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This is the most beautiful German word according to foreigners

A new vote among German language learners revealed what foreigners find to be the most pleasant - and pragmatic - words auf Deutsch.

This is the most beautiful German word according to foreigners
It could be said that the most beautiful German word conveys this feeling. Photo: Depositphotos/monkeybusiness

Gemütlichkeit has been named “the most beautiful German word” of 2019, according to a vote of 850 German learners from 46 countries in the magazine “Deutsch Perfekt”.

The term roughly translates to comfort, but also coins a unique feeling which also encompasses warmth and coziness.

READ ALSO: The one German word English speakers need this winter

In second place came Schmetterling (Butterfly) and coming in third was Eichhörnchen (squirrel), despite it being notoriously difficult for English native speakers to pronounce.

The magazine received several submissions, including words created by readers themselves such as Pünktlichkeitszwanghaftigkeit (obsessiveness about punctuality) Strandkorburlaubsstimmungszeit (roughly translated to ‘beach basket holiday mood’).

Readers also sent in submissions for classic compound words such as Handschuh (glove, or literally ‘hand shoe’) and Nacktschnecke (slug, or literally ‘naked snail’).

READ ALSO: Are these the 10 most German words you can find?

“What stood out was that that many learners were fascinated by the ability of the German language to assemble words into new words,” said the magazine's editor-in-chief Jörg Walser.

The top 25 suggested words included several other uniquely German terms, such as verschlimmbessern, or making something worse by trying to make it better.

“This word shows perfectly how the German language works,” wrote a reader from Italy. “It describes what happens – and it is funny!”

READ ALSO: 12 German words you won’t find in English

Another top contender was Feierabend, or the time after work in Germany, when employees truly clock out and enjoy their free time. 

“This word only marks the end of the working day, but which other term brings with it such a positive reaction?,” wrote one reader from Costa Rica. “Everybody celebrates in their own way.”

READ ALSO: Why every country should get on board with the German Feierabend

Some readers wrote in about their favorite words, with one of the top contenders being the untranslatable word doch.

As a Mexican reader wrote to the magazine, the word can be used in a variety of contexts. It can serve as an adverb (“Er ist nett, aber doch laut“ or “He is nice but indeed loud”) or as a conjunction (“Er wollte schlafen gehen, doch dazu kam es nicht” or “He wanted to go to sleep but it just didn’t happen”).

Perhaps most commonly it’s used as a modal particle (“Mach doch eine Pause!” – “You really should take a break!”) 

READ ALSO: Das ist ja mal wichtig: The complete guide to German modal particles

Tell us: what do you find to be the most beautiful German word, and why?

This article was updated on Monday, October 7th.

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LEARNING GERMAN

The best podcasts for learning and perfecting your German

Once you've learned the basics of German, listening to podcasts is one of the best ways of increasing vocabulary and speeding up comprehension. Here are some of the best podcasts out there for German learners.

The best podcasts for learning and perfecting your German

STARTING OUT

Coffee Break German

Coffee Break German aims to take you through the basics of German in a casual lesson-like format. It is extremely easy to listen to. Each 20-minute episode acts as a mini-lesson, where German native Thomas teaches Mark Pendleton, the founder and CEO of Coffee Break Languages, the basics.

All phrases are broken down into individual words. After new phrases are introduced the listeners are encouraged to repeat them back to practise pronunciation.

The advantage of listening to this podcast is that the learner, Mark, begins at the same level as you. He is also a former high school French and Spanish teacher. He often asks for clarification of certain phrases, and it can feel as if he is asking the very questions you want answered.

You can also stream the podcast directly from the provider’s website, where they sell a supplementary package from the Coffee Break German Academy, which offers additional audio content, video flashcards and comprehensive lesson notes

German Pod 101

German Pod 101 aims to teach you all about the German language, from the basics in conversations and comprehension to the intricacies of German culture. German Pod 101 offers various levels for your German learning and starts with Absolute Beginner.

The hosts are made up of one German native and one American expat living in Germany, in order to provide you with true authentic language, but also explanations about the comparisons and contrasts with English. This podcast will, hopefully, get you speaking German from day one.

Their website offers more information and the option to create an account to access more learning materials.

Learn German by Podcast

This is a great podcast if you don’t have any previous knowledge of German. The hosts guide you through a series of scenarios in each episode and introduce you to new vocabulary based on the role-plays. Within just a few episodes, you will learn how to talk about your family, order something in a restaurant and discuss evening plans. Each phrase is uttered clearly and repeated several times, along with translations.

READ ALSO:

Learn German by Podcast provides the podcasts for free but any accompanying lesson guides must be purchased from their website. These guides include episode transcripts and some grammar tips. 

DEVELOPING YOUR GERMAN

Easy German

This podcast takes the form of a casual conversation between hosts Manuel and Cari, who chat in a fairly free-form manner about aspects of their daily lives. Sometimes they invite guests onto the podcast, and they often talk about issues particularly interesting to expats, such as: “How do Germans see themselves?”. Targeted at young adults, the podcasters bring out a new episode very three or four days.

News in Slow German

This is a fantastic podcast to improve your German listening skills. What’s more, it helps you stay informed about the news in several different levels of fluency.

The speakers are extremely clear and aim to make the podcast enjoyable to listen to. For the first part of each episode the hosts talk about a current big news story, then the second part usually features a socially relevant topic. 

A new episode comes out once a week and subscriptions are available which unlock new learning tools.

SBS German

This podcast is somewhat interesting as it is run by an Australian broadcaster for the German-speaking community down under. Perhaps because ethnic Germans in Australia have become somewhat rusty in their mother tongue, the language is relatively simple but still has a completely natural feel.

There is a lot of news here, with regular pieces on German current affairs but also quite a bit of content looking at what ties Germany and Australia together. This lies somewhere between intermediate and advanced.

A woman puts on headphones in Gadebusch, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo: dpa | Jens Büttner

PERFECTING YOUR GERMAN

Auf Deutsche gesagt

This is another great podcast for people who have a high level of German. The host, Robin Meinert, talks in a completely natural way but still manages to keep it clear and comprehensible.

This podcast also explores a whole range of topics that are interesting to internationals in Germany, such as a recent episode on whether the band Rammstein are xenophobic. In other words, the podcast doesn’t just help you learn the language, it also gives you really good insights into what Germans think about a wide range of topics.

Sozusagen

Bayern 2 present their podcast Sozusagen! for all those who are interested in the German language. This isn’t specifically directed at language learners and is likely to be just as interesting to Germans and foreigners because it talks about changes in the language like the debate over gender-sensitive nouns. Each episode explores a different linguistic question, from a discussion on German dialects to an analysis of political linguistics in Germany.

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