Tag Archives: das Laster

Free reading

On my run tonight (dusk is coming much earlier now, sigh), I started to wonder about the many uses for the word frei because of seeing the Stadtpark Frelichtbühne – “open air stage/theatre(er)”  or literally “free light stage.” Dict.cc gives a large number of meanings for frei, including: “unengaged,” “at liberty,” “liberal” as in “not strict,” “clear,” “nonattached,” “blank,” “frank,” “allowed,” “idle” and “uncommitted.”
The “open air” family has several other members:
• das Freilichtkino – “open air cinema”
• das Freibad – “open air/outdoor swimming pool”
• die Freifläche – “open space” or “undeveloped land”
das Freilichtkonzert – “open air concert”

Frei is also a cognate of the English word “free.” Something that is frei is available at no cost (one can be more more specific and say that something is kostenfrei). In a related semantic field, there is the meaning of frei that corresponds to unabhängig –“independent” – which is a favorite word of mine as the Unabhängigkeitserklärung – The Declaration of Independence – was signed in my home town, Philadelphia.

Finally, one of the phrases I learned on my first trip to Germany in 1984 also uses freiIst dieser Platz frei? which means “Is this seat taken?” In this context frei means “unoccupied” or “not in use” or perhaps even “spare” if you intend to pick up the seat in question and take it to another location. I was delighted DWDS included this example sentence for the “available” or “spare” meaning of frei – Sie liest in jeder freien Minute, “She reads in every spare moment” – because it is so apt as far as I am concerned!


Tagged , , , , ,

Habit forming

Yesterday I brought in some Teekesselchen for sharing at a Dialog in Deutsch session and der and das Laster kept us occupied for quite some time (in case you don’t recall, Teekesselchen are pairs of words with the same sound but different meanings, and in this particular case, they are identical words save for their associated articles which differ in terms of gender).

Der Laster is the straightforward member of the pair, meaning “truck” or “lorry” and it is a shortening of der Lastkraftwagen (LKW). Das Laster, on the other hand, got us talking. It was unfamiliar to all of us, but with some examples – too much to drink, too much time in the casino with lots of money lost – we got the idea. Then, one group member asked about die Sucht. Could it be used interchangeably with das Laster, and if not, what distinguished the two words?

The translation for das Laster given by pons.eu is “vice” and the heading says schlechte Gewohnheit or “bad habit.” Canoo.net gives die Untugend – also “bad habit” – as its synonym. Duden indicates that it is pejorative. Pons.eu defines die Sucht in two ways: “addiction” and “obsession.” It further differentiates these two meanings by referring to the “addiction” meaning as krankhafte Abhängigkeit – “pathological dependency” – and the “obsession” meaning as unwiderstehliches Verlangen – “compelling desire” or “irresistible urge.”

It turns out that we aren’t the only people trying to figure out the difference. If you search Google with Sucht and Laster as keywords, you get quite a few returns similar to these:

Rauchen – Sucht oder
Laster?  – “Smoking – Addiction or Bad Habit?”
Krankheit oder schwache Willensstärke? – “Disease or Weak Willpower?”

In the end, however, our group decided that because some of us were a bit “obsessed” with attending Dialog in Deutsch and this was a good rather than a bad habit, if we had only these two words to choose from, we would have to refer to it as our Sucht rather than our Laster.

Tagged , , , , , , ,
Ray's Musings

Mostly Music Mixed With Miscellaneous Mayhem

virtuelles Migrationsmuseum

DOMiDs Blog zum Virtuellen Migrationsmuseum

Hamburg für Anfänger

Leben und (ver)lieben in Hamburg

Deutsch lernen mit Deutschlernerblog

Deutsch lernen - Hörverstehen, Leseverstehen, Wortschatz, Grammatik, Übungen, Prüfungen, Schreiben, Quiz, Musik, Videos, Bilder



a free state of mind

Thoughts from the Journey...

The Diversity Dividend

Doing Diversity Differently


Smart language learning

Leading with Trust

Trust is the essential ingredient for leadership success.

Akademie für geile Texte

Lasst mich schreiben. Dann wird alles gut.

Idol Musings

Ray's ruminations, rants and reflections on his American Idol addiction

The Elementalist Epoch

Stories and Poems from the mind of Tristan Nagler

Reality Swipe

Welcome to the Reality Swipe experience... Brace yourself