idiomatic phrases



I've been studying German for about a year now, and like to try to read things in German to help saturate or immerse myself. But occasionally I come across phrases that resist translation without having the history behind them. What's the background for "Setzen. Sechs."? From context, I can see it means you get a bad grade. But it would be interesting to know where this actually comes from. Anyone know? Thanks!

Hi there, when learning a new language one of the challenges is to be able to understand idiomatic phrases. The more you are exposed to the language the easier it will get. Now, "setzen-sechs" means "sit down- six". In former times pupils had to stand up when their teacher asked them a question. If the answer was wrong they would get a 6. (1 is the best grade you can get- 6 is the worst) Times have changed and pupils don't have to stand up anymore. The phrase is now often used in political speeches.

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