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LEARNING GERMAN

German word of the day: Liebestoll

With Valentine’s Day around the corner on Friday, today’s word of the day is a good one for all of the Love Birds looking for a way to sum up their flowery feelings.

German word of the day: Liebestoll

This word is easily recognized by anyone in the initial (or, if you’re lucky, later) stages of love, when you feel utterly and completely head-over-heels in love with someone.

In English, the best translations would be love-struck, lovelorn or moonstruck.

SEE ALSO: 10 beautiful ways to express your love in German

This is the feeling that Germany’s Dichter und Denker (poets and thinkers) have had throughout the ages, when they have composed poetic homages expressing their limitless Liebe – sometimes with somberness when it comes to love not returned.

Eighteenth-century Germany writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was liebestoll himself when he penned a novel, inspired by his own feelings, about unrequited love in the 1770s.

The Sorrows of Young Werther focuses on a young artist who falls madly in love with a beautiful young woman he meets, before learning that she is engaged to another man.

A dramatic turn of events ensues, and Werther – so overcome with emotion – takes a tragic decision to stop the suffering he sees imposed by Charlotte.

READ ALSO: Word of the day: Der Kosename

The intense emotion expressed in the novel made it one of the most important works in Germany’s Sturm and Drang (Storm and Urge) literary movement.

The movement broke free from a period of rationalism in literature and philosophy that had followed the Enlightenment, and instead centred on extremes of emotion and individual subjectivity – or in Goethe’s case, an individual’s lovelorn state dominating their view of the world.

In summary, whether you’re simply feeling super happy with your significant other, or in a suffer-less state of all-consuming feelings for the person you yearn for but cannot have, liebestoll is a strong word to express the perhaps inexpressible emotion of love.

The official trailer for the 2010 German film 'Young Goethe in Love', a historical drama film inspired by the events that led Goethe to pen his 'The Sorrows of a Young Werther.'

Examples:

Der liebestolle Werther könnte nicht ohne Charlotte leben.

The lovestruck Werther couldn’t live without Charlotte.

Romeo und Julia waren jung und liebestoll.

Romeo and Juliet were young and lovestruck.

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Lüften

One of the first lessons you learn when living in Germany is that airing out rooms is extremely important.

German word of the day: Lüften

Whether you sublet, rent a flat or own your home in Germany, it’s likely you’ve been told how important it is to lüften, or open your windows and let air in and out regularly. 

Lüften can be a verb or noun in Germany. As a noun it uses the ‘das’ article and stands for ventilation. The verb lüften means to air out something. It comes from the German word die Luft which means air.

The proper airing out of rooms is a very German thing. Hell, it’s a way of life. 

Just check your rent contract. Foreigners in Germany are often surprised to find that ventilating their homes is usually written into their contract and accompanied by instructions. That means it’s literally legally binding! 

There are very important rules to remember, and German even has a set of vocabulary dedicated to getting fresh air safely in and out the room. 

Words like Stoßlüften – which translates to shock or impact ventilation. This is needed at least twice a day (and more in summer) and involves opening the windows or balcony doors wide to let a ‘shock’ of cold air in. According to experts, you should do this for about five minutes a time in winter, 10-15 minutes each time in autumn and spring, and up to half an hour in summer.

Meanwhile, Querlüften or cross ventilation involves opening all the windows of a house or building and letting the fresh air flow through.

The aim of all this lüften is to stop mould from forming, get rid of smells and to stop rooms from getting too humid. The more people that live in your home, the more airing out you’ll have to do. 

Germans recommend that you turn off your heating while airing out your room (to save on money and to protect the climate) – so be sure to have a big jumper on if you’re airing out in winter. 

READ ALSO: Why Germans are obsessed with the art of airing out a room

Lüften took on a whole new meaning in the pandemic as other countries – or at least those that didn’t have the same culture for airing out – began recommending it to people as a way of helping protect against Covid-19 transmission.  

A good German habit

Lüften can quickly become a habit. Whereas before Germany, I was happy to leave a window tilted open for a while to get some fresh air, I’m now obsessed with the proper way to do it. 

I throw open the windows of my flat wide at regular intervals to get that fresh air circulating, even in the dead of winter. When I’m at home in Scotland or on holiday somewhere else, I do the same thing, which can be alarming to people who think you are trying to freeze them.

I find myself feeling pleased when the neighbours across the road from my Berlin flat open their windows or balcony doors wide. It’s like we’re all part of the secret society of fresh air.

There is nothing now that stands between me and Lüften. When I tweeted about this habit, lots of people said they felt a similar way. 

One Twitter user said: “Been telling my family this for years – as they shiver and complain about how cold it is, and my partner and I passive-aggressively follow each other around shutting and reopening windows. Makes for fun times.”

Another said: “My little sister spent an exchange year in Germany before me and when I visited was thoroughly disturbed by her obsessive window opening. A couple years later I was living in Germany and had become a convert, too.”

Examples: 

Hey Karl, Kannst du bitte dein Zimmer lüften?

Hey Karl, can you please air out your room?

In Deutschland muss man die Zimmer richtig lüften.

You really have to air out rooms the right way in Germany.

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