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LEARNING GERMAN

German word of the day: Weltvergessen

If you're a daydreamer or romantic, this might just be your word.

German word of the day: Weltvergessen
This jogger could be 'weltvergessen' when she's so lost in the music that she doesn't notice what's around her. Photo: DPA

In direct translation, this word means “world-forgetting”. It describes the state of people who are completely oblivious to the world around them. 

For example, you might be so lost in your thoughts or your daydreams about your crush, that you’re no longer aware of anything around you. 

Equally, it can refer to moments when you’re particularly moved by something. “Sie hörte weltvergessen die Musik” means “she is absorbed by the music”, or she’s listening so intently, that she’s forgotten everything around her but the sound. 

It’s a beautiful and poetic word. But it’s also a double-edged sword: “weltvergessen” has a second, less positive meaning. 

This is because the word “vergessen” is both an adjective (forgotten) and a verb (forgetting). So, it can mean “forgotten by the world” as well as “forgetting the world.” 

“Eine weltvergessene Landschaft,” (a world-forgotten landscape) would be a lonely place indeed. 

Maybe this double-meaning is a quiet warning to the dreamers and star-gazers among us: don’t forget to engage with the world, too, or the world might forget about you. 

Examples:

Sie starrte weltvergessen aus dem Fenster.
She stared out of the window, lost in her thoughts. 

Das war der weltvergessene Autor, Moritz Blom.
That was the author Moritz Blom, whom no one knows. 

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Isso

Perhaps you've seen this word on social media and you're not sure what it means. Let us explain...

German word of the day: Isso

Why do I need to know isso?

Because it’s a nice colloquial expression to use if you’re feeling a little lazy since it combines a few words. It was also one of Germany’s favourite youth words back in 2016, although it’s definitely not particularly cool anymore and is used by all ages

What does it mean?

Isso is derived from the statement: ist so (short for es ist so) meaning ‘it’s like this’ or ‘it is so’ in English. When used as a response to someone’s statement, it usually means you completely agree. A good translation is: ‘right on!’, yes, that’s exactly right!’ or ‘it’s true!’.

You can also use the expression yourself to emphasise your thought. In this case you’d add it on at the end of your sentence. You often find isso used on Twitter, when someone is quoting a Tweet.

It can also be used in a more downbeat form accompanied by the shrugging of your shoulders. In this case you’re saying isso, because it can’t be helped, it’s the way it is. 

Use it like this: 

– Wir müssen gegen steigende Mietpreise in Berlin demonstrieren.

– Isso! 

– We have to protest against rising rents in Berlin. 

– That’s exactly right!

Frauen sind die besten Autofahrer, isso!

Women are the best drivers, it’s true.

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