Vocab of the Day (27 October 2014)


German (Deutsch): das Brot

French (Français): le pain

Spanish (Español): el pan

Italian (Italiano): il pane

Dutch (Nederlands): het brood

Czech (Čeština): chleba

Slovenian (Slovenščina): kruh

Polish (Polski): chleb

Russian (Русский): хлеб

Swedish (Svenska): bröd

Finnish (Suomi): leipä


Vocab of the Day (25 October 2014)


German (Deutsch): das Auge/die Augen

French (Français): l’œil/les yeux

Spanish (Español): el ojo/los ojos

Italian (Italiano): il occhio/gli occhi

Dutch (Nederlands): het oog/de ogen

Czech (Čeština): oko/oči

Slovenian (Slovenščina): oko/očesi (dual)/oči (plural)

Polish (Polski): oko/oczy

Russian (Русский): глаз/глаза

Swedish (Svenska): öga (indefinite), ögat (definite)/ögon (indefinite), ögonen (definite)

Finnish (Suomi): silmä/silmät

Animals 2 – (German-DE)

der Wolf der Fuchs der Hirsch das Zebra
wolf fox deer zebra

der Delphin das Walross der Hai der Pinguin
dolphin walrus shark penguin

das Krokodil die Schildkröte der Krebs die Qualle
crocodile turtle crab jellyfish

der Hamster das Eichhörnchen der Hase die Ratte
hamster squirrel hare rat

die Gans die Fledermaus die Raupe die Wespe
goose bat caterpillar wasp

(Jellyfish photo by William Warby.)

New Sporcle game + useful sites

Yet again, I had not intended to be absent from this blog as long as I’ve been! I have been doing most of my language work offline or working on song translations over at LyricsTranslate, so I haven’t had many structured articles to post here. I am close to allowing myself to be talked into beginning Ancient Greek in earnest by my classicist sister (I already study Latin) and into adding Romanian to my ever-increasing list of languages here–this time, at least, I convinced myself to work on what I have a bit more first!

Animals quiz online at Sporcle
Earlier today I finished the animals quiz on Sporcle for anyone to have a go at. You can find it by clicking here. It doesn’t include the last row of animals (ant, fly, bee, spider) simply because there wasn’t enough room! I’ll include them in the next animals game, to go with the lesson of Animals 2 that I’m working on for the blog.

Some useful websites
I’ve accumulated some more useful websites for language learning that I don’t think I mentioned here yet. I hope you check some of them out if you think they could be of use.

Lang-8 is a journal-entry-type website, where you can post entries in the language you’re learning, and native speakers can correct them with a sentence-by-sentence set-up that makes it easy to compare the corrections with your original text. In turn, you earn points by correcting other people’s entries in your native language. Free membership allows you to choose two foreign languages, while the pro option, while fairly expensive, gives you an unlimited number; if, like me, you have over ten languages to work on and you use the site fairly regularly, I think it’s well worth the money. It has been an absolute godsend for me. It may seem that you need to be very proficient to write entries in the foreign language you’re studying, but I’ve gone from pretty much a beginner stage to writing a little blurb in English and translating it into each of my languages without as many problems as one might expect. I think the best way to learn to write and speak in a language is to try, even if you make many mistakes; the best way to remember something is to get it wrong and be corrected, I think!

This is a Czech-language site, but the interface is simple enough that you should be able to navigate fairly easily. It is a Czech dictionary going into various languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Latin, and Esperanto.

Similarly, Sanakirja.org is an online Finnish dictionary (in Finnish), showing translations to and from many different languages simultaneously.

Kaannos is very similar to Sanakirja.org, providing a Finnish-language dictionary with translation to multiple languages simultaneously.

Urbaan Sanakirja
Urbaan Sanakirja is the Finnish-language version of Urban Dictionary. The entries are in Finnish, and are very useful for finding out the meaning of slang and colloquial language.

Anglesko-slovenski slovar
This is a Slovenian-language dictionary to and from English.

This is a Russian site, providing translation to and from many languages, with examples of context.

Teen Slang
As the name suggests, this is a site with explanations of teen slang in Russian.

Verb conjugation in present tense (+ imperative) (German-DE)

There is only one present tense in German, which is formed by the verb stem, plus personal endings. The personal endings for each grammatical person are as follows:

ich -e
du -st
er/sie/es -t
wir -en
ihr -t
sie -en

The infinitive, or dictionary entry, of a verb ends in -en (or sometimes just -n). This is the “to ____” form, e.g. “spielen” (“to play”) or “sammeln” (“to collect”). To find the stem, remove the -en (or -n): “spiel-” or “sammel-“. Now to conjugate “spielen” and “sammeln” in the present tense, you simply add the personal endings to the stem:

ich spiele I play ich sammle* I collect
du spielst you play du sammelst you collect
er/sie/es spielt he/she/it plays er/sie/es sammelt I collect
wir spielen we play wir sammeln** we collect
ihr spielt you play ihr sammelt you collect
sie spielen they play sie sammeln** they collect

Note that these forms can also be translated as “I was playing”, “you were collecting”, etc.

*The “ich” form of verbs ending in -n rather than -en usually misses the middle ‘e’, i.e. “ich sammle”, although “ich sammele” is possible.
**The “wir” and “sie” forms of verbs ending in -n rather than -en only add the -n back, i.e. these forms are the same as the infinitive: “wir sammeln” NOT “wir sammelen”.


Unfortunately, most verbs in German are not completely regular, like “spielen”. Some, like “sein” (“to be”), are completely irregular and just have to be learned. Luckily, most irregular verbs still fall into a pattern with others of the same type; most of these involve changing the vowel of the stem in the “du” and “er” forms. This can be by changing “e” to “ie”, “e” to “i”, “a” to “ä”, etc. They quickly become intuitive as you encounter them.

To use two examples: “sehen” (“to see”), whose stem changes from “seh” to “sieh”, and “laufen” (“to walk/run”), whose stem changes from “lauf” to “läuf”.

ich sehe I see ich laufe I run
du siehst you see du läufst you run
er/sie/es sieht he/she/it sees er/sie/es läuft he/she/it runs
wir sehen we see wir laufen we run
ihr seht you see ihr lauft you run
sie sehen they see sie laufen they run

Modal verbs (e.g. “können” [“to be able to”], “wollen” [“to want”]) are conjugated with an irregular stem (können>kann, wollen>will); more information will be able in a separate article.

Separable verbs are those with a separable prefix, e.g. “anfangen” (“to start”). The prefix “an-” is removed to the end of the clause, e.g. “It begins” > “Es fängt an”, NOT “Es anfängt”. More information on this will be available in a separate article.


The imperative form of a verb is the “command” form, such as “Play!”, “Go!”, or “Sit!”. It can also form sentences, such as “Give me the ball”, or “Go away”. For regular German imperatives, the singular imperative (addressed to “du”) comprises the verb stem, e.g. “spiel-“, plus “-e”. The ‘e’ is often dropped both in speech and writing. The plural (“ihr” form) and the polite singular and plural (“Sie” forms) resemble exactly their forms in the present tense; however, note that in the Sie form the words are reversed (verb first) and the pronoun must be included.

“Du” form (sing.) “Ihr” form (plural) “Sie” form (polite)
Spiel mit mir! Spielt mit mir! Spielen Sie mit mir! Play with me!
Komm mit mir. Kommt mit mir. Kommen Sie mit mir. Come with me.
Sammle die Briefe. Sammelt die Briefe. Sammeln Sie die Briefe. Collect the letters.

Note that “sein” takes the irregular stem “sei-“, giving imperatives of “sei”, “seid”, and “seien Sie”.

Note also: Verbs whose stem changes from “e” to “ie” (e.g. “sehen”) form their “du” imperatives differently. You take the “du” present, e.g. “siehst” and remove the “-st” > “sieh”. The “ihr” and “Sie” imperatives are formed as usual: “seht” and “sehen Sie”.


Infinitive Present (ich, du, wir) Imperatives (du, ihr, Sie)
sein (to be) bin, bist, sind sei, seid, seien Sie
lesen (to read) lese, liest, lesen lies*, lest, lesen Sie
fahren (to drive) fahre, fährst, fahren fahr, fahrt, fahren Sie
sehen (to see) sehe, siehst, sehen sieh*, seht, sehen Sie
schlafen (to sleep) schlafe, schläfst, schlafen schlaf, schlaft, schlafen Sie

*As these verbs have a stem change from “e” to “ie” in the present “du” form, the imperative “du” form also undergoes this change. Note that although “fahren” and “schlafen” undergo a stem change in the present, but not in the imperative.

North American countries (German-DE)

Antigua und Barbuda Bahamas Barbados Belize
Antigua and Barbuda Bahamas Barbados Belize

Kanada Costa Rica Kuba Dominica
Canada Costa Rica Cuba Dominica

El Salvador Grenada Guatemala
Dominican Republic El Salvador Grenada Guatemala

Haiti Honduras Jamaika Mexiko
Haiti Honduras Jamaica Mexico

Nicaragua Panama St. Kitts und Nevis St. Lucia
Nicaragua Panama St. Kitts and Nevis St. Lucia

St. Vincent und
die Grenadinen
Trinidad und Tobago Vereinigte Staaten
von Amerika
St. Vincent and
the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago United States
of America

Oceanic countries (German-DE)

Australien Föderierte
Staaten von
Fidschi Kiribati
Australia Federated States
of Micronesia
Fiji Kiribati

Marshallinseln Nauru Neuseeland Palau
Marshall Islands Nauru New Zealand Palau

Papua-Neuguinea Samoa Salomonen Tonga
Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga

Tuvalu Vanuatu
Tuvalu Vanuatu

Asian countries (German-DE)

Afghanistan Armenien Aserbaidschan Bahrain
Afghanistan Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain

Bangladesh Bhutan Brunei Kambodscha
Bangladesh Bhutan Brunei Cambodia

China (Volksrepublik
Republik Zypern Georgien Indien
China (People’s
Republic of China)
Cyprus Georgia India

Indonesien Iran Irak Israel
Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel

Japan Jordanien Kasachstan Kuwait
Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kuwait

Kirgisistan Laos Libanon Malaysia
Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Malaysia

Malediven Mongolei Myanmar (Birma) Nepal
Maldives Mongolia Myanmar (Burma) Nepal

Nordkorea Oman Pakistan Staat Palästina
North Korea Oman Pakistan Palestine

Philippinen Katar Saudi-Arabien Singapur
Philippines Qatar Saudi Arabia Singapore

Südkorea Sri Lanka Syrien Taiwan
(Republik China)
South Korea Sri Lanka Syria Taiwan
(Republic of China)

Tadschikistan Thailand Osttimor Türkei
Tajikistan Thailand Timor-Leste Turkey

Turkmenistan Vereinigte
Arabische Emirate
Usbekistan Vietnam
Turkmenistan United Arab
Uzbekistan Vietnam