A recent Slow German Podcast begins with the sentence,

Es wird Zeit, dass ich Euch mal wieder etwas aus dem deutschen Fernsehen empfehle.

My question is regarding the word "mal". I believe it is being used as a modal particle to softening the meaning of the sentence. However, I am curious about its position. I would think the softening would be with regard to the recommendation and therefore the mal should be positioned just before the "empfehle". Why is it in this position?

  • 1
    Replace it with einmal to get a better understanding. Sep 20 '19 at 20:07

Mal wieder and wieder mal are fixed combinations. The meaning is the same: this is another infrequent installment.

Let's compare mal, wieder, and mal wieder/wieder mal:

Es gibt heute mal keinen Kaffee.

"No coffee today, but I made the best out of this situation." This is an excuse. The reason is mal means einmal, and tomorrow there will be coffee again.

Es gibt wieder keinen Kaffee.

Next day, someone is annoyed there is no coffee. Again.

Es gibt wieder mal keinen Kaffee.

Es gibt mal wieder keinen Kaffee.

No coffee today. Again. Shit happens. At least it's not every day.

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