Two different plurals for das Wort

The German word for "word" is das Wort, as you surely already know. But had you noticed that there are two different plurals for it: die Worte and die Wörter? It's hard to know which is correct without understanding the distinction in meaning between the two possibilities. Let's take a look at some examples, starting with die Worte


Worte sind jetzt fehl am Platz...

Words now are out of place...

Caption 26, Florian Bronk: Du und ich

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Und Worte können das nicht ändern, nein.

And words cannot change that, no.

Caption 22, Luxuslärm: Einmal im Leben

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So, liebe Anja, vielen, vielen Dank für deine netten Worte.

So, dear Anja, thanks very, very much for your kind words.

Caption 62, Anja Polzer; Interview

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Flüchtlinge können bei ihrer Ankunft oft nur wenige Worte oder gar kein Deutsch.

Refugees can, upon their arrival, often speak only a few words of German or none at all.

Caption 3, Flüchtlingskrise: Deutschkurse für Flüchtlinge

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And moving on to die Wörter


Kennt ihr diese kleinen Wörter?

Do you know these little words?

Caption 4, Deutsch mit Eylin: Pronomen

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Nun kennt ihr also die Wörter für die wichtigsten Farben.

So now you know the words for the most important colors.

Caption 40, Eva erklärt: Farben

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Hierfür werden dir einige Wörter vorgeschlagen.

For this, several words will be suggested to you.

Caption 40, German Intro: Cettina

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Hier, ein Notizbuch für alle neuen Wörter auf Deutsch.

Here, a notebook for all of the new German words.

Caption 14, Nicos Weg: Wo ist der Bahnhof?

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As you may have noticed above, die Wörter is usually used in a context of learning German and relating to a specific word—to the words themselves as such: Fremdwörter, Lieblingswörter, Modewörter, Passwörter, and Reimwörter are some compound word examples.


Die Worte, on the other hand, is talking about the context of words in terms of quotations, ways of speaking, or entire topics: Bibleworte, Ehrenworte, Grußworte, Nachworte, and Zauberworte, for instance.


A few words even allow for both types of plurals. For instance, if you are making a list of keywords for a website, you'd use Stichwörter. But if you are talking generally about keywords in the more abstract sense of concepts or guiding principles, you'd use Stichworte


Further Learning
Try and guess the meaning of the compound words listed above that use das Wort as their root, and then check your dictionary to see if you got it right. You can then go to German Yabla and find other examples of the words discussed above to see them used in a real world context.


If you're feeling extra brave, you can read the (as always) brilliant article by Der Spiegel author Bastian Sick about Worte vs. Wörter. As he so cleverly puts it: Wörter bestehen aus Buchstaben, Worte aus Gedanken.

Rightfully So!

If you ever go shopping in a German-speaking country, you will likely be surprised at the extent to which the sales personnel will leave you alone. However, there is one question you will often hear, which is Kommen Sie zurecht? The words das Recht and recht are used in a variety of contexts in German, so let’s take a look at some of these with the help of examples from Yabla videos. 


1. You may know the noun das Recht from legal or political contexts. It means not only "the law," but also "the legal right."


Hier in Deutschland zum Beispiel

Here in Germany, for example,

ist es vielleicht schon selbständig [selbstverständlich],

it may already be a given

dass, äh, jedes Kind, äh, Recht auf... auf Bildung hat,

that, uh, every child, uh, has a right to... to education,

Captions 62-63, Rat für nachhaltige Entwicklung - Mode gegen Armut

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2. The phrase recht haben, however, simply means "to be right" in German. 


Du hast recht“, hustete Frederick,

"You're right," coughed Frederick,

„diesen Weg gehen wir nie wieder.“

"we will never go this way again."

Caption 19, Piggeldy und Frederick - Wanderdüne

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3. The word recht is used as an adverb meaning "quite" or "rather" in order to add emphasis.


Aber im Vergleich zum gesamten Universum

But in comparison to the entire universe,

ist unser Sonnensystem noch recht jugendlich.

our Solar System is still quite youthful.

Captions 30-31, Zeit - Die Vergangenheit und Zukunft von allem

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4. The phrase zu Recht means "rightly" or "deservedly."


Wahrscheinlich kommt sie vors Jugendgericht. -Zu Recht.

She will probably appear in juvenile court. -Deservedly.

Caption 33, Die Pfefferkörner - Cybermobbing

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5. Finally, let's take a quick look at the verb mentioned at the top. Zurechtkommen is a separable verb that means “to get along,” “to get by,” or “to cope.” The verb zurechtfinden is similar, but is also used in terms of orientation, as in “to find one’s way.”


Die Ex von Fußball-Legende Lothar "Loddar" Matthäus

The ex of football legend Lothar "Loddar" Matthäus

kommt offenbar auch alleine ganz gut zurecht.

apparently is also getting along really well on her own.

Captions 2-3, Im Höhenflug - Ariadne (die Ex von Lothar Matthäus)

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Asylbewerber sollen sich ja ganz schnell

Asylum seekers, indeed, need to very quickly

im Alltag zurechtfinden.

find their way in daily life.

Caption 16, Flüchtlingskrise - Deutschkurse für Flüchtlinge

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Further Learning
Look at the examples provided from Yabla German and make sure you understand the different structures in terms of spaces and capitalization (Here is some help from Duden). Practice conjugating zurechtfinden and zurechtkommen in both main and subordinate clauses. 

Discussing Politics in German

The results of the recent national elections in the United States have been making headlines around the world this week. Regardless of your opinion of the outcome, politics will remain a major topic of discussion in the upcoming months and probably in the foreseeable future. As a means of brushing up on German political expressions and dialogs, here is a selection of Yabla German videos with historical and contemporary political themes.



1933, als der Reichstag brennt

In 1933, when the Reichstag burned,

Beginnt eine Zeit, die man Drittes Reich nennt

A period called the Third Reich began.

Captions 34-35, Rapucation - Lernen durch Rapmusik

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Der wurde im Oktober 1941

It was, in October 1941,

als Sammelplatz zur Deportation der rund zehntausend Juden aus Frankfurt bestimmt.

assigned as a collection point for the deportation of about ten thousand Jews from Frankfurt.

Captions 4-5, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell - Neue Gedenkstätte an der EZB

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Das 21. Jahrhundert ist noch ziemlich jung und vorrangig von den Anschlägen des 11 September geprägt, die schließlich zum Ausbruch des dritten Irak-Kriegs führten.

The 21st century is still pretty young and largely shaped by the attacks of September 11th, which ultimately led to the outbreak of the third Iraq War.


Nicht, dass wir heute keinen Rassismus mehr haben,

Not that we don't have racism anymore today,

aber er lebt sich oft subtiler aus.

but it is often lived out more subtly.

Captions 43-44, LUCAS-Kinder-Filmfestival - Tom Sawyer

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Max Brauer gibt seine amerikanische Bürgerschaft auf, um wieder deutscher Staatsangehöriger zu werden.

Max Brauer relinquishes his American citizenship to become a German citizen again.


Flüchtlinge können bei ihrer Ankunft oft nur wenige Worte oder gar kein Deutsch.

Refugees can, upon their arrival, often speak only a few words of German or none at all.

Caption 3, Flüchtlingskrise - Deutschkurse für Flüchtlinge

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Further Learning
You, however, have one advantage that many refugees do not: Watch the above videos to improve your German political conversation abilities and search on Yabla German for more videos related to the topic. 

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