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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Die Sommerzeit

The clocks are springing ahead this weekend, marking the beginning of daylight saving time and the end of Germany’s dark winter period. Aptly described in German as die Sommerzeit, here is the history of how the practice came about.

German word of the day
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Why do I need to know this word?

The phrase will come in handy this weekend if you want to lament a lost hour of sleep in the morning or celebrate the extra hour of daylight in the evening. 

What does it mean? 

Die Sommerzeit translates to “summertime” or “summer season,” and refers to daylight saving time, which begins this weekend in many European countries, including Germany. At 2:00 am on Sunday, the clocks will spring one hour ahead.

In the UK, this period is known as “British Summer Time” – one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time – while in North America, daylight saving time is used more commonly.

As it turns out, die Sommerzeit actually originated in Germany. The German Empire, along with Austria-Hungary, introduced the practice in 1916 in order to conserve fuel during World War I, with the idea being that the extra daylight would reduce the use of artificial lighting, allowing the surplus fuel to be put towards the war efforts. Within weeks, many other countries across Europe followed suit. In the following years, the practice spread to Australia and the U.S as well.

But after the war, daylight saving grew unpopular in Europe. It wasn’t used on a large scale again until World War II, when Germany again popularized the practice. But a few years after the war ended, it fell out of favor for the second time. It only picked up again when France reintroduced it in 1976, in response to an energy crisis sparked by the oil embargo in 1973. By 1996, the EU standardized the saving time schedule, which now runs from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. 

But the future daylight saving time looks uncertain once again. In 2019, the European Parliament voted to abolish the practice, however efforts to actually implement this measure have stalled. So at least for this year, die Sommerzeit will continue.  

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Germany in March 2023

Use it like this: 

Wann beginnt die Sommerzeit? 

When does daylight saving time start?

Ich kann die Sommerzeit kaum erwarten!

I can’t wait for daylight saving time!

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Sommerlich

Dazzling blue skies and sweltering temperatures mean summer has arrived in Germany, and if you're looking for a word to describe how that feels, this is the perfect one to choose.

German word of the day: Sommerlich

Why do I need to know sommerlich?

Because this joyful word is not just easy to remember, but is also great for describing those days in Germany when the sun is shining and everyone seems to be in a relaxed and happy mood – as well as many other aspects of summer.

What does it mean?

As you might have guessed, sommerlich (pronounced like this) is an adjective that’s very close to the English word “summery” or “summer-like”. It describes anything that is typical of this time of year, whether you’re talking about the weather, what you’re drinking or the look you’ve gone for on a particular day.

For example, if you head out to the countryside for a short summer break, you might find yourself in the midst of a sommerliche Landschaft: a summery landscape with forests and fields with wild flowers in full bloom. 

Or you could be taken by surprise by a sudden heat wave and express regret that you haven’t had a chance to restock your sommerliche Klamotten, or summery clothes. 

READ ALSO: 10 words to help you enjoy the German summer

Mostly, though, you’ll find this word used to talk about those classic summer days with balmy weather and sunny skies, or weather conditions that feel like summer – even if it’s the wrong time of year. 

If you want to say something is more summery than something else, sommerlicher is the word you’ll need, and if something is the most summery of all, it’s am sommerlichsten

Use it like this: 

Bei diesen Temperaturen will ich immer ein erfrischender und sommerlicher Getränke in der Hand haben. 

In these temperatures I always want a refreshing and summery drink in my hand.

Ich liebe diese entspannte sommerliche Tage! Es ist wie im Urlaub zu sein. 

I love these relaxed summer days! It’s like being on holiday. 

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