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German phrase of the day: Anspruch

If you ever need to assert your rights in Austria, this word may come in handy.

German phrase of the day: Anspruch
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash

Why do I need to know Anspruch?

Because it can be hugely helpful when communicating with the authorities or reading Austrian news, and it’s also a component of numerous other useful words. 

What does it mean?

Der Anspruch (pronounced an.spruch) is a claim or an entitlement, which could be as broad as a monarch having a claim to a throne or an unemployed person being entitled to benefits. It’s used with the preposition “auf”, which stands in for the word “to” in English, so if you’re entitled to money you would have “Anspruch auf Geld”.

If you happen to claim what you’re owed, you would use the phrase “in Anspruch nehmen”, which means to take advantage of an opportunity or right, or to use something, like a service.  

In some case, you may have to demand what you’re owed, and that can be difficult – so don’t forget the word “Anspruchsvoll”, which means demanding or challenging. 

READ ALSO: TEST: Is your German good enough for Austrian citizenship?

Where does it come from?

The word Anspruch is composed of two parts: the word “Spruch”, which is the noun form of the verb “sprechen”, and the prefix “an”. 

Prefixes in German can tell you a lot about a word and can often suggest a motion or direction. In the case of “an”, it generally means “to” or “at” – similar to the French “à”

So taken in its literal sense, ein Anspruch is a “saying to”. This could relate to the fact that a claim to something often has to be voiced before it can be recognised: for example, you may have to apply for your housing benefit, or state that you have a claim to an inheritance. 

Slightly confusingly, the verb ansprechen doesn’t mean “to claim”, but rather to address somebody or bring something up. 

Use it like this:

Ich nehme häufig die Leistungen dieses Anbieters in Anspruch.

I often use the services of this provider.

Sie hat Anspruch auf finanzielle Unterstützung – aber sie weißt das gar nicht.

She’s entitled to financial support – but she doesn’t even know it. 

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German word of the day: Verwursten

This funny-sounding word can refer to much more than just a sausage

German word of the day: Verwursten

Why do I need to know verwursten?

The funny sounding word verb verwursten (which sounds like this) is a term referencing a very typical product (the Wurst) but with a myriad of uses beyond just sausages.

What does it mean?

Verwursten can literally mean to mix together ingredients to make a Wurst (sausage) – or anything resembling it. Manufacturers of fake meat products can also “verwursten” tofu, tempeh and the likes to make a more palatable substitute for vegetarians.

Yet it’s also slang for slapping together a bunch of ingredients – or elements of something – to make a final product. It is similar to the word verarbeiten, or to process. 

READ ALSO: Seven common myths about Austrian food you need to stop believing

A songwriter might take aspects of a story and verwursten it into their lyrics, as could a film writer with their movie.

Where does it come from?

Not surprisingly, the word stems from the world-famous Wurst, with which Austrians profess a love-hate relationship. The sausage is a staple cuisine in many parts of the country, whether Blutwurst or the Frankfurter. 

READ ALSO: Only in Austria: Graz gets its first sausage vending machine

But despite its ubiquity, it’s not considered to be the highest quality meat around. Like its American equivalent, the hotdog, the Wurst is a processed food made up of several ingredients. Give or take, it’s mostly composed of muscle meat, salt, various spices and perhaps some intestines or other (not so) savoury parts.

Sausages are one of the staple foods in Austria (Photo by Krzysztof Kowalik on Unsplash)

The sausage was recently caught up in a nationwide controversy when an investigation revealed that some Wurst products were being ‘verwurstet’ from ingredients that don’t usually belong in the recipe.

READ ALSO: Martinigansl and more: 11 delicious Austrian dishes you need to try

Here is how it’s useful

Ein veganer Aufschnitt wird von Soya und Zwiebeln verwurstet.

Vegan cold cuts are being made out of soy and onions.

Sie haben diese gespannte Geschichte in einem Film verwurstet. 

They made a film out of this suspenseful story.