net week.

Grammar terminology (part 2)

A definite article (“the” in English) refers to a particular, specific noun. In German, these are die, der and das, and all their various case and gender forms (dem, den, des, das, der, die etc.). 

An indefinite article (“a” or “an” in English) refers to a noun whose exact identity is not specified; not the bird, not that bird, but a bird. In German, this is ein(e) and its various forms. 

Other types of articles, such as demonstrative articles like “this” and “that”, function in a similar specifying manner.

Dieser, mancher, jeder, etc. are demonstrative articles in German, and follow the same rules as definite articles. 

An adjective describes a noun or pronoun by answering ‘what kind?’ or ‘which one?’ For example: the fast car, das schnelle Auto.

An adverb describes a verb by answering ‘how?’ ‘when?’ ‘where?’ or ‘to what extent?’ In German, adjectives and adverbs look the same in their base forms (e.g. schön can mean “nice” or “nicely”); however, adjectives have endings when they precede a noun — adverbs never have endings.

A preposition shows the position of one noun or pronoun in relation to another. Example: He is sitting on the sofa.

Prepositions answer the same types of questions as adverbs. A preposition is used with a noun to form a prepositional phrase: on the sofa

Instalment 3 is due next week.

What did Napoleon do for the German language?

Learn GermanDo you know what Gallicism means? Gallicisms are words from French that have found use in another language. When learning German you will come across a lot of Gallicisms. They found their way into German during the reign of Louis XIV who was revered across the German aristocracy. Amusement, fashion, cuisine, the military are all subjects that have words borrowed from French. For example das Ballett, das Turnier, der Chiffon, der Satin, die Frisur, das Kostüm, der Gobelin, das Dessert, die Kreme, der Kaffee, die Kantine, die Kolonne, der Veteran.

Other words are die Garantie, das Plädoyer, die Eleganz, die Garage, die Garderobe

Verbs ending in –ieren tend to be borrowed from French as well: abonnieren, arrangieren, revanchieren, engagieren, plädieren, frisieren.

Till the late eighteenth, lectures at German universities were in Latin and the German aristocracy spoke French and only plebeians, of which were many, spoke German. All that came to an end when Napoleon occupied large parts of German territory and people developed a national pride and a pride in their language. Gallicisms in the German language have been in decline since the Napoleonic wars. Who would have thought…

German words of Russian origin

WITH STORY Russia-Britain-EU FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he addresses students during his visit to German Embassy school in Moscow, Russia. Putin has remained poker-faced during Britain's EU referendum vote to exit the European Union, but the shake-up could alter the status quo in Europe, and create new opportunities for Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file)

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 Germany that lay behind the Iron Curtain.

There is the word der Kosmonaut, the counterpart to the English word Astronaut.

Kosmo- from Greek kosmos meaning outer space and naut from Greek nauta meaning navigator – therefore Kosmonaut is the one navigating the outer space.

Kreml (Kremlin) – meaning fort – nowadays the epicentre of power in Russia from where Mr Putin pulls the strings. Mammut (mammoth) – meaning tusk from the earth –usually what is left when one of these mammals is being excavated in the Russian steppe. There we have another German word of Russian origin, die Steppe – meaning treeless and barren land.

Die Troika from Russian tri meaning three – Troika – group of three. Are there any other German words of Russian origin that you know?