Dialogue - German



abreisen to travel away
abbilden to copy, map something
abmessen to measure precisely
abgehen to walk and cover every spot
absuchen to scour, search all over
abführen to lead away, lead off
abschneiden to cut off
abtrocknen to dry
abschließen to lock up; conclude
abschalten to switch off, power off
abholen to pick up
abheben to take off, lift off
abfliegen to fly away, start flying
Abdruck imprint, cast

Lesson Notes



The focus of this lesson is the prefix ab-
Ich reise morgen ab.
"I'm leaving tomorrow."

ab- is a separable prefix (one that splits off). It has two fields of meaning:

1. a movement away from here, as in "abfliegen" (to fly away), "abreisen" (to travel away), "abschneiden" (to cut off), "abführen" (to lead away)

2. relating to every single square centimeter of an area, as in "absuchen" (to scour), "abgehen" (to walk and cover every spot), "abmessen" (to measure precisely), "abbilden" (to copy / map something) and "Abdruck" (imprint or cast)

Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is Advanced Focus Lesson 1.
Judith: Willkommen!
Chuck: This is an alternative to the audio blogs we usually post for advanced students. The Advanced Focus Lessons are also intended for upper intermediate or advanced students. But in these, we help you understand an advanced part of German grammar or vocabulary usage.
Judith: [Der Großteil dieser Lektion wird auf Deutsch sein] Most of these lessons will be in German.
Chuck: [Also los! Was ist das Thema heute?]
Judith: [Heute gucken wir uns die Vorsilbe ab an] The prefix [ab] is our topic today. But, before we start, let me remind you that you can find a summary of everything we teach at GermanPod101.com.
Chuck: Just go to www.GermanPod101.com, log in and access the PDF for this lesson or go to learning center, you also find useful exercises.
Judith: [Also die Vorsilbe “ab”]
Chuck: [Das ist eine sich abspaltende Vorsilbe, oder]? This prefix is one of those split off, isn’t it?
Judith: Yeah. [Zum Beispiel abreisen bildet: Ich reise ab, Du reist ab u.s.w.]
Chuck: [Also was bedeutet diese Vorsilbe]
Judith: [Diese Vorsilbe hat zwei Bedeutungsfelder, das erste ist eine Bewegungsabfolge]
Chuck: This syllable has two areas of meaning. The first is a movement away from here.
Judith: [Zum Beispiel “abfliegen”]
Chuck: “To fly away”.
Judith: [Oder abreisen]
Chuck: “To travel away”. [Was ist der Unterschied zwischen “reisen” und “abreisen”]
Judith: [Vielleicht hilft ein Beispielsatz] An example sentence [“Ich reise morgen nach Istanbul” oder “Ich reise morgen ab”]
Chuck: So when you use [reisen] here, the focus is on where you’re traveling to and when you use an [abreisen] you can drop off the destination and the focus is on the fact that you’re leaving.
Judith: [Genau, ein weiteres Beispiel für “ab” im Sinne von “weg”]. Another example for [ab] implying a way motions. [abschneiden]
Chuck: “To cut off”. [schneiden] is just “to cut” but [abschneiden] is “to cut off”.
Judith: [Oder abführen]
Chuck: “To lead off” or “to lead away”. [führen] is “to lead”, [abführen] is “to lead somebody away”. As the police might do. I think you said that [ab] has a second meaning though, didn’t you? What is that?
Judith: Yeah. [“ab” kann sich auch auf eine Fläche oder Objekt beziehen] can relate to an area or an object. [Ich habe die ganze Stadt für dich abgesucht].
Chuck: “I looked for you all over the city.”
Judith: [suchen] is just “plain searching”, but the [ab] in [absuchen] implies visiting every single location.
Chuck: I guess that’s comparable to the path you’re taking while you’re on. It’s not enough to reach all corners or to reach six random spots while on. You have to make a system to make sure you [mouth] every single patch of grass.
Judith: Yeah, [genau]. That’s exactly what [ab] implies. You can also see this in [abgehen].
Chuck: “To walk and cover every single spot”. Like when you have a clear route.
Judith: Or [abmessen].
Chuck: “To measure precisely”.
Judith: [Und “abbilden” bedeutet “to copy”] would be “to map something”. The focus is on the precision here, too, covering every single aspect.
Chuck: This is the same for the noun [Abdruck], “an imprint” or “a cast of something”. For example, your teeth.
Judith: [Druck] alone is just a “print”.
Chuck: So, this was our first advanced focus. Short and intensive.
Judith: [Ich hoffe, ihr versteht diese Vorsilbe jetzt besser].
Chuck: Let us know what you think of this lesson.
Judith: Just go to GermanPod101.com and leave us a comment and while you’re there, check out the vocabulary list for this lesson. I made a list with all the words with the [ab] that came to my mind.
Chuck: Well, Judith that sounds really helpful.
Judith: [Nichts zu danken. Bis nächstes Mal]!
Chuck: See you next time!