[What’s German?] Let’s face it, you just want to know how to swear!

There’s a few ways to be mean in German, presumably like any language. Creativity is key to being effective at making someone feel like a freshly-squeezed turd, but obviously there are better ways to handle unpleasant individuals.

When I learned German, by which I mean, when I took it unto myself to learn German, I didn’t want to deal much with the profane side of the language, because I was gradually gathering a fair bit of respect for the language, and I felt kind of dirty at the idea of learning all these vulgar things. In retrospect, I probably should’ve learned them sooner. Why? Because it goes both ways.

To avoid leaving a blank expression on your face when someone insults you, check out these rude things to say to someone in German:

Geh weg!

The classic for when you want someone to sod off, as it fairly literally means, “go away.” Geh von mir sofort weg is a personal favorite, although I’m not 100% sure it’s bang on the monies, but it should be. There is of course a politer way of requesting (rather than demanding) that someone leave you be, such as “gehe bitte weg”, and then proceed to give a reason. If you say this, try not to pick the ugliest, most disrespectful tone of voice that you have, because it may come off as rude—jus’ sayin’.

Arschloch!

Such an oldie. This was one of the first things I learned in German, long before I ever delved into German’s innards. Essentially, it’s like our arsehole, or asshole if you’re American, old bean. You have the hole [das Loch] and the arse [der Arsch] which is probably not the most eloquent way of describing the glutius maximus. What can I say, Hinterloch just doesn’t have the same ring to it, although it does sound amusing; I think I may have to keep that in mind!

Du kotzt mich an!

You make me sick. No, not you, but that’s what this little tidbit means. It’s kind of strong, as you might have guessed. I suppose you could also use this for when something makes you sick. Das kotzt mich an, for example—should work. The verb is das Kotzen and can be translated as anything from puke to vomit, but generally means the prompt exit of disgusting bits and pieces from within.

Fick dich! / Verpiss dich!

I’m showing both of these because I think they are both important to highlight. Although fick dich is supposedly more literal and actually is rather x-rated, it’s still occasionally used, or at least, it was at one point to me years ago while playing a game online. I presume one of two things: either it was a kid who didn’t realise how inappropriate it was, or it wasn’t a German person and funnily enough had no idea how inappropriate it was.

As for verpiss dich, well, for some unusual reason, Germans enjoy telling people to go piss themselves. Sich verpissen is the syntax and essentially means anything from bugger off to piss off. This usage is the appropriate one when you don’t want to assume a closer relationship with someone.

Schwul / Schlampe

The first word means gay, and before you send the lynch mob after me, note that I’m only telling you about this word in-case someone uses it against you in a derogatory way, which is very, very likely. I had this said to me a long time ago but didn’t understand what they mean until a long time later, so hopefully now that won’t happen to you!

schwul sein essentially means to be homosexual, not to be confused with the now-dated usage of the word gay, which would probably match up to something like fröhlich or bunt. These words are all adjectives, so keep them in mind when forming a depressingly-weak insult usually conjured up by a child.

I should probably point out that the word for muggy, schwül, has a completely different, almost exaggerated difference of pronouncation, presumably to avoid confusion. You do not want to say it’s a homosexual day today, do you? Well, if you do, that’s fine! You just say, “Es ist heute schwul!” Good look fending off them boys. Oo-er!

If you happened to be curious as to what some German people might call a female in a less-than-colorful manner, then fear not! For I shall unburden you of your curiosity. Schlampe can be translated to anything from slut to bitch; not a very pleasant word.

Keep in mind that words like these probably have different connotations to a German native, so while slut is pretty horrible a word for me, it might be diddly-squat to someone else, much as it probably is with any language.

Leck mich am Arsch!

I learned this one with a tremendous amount of glee, as I finally knew how to politely request that people kindly take their tongue and lick my arse-crack—eew. So, leck comes from the verb lecken, which means to lick, as far as I know, but it seems to have a number of vulgar meanings, so I would treat it very carefully when using such a word normally. I’m sure you know by now what Arsch is.

I hope that entertained your secret desire to insult somebody helped you in the event that someone should insult you. Feel free to add your own insults below, although preferably not directed at me, because, you know, that’d be rude!

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Every successful real-life interaction is an achievement for me…

Why? Because social anxiety, that’s why!

I reached this point a long time ago, the point at which I congratulate myself for speaking to someone, for appearing confident, for having a laugh with strangers, and so on. I probably seem strange when I tell someone, like my dad, a number of times that I spoke to someone and said or did this and that. I may share these mundane tidbits because it matters to me.

Normal people—whatever normal is—probably won’t get this whole thing about being proud of stupidly-simple things that many take for granted. There are people out there that do the unthinkable and come back home in one piece, whereas I, a lowly nobody trying to be a somebody, feel fantastic if I do as I just did.

I’ve just come back from the chip shop. Two portions of onion rings and a chili burger with vegetables in it, just in-case you were wondering, and it was bloody fantastic. I behaved confidently, I was friendly, and I believe I was well-received. The guys there, and indeed the woman who also works there, probably see me as just a ‘normal’ person, albeit a quirky person. Such limited social success I owe to my dad, the very same guy who seems to know every person, in every place.

The thing is, despite how I acted, inside I was anxious. I was anxious about the other guys in the shop. I was worried about what I was going to say and whether I would say it right. I was worried about how I looked, whether I stood properly. I was worried that I didn’t have enough money on me because that would result in an incredibly awkward situation whereby I wouldn’t be able to pay for the food. How did I deal with my anxiety? Well, I paced, … I paced a lot. I didn’t pace like I was mulling over the idea of world domination, I just, you know, paced! I also distracted myself with the posters on the wall, because after all, for what else are they there? You’re meant to look at the bloody things. The pacing was for two reasons, really: 1) I burned some of the energy that was building up as a result of the anxiety, and 2) I would have possibly looked a bit strange just stood in one spot the entire time, stiff like a brick.

I have a flatmate, or roommate if you’re American, and he’s a jolly splendid old fellow—I don’t know, I typed American and suddenly felt the need to flex my British muscles, old boy. The thing is, this guy has his own issues as well, but I still feel a success when I have a good conversation with him, especially even a laugh!

Laughter is important to me. I’ve always been a jokey sort of guy, thanks largely to my dad’s crazy sense of humor. I’m one of those people who makes jokes at inappropriate times, and when I don’t, I’m crunching on my tongue and laughing in my mind as I try to stop myself from sharing my crazy mind with the world. If only I had all the crazy thoughts written down somewhere!

It matters to me if I talk to you. If we have a laugh, I take that home and I’ll smile about it, because you know what? I earned that social interaction.

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When anxiety strikes…

When anxiety strikes, what do you do? I’ll tell you what I do…

For me, the most important things are distraction and relaxation, and when one fails, the other usually succeeds. It’s not an overnight solution, at least in my case, as it took some time to get acquainted with these methods. Well, I say methods, but they’re actually two very basic descriptions of a whole host of methods.

I’ll assume you know what it means to relax and be distracted, but have you ever given much though into how one might relax and stay distracted when it comes to anxiety? I have! Through necessity rather than interest.

I’ve had a lot of crappy experiences with anxiety—haven’t we all—so I think it’s best if I explain by example of situations I may typically end up in or have at some point been in.

This one actually came from a psychologist. There is a potentially good way to distract yourself, particularly with social anxiety, in that you’re typically very internally focused, in other words, stressing about how you look, what you’re doing, how you sound, etc. When I go out, say, to the shops and I’m super stressed for whatever reason, what I can do is focus my attention over to some random object that may or may not be interesting. See that lamp over there? Oh wow, that’s the single most interesting thing I’ve ever seen! Dear Lord, look at the way the shadow is cast on the ground; isn’t that fascinating? No, probably not, but it’s distracting and takes away some of the internal focus.

Because I love German so much, I take the opportunity to get maximum distraction by practicing it while I’m out and about; works wonders. You don’t obviously need to be learning another language for that to be effective to you, but it’s certainly a good option, particularly as it can prevent escalation of rumination as you’re thinking in an entirely different language, so it’s harder to think in your own language while thinking about what to think in another language! Unless of course you’re fluent, then perhaps it’s not so difficult. The same idea can be transferred over to practicing your math skills, or lack thereof. If you’re a bit poetic, you could try coming up with some good poetic lines which you could jot down later, … or forget as the case will often be. The point is, take that focus away from whatever is stressing you out, be it internal or external, and focus on something interesting educational, and/or entertaining.

There’s a grounding technique I once picked up from someone who went through some pretty extreme ordeals a number of times, and I thought it was quite clever; I think it actually carries over to anxiety issues. Basically, a form of distraction and sometimes relaxation as well, is to activate your senses in a distracting way. You can light a smelly candle that takes you back to fun times or reminds you of tasty food, or you can listen to some epic music that gets you pumped up and feeling good. Whatever it is, make sure it awesome to you in some way or another. This particular grounding technique focused on touch, more specifically, tactile senses. Is there a small item you can take around with you that happens to have a texture you find nice and/or comforting? Consider shoving it in your pocket when you head on out somewhere or if you’re at home and stressing about something. When you’re stressed, have a jolly-good fiddle with your chosen object and maybe it’ll help!

Keeping yourself busy is a fantastic way of dealing with anxiety as per the distraction method. I’m a guitarist so for me to play the guitar when I’m anxious does absolute wonders! I recommend picking up an instrument if you’re not a musician and just see where it takes you. I’ve often referred to my guitar as an essential tool for my metal health. So, so many times over the years I would have lost it had I not the guitar waiting to be strummed and plucked.

I hope these few tips help you to better manage your anxiety. Be patient with yourself—don’t expect overnight miracles. learning to cope and manage problems like these takes time.

More thanks go to the supportive Facebook page Anxiety & Panic Disorders for sharing this article.

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[What’s German?] – Tools in my toolbox of language-learning tools!

In no particular order, I’m going to share with you some potentially vital websites that can teach you a tremendous amount. These websites either may be helpful to you, or have been a huge help for me over the years. Please take the time to give them all a go, as you may one day owe thanks in part to them for your fluency. Just to avoid any potential confusion: the text below refers to the link above.

http://genusly.com/

I actually stumbled across this website today. I’m not entirely sure I’d personally find it useful now, but I can see how it might’ve been handy back in the day, so it perhaps may help you. The point of that page is to show you what gender a noun is as you type it by highlighting the text a certain color associated with that particular gender. Perhaps a good tool if you are a particularly visual learner.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsYMk_FCTGBxmwKFiCynFwg

I owe a lot of my knowledge to this young woman, Katja. Not only is she aesthetically pleasing, but she’s an excellent teacher, both vibrant and engaging. I strongly recommend you go through her videos several times over as they are oozing with information.

http://german.about.com/

This is probably the first site I started using as a proper resource for my German studies. The site is full of articles that explain things in very fine detail, albeit in a bit of a dry way. One of the best things about that site that still helps me today, is that there’s IM chat software freely available for you to use.

http://www.memrise.com/home/

It’s not necessarily the site, rather a few “courses” within that are good with vocabulary and a few phrases. Unfortunately, the courses are absolutely not without problems, though. Regardless of the hiccups, such as mismatching translations and the occasional lack of article for new nouns, I still recommend this site because it still offers a lot of new words to add to your growing list of vocabulary.

http://www.dict.cc/

This is my personal go-to dictionary for German. This site also shows colloquial speach, highlights idioms and vulgarity, shows the syntax,  has plenty of phrases, gives excerpts from the ‘net, and even offers audio for just about everything so you can hear how it’s pronounced!

http://konjugator.reverso.net/konjugation-deutsch.html

One of the trickiest things with German is knowing how to conjugate a verb. This site will save you from such confusion. All you need to do is type the desired verb into the search bar and you’ll be able to find out what the Hilfsverb is and how it’s conjugated in all the great many, glorious ways. You can even see alterative ways to spell the verb in a given conjugation. My only complaint with the site is that it doesn’t clearly show the Hilfsverb, rather, I typically go to the Konjunktiv II, Futur II in order to see the Hilfsverb, which is indicated at the end as either sein or haben.

https://www.duolingo.com/

Last but by no means least, we have Duolingo—a fantastic website with a mobile application that can teach you anything from grammar to vocabulary. You won’t end up fluent by making the “tree” gold, and the site telling you you’re 100% fluent is typically complete nonsense. However, this is probably one of the biggest tools for language learning, as you can learn grammar usages, such as which preposition to use with which verbs, and a nice big list of vocabulary. Duolingo offers questionable audio, various languages alongside German, the ability to learn English from German (believe it or not, it’s educational!) and even a feature called Immersion with which you can translate documents with your fellow learners. Duolingo offers a slight gamifcation aspect in that you gain levels and earn Lingots that can be spent in a shop for language learning things; an interesting concept but has so much wasted potential.

So there you have it, boys and girls. I hope this was a help. If you know of any other awesome language-learning websites that can be used for learning German, please do share them below!

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[What’s German?] – Is it ein, eine, einer, eines, einem, or einen?

If I had a penny for every time someone asked what the score is with the articles [der Artikel; pl. die Artikel], I’d—well, actually—I wouldn’t really have a lot because a penny is sod all!

This is quite a big subject, because it’s not just which letters [der Buchstabe; pl. die Buchstaben] come after ein, rather, there’s also kein, the definite article [der bestimmte Artikel], the cases [der Fall; pl. die Fälle], and, basically, declensions [die Beugung] to deal with. It’s really quite a lot. Brace yourself for some uncensored, hardcore learning.

Disclaimer: rated S for Supervision, because you’ll need to be medically supervised while you read the following material, in the event you go into shock. You continue at your own risk. Taut with Thought takes no responsibility for any brain damage.

Now that the legal business is out of the way, we can begin, but don’t worry, you’ll probably be fine.

As you probably know, English has the definite article and the indefinite article [der unbestimmte Artikel], which is quite a normal language quality. German is no different, … kind of. In English, the definitive article is the and the indefinite article is a or an. Since we don’t have genders [das Geschlecht; pl. die Geschlechter], they just stay their same boring selves, never really grabbing any real interest from anyone, and living a life of utter mundanity. You can stop crying now.

This is quite a basic part of the topic, which I’m going through to make sure there’s an understanding from the get-go, so if you’re not that new to German, bear with me.

German has 3 genders:

  • Male [männlich] such as der Hund.
  • Female [weiblich] such as die Katze.
  • Neuter [sächlich] such as das Auto.

This trips many German learners up as they struggle to remember the right gender for the right word; I won’t go into that one as that’s a different, albeit somewhat related topic.

If a cat is die Katze, it’s eine Katze. If a dog is der Hund, it’s ein Hund. If a car is das Auto, it’s ein Auto. You might have wondered why der Hund isn’t einer Hund. Well, sometimes it is, but not in the nominative [der Nominativ] which translates to the English sentences [der Satz; pl. die Sätze] formed like this, “I am a cat.” The cat is a cat, it doesn’t have anything, it doesn’t do anything, and it doesn’t even affect anything, because it’s simply a cat. I am a person. You are a dog. This is green. It’s all nominative because nothing else really happens.

It’s the same idea with German. Ich bin ein Mensch. Du bist ein Hund. Dies ist grün. It’s all nominative. Don’t worry about the dies, that varies with gender and case too and translates to this.

Let’s bump it up a gear. You have declensions.

“Ich habe den schnellen Hund.”

Why is it den? The reason is because to simply have something [etwas haben] requests the accusative [der Akkusativ] case. I have a dog. It would have been the nominative but haben got involved, it all got flipped; turned upside down. So, you might have realised that der words [das Wort; pl. die Worte/Wörter] get turned to den when in the accusative, and you’d have assumed correctly.

So what happens if you have a dog, rather than the dog? Some of you will have already guessed, but it does in-fact get changed to einen. Here are the indefinite article usages in the accusative, with the 3 genders, including the plural [die Mehrzahl/der Plural], to which, by the way, is almost always referred as die:

  • Male: “Ich habe einen Hund.”
  • Female: “Ich habe eine Katze.”
  • Neuter: “Ich habe ein Auto.”
  • Plural: “Ich habe Hunde.”

“Ich habe einen Hund.”

It’s still the accustive, regardless of the article, because remember, etwas haben requests the accustive.

OK, so this is probably weak-sauce simple to you and you’re right about ready to give up and eat a dictionary in hopes of gaining magical linguistic abilities. Well, first and foremost, it’s not possible—there’s not enough flavor.

The 4 cases you come across in German goes as follows:

  • Nominative [Nominativ] such as, “Ich bin ein Mann.”
  • Accusative [Akkusativ] such as, “Ich habe die Schokolade.”
  • Dative [Dativ] such as, “Ich schreibe mit meiner rechten Hand.”
  • Genitive [Genitiv] such as, “Das ist die Schokolade meines Freundes.”

I realise I may have lost you with the dative and genitive, but bear with me here. It might sound daunting but when you talk or type in German, you have to take into account the gender, the case, and the declensions.

“Ich habe eine grüne Katze.”

Do you have a green cat? If you do, you should probably stop pouring green paint over it. This is a nice, simple sentence that translates to “I have a green cat.” You already know that the cat is die Katze, and I presume you figured out that a cat is eine Katze based on the information provided. With this in mind, to have a green cat becomes eine grüne Katze haben— if you’re confused about that example, haben is written at the end because like saying “to have a cat”—and is also in the accusative. There is a declination and that’s the adjective [Adjektiv] grüne. Here is a similar sentence as above in the 4 cases:

  • Nominative: “Es ist eine grüne Katze.”
  • Accusative: “Ich habe eine grüne Katze.”
  • Dative: “Ich spiele mit der grünen Katze.”
  • Genitive: “Ich sehe die Katze meines Freundes.”

Dative and genitive is where most of the action happens, in my opinion. Genitive was the hardest case for me to get my head around, with dative being the 2nd hardest case.

So, with all of this said, as one large prefix to the title, you need to know when to use ein, eine, einer, eines, einem, or einen. So I’ll wander over to the general gist, because you’ve probably had enough of all this bush-beating.

The nominative for each gender using the indefinite article:

  • “Es ist eine Katze.”
  • “Es ist ein Auto.”
  • “Es ist ein Hund.”

The accusative for each gender using the indefinite article:

  • “Ich habe eine Katze.”
  • “Ich habe ein Auto.”
  • “Ich habe einen Hund.”

The dative for each gender using the indefinite article:

  • “Du spielst mit einer Katze.”
  • “Du spielst mit einem Hund.”
  • “Du spielst mit einem Auto.”

The genitive for each gender using the indefinite article:

  • “Die Knochen einer Katze.”
  • “Die Knochen eines Hundes.”
  • “Die Knochen eines Autos.” (don’t ask, …)

So there you have it, but what happens when you flip it around to a negative? Well, it’s basically the same, but you stick a k on the front of the indefinite article, for example “ich habe keine Autos,” “ich sehe keine Katze,””ich spiele mit keinem Hund,” and “das Auto gehört zu keiner.” OK, the last one was me cheating because I couldn’t think of a genitive example for kein, if there even is such a structure of words.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why didn’t you just tell me that right at the start?!” You’re probably right, but I like to add information tied to the primary bit of knowledge because, at least with me, it helps me better understand and remember something, so too will it perhaps help you.

I hope I did this topic justice. If I left something quite big out please let me know in the comments below and I’ll consider a part two to this entry.

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[What’s German?] – Würden VS Wären

Almost two o’clock in the morning is probably not the best time to begin a project, but who cares, … besides me! I’ve decided—halfway through the article, I should add!—to name this little project, “What’s German?” Don’t ask me why, or do, but don’t expect a super profound answer, because all you’ll get is zombified drivel from a very tired individual.

I’ve decided, regardless of the lack of feedback on my last entry, that I will push forward with that idea of helping people with their German. I feel almost weird saying that because I’m still learning myself, but I explained it all already, so I’ll skip that and get straight into the muck.

I had a real issue with the words würden, and wären for a long time. I very recently managed to make sense of it all, for the most part. I did a lot of digging and a lot of questioning. Some quality discussions with my fellow German-learning friend really helped keep me focused on the connundrum at hand.

“I would have died, if that car hit me.”

Have you ever wanted to express that? No, probably not, but perhaps something similar—the key words being would have. I used to always use würde for everything and was ignorant to most of the rules with this would-have business. It’s only in the past few days that I made a metric crap-ton of progress and realised where I had been going wrong for such a long time—years, in-fact.

Did you know that every verb has its own would have form? Emanuel from German is Easy briefly explained this in a post of his on a website somewhere deep within the bowels of the Internet. Essentially, all verbs can use the würden form when saying would.

“Ich würde das schon einmal gesagt haben, aber ich wollte nicht.”

A silly example, but it should be valid, none-the-less. This quote means, “I would have said that once already, but I didn’t want to.” I tried to make that as close a translation as I could. You can in-fact use würden with all verbs, provided you use the correct Hilfsverb, sein or haben. However, as some of you are likely aware, there’s also a wären form, but wären sein cannot be used as freely as würden haben can. For example:

“Wäre ich reich, würde ich die ganze Welt besessen haben.”
As far as I know, this is correct, however, …
“Würde ich reich, wäre ich die ganze Welt besessen haben.”
…is painfully wrong, from what I’ve gleaned from my recent discovery.

If you’re like me, you’re probably sat there shouting at the screen. “But why?!” You scream. “I don’t bloody know!” I retort. Well, actually, I do, or at least I think I do. If I were rich, I would have possessed the entire world, which just so happens to be to what the first sentence translates. While I’m on this besitzen word, do note that it’s very irregular, as I’ve just discovered. The past tense of besitzen is besessen. I like to check, check, and check again to be sure—as much I can be—that I’m teaching the right thing to somebody, or at least damn close. I’m not even going to attempt a translation of the second, because I consider it a jumbled mess, and I now see why. All these years, I’ve made countless mistakes like this which will have been painful for a German person to read.

If you look at any site dedicated to listing German verb conjugations, you’ll notice that besitzen is a haben word, by which I mean, the Hilfsverb, or supporting verb, so to speak, is haben. It’s super important than whenever you learn a new verb, you find out and remember the Hilfsverb for it, and if you don’t, you’ll pay for it dearly. I’ll even send the boys over and you’ll get a right good seeing to; wait, that sounds all kinds of wrong. It turns out, just as a tip that I got from the aforementioned studdy buddy, that most motion verbs use the sein HIlfsverb.

You’ll also notice that for every verb in the German dictionary, at least as far as I know—I haven’t actually checked every single word—there’s a Konjunktiv (subjunctive; try not to get these two confused, like I did today!) that shows the würden form, but you’ll also notice that it varies slightly depending on the verb’s Hilfsverb. This means that every verb can be written as würden haben or würden sein, respective of the Hilfsverb. Here are a few examples of a typical usages:

“Ich würde in die Schule gegangen sein, aber ich hatte keine Lust und wollte im Bett zu bleiben!”
“Ich würde einen Apfel gegessen haben, aber ich hasse Obst.”
“Wäre ich ein Engel, würde ich zum Himmel geflogen sein.”

I hope that shined some light on those two annoying words. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments below, and I hope you enjoy this article so much that you share it with your German-learning friends!

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It’s German Music

“A thousand languages; one message” – Der Graf [wir sind alle wie eins]

So, I’ve gone on about Unheilig in German, given you a basic idea about the band, but it’s not enough. I’ve become such a big fan of der Graf and his music that I just have to go on about him some more. Call me obsessed, … but that’s not my name, so don’t?

Der Graf, they call him; I don’t know exactly why, only that der Graf keeps his identity withheld from the general public, I assume because he doesn’t want the fame 24/7, but I have to wonder how he handles people seeing him in the street. I for one would weep like a little girly if I saw him. I’d squee: “Ich bin dein bester Fan!” – don’t worry, I totally wouldn’t do or say that—probably. Back to reality: der Graf was called something or other in the tabloids and the name given was cut short by the fans simply as, “der Graf,” and I still don’t understand what it means; I can’t seem to find anything on it through the standard sources, so I may have to do some asking around to ascertain its true meaning.

Der Graf stuttered as a child, and I believe people would tell him that he wouldn’t be able to one day have a job involving public speaking or something along those lines—hah, now look at him; admirable. Despite the stutter, he pushed forward and made a name for himself.

I watched an interview of der Graf and tried my hardest to understand everything, but I couldn’t keep up. What I could however learn is very interesting to me. I learned that he put a close on Unheilig because he felt there wasn’t much more to sing about, and first and foremost, although he has his fans, his top priority is his family. Der Graf said he hopes the fans understand. He explained that when he was with Unheilig, he’d often not be all there as he’d always be thinking up the “next song.” I guess he felt like it was time to leave, when it’s “at the best,” to roughly translate what he sings in the fantastic farewell song called Zeit zu gehen that was released for the fans.

Unheilig has some beautiful songs that are deep, meaningful, heart-warming, and sometimes a little sad; every aching heartbeat is entirely worth the warm, classy, and sincere performance. I’m so pleased that Unheilig can be found on YouTube, because without that ability I would never have stumbled across him or his music. Listening to so wie du warst several times over for a few days really engaged me with regards to the language and really helped me feel connected, as though they were more than just words I had to learn; they were feelings I were to understand. To not have experienced this would have been quite the shame.

“You see me with closed eyes; you would lose yourself in my world” – Glasperlenspiel [ich bin ich]

It’s not all about Unheilig, though, although it is first and foremost my favorite of all the German music I so far have heard. I introduce to you a couple calling themselves and their music Glasperlenspiel. I know nothing about them, as I’m not a big-time fan or anything, I just really enjoy listening to nie vergessen and ich bin ich, the two I heard shortly after discovering Unheilig‘s so wie du warst and probably stark.

I was speaking to a young friend over the Internet, earlier. I showed him a few music videos and started to talk about German music—naturally, I went on about Unheilig in a similar repetitive manner as Peter Griffin’s Bird is the Word record; yes, I went there. This friend exclaimed that it’s “like American pop music but German,” to which I professed, “No!” Shortly thereafter I lectured him on the history of pop, laid out fantastical graphics and gave him all the statistics necessary in order that he come to the logical conclusion that German music is largely superior due to many reasons far too complicated for me to explain—I may be ever so slightly full of shit right now. In reality, I explained that I felt German music has more “heart” to it; more feeling. While this might well not be the case with all German music, and I’m sure it isn’t, I think it must be true for many.

I do feel that Germans are more feeling-orientated people, and that may just be in my head, but the conversations I’ve had with Germans have often felt very sincere, even if they were in an unpleasant manner, there was occasionally a level of bluntness there and sincerity I don’t always get from my English-speaking brethren. Perhaps it’s just appreciating different words, those of which have opened me up to new ways of thinking about how I communicate with others.

“nobody needs to save me anymore; you’ve already done that.” – Sido [einer dieser Steine]

I recently stumbled across a grand climax of epicness that is einer dieser Steine, a gentler rap tune by Sido, featuring Mark Forster who sings the chorus, leaving Sido the verses. It truly blew me away and may well end up being one of my favorite tracks for a long time, at least of the German variety.

I’m not entirely sure what the score is with Sido. I did a little trawling through the interwebs and it seems he used to be your typical gangsta-wannabe rapper—sorry, Sido! But something seems to have changed. I’m not sure if this is right. I checked out a track called Bilder im Kopf that actually also blew me away but was incredibly difficult to understand; the hardest song I’ve tried to understand because it’s so fast and so heavily colloquial, but damn is it cool. I just get this feeling of awesomeness when I hear that song. The thing is, Bilder im Kopf is quite an old track—at least 3 years old—so I’m guessing either that counts as his “newer stuff” or he was simply not as bad as the person whose comments I read online said.

I get the feeling that although Sido is a bit of a lad, he’s still just a regular human being who feels and has bonafide experiences, just like the rest of us. I don’t get the impression of some pimped-up wannabe banging on about his bitches and crack, or about how ‘ard he is, yo. It’s my first real taste of German rap, and so far me likey, assuming it’s all like this, which I sincerely doubt.

I’m sure I will stumble across plenty more German musics in due time, and I’m further sure that I will find them awe-inspiring all the same.

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So, you’re learning German, eh?

For a while now, I’ve been mulling over the idea of trying to help people who’re perhaps still fresh on the slow, clunky conveyor belt to German fluency. I’m not sure I can compete with the explanations and insight given by the likes of Katja from Deutsch für Euch or Emanuel who writes fantastical articles on the blog German is Easy, but I can at least give you my experiences, as a speaker and learner of so far almost 7 years, and as someone who is entirely self-taught. There’s a lot I can share with you.

That’s the preamble out of the way, so how about we up the ante?

When I started German, before I actually truly started, I did as most probably do and picked up the odd phrase, such as willkommen, hallo, auf wiedersehen, and ich liebe dich—the usual suspects. I never really put a great deal of thought into anything of a German nature, particularly the grammar, as it was just a casual amusement. After a while, interest picked up and that interest ended up as a passion and somewhat of an obsession.

At first, I tried Japanese romaji and found it incredibly difficult. Admittedly, one of the reasons I got into German is because people were saying it’s one of the easiest languages to learn; that it’s easy. No amount of italics can express the sarcasm intended in that text. There’s a reason the Germans have the saying deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache; German is hard, contrary to the name of Emanuel’s blog. The bright side is that learning some Japanese sort of allowed me to get my size 11 man-feet into the door, so to speak. I was able to appreciate different ways to express things, a different culture and how that affects language, as well as appreciating and using different sounds. There’s a big difference between the sounds of German and the likes of Japanese, however. For me, I’d typically consider Japanese a softer language, and German a much sharper language. Unfortunately, Japanese never stuck with me, so all these years later, all I can really remember is small, barely useful things.

Although German has its many challenges, as I’m sure every language does—I’m looking at you, Japanese, you crazy yet alluring bastard—it’s likely well within your capacity to learn it. There are patterns that begin to form which can make life easier when you come to an unfamiliar word, such as nouns with -heit at the end of them typically use the die gender. A lot of people seem to struggle with the pronounciation, particularly with the German r sound and the ch sound, but these too can be learned. Believe it or not, I learned the German r very quickly by just gargling water.

I should probably add a disclaimer that I don’t yet consider myself as a fluent speaker of German, however, I am definitely conversational, listen to German music, read German articles, have my phone and computer in German, play some games in German, have some sites in German, and so on. My idea of fluency is damn-close to how a native would speak, so I don’t think I’m going to reach that anytime soon. The general opinion I get from Germans seems to be that my German is good, so that’s me telling you that I’m not perfect, can make mistakes, but I’m not entirely atrocious. The beauty of this part of the blog is that while I learn, I can share my mistakes in the hopes that you too can learn from them.

Think of me as a tool, … not in the mean way, rather, I’m just a tool in your toolbox of language learning tools. I have no gameplan here, folks. I am indeed winging it. If you’re interested in my putting this idea into action, let me know in the comments below, or, if you’re the silent, brooding type, perhaps share the article using the buttons below so I can use the numbers as a way to judge the interest, plus shamelessly get the blog around to new people a little. If nobody’s interested, I’ll just, uh, discreetly kick this blog under the bed and we need never talk about it again.

As always, viel Glück beim Lernen.

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Ich bin ein Anhänger von Unheilig!

Der Graf ist der Alter, der mich gezeigt, wie schön Deutsch sich anzuhören sein kann, mit Stimme und Worte gleich.

Wenn du schon Deutsch lernst, solltest du dann sicher an dieses Lied hören, da es das war, was mich gezeigt wie schön Deutsch sich anhören kann. So wie Du warst heißt es und du kannst es bei YouTube suchen, es anzuhören. Ich empfehle, dass du das vorher probierst.

Als ich das erste Mal an das Lied hörte machte es mich traurig, was nicht so schlecht war, wie du vielleicht denkst, da es mir vieles über die deutsche Sprache und sogar das Leben beigebracht.

Lass los mein Freund,
Und sorge dich nicht;
Ich werde da sein,
Für die, die du liebst

Was für einen tollen Songtext. Aber dann, etwas episch … ich hatte herausgefunden, dass Helene Fischer, die schöne und beliebte Frau, die auch eine tolle Stimme hat, an der Seite von der Graf gesungen hat! Total episch. Schau mal das Video an und höre die tolle Stimmen an, das du durch den unteren Link sehen kannst:

Helene sieht in diesem Video unglaublich wunderschön aus. Aber ihre Stimme mit der Grafs ist… ach… so schön. Ein perfektes Paar und ich wünschte nur, dass die schonmal zusammen kommen könnten, aber da kommt das Schlechte.

Der Graf gab in einem offenen Brief sein Karriereende bei Unheilig bekannt, laut der Wiki-Seite. Diese ist am 2014 passiert, also hab ich das beste Mal der Band total vermisst! Über den Abschied, veröffentlicht Unheilig dieses Lied, das Zeit zu gehen heißt.

So viele Worte sind geschrieben,
So viele Träume sind gelebt,
Ihr habt uns mit Applaus getragen,
Wir durften auf den Gipfel stehen

Wäre es nur möglich, dass ich die Band sehen könnte… na ja.

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Health Anxiety is a Relentless Bitch

I’ve mentioned anxiety already on TwT, when I asked the question, “What Is It like to Be Disabled by Anxiety?” However, I don’t think I went into nearly enough detail about health anxiety, also known as hypochondria. Living in constant fear of your body betraying you can be a very disabling problem, believe it or not.

I just ate some Chia seeds, dry, and topped them with water because they were so dry. I had never tried those seeds before, but I unfortunately ended up reading an article about it while eating them—needless to say, I stopped promptly when I discovered they can apparently be dangerous, clogging up the esophagus, as was one man’s very unpleasant and no doubt scary experience. For someone with health anxiety to read that is quite terrifying, to be honest.

It’s now twenty past one in the morning and I’m tired, but I can’t sleep now because I’m so anxious, and I have this feeling that if I sleep, I might make things worse for myself, with regards to these seeds, so I’m waiting probably until two, when I think they should be closer to the stomach, but I’m no biology major. Google tells me 6-8 hours for full digestion time, and I can’t wait that long as that’ll be tomorrow! Technically, it already is tomorrow, but—don’t you ever count tomorrow when you wake up, despite it technically being the next day as it’s very early morning? Well, I do.

I had to go out for a walk because I was really anxious. I got back not long ago. I went out for about 50 minutes. Cold, dark, and dreary, but it was either that or be stuck at this very same desk fretting about this and that, which I’m currently trying not to do. I shouldn’t have eaten them so late, or at all for that matter, because my body struggles sometimes, particularly to get rid of gas, … not a pleasant read, I’m sure, but welcome to one of the many facts of life that you cannot evade forever!

I remember watching House some years ago. House is a television series starring Hugh Laurie who plays the role of a very difficult yet fantastically genius doctor. Anyway, there’s this one episode in which you see this guy who is clearly a hypochondriac, but not only that, he’s the typical needy, attention-seeking type, no doubt of the stereo category. Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t necessarily what health anxiety is all about. I do not go to the doctors every day to harass them about this and that which I feel is wrong with me—I barely have the courage to go to the doctors at all.

I had a fear-type problem with my chest that caused years of anxiety for me, and this anxiety once got so bad I almost called for an ambulance because I was convinced something was gravely wrong with me. At one point I got woken up by a sharp twang, so to say, which hurt and shocked me. I freaked out, thinking my chest was in trouble. Fearing all sorts, I woke my dad up—this being early in the morning—and told him. My dad must have clearly seen I was stressed to high heavens, and he was likely concerned as well, so in the end he took me to the nearest city hospital which was about half an hour’s drive away. In the end, having had an x-ray, they put it down to my anxiety, despite that I was sound asleep at the time.

Some time later, perhaps even years, it finally occurred to me that it was one thing and one thing only that likely caused the disturbance: the spring on the bed twanged right into my ribs.

So as you can tell, health anxiety can really escalate in the sufferer’s mind—sorry to sound so dramatic, but it really is something with which I suffer. I don’t want to be anxious right now, fearing for my life because I ate some fucking seeds; that’s asinine, but it’s not exactly illogical, right? I’m basing my fear on evidence, albeit very questionable. That’s all it takes—something actual, however small, from which a fear can develop.

A sincere thank you goes to the Facebook page Anxiety & Panic Disorders for sharing this article.
Many thanks to the Facebook page Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources for also sharing this article.

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