Liebhaber | Mistranslation Monday

Liebhaber. What a beautiful word. Or at least I thought it was until an embarrassing situation with the German boyfriend happened recently. Marco and I recently played the computer game Spore together. In the game, you can choose to make your character an aggressive killing machine by killing all other species. You can choose to be a peaceful ruler by simply studying the other species. Or you can choose to be something in the middle. We had already played through the game once, and our character ended up somewhere in the middle. Since it was pretty fun, I wanted to Continue Reading

German Dialects vs. American Dialects

Dialects are a controversial topic in Germany. When raising a child, many parents are confronted with the dilemma of whether or not they should raise their child with dialect or raise them speaking Hochdeutsch (standard or “high” German). Although Marco must speak Hochdeutsch daily (both at work and home), he is still a big proponent of keeping dialects alive. And I have to say that I am too. So, one weekend, Marco and I decided to test our German dialects by taking an online German dialect quiz from the German news outlet Spiegel. Here are our results: Marco Marco comes Continue Reading

Vermöbeln | Mistranslation Monday

A lot of German verbs begin with the letters “ver.” Verbessen means to improve. Versüßen means to sweeten. Verabreden means to arrange (a meeting). The thing about all of these verbs (and most German verbs that begin with ver), is that when you take the “ver” away, you are still left with a German word. Besser means better. Süß means sweet. Abrede means understanding or agreement. So, when confronted with a German verb that began with “ver” recently, I used this base to try to understand the meaning. The instance occurred when Marco yelled at me, “Ich werde dich gleich vermöbeln!” Continue Reading

Yo, Digga! | Mistranslation Monday

Today’s mistranslation comes from a few years back, but I have been weary of writing it due to its not-so-appropriate content. But since I am still reminded of this one years later, I feel like I just have to share. There are some particular slang words that people up here in Northern Germany use — words that are not taught in the classroom. One of these I encountered at a bar one night, when I heard a group of friends repeatedly calling each other Digga. I think you can all guess what word came to my mind when I heard Continue Reading

You’re Welcome | Mistranslation Monday

Although I had studied German for about 4 years, I wasn’t very good at the language before studying abroad here in 2011. So when I first arrived, I was so terrified to speak the language with actual Germans that I put off doing things that required any level of social interaction with non-Americans for as long as possible. That included grocery shopping. After living off of the cookies and apples given out at orientation meetings for nearly a week, I finally caved and walked to the local grocery store near my apartment. Luckily, picking out the items and getting to Continue Reading

Free TestDaF Resources Online

Some of the most frequently-asked questions I get through this blog is, “What advice do you have for passing the TestDaF?” After passing the TestDaF with a pretty good score in February 2014, I do have a lot to say about the test. To read my top tips for taking the exam, check out the following links: TestDaF Tips Leseverstehen Hörverstehen Schriftlicher Ausdruck Mündlicher Ausdruck For those wanting more, I have compiled a list of free resources that I found to be helpful in preparing to take the test. I will continue to update this list as I find more. TestDaF Continue Reading

Wet Dreams | Mistranslation Monday

Ever since moving to Germany, I love flipping through the weekly ads that come in the mail. Recently, we received a large advertisement from Hornbach, which is a large home improvement store. On the second page of the pamphlet, I saw this: Not thinking before speaking, I said to the German boyfriend, “Feuchttraum?!” Is that the name of this light? That sounds awfully inappropriate!” Confused, Marco came over to look at the ad and replied, “It says Feuchtraum, not Feuchttraum.“ “Oh…” The advertisement is for a moisture-proof light that is meant for use in a room with high humidity. Feuchtraum Continue Reading

Stupid Cow | Mistranslation Monday

This particular mistranslation may be one of the very first that occurred between Marco and me. In fact, this it was probably the spark for one of our first arguments as well. Original photo: Heeland Coo by Arran Moffat It occurred early on in our relationship, when my German was quite poor, and Marco was not always able to express himself coherently in English. Although I do not remember exactly what happened, I am positive that I did something stupid like miss a class or drop a sandwich on the ground. Whatever it was, it led to Marco calling me Continue Reading

Top 5 Novels for Learning German

If you are learning German, language tools such as Duolingo or Rosetta Stone can only take you so far. During my 5+ years of learning German, I have found that immersing myself in German films, TV shows, and books is a great way to improve language skills outside of the classroom. Now, this list is not for those new to the German language. If you have been learning German for a few years now and consider yourself at the B1 level, however, then German novels can help you broaden your vocabulary, learn new phrases, and improve your overall reading comprehension. Here are Continue Reading

Are You Upset? | Mistranslation Monday

This week’s Mistranslation Monday is an oldie but a goodie. It happened back when the German boyfriend visited me in the U.S. for the very first time, which was in May 2012. As soon as he stepped off the plane, all he wanted to do was go shopping. Germans have this weird fascination with how cheap jeans are in the U.S. so he was ready to stock up. Since I was living in Chicago at the time, we went straight to Macy’s downtown. Marco picked out a pair of pants pretty quickly, and took them to the register. Now, if Continue Reading