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Thread: German Word of the Day (Any Day)

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    German word of the day: Die Zukunftsmusik



    Thelocal.de

    Today’s German word of the day is for those who dare to dream.

    The word Zukunftsmusik (‘future music’) may conjure up images of exciting new instruments and electronic techno beats. But this unique German term actually no longer has anything to do with music.

    It is used today to refer to plans, illusions or projects that are unlikely to be realised any time soon, if at all.

    Whether it be an outlandish new invention, brave new business concept or dreams of becoming famous, ideas dubbed as Zukunftsmusik may be nice to contemplate but will probably never come to fruition.

    In English, one would refer to such things as “pipe dream” or “pie in the sky”, or simply as false hopes or illusions.

    Despite its modern meaning, the German term does have musical origins. In the 19th century, the enemies of German composer Richard Wagner invented the word to mock the ideas about music he set out in an essay.

    The term eventually made its way into everyday use, however, and is no longer used to make fun of a person.

    Next time you catch yourself fantasising about a self-cleaning kitchen or a universal four-day weekend, use this word to stop yourself from getting your hopes up!

    Die Idee einer vollständig nachhaltigen Gesellschaft ist nach wie vor Zukunftsmusik.

    The idea of a fully sustainable society is still a long way off.

    Das ist alles noch Zukunftsmusik.

    That’s all still up in the air.

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    Senior Member Verđandi's Avatar
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    German word of the day: Naja



    Naja, we look at one of the most widely used German particles.

    Germans have a habit of using a lot of particles – which again and again confuse non-native speakers. After talking about doch last week, let’s have a look at one of the other tricky ones.

    Picture this: You are talking to someone in German. The conversation goes like this: Your conversation partner tells you a rather long story and ends it with “Naja, und dann habe ich ihr gesagt, dass sie nicht zurück zu kommen braucht.” (“Well, and then I told her that she doesn’t have to bother coming back.”) In this case, your conversation partner used one of the most infamous German particles.

    Naja, or na ja can be translated to “well” and is an interjection, which means it’s used to express a feeling. In the case of na ja, it’s used to express either agreement or doubt.

    Two examples for its use are the following:

    To tell the person you’re talking to that you agree with their statement, but have something more to say: “Na ja, ich stimme dir zu, aber…” (“Well, I agree with you, but…”)

    To wrap up a long story with a final statement: “Na ja, das war jetzt eine lange Geschichte, aber alles in allem finde ich es blöd.” (“Well, this was a long story, but all in all it really upsets me.”)

    Na ja consists of the words na and ja, ja meaning “yes” and na being a totally different case. So let me explain.

    Na is a short particle that you will probably stumble across many, many times while in Germany. If you look it up, the dictionary Duden explains na like this:

    “A particle preceding a [shortened] sentence and creating the emotional transition of something, which preceded the sentence as something spoken, occurred or thought, to a concluding statement, which may contain personal feelings, but especially the impatience, dissatisfaction, resignation, rejection, but also surprise, a request, encouragement or joy.”

    What a mouthful. A shorter explanation is probably: Na is a particle that can be used in basically any context.

    Here are some examples to showcase this:

    Na, wie geht es dir? – “Hi, how are you?”

    Na, das ist ja super gelaufen. – “Well that went great.” (ironically)

    Na so was! – “How strange!”

    Na schön. – “Very well.”

    Na, dann mal los! – “Well then, let’s go!”

    Na endlich! – “Finally!”

    Na, jetzt mach mal nicht so ein Theater. – “Now, stop making such a fuss about it.”

    So, if you want to sound like you’ve been speaking German all your life, casually start using na or na ja in your sentences. People will be impressed.

    Local.de

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    German word of the day: Die Menschentraube



    A cluster of people gather at Hamburg's Christmas market.

    While crowds are much less common in coronavirus times, this amusing way to describe a gathering of people is still worth learning.

    This German compound noun can be broken down into two parts: die Menschen (people), and die Traube (a bunch of grapes).

    Despite the word’s literal translation, its meaning has nothing to do with fruit, instead describing a crowd or gathering of people.

    And when you think about it, it’s not all that unusual. Grapes cluster on a vine to form a bunch, just as individual people group together to form a crowd. The word therefore offers quite an accurate visual representation.



    Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has seen busy airports, packed festival crowds and sold-out stadiums become a thing of the past, hopefully it won't be too long before 'die Menschentraube' can return to our everyday vocabulary.

    Examples:

    Er zwängte seinen Weg durch die Menschentraube.

    He squeezed his way through the crowd.

    Trotz des Regens bildete sich eine kleine Menschentraube bildete sich vor der Bühne.

    Despite the rain, a small crowd gathered in front of the stage.

    Die aufgeregte Menschentraube strömte aus dem Stadion.

    The excited crowd poured out of the stadium.

    Source: Local.de

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