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Learning German: Proverbs and Sayings Related to Love, Minne and Romance

By Ronda Bowen

Learn German vocabulary by memorizing some proverbs, endearments and other expressions and get your feelings across without a hitch.

Endearments

Contrary to common belief, Germans are quite romantic and sentimental. Learn endearments for both genders.Look for the Heart 

The most common words are:

Schatz (m)- treasure

Liebling (m)- darling

Puppi (f)- doll

Herzchen (n)- sweetheart

Suesse (f) - my sweet

meine Liebe - my dear (fem)

mein Lieber - my dear (male)

Schnucki (n)- cannot be translated but is quite intimate

Very important:

Ich liebe Dich - I love you

Liebesbrief (m) - love letter

Liebeskummer (m) - heartbreak

Liebe auf den ersten Blick - love at first sight

Liebe (f) - love

Sehnsucht (f) - longing

lieben - to love

flirten - to flirt

streicheln - to touch

Herz (n) - heart

Kuss (m) - kiss

kuessen - to kiss

Zaertlichkeit (f) - tenderness

Freundschaft (f) - friendship

Here are two sayings you can master:

Liebe macht blind - love renders blind

Zaertlichkeit ist die Blume der Liebe - tenderness is the flower of love

Traditions of Minne and St. Valentine

Song and culture in Germany in the Middle Ages was dominated by the concept of Minne. Minne refers to passionate but platonic love Minnesaenger which the knights felt for a noble lady and a Minnesaenger, who travelled from castle to castle, praised the virtues of the ladies. The most famous Minnesaenger was Walther von der Vogelweide. More than 80 of his songs survive.

Minnegesang - minnesong

Minnesaenger - minne singers

Burgfraeulein - Lady of the castle

Tugend - virtue

Leidenschaft - passion

Valentine's Day on the 14th of February does not have a long tradition in Germany. It has only been celebrated since about World War II. Although the Anglo/Saxon tradition of cards, flowers and sweets has found its way into German custom, Valentine is restricted to adults. No kids exchange cards; it is an exclusively mature affair.

Valentin Karte (f) - valentine card

Here are a few sayings related to Valentine; oddly all refer to weather predictions.

Kalter Valentin - frueher Lenzbeginn = if it's cold on Valentine, spring will come early. (Note: Lenz (m) is the poetic word for spring = Fruehling (m)

Ist's am Valentin noch weiss, blueht zu Ostern schon das Reis = if there is still snow on valentine, trees will bloom on Easter (again, Reis (n) is a poetic name for branches = Zweige)

Liegt am Valentin die Katz in der Sonne, kriecht sie im Maerz intern Ofen voll Wonne = if the cat is sunning itself on Valentine, it will happily crawl behind a warm stove in March

A poem - ein Gedicht

Die Zeit verfliegt, die Liebe bleibt

mein Herz dir diese Zeilen schreibt,Gingerbread Hearts 

die Liebe keine Grenzen kennt

Dein Kuss mir Deinen Namen nennt

St. Valentin komm steh uns bei

aus eins und eins mach heute zwei

die lieben sich fuer immer

schreibt dir: Dein Gerhard Zimmer Pink Piglets 

Written by lilypond as a poem which might be put into a Valentine card.

Time flies by but love remains

my heart writes these lines

love knows no borders

your kiss calls my name

St. Valentine come help us

from one and one make two today

in love forever

writes today

-G.Z.

Of course, it doesn't rhyme in the translation.

Two typically German traditons on Valentine's Day are:

Lebkuchenherzen (f) - Gingerbread hearts, also very typical for the famous Oktoberfest

Herz (n) - heart

Rosa Schweinchen (f) - pink piglets

Schweinchen (n) - piglet

In Germany, the pink pig is a symbol for good luck, hence many cards are adorned with them and sweets come in the shape of marzipan pigs.

Pronunciation

For online help pronouncing German words, try LEO, a German translator with pronunciation. Just type in the word you want to hear, and click on the speaker.