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A couple is lying on a meadow day dreaming, copyright: picture alliance / dpa
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Word of the Week: Kopfkino

Anne-Sophie Brändlin
July 6, 2016

Why am I smiling? Because of the movie that's playing in my head! With this German word, you don't have to go anywhere to go to the cinema.


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It can happen anywhere, in the subway, at work, or at the grocery store. One moment you're buying a carton of milk, and the next second your mind drifts off into a daydream. You might even say your thoughts have run away to direct their own movie. In German this phenomenon is called Kopfkino, which literally translates to "head cinema."

Sometimes a Kopfkino can be pleasant. While you watch the cute supermarket worker scan your milk carton, your head starts playing a movie of the employee asking you for your number. Then before you know it, you're on your first date, taking a road trip, the sun is shining, your favorite song is playing, wedding bells are ringing…

But hold your horses and come back to reality. Because by the time your Kopfkino stops, it's time to take your groceries and go.

Kopfkino can also be very unpleasant. Your head might suddenly decide it wants to play movies titled "How my girlfriend started dating her hot co-worker" or "That day my dog got run over by a car," right when you're trying to fall asleep. So before your thoughts get hijacked by your newest imaginary movie "I never learned German," be sure to learn this week's word.

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