22
votes
8answers
6k views

What's the German expression for 'In a nutshell'

The closest I was able to find is in Kürze. Is there a translation that means something similar as it does in English?
22
votes
10answers
5k views

How do Germans refer to people without caring about the gender

In German, a noun always has its own gender. However, there is a case I don't know. Suppose that there is a class with many students, both males and females, and then when I want to refer to all ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the German equivalent of the English “aka”?

In English, the abbreviation aka means "also known as". A literal German translation might be "auch bekannt wie". Is this, in fact, the correct German equivalent? And is the abbreviation ABW (or the ...
22
votes
5answers
10k views

Difference between “antworten” and “beantworten”

Is there any difference between "antworten" and "beantworten"? In which situations should I use one and in which another?
22
votes
4answers
4k views

How to refer to a woman based on her age?

For example, you wouldn’t use girl for a 40 years old woman or kid for a 20 years old woman (unless you’re far older). Fräulein for single woman between what ages? What is the age range for Mädchen?...
22
votes
6answers
51k views

Difference between “weil” and “denn”

Both mean because. I know that denn does not change the sentence structure of the subordinate clause, but weil does, i.e. pushing the verb to the end. Other than that, is there a difference between ...
22
votes
10answers
2k views

Is there an online German dialect dictionary?

I've recently stumbled upon some words that my dictionary can't translate: nitt (nicht) passt scho (passt schon) zwoa (zwei) Is there an online resource for finding out what such words mean, and ...
22
votes
4answers
1k views

Are German words starting with the letter 'p' really of foreign origin?

In a book I’m reading these days, the author mentions the various names of the plough in a few Indo-European languages. When he comes to cite the German one (Pflug) he casually adds the far-reaching ...
22
votes
4answers
827 views

For new words which are often nouns who sets the gender?

I think the title sums it up but since every single thing in the universe can be referred to as a noun and German assigns every noun a gender who gets to decide the gender? Furthermore, other ...
22
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the best free word frequency list in German?

I'm looking for a very high quality word frequency list in German. This is a list of how often words are used in the German language. The best one I have found so far is here: 10,000 words. ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

When is the last sound of a syllable unvoiced?

It is very common to unvoice consonant sounds appearing last in a word. die Hand -- /hant/ -- d → /t/ der Tag -- /taːk/ -- g → /k/ der Staub -- /ʃtaʊp/ -- b → /p/ This sometimes happens with ...
22
votes
2answers
653 views

Woher stammt die Verwendung des Infinitivs als Ersatz für den Imperativ?

Immer häufiger sehe ich den Infinitiv, wo ich den Imperativ erwarte: Statt Haltet die Einfahrt frei. steht da also Einfahrt freihalten. oder sogar Die Einfahrt ist freizuhalten. ...
22
votes
3answers
837 views

Was meint ein Österreicher, wenn er am Telefon fragt “Welche Klappe haben Sie bitte”?

Ich wurde einmal während eines Telefongespräches mit einem österreichischen Kunden überraschend gefragt: Welche Klappe haben Sie bitte? Was wollte er von mir wissen? During a business call ...
22
votes
2answers
857 views

Why are the German guillemets inverted?

I've been wondering for some time, Why do Germans use inverted guillemets (»…«) in contrast with the original French use (« … »)? When did such usage begin? (They are originally French, right? ...
22
votes
2answers
13k views

Are there any German Internet slang acronyms like “LOL”?

LOL (an acronym for "laughing out loud"), LMAO, ROTFL and other Internet slang acronyms that express bodily reactions, in particular laughter, are very popular. Are there equivalent or similar German ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Rechtschreibung zusammengesetzter Wörter unterschiedlicher Sprachen

Wie sollten, nach neuer Rechtschreibung, zusammengesetzte Wörte aus englischen und deutschen Begriffen geschrieben werden? Zum Beispiel: „Standby-Betrieb“, „Standbybetrieb“ „Empfangs-Thread“, „...
21
votes
10answers
5k views

How do you say “geek”/“IT guy” in German?

How do you call the kind of people who either work in IT or spend a lot of time with this kind of stuff? The only word I’ve found is Streber but it seems to have a negative connotation (like nerd).
21
votes
17answers
7k views

What is a good way to start learning German?

There is already a question that asks for free resource for learning German. However, I would like to know what resources are good for learning German regardless of their cost. The online sources I'...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Derogatory word for someone who wears glasses

Does German have a derogatory word, or expression, for someone who wears glasses?
21
votes
10answers
6k views

Is Yiddish a dialect of German?

I would call it a dialect of German, and I wonder if people would agree with that characterization? I am posting a link to my musical translation of the epic Yiddish poetic ballad "Monisch" so people ...
21
votes
7answers
7k views

What time does “Vormittag” start and end?

This morning I read someone's message (written at 7am) saying that he likes "den frühen Vormittag". In my opinion 7am in the morning isn't Vormittag yet. Is there a definition for the time span ...
21
votes
4answers
4k views

Why doesn’t German have a present continuous tense?

German language doesn’t have a present continuous/progressive tense like English, Dutch or Spanish. German has no present progressive tense (am going/are buying). The German Präsens ich kaufe can ...
21
votes
4answers
744 views

Should I use the old spelling rules?

There seems to be a strong negative emotional reaction among (some?) native German speakers to the new spelling rules. They use the old spelling rules themselves and dislike the new spelling. Should ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

“Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod”: is German really losing Genitiv? (evolutionary viewpoint)

"Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod" is an interesting German phrase which originates this question. I'm interested in knowing how true is it/will it be. Has German always had four cases? Or were ...
21
votes
2answers
10k views

Meaning and origin of 'Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof'

What does the following sentence mean and what is its origin? Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof. I've heard this expression from some friends – I guess it's what you say when you don't really understand ...
21
votes
5answers
693 views

Is there a difference in meaning or correctness between “anderthalb” and “eineinhalb”?

I remember years ago being taught that “one and a half” is anderthalb, and being corrected when I mistakenly used eineinhalb, but I’ve heard eineinhalb a few times recently on the radio. Any ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

Gibt es Rotwelsch mittlerweile auch in der gehobenen Sprache?

Als Rotwelsch wird schon im Mittelalter die Geheimsprache der Gauner und Bettler bezeichnet. Mittlerweile sind viele Ausdrücke des Rotwelschen fester Bestandteil der deutschen Umgangssprache geworden: ...
21
votes
2answers
452 views

Was ist das (der?) Effeff?

Was ist das (der?) Effeff im folgenden Satz? Das müsst ihr aus dem Effeff können!
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Warum klingt “treffen uns um 8” richtig und “treffen uns um 20” falsch?

Zeitangaben, bei denen die Stunde größer als 12 ist, funktionieren nur mit angehängtem "Uhr": "Wir treffen uns um 23 Uhr." vs. "Wir treffen uns um 11." - "Morgens?" - "Nein, nachts!" Obwohl die 24-...
21
votes
2answers
382 views

Wann ist die Eindeutschung neuer Lehnworte sachgemäß, wann nicht?

In einem wissenschaftlichen Text soll ein Lehn- oder Zitatwort verwendet werden, das keine deutsche Entsprechung hat. Nach welchen Regeln wird entschieden, ob dieses Wort z. B. nach den Regeln der ...
21
votes
3answers
508 views

Trenne nie st – warum?

In der alten Rechtschreibung bildete die Buchstabenkombination st eine Ausnahme bei der Silbentrennung, da sie nicht getrennt wurde, auch wenn es im Widerspruch zu den sonstigen Trennregeln stand. Man ...
20
votes
4answers
13k views

How to write an “ß”?

What is the proper way to write an Eszett on paper with a pen? In English we are told to start letters at the top, but the ß only has ends at the bottom, so what is the proper way to draw the letter?
20
votes
2answers
9k views

What's the meaning of “Deine Mudda”?

In Germany, I hear a lot of jokes containing "Deine Mudda", but I don't understand them. What does this mean and what kind of jokes are containing them?
20
votes
6answers
1k views

Unterschied zwischen einer Sprachvarietät und einem Dialekt am Beispiel Österreichisch?

In einer Diskussion um »korrekte« Aussprache wurde angemerkt, dass das in Österreich gesprochene Deutsch kein Dialekt sei, sondern eine »Standardvarietät der deutschen Hochsprache«. ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

“Don't all shout at once” in German

Suppose you are giving a talk, or some sort of presentation, and every now and then you ask a question, in order to give the audience an opportunity to take part in the discussion. Now, it often ...
20
votes
7answers
645 views

Selbständig vs. selbstständig

Selbständig and selbstständig seem to share the same meaning. What are the differences in tone and usage?
20
votes
8answers
3k views

Would a computer use ‘du’ or ‘Sie’ for the user?

Would a computer use du or Sie for the user? Example: “You have unsaved changes.”
20
votes
3answers
16k views

Meaning of 0815 and ger/eng alternatives?

Does 0815 simply mean something is very standard and common, or does it carry any connotations? Where can one use it, e.g. for description of processes, objects, persons? Can you give alternative ...
20
votes
2answers
714 views

Is “sitt” really a German word?

Some people use "sitt" to indicate that they are no longer thirsty. It is used in the same way as "satt" if you're no longer hungry. I've also read that this is an artificial word that people are ...
20
votes
6answers
1k views

Wird Deutsch auch außerhalb von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz gesprochen?

Wird Deutsch auch außerhalb von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz gesprochen? Wobei ich natürlich nicht zwei Deutsche im Urlaub meine, sondern eine deutliche Verbreitung.
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Leerzeichen vor Einheiten?

Werden Mengen und Einheiten im Deutschen durch ein Leerzeichen getrennt? 12 m/s 1Å
20
votes
5answers
10k views

“Die Worte” vs. “die Wörter”

This question also has an answer here (in German): Was ist der Unterschied zwischen "Worte" und "Wörter"? Worte and Wörter are both plurals of Wort. Is there a difference ...
20
votes
4answers
8k views

Why it is “Eines Tages” and not simply “ein Tag”?

In a story I read recently, there was a sentence: Eines Tages fand Peter eine Schatzkarte! And I wonder why it is eines Tages and not ein Tag, because ein Tag is what I would say normally. Is ...
20
votes
6answers
968 views

How should one pronounce “Denglisch” words when one is a native English speaker?

I'm not sure if this question is completely on-topic since I think it's largely a cultural question rather than being strictly about German language, but I noticed a pronunciation tag so I thought it ...
20
votes
4answers
13k views

German slang websites similar to urbandictionary.com

I use this site quit a a lot, especially for English scene forums or chats. Anyone knows a similar site/online database for German slang words? Or translation service which shows at least well-known ...
20
votes
1answer
352 views

Is unwillkürlich the opposite of willkürlich?

My dictionary translates willkürlich as arbitrary and unwillkürlich as involuntary. I do not understand in what sense these concepts are opposites. Could someone give an example where this becomes ...
20
votes
4answers
617 views

Recommended news and culture streaming radio stations (auf Deutsch)?

I am specifically thinking of an analogue to NPR in the USA, whose stations generally broadcast a wide variety of show formats (news, interviews, talk radio, & entertainment) covering range of ...
20
votes
1answer
673 views

What means my car's displayed diagnosis “KÜHLMITTLE NIEDR MOTOR ABSTELLEN”?

I'm French and I purchased a used (2001) Volvo V70 which was initially buyed in Switzerland, and where diagnosis are displayed in German, so for me it's often a painful task to understand what the ...
20
votes
3answers
384 views

Ich suche eine gute Anrede für Bedienungen

Ich suche eine gute Anrede für Bedienungen im Restaurant. Seit der Kriminalisierung von »Fräulein« denke ich oft über eine Alternative nach. Ich habe bereits etliche Bedienungen gefragt und oft fanden ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

Names and total number of floors in buildings: what is correct?

I'm learning German and we've just looked into the topic "Wohnung", including numbering floors in a building. For example, let's imagine a house: ------------------------------- | dritter Stock, ...

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