About time: Nie zeitig, aber immer zeitgemäß



A while ago, my student Isabella shot this photo in Friedrichshain, Berlin. Someone is offering time (Du brauchst Zeit?) and encourages with the imperative nimm (nehmen) to take some.

Zeit is important. It is relentless and forces us to wait until the break between the first and the second act when we arrive at the opera house only 5 minutes late.

Wir sind nicht pünktlich.

Wir haben nicht zeitig (early enough) das Haus verlassen, obwohl wir zeitgemäß (modern, up to date) gekleidet sind.

The word (adjektiv, adverb) rechtzeitig represents a bit more than zeitigdoes, something other than punctual at a scheduled time: just in time, timely.

Die Sopranistin fällt von der Bühne. Der Tenor kann sie noch rechtzeitig fangen.

We call a time period die Zeitperiode or der Zeitraum, “time-space.” If we refer to an event in a Zeitraum, we have to apply the dative as if it happens in an actual space:

Mozart schrieb die Zauberflöte in einem Zeitraum von drei Monaten.

There are countless temporal adverbs. Below you find adverbs that state the repetition of events.

nie = 0 %                                                                   immer = 100 %

Ich rauche nie.                             Ich singe immer beim Duschen.

Please put these words in the correct order between nie and immer:

oft, selten, manchmal, meistens

Die Zeit exists also as the old word die Weile.

We know die Langeweile, that sneaks up to us when we watch a movie where nothing really happens, or listen to a person who really says nothing. A minute seems to take for ever. Die Langeweile means boredom, and langweilig boring, while die Kurzweile means the opposite, something interesting, exciting. Please repeat the following sentence and practice its pronunciation: Dieser Artikel ist kurzweilig.

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Bernd Hendricks. Born in Duisburg, Germany. Based in Berlin. Writer, German Language Educator. I was six years old when I went to the opera for the first time. My Grandma took me to Hänsel und Gretel at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duisburg. The first time I met an opera singer personally was during my time as foreign correspondent in New York when at a Christmas party a baritone pelted me with questions about the language of Zauberflöte. He was preparing for his role as Papageno. After my return to Berlin in September 2010, I have been giving German lessons to singers on their audition tours. My workshops in Berlin, Vienna, and London are based on my widely read book Ach, ich fühl’s—German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing. My latest book, Die Frist ist um—Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas, takes you on a journey through the language of the most popular and often performed operas in the German-speaking countries. I am also the author of several non-fiction books and two novels.

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