Tag Archives: Redewendungen

Most common idioms (Redewendungen)

Author: Jadranka Bokan

There are so many idioms (Redewendungen) in every language including German. How can we know where to start?  You could buy special vocabularies or even some games (like me, I bought one box full of cards with idioms in a book store in Vienna) only to realise that you will never use many of the idioms that you’ll learn that way.

Why is so difficult to create a vocabulary or a game that would contain only the most frequent / common idioms in German?

I often asked myself: why is so difficult to create a vocabulary or a game that would contain only the most frequent / common idioms in German? This post contains my list of most common German idioms that I see or hear more often than any others. It’s incomplete and I am still working on it.

This post contains a list of most common German idioms

Tomaten auf den Augen haben = not being able to see something which is in front of you.

das Rad neu erfinden = to do something useless, something which is not necessary (English equivalent is “to reinvent the wheel”):  Um zu einem paneuropaeischen Verkehrssystem zu kommen, muesse man nicht das Rad neu erfinden, sondern die bestehenden Strukturen nutzen und gegebenenfalls anpassen.

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jemanden auf dem Laufenden halten = to keep someone posted, to keep them up-to-date, to share regularly latest information with them:  Wir halten unsere Kunden über neue Produkte stets auf dem Laufenden. 

über den eigenen Schatten springen = to do something which is opposed to your beliefs, character or beyond your strength: Er hat sie betrogen. Sie ist über ihren Schatten gesprungen und hat ihm vergeben.

auf die Füße fallen = to overcome some difficult situation

Source: Pixabay

das A und O = the most important thing: Gesunde Ernährung ist das A und O.

aus dem Häuschen sein = to be very excited and happy: er hat im Lotto gewonnen. Er ist aus dem Häuschen vor Freude.

eine halbe Ewigkeit = very, very long: Wir haben dich eine halbe Ewigkeit nicht gesehen; Wir mussten eine halbe Ewigkeit warten.

alles in Butter = alles ist gut: Wie geht’s? Alles in Butter.

daran ist etwas faul = something is wrong.

Kopf hoch! = cheer up!: Kopf hoch, Montag ist auch bald vorbei.

etwas/xzy ist nach hinten losgegangen = it didn’t work as expected, it failed: Madonna hatte ein lila Kleid an und sang “Purple Rain” von Prince. Es ist aber nach hinten losgegangen. Es verursachte eine Empörungswelle im Internet.

alles im grünen Bereich = it’s acceptable: Bislang ist bei mir alles im grünen Bereich und ich bin wirklich total glücklich.

ich verstehe nur Bahnhof = I don’t understand anything.

das Leben ist kein Ponyhof = life isn’t easy.

Source: Pixabay

die Zeit vergeht wie im Flug(e) = die Zeit vergeht sehr schnell.

unter die Haube kommen = to get merried.

Der Wolf im Schafspelz = a wolf in sheep’s clothing;

Perlen vor die Säue werfen = to cast pearls before swine.

If you are looking for a good online dictionary with German idioms, try this one (it’s my favourite): Redensarten-Index

If you wish to learn idioms through play, then check out this  free app with more than 1000 idioms which you can play with a partner:  Verstehen Sie Deutsch? 

If you want to learn German idioms with pictures, then make sure to follow Claudia Peter on Facebook.

 

 

Free applications for learning German

You can learn German and any other foreign language on your phone or tablet with these applications. They are suitable for both Android and iOS. Learning this way is fun, comfortable and practical (you can start the apps while waiting in the line, in the traffic jam etc.). And what is most important it’s completely free. Of course, if you wish you may install them on your desktop. Try out each of them and see which you like most. Enjoy!

Deutschtrainer A1 (by Goethe Institut) – in 10 sections (one section for each topic) you can learn everyday German at the A1 level. The app is based on dialogues and learning words and structures. It’s inspired by text books and Goethe Institut exams at the A1 level.

WordPic – provides the most important German vocabulary words with pictures. It is suited for beginners and intermediate learners. The app works offline, no Internet connection is required (except for the word pronunciation). It contains repetition algorithm which adapts to your language learning speed.

Memrise – the creators of this app are obsessed with using brain science to help us learn faster. This app embodies the very best knowledge about how the brain works, and can help people learn as quickly and effortlessly as possible. There are mems in this app to help you form vivid, sensory memories. You will be tested continuously and reminded of what you’ve learned at scientifically optimized times. This application seems to be the best according to opinion of many students who have tested various free applications. It’s advantage is also that it has a very large community. Anybody can create their own course and take part in other people’s courses! Find out more about Memrise here.

DeutschAkademie – enables you to practice German according to your Level (A1, A2, B1, B2 or C1), practice some German grammar topics or just repeat some exercises from your German grammar book. This app contains 20,000 German grammar exercises. 

Busuu – offers a free and a premium version. You can choose your level. The free version includes flashcards, writing exercises and corrections from native speakers. The premium version includes an extra travel course, mobile apps with offline mode, quizzes and official certificates, grammar exercises, vocabulary trainer and full access to 12 different language courses.

 Duolingo – is also a very popular app. maybe the most popular of them all. You should try it out and decide whether you will continue using it or not.

Phase6hallo – this app provides learning German for adults. It contains a basic vocabulary – ca. 800 words which are being presented with audio-visual exercises. It is suitable even for people (refugees) who don’t know the Latin alphabet yet. The learning process is based on regular repeating.

Deutsch Lernen – is another app which uses the power of pictures. It enables you to learn German quickly and easily! You can play it even offline.

Verstehen Sie Deutsch? – there is a version app for iPhone and Android. It’s basically a quiz. You’ll find questions on more than 1000 different German expressions and particularly beautiful or odd words in this fun quiz. Do you know the correct answer?

Free online dictionaries (with pronunciation)

Author: Jadranka Bokan

If you are uncertain about which good online dictionary you could use for free, here are some good solutions for you:

1. HUEBER

This is a  good solution for beginners because this dictionary enables native speakers to find translations from their languages into German. Here are the combinations that are available for you:

English-German, Polish-German and Spanish-German (and vice versa)

2. DUDEN

This is a German-German solution which is great for advanced learners.

Important note for beginners: every word in the above dictionaries has its own audio version which you can listen and hear how you should pronounce the word in question.

Learn German with your personal tutor – click here.

3. PONS

This online dictionary will help you to translate any word in many different languages. It also offers an online vocabulary trainer.

4. dict.cc

This dictionary stands out with the huge number of language combinations that it offers. Among other usual combinations (like German – Englisch, German – Spanish etc.), you can find the following “exotic” combinations: German – Latin, German – Esperanto,  German – Serbian etc. That’s just great!

5. Redensarten-Index

This dictionary is intended for advanced learners. it contains only idioms with lots of examples.