The steroids for language learners

Google translate appears to be a handy tool when you learn German. A word or phrase entered in English often produces the desired result in a foreign target language. When teaching German, I find that students often assume that online translation softwares or online dictionaries are an acceptable instrument. An online dictionary is very practical […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

German Idioms

All languages have their peculiarities with some expressions that are difficult to translate into other languages and, even when they are translated, don’t make a great deal of sense. When you do choose to learn German in the City of London you might not necessarily be taught these phrases but you could well come across […]

What did Napoleon do for the German language?

Do 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 […]

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 […]

‘Present Perfect Continues’ in German

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

Time keeping – a German virtue

Learning to tell the time in German One of the first things you will learn in your German language classes are numbers. It will help you say what floor you need in a lift, or on railway concourse, or in an office block. It will also enable you to tell the time. Timekeeping, for all […]

Addressing German business associates

How should you address business associates in Germany? As a newcomer to German one of the first topics you’re likely to cover is the personal pronouns: ich, du, er, sie, es, meaning I, you, he, she, it and so on. If you’ve already started learning the language, then you’ll know that there are two different […]

How do you learn German?

If you are looking to learn German, then you might consider a self learning course, contact a language school or engage a private tutor. Autodidactic learning is probably the most cost effective way of picking up a new language and you don’t have to schlepp half way across London to attend classes. Some get quite […]

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 […]