“Daily routine” in German

January 13, 2007 at 12:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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It’s probably nothing that you’d expect, but “how to say daily routine in German” has been one of the most popular search queries leading people to this blog. As the answer hitherto wasn’t to be found here, I’ve decided to solve the enigma.

The standard translation for “daily routine” is “Tagesablauf” (m.). A common task in German textbooks might be:

“Beschreibe deinen Tagesablauf.” (Describe your daily routine.)

Or: “Was machst du so in deinem Tagesablauf?” (What’s your daily routine like?)

The ‘so’ is rather idiomatic. You can add an ‘üblich(em)’ if you want to (Was machst du so in deinem üblichen Tagesablauf?). The ‘üblich’ doesn’t have much of an impact on the translation (and is very difficult to pronounce for English speakers), but it would stress that this is something that happens everyday.

Apart from the context of daily routines, “Tagesablauf” might also be used to describe what is going to happen in the course of a special day. “Tagesablauf” therefore is also what you might find as the heading of the programme of a conference programme that begins with ‘breakfast from 7-9:30 a.m.’ (i.e. including everything, not only the items on the conference agenda).

If you want to impress a German native with your command of idiomatic expressions, you’d ask (strictly informal, don’t use this in assignments):

“Wie sieht’n so dein üblicher Tagesablauf aus?”

The ‘n is what remains of a ‘denn’. But in order to achieve a truly native accent, the’ t’ would have to be followed by an almost nasal glottal stop, which would in turn immediately be followed by an ‘n’.

In English, a glottal stop (transcribed as ? – but therere shouldn’t be a dot in proper phonetic transcription) may be an allophone of ‘t’, i.e. a sound that is a derivation of the t, as in “bo?l” for bottle.

In German, the glottal stop is typically used at the beginning of a word that starts with a vowel, in particular when it’s pronounced sharply. You’ll find that, whenever somebody says “Achtung!” (which is an exclamation of alarm), you’ll hear a little explosion before the A. That’s the glottal stop. It can also be heard between two vowels in German (e.g. Be?amter, civil servant).

Try producing a nasal glottal stop in “Wie sieht’n”. It’s difficult, but if you manage to do this, all natives of German will marvel at the proficiency of your pronunciation skills.

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5 Comments »

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  1. Thank you! I was looking for that phrase, so I really appreciate the fact that you took the trouble to answer your google hits!

  2. […] something like the BBC, but from another blogger. So thank you Anaj, you have made my life that a lot easier today. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  3. How do you say to a friend that just came back from vacation?
    For example: “So! Back to the routine?”

    • You could say: “Hat dich der Alltag wieder?” which literally means “Does the routine have you back?”

  4. Thanks for your help!!!


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