“Surely there is no other language that is so slipshod and systemless, and so slippery and elusive to grasp.”
Mark Twain, The Awful German Language, 1880
There are many rules and exceptions to the rules in the German language that makes it very hard to learn. But the one good thing about German is how literal it is. One thing you need to know about the German language is that most words are built from a few small words that are connected to one another. A good example of it is words that end with ‘zeug’. Das Zeug in German means – the stuff.
Every time I hear a word that ends with ‘zeug’, like das Feuerzeug (the lighter) I imagine the person who invented this word – “this is the stuff that makes fire, therefore, the word for it will be fire-stuff”. A few years ago, I started to collect ‘zeug’ words and found that there are hundreds of them. Here I illustrated some of the more common ‘zeug’ words.
If you know some German maybe you can guess what the words are. If not, the answers are at the bottom of the page.
Yellow Column: das Feuerzeug, , das Schlagzeug, das Grünzeug, das Spielzeug, das Zaumzeug
Purple Column: das Flugzeug, das Bettzeug, das Fahrzeug, , das Werkzeug, das Steinzeug
Adi G. is a graphic designer and illustrator, she moved to Berlin 7 years ago from Israel. The thing she missed the most about Israel is her family.