I mentioned in a previous post the confusing German fact that Wer (which sounds like Where) actually means Who. This song should help you remember this.

Die Prinzen were one of the first groups from East Germany to cross over into the German charts after the fall of the Berlin wall. This track is from “Das Leben ist Grausam” (“Life is Cruel”, 1991) which was their first and most successful album. Arguably their upbeat sound reflected the sense of optimism in the newly reunited Germany.

Die Prinzen were basically a group of cheeky ex-choir boys who were trained at Thomaskirche in Leipzig where none other than J.S. Bach was once choirmaster. The mix of their great harmonies with dance beats may sound a bit cheesy these days, but their clear and simple lyrics make them appealing to many language learners.

The album was produced by Annette Humpe and she also co-wrote this song.


Ich weiß, wann die Tagesschau beginnt
Ich weiß, wie viel fünf mal sieben sind
Ich weiß immer, wie spät es ist
Ich weiß, Karl Marx war Kommunist

Ich weiß, wer den Bundeskanzler wählt
Ich weiß, jeder zahlt, was er bestellt
Ich weiß, von Bananen wird mir schlecht
Ich weiß, meine Oma hat immer recht

Doch ich weiß nicht:
Wer ist der Typ da neben dir? 
Wer ist der Typ, und was will der hier?
...bitte sag es mir!
Wer ist der Typ da neben dir?

Ich weiß, wann die Sonne untergeht
Ich weiß, was nachts am Himmel steht
Ich weiß, im Winter ist es kalt
Ich weiß, in ein paar Jahren bin ich alt


Du warst doch mal so wählerisch
Und jetzt zieht der dich übern Tisch
Du fällst auf seine Sprüche rein
Es muss doch rauszukriegen sein:


I know, when the evening news begins (1)
I know, how much five times seven is
I always know, what time it is
I know, Karl Marx was a communist
I know, who elects the Federal Chancellor (2)
I know, everybody pays for what he orders
I know, bananas make me sick
I know, my granny's always right
But I don't know:
Who's the guy next to you?
Who's the guy and what does he want here?
...please tell me!
Who's the guy next to you?

I know, when the sun goes down
I know, what's in the sky at night
I know, in winter it's cold
I know, in a couple of years I'll be old
But you were so choosy
And now he's cheating on you
You're falling for his chat up lines
The truth must be revealed


1) This is a reference to the TV news on ARD (the public service broadcaster, comparable to the BBC) which is transmitted at 8pm. A more idiomatic British translation could be something like “I know when the news at 10 begins”!
2) The German Chancellor, equivalent of the Prime Minister in the UK. Here grammatically it is a man (which was true at the time of the song), but at the time of writing it is a woman, Angela Merkel.


At the beginning or the end of a word the letter y sounds the same as in English.
These words are typically imported from other languages:
e.g. der Yoga, das Handy, die Party

However, in other positions it acts as a vowel and makes the same sound as the German ü
i.e. a long ‘oo’ sound made with pursed lips. So typ sounds something like ‘toop’ (rhymes with loop)
and nothing like the English work ‘type’.
See this previous post for more about this sound and the other vowels with umlauts.

Here are some more examples of words that look very similar to their English equivalents but are pronounced differently for this reason:
die Pyramide, die Hymne, der Rhythmus, die Physik


One thought on “WER IST DER TYP by DIE PRINZEN

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