Meine lieben Studenten!

My dear Students!


Hier ist die fuenfte Lektion.

Here is the fifth lesson.


Wir lernen [studieren] die letzten zwei Gebote

We learn [study] the last two commandments


und das Schluss.

and the conclusion.


Note: "lernen" is the cognate to "learn." It means the same. In modern German it is used mostly to refer to primary and secondary education while "studieren" ["study"] is used for higher education. "Studieren" comes from the same Latin verb from which we get "study." Verbs borrowed from Latin or French usually [or always] end in "ieren."


Von nun an erklaere ich nur die neuen Woerter.

From now on expalin I only the new words (vocables, individual words).


Das neunte Gebot

The ninth Commandment


neun -- nine -- cognate

neunte -- ninth -- "t" makes it "ordinal," indicating order, that is, "ninth." The "e" is an adjectival ending -- DON'T WORRY (be happy).


Du sollst nicht begehren deines Naechsten Haus.

Thou shouldest not covet thy neighbor's house.


begehren -- covet -- a word for "desire" -- negative in this context.

Note: The verb, "begehren," is out of place according to modern German. After the helping verb "sollen," it should come at the very end of the clause/sentence. But this rule was not so firmly fixed in Luther's day.

das Haus -- neuter noun -- cognate -- same meaning --same pronunciation (HOWSS) -- plural: die Haeuser (HOY-zer).

Note: I have said that Haus and house are pronounced the same -- and that is true in general. Note that the "s" is pronounced "ss" the same as in the English word; but in the plural, where the "s" is at the beginning of the next syllable, it sounds like our "z." But there is a difference in the vowels (in this case, diphthongs, combined vowels). German pronounces all long vowels very crisply. In English we tend to put what I call a "trajectory" on them. So we tend to say: "HOW-iss" -- almost but not quite in two syllables. In many parts of the south, this trajectory is heard as two syllables, which gives English teachers great difficulty in the Confederacy. In German, this sound is definitely one syllable: HOWSS.


Was ist das? -- Antwort.

What is that? -- Answer.


Wir sollen Gott fuerchten und lieben,

We should God fear and love,


dass wir unserm Naechsten nicht mit List

[so] that we [to] our neighbor not with deceit


nach seinem Erbe oder Hause stehen und

after his inheritance or house stand and


mit einem Schein des Rechts an uns bringen

with a show of the right to us bring





sondern ihm dasselbe zu behalten,

rather [to, for] him the same to keep,


foerderlich und dienstlich seien.

helpful and serviceable may be


die List -- craft, cunning, deceit -- we leanred "craftily" because the phrase "mit List" is used as an adverb.

Note: "List" is a "false friend." It LOOKS like an English word but does not have the same meaning at all. This is a "trick" of etymology that can arise in a number of ways. These words must simply be learned.

das Erbe -- inheritance or heritage -- neuter noun.

Note: The same word in the masculine -- der Erbe -- means "heir." It may be a distant cousin as a cognate word.


nach seinem Erbe stehen

after his inheritance stand

German idiom for seeking to get something. The preposition "nach" takes the dative case -- hence the "m" in seinem.

Hause -- house -- pronounced HOW-zeh. Why is the "e" added? That is an old, leftover, vestigal dative ending. DON'T WORRY (be happy).

usw is equivalent to etc.; it stands for "und so weiter," "and so further." "Weit" is the cognate to "wide," but it has the sense of "far" ("weiter," comparative, "further") rather than "broad" as our English word does. "Und so weiter" is pronounced: OONT ZOH VY-ter" (where the "Y" indicates the long "i" sound in English).

mit einem Schein

with a show.

"Mit" is a preposition that takes the dative -- hence the "m" in einem.

der Schein -- masculine noun -- cognate to "shine," which it sometimes means -- here in the sense of "show," that is, an appearance of right.

Note: Schein is the basis for a family of words: erscheinen, to appear, to seem; die Erscheinung, the phenomenon. If any of your church members ever shows up with an antique document labeled "Tauf-Schein" or "Taufschein," that is a Baptismal certificate -- in this case, "Schein" means something that is to be shown to certify a fact. In the same way, "fuehren" means "to lead" OR "to drive"; "der Fuehrer" is used (not only for Hitler as leader but also) to mean "driver." So a "Fuehrerschein" is a driver's license.

das Recht -- the right or the law -- neuter noun -- des Rechts is genitive for possession of category. The idea here is a show of legal right -- in other words, a false law suit.

ihm -- him -- dative case, "to" or "for."

dasselbe -- the same

behalten -- keep -- halten means hold (cognate). The prefix "be" is not accented: be-HAHL-ten; the prefix strengthens the meaning from "hold" to "keep" or "retain."

foerderlich -- literally: "further-like" -- cognate -- furthering or promoting something.

dienstlich -- serviceable -- dienen = to serve; der Dienst = service; dienstlich = service-like.

seien -- may be -- from sein, to be -- present subjunctive, first person plural.

Note: German uses the subjunctive more than English. We say: "may be"; German just says "be." The subjunctive is used when some idea other than a statement of fact is meant. The indicative (normal) verb states a fact. Subjunctive may express a wish or, as here, a purpose.


Das zehnte Gebot

The tenth Commandment


zehn - ten -- cognate. The "h" makes the vowel long: TZAYN. But pronounce it crisply -- not TZAY-in. Be strict about having one syllable only.

zehnte -- tenth -- the "t" makes it ordinal, in order, "tenth." The "e" is an adjectival ending: DON'T WORRY [be happy].


Du sollst nicht begehren deines Naechsten Weib,

Thou shouldest not covet thy neighbor's wife,


Knecht, Magd, Vieh, oder was sein ist.

servant, maid, livestock, or what his is.


das Weib -- neuter noun (YES, NEUTER!) -- wife -- cognate -- plural: die Weiber.

Note: "Weib" is an archaic word, now used only in a comic or pejorative sense. Every woman in German is called a "Frau" (lady) these days. Otherwise: DUCK! Even women's liberation is called "die Frauenbewegung" (the ladies' movement). The English word "woman" is a contraction of "wif[e]-man" in old Anglo-Saxon.

der Knecht -- servant -- man-servant (masculine in meaning as well as in grammatical gender).

Note: Knecht is pronounced "KNECHT" -- sound all the letters, the "k" before the "n" and the "ch" as a gutteral. German helps one who has throat trouble just as French helps one who has sinus trouble. The cognate is "knight" (the "gh" was once pronounced as a gutteral sound, before the "i" took on its current sound); the English knight was a member of the minor nobility but also a servant -- in the military sense -- of his feudal overlord.

die Magd -- maid -- female servant (female in meaning as well as feminine in gender).

Note: Magd and maid are cognates. From this word, by dropping the "g" and adding the diminutive (meaning small) ending "chen," which calls for adding the Umlaut in the main syllable, we get "das Maedchen," the girl (neuter noun). In several languages there is a connotation of servanthood in "boy" or "girl." See the use of "pais," "child," in the Greek of the Book of Acts.

das Vieh -- beast, animal, in the domestic sense of "livestock" in general; Luther lumps domestic animals together with this noun.

oder -- or -- cognate.

was -- what -- cognate.

sein -- his.

ist -- is.

Note: the verb, "ist," comes at the end of the subordinate clause: was sein ist.


Was ist das? -- Antwort

What is that? -- Answer.


Wir sollen Gott fuerchten und lieben,

We should God fear and love,


dass wir unserm Naechsten sein Weib,

[so] that we [to] our neighbor his wife,


Gesinde, oder Vieh abspannen

household [servants], or cattle unharness


abdringen oder

off-force or


abwendig machen,

turned-away make,


sondern dieselben anhalten,

rather the same encourage,


dass sie bleiben und tun,

that they stay and do,


was sie schuldig sind.

what they owing are.


unserm Naechsten -- to or for our neighbor -- the action being taken with reference to him -- hence the dative case, indicated "m" in unserm.

das Gesinde -- neuter noun -- household, specifically including servants. This is a "collective" or "class" noun -- a singular noun referring to a group.

abspannen -- unharness -- not the most complimentary verb with respect to the wife. The "ab" is the cognate to "off"; this prefix is accented: AHP-shpahn-nen.

abdringen -- force away -- here "ab" means "off" in the sense of "away." Dringen is to force, drive, or urge. "Ab" is accented: AHP-dring-en. Note: The "g" in "ng" is pronounced only once: for instance, "die Finger" is "fing-er," not "fing-ger" as in English.

abwendig -- turned-away -- wenden it to turn. Ab is off or away. The "ig"makes it an adjective: AHP-ven-dich.

machen -- to make -- cognate.

anhalten -- encourage -- literally: on-hold (cognates).

bleiben -- stay, remain.

tun -- do -- cognates (both related to the "the" in the Greek tithemi, put).

schuldig -- guilty or owing. Die Schuld (SCHOOLT), guilt. Schuldig (SCHOOL-dich), adjective, guilty or indebted/owing, hence the translation: "their duty. The same words are used for "guilt" and "guilty" in the theological sense of guilt for sin.

sind -- are -- from "sein," "to be" -- present indicative, third person plural: "they are" (same form for first person plural: "we are").

Note the word order: "was sie schuldig sind" what they owing are; the verb comes last in a subordinate clause (any clause other than the main part of a sentence).


Was sagt nun Gott von diesen Geboten allen? -- Antwort

What says now God of these commandmetns all? -- Answer.


sagt -- says -- from "sagen," "to say" -- cognate. Here: persent indicative third person singular. The "t" indicates third person singular (he, she, it says) just as the "s" does in English.

nun -- now -- cognate -- an old Indo-European word with a host of cognates: nun in Greek, nunc in Latin.

von -- of or from -- takes the dative case -- hence the "n" in the plural: diesen Geboten.

allen -- all -- likewise dative plural. Note the word order, which to modern German ears sounds as quaint as it does to English ears.


Er sagt also:

He says thus:


also -- thus or therefore -- note another "false friend" -- "also" does NOT mean "also.


Ich, der HErr, dein Gott, bin ein eifriger Gott,

I, the Lord, thy God, am a jealous God,


der ueber die, so mich hassen,

Who over those, who Me hate,


die Suende der Vaeter heimsucht

the sin of the fathers visits


an den Kindern bis ins dritte und vierte Glied;

to the children until into the third and fourth generation,


aber denen, so mich lieben

but to those, who Me love


und meine Gebote halten,

and My commandments keep,


denen tue ich wohl in tausend Glied.

to them do I well into thousand generation.


From Exodus 20:

der Herr -- the Lord -- masculine noun -- plural: die Herren -- when the first two letters are capitalized: HErr, as here in the Triglotta, it translates JHWH, as does LORD in English (Luther does the same for JEsus -- for Jesus is Jehovah).

Note: Herr Schmidt is literally: "Lord Smith" as Frau Schmidt is: "Lady Smith." For a lady is the wife of a lord. But while Frau has been so democratized that it loses much of its sense of "lady," Herr still sometimes is used in the sense of "gentleman." As the guy said, returning to the table in the restaurant: "The sign on the door said,'Gentlemen," but I went in anyway."

bin -- am -- present indicative, first person singular: I am.

Note: in most languages the verb for "to be" is irregular--so in English and in German. We must simply memorize the forms: Ich bin, Du bist, er/sie/es ist; wir sind; Ihr seid; sie sind; that is, I am, thou art, he/she/it is, we are, ye are, they are.

eifrig -- jealous -- the "er" is the masculine adjectival ending in the nominative -- DON'T WORRY [be happy].

der -- the masculine singular nomination definite article ("the") used here as a relative pronoun: "who"

ueber -- over -- followed by "die," accusative plural -- indicating a sense of motion-- something brought upon them.

so -- so -- cognate -- but used here in place of "who"

mich -- me -- cognate -- accusative -- the direct object of hating.

Note: German does not capitalize pronouns (I, me, my, he, his, etc.) referring to God.

die Suende -- sin -- feminine noun -- cognate. Plural: die Suenden. Like the English word "sin," "Suende" can refer to a single active sin or to "sin" or "sinfulness" as a general category -- as here.

der Vater -- father -- masculine noun -- cognate. Plural: die Vaeter (FAY-ter). Here it is genitive, indicating possession, the sins of the fathers -- and "der" is the genitive plural for all genders as well as the nominative singular for masculine.

heimsuchen -- to visit, literally to "home-seek" -- to bring home to someone -- heimsucht is the present indicative third person singular, who visits.

an den Kindern -- das Kind (KINT), child, neuter noun; plural: die Kinder -- here dative pluran (den Kindern) -- to or for the children -- here used as indirect object.

NOTE: the word order here is not that common to modern German; otherwise heimsucht would be at the end of the clause. Luther is somewhat free in his choise of word order.

bis -- until

ins -- into the -- contraction of "in das," here the preposition "in" takes the accusative case, indicating motion, hence: "into." "In dem Haus" or "im Haus" means "in the house"; but "in das Haus" or "ins Haus" means "into the house," indicating change of location.

das Glied -- "member" -- plural: die Glieder; used for a member of a group or a bodily member; used here in an archaic way to refer to a generation.

aber -- but

denen -- to or for them -- dative plural, indirect object.

so -- so -- used in place of "who"

meine Gebote -- My commandments -- plual, accusative -- direct object.

halten -- keep -- cognate to "hold."

denen -- to them -- repeated unnecessarily

tue -- do -- first person singular, present tense, "I do."

wohl -- well -- cognate -- technically an adverb, used here almost like a noun: I do them good.

in tausend Glied -- literally: into thousand generation, meaning into the thousandth generation. Luther sometimes does not use all the endings and such -- probably a remnant of his boyhood Saxon dialect. Modern German would say: in das tausendte Glied (Geschlecht).


Was ist das? -- Antwort

What is that? -- Answer


Gott draeuet zu strafen alle,

God threatens to punish all


die diese Gebote uebertreten;

who these commandments overstep;


darum sollen wir uns fuerchten

therefore should we us fear


vor seinem Zorn

before His wrath


und nicht wider solche Gebote tun.

and not against such commandments do [or: act].


Er verheisst aber Gnade und alles Gute allen,

He promises however grace and everything good to all


die solche Gebote halten;

who such commandments keep


darum sollen wir ihn auch lieben

therefore should we Him also love


und vertrauen und gerne tun

and trust and gladly do


nach seinen Geboten.

after/according to His commandments.


draeuen -- threaten -- cognates -- in modern German, usually: drohen. Draeuet is third person singular present indicative: God threatens.

zu strafen -- to punish. zu=to, cognates.

Note: Germany had a poster in the early days of World War One that said: "Gott strafe England," "May God punish England" (strafe is subjunctive here, indicating a wish). The German verb is pronounced "SHTRAH-fe[n]" -- but the English read it and pronounced it "strayfe"-- it became a verb for shooting at ground targets from an airplane: for instance, the plane made a strafing run.

alle -- all -- plural accusative -- cognate. "All" can mean "all" in the plural or "every" in the singular.

die -- nominative plural definite article: "the" -- but used as a relative pronoun: "who."

diese -- these -- plural -- cognate -- accusative; direct object.

uebertreten -- overstep -- the cognates would be "over" and "tread." It is literally the same as the Latin-based verb "transgress."

darum -- therefore -- from "da" "there" and "um" "because of" -- the "r" just keeps the "a" and the "u" separate. This is the usual German equivalent for "therefore."

uns fuerchten -- literally: we should fear us -- a reflexive verb in this archaic usage: reflexive is when the action comes back on the subject: we should fear ourselves -- but here is doesn't mean to be afraid of ourselves but to make ourselves afraid.

Note: "uns" is the cognate to "us" -- the same form for the dative and the accusative, that is the indirect and the direct objects.

vor -- before -- cognate -- preposition taking the dative case.

seinem -- dative singular masculine -- hence the "m."

der Zorn -- wrath or anger -- this word is the usual one to express the concept of "the wrath of God": Gottes Zorn or der Zorn Gottes.

Note: Some people have the last name Zorn, which makes one wonder about the temperament of their ancestors. Hopefully anger is not hereditary (except in the sense that one gets it from his children).

wider - against -- preposition taking the accusative case.

solche -- such -- cognates -- accusative plural after wider.

tun -- to do -- here in the sense of acting or operating.

verheissen -- to promise. From "heissen" to call or name -- "ver" is a prefix and is not accented: fehr-HYCE-en. verheisst is the present indicative third person singular: he promises.

aber -- but -- used later in the clause as we sometimes use "however" with the same meaning.

die Gnade -- grace -- the usual word for the theological concept: gnaedig=gracious.

alles Gute -- everything good -- neuter singular accusative. "Gute" is capitalized because, although it is an adjective, it is used as a noun -- and all nouns are capitalized in German.

allen -- all -- dative plural -- to or for all -- indirect object.

die -- nominative plural definite article ["the"] used as a relative pronoun: "who."

halten -- keep (cognate to "hold").

ihn -- Him -- accusative singular personal pronoun -- direct object.

auch -- also.

Note: The German word "auch" means "also." The German word "also" means "thus" or "therefore." Do not get them confused under pain of being pelted with Spaetzle! It is interesting that the North Germanic languages (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic) have "och" or something like that, a cognate to "auch," meaning "and."

vertrauen -- trust -- fehr-TROW-en.

gerne tun -- literally: "gladly do" -- used in German as we use "like to do."

nach seinen Geboten.

nach is a preposition taking the dative case -- hence the "n" in the other two words. Nach means "after" but in this use: "according to." We should like to act in according with His commandments.


Hier endet die fuenfte Lektion.

Here ends the fifth lession.


Naechste Woche -- der Glaube.

Next week -- the faith (that is, the creed) -- at least the first article.


Christo befohlen!

John M. "Herr Professor Pastor Doktor" Drickamer, Lakeview, Oregon

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