English Words That Germans Love

Germans love using English words and phrases. As these words have moved from English over to German, however, many change their meaning. This can make it difficult for native English speakers to interpret what they mean. So, to help you brush up on your German, I have created this list of Germany’s favorite English words and phrases. 1. HandyEnglish Definition: convenient, usefulGerman Definition: cell phone This is the most widely-used term for a cell phone, which is actually kind of funny to us English-speakers. Once you get over how strange it is to call a cell phone a Handy, however, Continue Reading

Mistranslation Monday: Listen

The German boyfriend and I were listening to music on Spotify recently, which is a music steaming platform. You can see the Denglish mix of options in Spotify’s menu on the right. One of the sections we listen to quite often is called “Top Listen.” In both English and German, the word “Top” means the same thing. Depending on whether you are one of my American or German readers, however, you could have read the word “Listen” in one of two ways: English: the act of listening to something (hören) German: the plural form of List (lists). Living in a Continue Reading

How I Got Through Airport Security with Jars of Jam

For accuracy, this post should be titled:How I Accidentally Got Through Airport Security Twice with Three Large Jars of Homemade Jam…but that seemed a little wordy. If you are a frequent traveler, then you probably describe yourself as a professional at getting through airport security. Heck, I should be adding this to my resume at this point. But when I managed to get three large jars of homemade jam in my carry-on luggage from Hamburg to Chicago, via Frankfurt and Raleigh, even I was shocked. I packed my carry-on luggage without ever considering the fact that jam is a liquid. Continue Reading

Easter in Germany

The German boyfriend and I spent a very lovely Easter Sunday together this year. It started off with a huge breakfast followed by an Easter basket hunt. Here are the contents of both of our baskets: We also hid treats around the living room, and Daisy had a hunt of her own. The weather was so nice, that we decided to go out for a bike ride in the afternoon. We didn’t have a destination in mind, but we ended up coming across the old abandoned fields of the Lüneburger Sport-Klub. We brought a blanket, had a picnic, and enjoyed Continue Reading

Tips for the TestDaF: Mündlicher Ausdruck

7 SectionsComputer & Headset 35 Minutes The speaking portion of the TestDaF is done with a computer and headset. You just click the play button once to start the section, and then it plays through the recording for 35 minutes while also recording your responses. For each section, the directions will be read aloud. Then, you will receive a specific amount of time to prepare your response (Vorbereitungszeit). You will hear a tone, a voice will prompt you to give your response, and then it is your time to talk (Sprechzeit). After it has run through all 7 sections, you Continue Reading

Tips for the TestDaF: Schriftlicher Ausdruck

4 Blank Pages5 Minutes for Brainstorming60 Minutes for Writing The third portion of the TestDaF is the dreaded writing section (Schriftlicher Ausdruck). For this portion, you are given 60 minutes to write an essay about the given topic. Regardless of what the topic is, the test always requires you to touch on certain points such as describing a graph, naming your opinion, and writing about the situation in your home country. So, although you cannot predict what topic you will receive, there are some tricks to preparing. Einleitung Time: 5 minutes Length: 2-4 sentences When the writing portion begins, you Continue Reading

Tips for the TestDaF: Hörverstehen

3 Sections25 Questions40 Minutes The second section of the TestDaF is listening comprehension (Hörverstehen). It is comprised of three sections. Before each section starts, you will receive a couple minutes to read over the questions. You should take this time to highlight the important parts of each question. Then, when the text begins, you already know what to listen for. Each text will answer the questions in order. You will hear the first two sections once and the third section twice. Each section increases in difficulty. Hörtext 1: For the first section, you will hear a conversation between two people, Continue Reading

Tips for the TestDaF: Leseverstehen

3 Texts30 Questions60 minutes The first part of the TestDaF is reading comprehension (Leseverstehen). It is comprised of three sections, each of which is harder than the last. So, before you dive into the test, you should know how each text is presented and how the questions are formatted. Lesetext 1:Time: 10 Minutes The first text is composed of 8 short descriptions labeled A through H. On the answer sheet, you will find 2 examples (01-02) and 10 graded questions (1-10).   Your job is to read each of the statements (1-10), and then find the matching description (A-H). Since Continue Reading

Tips for the TestDaF

The TestDaF (Deutsch als Fremdsprache) is an advanced German language exam that is meant to test the proficiency of those who want to study at a German university. So, the topics of the test are mostly academic. The test is composed of four sections: Leseverstehen  Hörverstehen Schriftlicher Ausdruck Mündlicher Ausdruck Each of these sections is graded separately, with 5 as the best score possible for each section. Most universities require students to have at least a 4 on all sections. I took the exam in February 2014, and you can see my TestDaF results here. When preparing for the TestDaF, it is Continue Reading

German Problems: Bottle Deposit

When you purchase a bottled or canned drink in Germany, you typically have to pay a deposit (Pfand). You can tell this by whether or not the label has this symbol on it. Then, you can bring all of your empty drinks back to the grocery store, put them into a nice machine at the front, and it will spit out a coupon. Give this coupon to the cashier, and they will either give you your money back, or simply take it off of your grocery bill. For the soft plastic bottles that can only be used once (Einweg), this Continue Reading