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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

German word of the day: Das Paradebeispiel

It is often said that the German language has a word for everything. Today’s word a day is a prime example (see what we did there?).

German word of the day: Das Paradebeispiel

The German word Paradebeispiel, which literally translates as ‘parade example’, is used to refer to a person or object that is the absolute embodiment of something. 

Whether it’s a classmate who is the textbook example of a teacher's pet, or a newly passed law that is the epitome of good foreign policy, there is no shortage of Paradebeispiele in the world.

Just as a parade is loud and rather hard to miss, a Paradebeispiel is usually a glaringly obvious example of a certain concept or idea. 

Parades such as the Carnival of Cultures in Berlin are as hard to miss as 'Paradebeispiele'. Photo: DPA

As parades are most often lively and fun events, the term is most often used in a positive sense: a hit album may be a Paradebeispiel for musical success, or a new building may be a Paradebeispiel for modern innovation. 

It can, however, also be used in a more negative way: some may say that socks and sandals are a Paradebeispiel for bad taste, or that a country’s government is a Paradebeispiel for failed leadership. 

READ ALSO: 10 ways of speaking German you'll only ever pick up on the street

Similar English terms include ‘prime example’, ‘case in point’ or ‘textbook example’.

You will often also see people pointing to an object or person after making a statement and saying ‘Exhibit A’, suggesting that said object or person is perfect evidence for what they have just said. 

So, if you ever find yourself being known as a Paradebeispiel for something, let’s hope it’s for one of your better qualities or achievements!

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

Austrian word of the day: Beisl

This is a spot you might visit at the end of the working day - or Feierabend - particularly in Austria, as Germany has a different word for these establishments. Here's what this Austrian-German word means and how to use it.

Austrian word of the day: Beisl

Why do I need to know Beisl?

Because you may be invited to one or need to find one on the map.

What does it mean?

Das Beisl, which sounds like this, is the name for a pub or inn in Austrian German where people gather to drink beverages. In Germany, it is usually called a Kneipe.

This isn’t a fancy cocktail bar – it’s a neighbourhood watering hole and forms part of the make-up of towns and cities across Austria. It’s usually unpretentious, often small and used to be very smoky before Austria banned smoking indoors.

The term comes from the Czech “pajzl”, which means pub or dive. It’s a diminutive short form of the noun “hampejz” – with meaning such as “dog house” and even “brothel”.

Other possibilities for its origins include the Yiddish bajiss (house) , and the Austrian dialectal diminutive of the word Beiz – which was a low-class pub until the word got a better reputation.

Nowadays, the Beisl are usually friendly and charming and give an insight into life in Austria. So perhaps ask your Austria friends for a tip on a cool Beisl to visit. Just don’t expect the staff to speak English at all – or take credit cards.

If you’re hungry, keep in mind that Beisl usually doesn’t serve food or at least no hot dishes.

How to use it:
Treffen wir uns am Freitag nach Feierabend im Beisl.
Let’s meet in the pub on Friday after work finishes.
Ich gehe mit den Jungs ins Beisl.
I’m going to the pub with the lads.

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