German Language Blog

Bundes… Words Posted by on Apr 29, 2009 in Culture

We’re gonna take a look at some German words that begin with Bundes-. A lot of words have to do with politics and government. See if you can guess what they are in English without looking them up. You can post the answers in the comment section.

der Bundeskanzler : also known as the head of government. The current head of government is Angela Merkel. Since she’s a female, it might be better to call her die Bundeskanzlerin. She has executive powers.

der Bundespräsident : is the head of state. The current head of state is Horst Köhler. He has representative powers. He also has some extensive experience as an economist and has spent his entire childhood as a Polish refugee fleeing from the Germans.

die Bundesversammlung : is a special convention that elects the der Bundespräsident. This particular body convenes every May 23rd, which is the day considered to be the founding of the republic of Germany.

der Bundestag : the current president is Norbet Lammert. This body is a legislative body. The members are elected directly by German citizens.

der Bundesrat : is like the Senate in the U.S. This governing body can vote on particular bills, but its sphere of influence is limited. Der Bundestag has more legislative power.

Alright, I’ll be waiting for the answers in the comments section

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  1. Rod:

    People who try to give the Bundes– and Reichs–words a German pronunciation tend to put the s at the start of the next syllable. I cringe when I hear Bunde-schtag. (Alex Trabek); Reich-schtag (History Channel). I know they are trying, but I reserve the right to cringe.

  2. Yohann:


    All I can say is, lol!

  3. anne meinck:

    1. der Bundeskanzler = Federal Chancellor
    die Bundeskanzlerin= female ” ”
    2. der Bundesprasident=Federal president
    3.die Bundesversammlung=Federal convention
    4. der Bundestag=German parliament
    5.der Bundesrat=Upper house??

    Rod, I’m a bit unsure of exactly how those words should be pronounced.Do you mean the tag should be separate from the rest- so Bundes tag rather than Bunde schtag?Thanks-my German is not so good but I hate making cringeworthy pronounciation of any word, having put up with a person in my German class saying dye for die for the entire year.

  4. Ken:

    where can one get DVDs in german, here in USA ? I would very much like to see these movies.
    I especially enjoyed “Das Boats” in german.

  5. Elvira Voll:

    Just good timing as we will be looking at the political structure in Germany in class soon. But why oh why this awful expression “we’ re gonna take a look….”

  6. Yohann:


    Just what exactly is wrong with “We’re gonna take a look…” Of all the things that are wrong in this world you’re going to go crazy over that little phrase?

  7. Yohann:


    I think if you look in the foreign films section of your local block buster video store, they should have a copy. If not, try

  8. Yohann:


    Yay! Great job Anne, your answers are all correct!

  9. frederick knighton:

    These e-mails are very welcome and I’d like to say Danke shön for including me on your list.
    Since my evening class ended due to there being too few applicants, I appreciate any help to keep my limited German going.
    Regards, Frederick

  10. Janhavi Dixit:

    Bundeskanzler – Federal Chancellor
    Bundespräsident – President
    Bundesversammlung – Federal Assembly
    Bundestag – German Parliament
    Bundesrat – Federal Council

  11. Sarah:

    What about Bundesrepublik Deutschland?

    Also, when you say about Angela Merkel, “since she’s a female, it might be better to call her die Bundeskanzlerin”, are you saying that people call her by the feminine noun AND the masculine noun? Or does everyone use the feminine version all the time to refer to her?

  12. JD Stone:

    Yohann, thanks for the definite article on those nouns!

    But please, do us a huge favor and get them to add der/die/das to the word of the day when it’s a noun. On the “German Byki” Twitter feed @germanlanguage.

    Thanks!! 🙂

  13. Yohann:


    it’s the feminine form

  14. Frank:


    as Yohann said, you couldn’t use the masculine form on Ms Merkel (just as you wouldn’t call Mr Clooney an actress – most job titles in German have two forms, the feminine almost always formed by -in).

    Btw, the President wasn’t as such a Polish refugee fleeing from the Germans in his childhood. It was a bit more complicated.

  15. Barbara:

    keep hearing the phrase Bundesleague in various world cup programmes.What does the Bundes mean in this respect is it like Premier league here?

  16. JD: