Toby from Southern Germany

Some of you might have noticed, that I’m not available for live lessons for quite some time now. Due to some health-related issues, I had to step back from tutoring on Chatterbug, but I hope to get back to it in the upcoming months after recovery. :crossed_fingers:
Are you interested in the weird nature of the German language? Learn more about it on my instagram channel @whyGermanwhy
I’m also a “Beekeeper” at chatterbug’s community forum! If you have a specific question about the German language or culture, I’ll do my best to answer it there!

Hello, g’day, and howzit everybody!

I’m Toby and at the moment I’m living at the foot of the Piedmontese Alps where my partner Anna and I are restoring an old country house. Before the pandemic, we lived a nomadic life for about 3 years. At first, we skipped aviation altogether and traveled from Germany down to Australia through 15 countries, always crossing land or sea borders from one neighboring country to the next. This journey took us a full year. If you’d like to get to know me a bit better before scheduling a Live Lesson, check out our website. It’s in German & English! :raised_hands:

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” - Maya Angelou

I’m a commercial photographer, videographer, and editor by profession but I guess my true calling is being a generalist. Every now and then I dip my toe into another field because I refuse to be defined by what I do for a living - and because I love to learn new stuff. E.g. I worked as a roadie in Switzerland, as a production coordinator in South Africa, as a dog walker in the Canadian Rockies, and as a kiwi flower picker in New Zealand.

Besides globetrotting and connecting with fellow human beings, I enjoy learning new instruments: So far I play the guitar, accordion, ocarina, harmonica, and a wee bit of bagpipe. I’m also a serious film geek, and bookworm, love rock climbing, and a good hike with our dogs Peanut and Tofu. :dog2: :dog2:

Well, I’d love to be your partner in crime while learning German. It’s a wonderfully weird, imaginative, and diverse language (I speak a couple of dialects, too). I learned the basics of English in school, but I was able to master it only through frequent conversations with native speakers. And that’s why I fell in love with the chatterbug :catbee: method: it combines a great linguistic background with sturdy didactics and a friendly and open-minded community!

Looking very much forward to our next Live Lesson,



If you read this on my tutor profile:

I use my tutor introduction in the community forum to discuss specific questions from my students!
You can use this link and create a post in my thread if you have any questions regarding your last Live Lesson with me :thinking:, or if you’d like to have something clarified because we ran out of time :stopwatch:!

Please feel free to reach out and I’ll get back to you ASAP. :v:




Welcome Toby! I had already enjoyed Anna’s profile and yours confirms that you are super interesting people! I like the title of your website and there seems to be a lot of useful info for travelers, thanks for sharing!
When I hear “ocarina” I always think of Albator hehe, do you know Stellie’s song ? Maybe you could post a little melody here ! :hugs:


Hi Amandine, thanks so much for the warm welcome! :slight_smile:

I didn’t know Albator / Captain Harlock, but now I’m on a quest to find the original series somewhere online!
When I was a kid, I fell in love with old-school Japanese animation because of Studio Ghibli and I never grew out of it. If there’s an ocarina theme, all the better - thanks for the tip! :raised_hands:


Welcome to the community Toby. Very interesting introduction!!!


Thanks, Larissa! Happy to meet so many linguaphiles and polyglots! :tada:

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Welcome, @Toby :hugs: What a great Website :open_mouth:. So many adventures and stories! By the way how was it to be a kiwi flower picker :grimacing:.

I look forward to seeing you soon in a German lesson :slightly_smiling_face:.


@27sp.sandra Thanks so much, Sandra! :slight_smile:

Regarding the kiwi flowers - I just realize that it probably sounds much more romantic than it is. :sweat_smile: Kiwis grow a bit like wine grapes (you live in Esslingen, so you’re familiar with that I guess), so imagine long rows with vine-like plants. I was picking the male buds from the plant, which got later processed for the pollen in a special mill. The pollen was later sprayed on the open female buds to increase pollination and therefore boost the harvest. Bees still do the heavy lifting of pollination, but not every bud opens at the same time and an unpollinated female bud won’t grow into a Kiwi. So for farmers, it’s very profitable to have people helping with the pollination. I stayed for the whole season and picked the grown Kiwis afterward too.

So much for the magical story of kiwi pollination. :sweat_smile: I did a lot of agricultural labor while backpacking around Australia and New Zealand. Cherries, blueberries, grapes, Tomatoes, Zucchini… It’s very, very hard work and you have to be fast to earn decent money because it’s all piece-rate based. I got a good understanding of the backbreaking labor that pickers all over the world have to do, so we can have a full-stacked fruit and veggie aisle in the supermarket. It made me even more aware of the worth of produce and I think people would be a lot less wasteful if they knew what kind of labor is concentrated in just one single Kiwi / Cherry / Tomato. :v:


:open_mouth: Wow I had no clue that it was so hard to get a Kiwi. Thank you for your explanation :relaxed:. You’re right it is a hard work and most people do not know how much time and effort is putted along the whole process. Fascinating, Toby!


Sounds interesting! And it’s absolutely true that in a supermarket one doesn’t think about the tremendous work behind the scenes.

Did this work affect you in your buying habits? E.g. do you now buy only organic food?

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@SKrausser Great question! Yes, my purchase behavior changed indeed, and this mindset expanded to other fields of products, too (clothing, technology, furniture, etc.). I think overall, I got much more minimalistic. :thinking:

When it comes to food, I prefer “ugly” fruit or veggies in stores. Just a couple of years ago, the farmers had to throw away e.g. damaged carrots or bent cucumbers before they even got shipped to the retailers. (Apparently) customers didn’t buy them, even if they were totally fine for consumption. Nowadays they sell it (even a bit cheaper) as class b produce.

I also shop regionally and seasonally whenever possible, or in bulk in those wasteless stores. Friends of us told us about crowd farming last year. That’s a cool concept, too! For example, we “adopted” an organic rice field in Spain, and with that money, the farmer could crop the field without having to worry about trading contractors, low prices, or a bad harvest. We got 8 Kilos of quality rice that way, with a letter from the happy farmer.

Having said that, I’m very aware that I’m still far-off from an ideal sustainable lifestyle. But I try to be less wasteful.



Hey Julien,

I’ve found a video for you regarding the declinations of superlatives:

There’s an exception to the rule too. Here’s a link for those:

Hope this helps!


Hi Polina!

I found the video I was talking about regarding the Partizip 2 and the verb-endings. Hope this can clarify the rules (and exceptions :sweat_smile: ) when it comes to “partizipieren”. :v:


Regarding the live lesson from the 16th of June:
@ahsda, great lesson today! You really rocked this one!

Check out the post above this one (for Polina). The linked video is all about the Past Perfect and how to form the correct verb. :+1:


Hi Ashleigh, it was nice to meet you!

Here’s the video regarding the word-endings and the corresponding articles:

Hope that helps! Have a great week!


Unterschied zwischen hin / her / hierher

Hi @SimonaMurro

We talked about the difference between “hier” and “hier her” the other day - I hope this can clarify the difference:

  • “hier” is static and means just “here”.

  • “her” is used for movements that end in the speaker’s location and could be literally translated as to(wards) here → “Komm mal bitte her!”

  • “hierher” / “hier her” is basically an intensifier for the plain old “her” → Lena ruft aufgeregt ihren Hund: “Bello! HIER HER!”

  • “hin” is used for movements that end at another location. → Die Klassenlehrerin zeigt auf den leeren Platz und sagt zum neuen Schüler: “Setz dich bitte dort hin.”

Here’s a link to a great thread regarding this topic


Hi @gsukman

As promised I looked into the term “job transfer” and I found a couple of more or less fitting expressions. It sounds like Parseltongue when you say it out loud (Harry Potter anybody?), but here we go:

  • der Arbeitsortswechsel - to change the place of work (not the actual job)

  • der Arbeitsplatzwechsel - the change of workplace/job (which implies a change of location and usually the employer, too)

  • die Arbeitsplatzrotation - a systematic change of tasks, duties, jobs, and/or locations

  • der innerbetriebliche Arbeitswechsel - internal change of jobs/duties/tasks/sometimes locations too

I would probably stick to the English expression and use the German pronunciation of the word “transfer”: it would sound like “job-truns-fair” then. People will know what you mean by that.


Great! Now I finally have an explanation! I’m going to add it to my notebook si I don’t forget it :wink: Thank you very much Toby, nice work!


Thanks Toby! I can probably use all of those in some way or another.


@Toby I found this post about ‘hier’ and ‘her’ so helpful!! Thank you so much!

Why didn’t anybody tell me this before?!?!?! :grimacing: :grin:

It would be great if you shared this post in the German Learners category, so that our other German learners can benefit from it too! :pray:



No worries at all, I’m glad it helps! You’re absolutely right, I’ll put it in the German Learners thread too. :v:


Hey @ZakDraco!

We just talked about the meaning of different German prefixes and here’s a list oft the most common ones:

Please take them with a grain of salt, because they can only hint to a possible meaning of the full word (sometimes they could even be misleading). It’s always some sort of combination of prefix+word stem/part of speech+tense+suffix that carries the full informative value.

Here you find different charts for more examples (if you dare to open pandora’s box of prefixes). Some combinations sound even strange to me, there might be some local dialect forms in there as well.