Monday, July 19, 2010

Is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit?

das Gemüse (no pl.) vegetable(s)

Pronunciation: guh-MUYSE-uh  

Ist eine Tomate ein Gemüse oder eine Frucht?
Is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit?
Frisches Gemüse ist sehr gut für die Gesundheit.
Fresh vegetables are very good for your health.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Raining Young Dogs!

It's Raining Young Dogs!

Friday June 18, 2010
See something wrong with the above title? There isn't if you translate it into German -Es regnet junge Hunde - which of course is equivalent to "It's raining cats and dogs". These idioms are at least similar, but there are others that are completely different from each other such as die Kuh fliegen lassen (to let the cow fly), which simply means to have a blast. Just like in English, some German idioms are amusing, for example  die eierlegende Wollmilchsau and some are taken from literature such as In der Beschränkung zeigt sich erst der Meister (True champions respond successfully to challenges - Goethe). Click on our idiom glossary for more of these and don't forget that in all of your German-learning pursuits, Übung macht den Meister! (Practice makes perfect!)

Die Eierlegende Wollmilchsau

Sunday June 13, 2010


One of my favorite sayings overall, the egg-laying, wool-milk sow is an expression used, often ironically, when talking about a person or object possessing a group of characteristics that is difficult or impossible to find together. One example would be to describe a job advertisement with so many, varied qualifications that nobody could fill them all. You might say then that that company is looking for an "Eierlegende Wollmilchsau" and good luck to them finding anybody. Hmph.

The first written work which talks about this mythical creature is found in the book "Ludwig Renn zum 70. Geburtstag", Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1959,

Der Kampf um das eierlegende Wollschwein
Einst fiel einem Züchter ein,
Wie die Tierwelt würde sein,
Wenn man durch geschicktes Paaren
Fische schüf' mit krausen Haaren.
Die könnt' man wie Pudel scheren
Und die Arten sonst vermehren...

...Was wir brauchen, ist ein Schwein,
Das Merinowolle trägt
Und dazu noch Eier legt.
Das soll Ihre Züchtung sein!

Or, in English:
The Fight for the Egg-laying, Wool-Milk-Sow

One day a breeder thought he'd see,
Imagining how the world might be,
If you carefully chose the pair,
Fish could be made with curly hair,
Which could be sheared and bred for more...

...What we need is a pig,
that grows merino wool and lays eggs
That is what you should breed!

Um, actually it reads better in German but if anyone wants to try for more rhymes, please chime in!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Denken: Think


By , Guide

Definition: to think, to imagine, to consider
Type of word: verb
Type of verb: mixed (elements of both strong and weak verbs)
Simple Past: dachte
Past Participle: hat gedacht
See conjugation of denken
Pronounced: [dɛŋkən]

  • to think: Er kann nicht klar denken. (He can not think clearly.)

  • to imagine: sich (etwas) denken, dat.=>Ich kann mir schon denken, warum sie hier kommen will. (I can imagine why she wants to come here.)

  • Denken with prepositions
  • denken an, acc : to think of.
    Ich denke an meine Mutter. (I'm thinking of my mother.)

  • denken über, acc : to think about, to consider.
    Ich denke über meine Zukunft. (I'm thinking about my future.)
    Ich denke darüber. (I'm considering it.)

  • nachdenken: to think it over, to reflect.
    Denk mal nach, ob du wirklich dahin umziehen willst.
    (Think it over if you really want to move out there.)

  • daran denken: to think about something with the intent of doing it, to remember to do.
    Er muss daran denken, das Abendessen zu kochen bevor sie ankommen. (He must remember to cook supper before they arrive.)

  • Expressions:
  • Was denkst du? /Wie denkst du darüber? (What's your opinion?)

  • Was hast du dir (eigentlich) dabei gedacht? (What were you thinking?)

  • Wo denkst du hin? (retorted to someone when something it is out of the question - Not on your life! Impossible!)

  • Ich denke schon. (I think so.)

  • Idiom: :Der Mensch denkt, Gott lenkt (Man proposes, God disposes)
    Synonym: sich überlegen; sich vorstellen
    Related Words: das Denkmal (a monument), das Andenken (a keepsake, a souvenir)