Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 11 – “Leave This German Taxi at Once!” Hello and welcome back to GermanPod101.com, the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn German. I’m joined in the studio by?
Judith: Hello everyone, [Judith] here.
Chuck: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to talk to a German taxi driver.
Judith: This conversation takes place inside the taxi in Berlin.
Chuck: The conversation is between Joe Cardigan and a female taxi driver.
Judith: The speakers are in a business relationship therefore they’ll be speaking formal German.
Chuck: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Joe: Hallo. Ich möchte nach Wilmersdorf. Das Hotel ist in der Bundesallee.
Fahrerin: Kein Problem. Kommen Sie, ich fahre Sie.
Joe: Danke.
Fahrerin: Und woher kommen Sie?
Joe: Ich komme aus Kanada.
Fahrerin: Ah, Kanada ist schön. Mensch, fahr schon! Die Ampel ist grün!
Joe: Wie bitte?
Fahrerin: Ach, ich meine das Auto da vorn.
Joe: Ach so.
Fahrerin: Und wie lange werden Sie in Berlin bleiben?
Joe: Ich bleibe nur zwei Wochen.
Fahrerin: Ah so. ... Wie heißt das Hotel?
Joe: Das Hotel heißt „Hotel Berlin“.
Fahrerin: Lauf doch!
Joe: Wie bitte?
Fahrerin: Nein, nicht Sie. Der Fußgänger.
Joe: Ach so.
Joe: Ähm, halten Sie bitte hier. Ich sehe schon das Hotel da vorn.
Fahrerin: Okay, das macht 15 Euro.
Joe: Bitte schön.
Fahrerin: Danke.
Joe: Hello. I'd like to [go to] Wilmersdorf. The hotel is in the Federal Alley.
Driver: No problem. Come, I'll drive you.
Joe: Thanks.
Driver: And where do you come from?
Joe: I come from Canada.
Driver: Ah, Canada is nice. Man, go already! The traffic light is green!
Joe: Excuse me?
Driver: Oh, I mean the car up there in front.
Joe: Aha.
Driver: And how long will you stay in Berlin?
Joe: I'm only staying for two weeks.
Driver: Aha. ... What's the name of the hotel?
Joe: The hotel is called 'Hotel Berlin'.
Driver: Walk on!
Joe: Excuse me?
Driver: No, not you. That pedestrian.
Joe: Aha.
Joe: Ehm, please stop here. I already see the hotel up there in front.
Driver: Okay, that will be 15 euros.
Joe: Here you are.
Driver: Thanks.
Judith: Alright. As a tourist in Germany, you’d probably take a taxi. So, let’s talk about some important differences.
Chuck: The one thing is that if you’re German tourist, you’re not so likely to take taxis.
Judith: Yeah. People are so used to taking public transport and of course they assume that the public transport is cheaper and it usually is, except if you’re travelling with four people.
Chuck: And also note that there are very few flat rates, so like you usually won’t see from airports to the center of the city at such a price.
Judith: Yeah. But you can ask a drive and he’ll probably be able to tell you the approximately how much it would be.
Chuck: Maybe, I haven’t had so much luck with them as you, apparently. Usually they say whatever it shows in the meter when we get there. Okay, thanks.
Judith: Another important difference is that you usually can’t pay by credit card. You also can’t pay by debit card, so pretty much only cash.
Chuck: And also, note that when you pay you’ll want to leave a tip and you want to say your total amount of paying, not the difference. If it comes to 15 euros and you give him a 20, you’ll say “Make it 17”, you don’t say “Give me three back”.
Judith: Yeah. [Macht 17] is the German expression.
Chuck: When I moved here I kept saying the difference and I confused a lot of taxi drivers.
Judith: Yeah, if you say “two euros” “No, you can’t pay two euros, you have to pay 15.”
Chuck: Exactly, they’re wondering why are you giving them such big bill.
Judith: Another difference is that somehow common to sit in the front seat, next to the taxi driver and it also makes it easier to pay.
Chuck: Also makes it easier to tell him where to go.
Judith: Yeah and there’s no security barrier between the taxi driver and any of the seats.
Chuck: And believe it or not, I did actually get one female driver once in Germany.
Judith: Only once? There’s lot more.
Chuck: Yeah. I was quite surprised. So, let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Chuck: The first word we shall look at is?
Judith: [möchte]
Chuck: “Would like”.
Judith: [möchte, möchte]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [woher]
Chuck: “From where”.
Judith: [woher, woher]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [schön]
Chuck: “Nice” or “pretty”.
Judith: [schön, schön]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Mensch]
Chuck: “Human” or “man”.
Judith: [Mensch, der Mensch] and the plural is [Menschen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Ampel]
Chuck: “Traffic light”.
Judith: [Ampel, die Ampel] and the plural is [Ampeln]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [grün]
Chuck: “Green”.
Judith: [grün, grün]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [meinen]
Chuck: “To mean” or “think”.
Judith: [meinen, meinen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Auto]
Chuck: “Car”.
Judith: [Auto, das Auto] and plural is [Autos]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [laufen]
Chuck: “To jog, to function” or “to be on their way”.
Judith: [laufen, laufen] This is a vowel changing verb, so the form is [Er läuft] and [Du läufst] with the umlaut on the “e”.
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [heißen]
Chuck: “To be called” – third person only, “to mean”.
Judith: [heißen, heißen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Fußgänger]
Chuck: “Pedestrian”.
Judith: [Fußgänger, der Fußgänger] and the plural is the same.
Chuck: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some words and phrases from this lesson.
Judith: The first word we will look at is [Wilmersdorf]. This is a part of Berlin and [Bundesallee] is a street name, so don’t worry if you didn’t understood those in the dialogue.
Chuck: [Wie bitte]
Judith: [Wie bitte] is a very polite thing to say when you didn’t understand something and you’d like the other person to repeat himself. [Wie bitte] that many Germans would just say “Hä”?
Chuck: Which is pretty much the equivalent of “What?” It’s also quite common just to say [bitte]
Judith: Yeah, that works. And another thing is the expression [das macht...Euro] “So and so many euros”.
Chuck: That would be “So and so euros”.
Judith: Not that it’s always [Euro] never [Euros] because there’s no plural of currencies and other measurements in German.
Chuck: And also it’s pronounced [Euro] and not [Juro]
Judith: Yeah. Finally, the expression [bitteschön] is a more polite way of saying [bitte], similarly you could say [dankeschön] as a more polite way of saying [danke] has many uses in German, we use it to say “please”, we use it to say “you’re welcome” and also when we’re passing something to somebody like, when we’re passing the money to the driver right now.
Chuck: Also don’t forget that we only just mentioned how to say “Ah, what was that?” [bitte]
Judith: [wie bitte]
Chuck: So, saying [bitte] like that is just a short form of [wie bitte]
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: Okay.

Lesson focus

Chuck: The grammar focus of this lesson is the imperative, as we’ve seen in [Mensch, fahr schon] “Man, go already!”
Judith: This lesson’s sentences are not the present tense, they’re in imperative form. The imperative is used to give commands or also polite requests if you add [bitte]
Chuck: In German, the formal imperative is just the same as same as the formal present tense. Except the verb comes first and the [Sie] second.
Judith: For example, [Gehen Sie]
Chuck: “Go!”
Judith: Or [Kommen Sie]
Chuck: “Come!” The informal imperative, the kind you use with friends or family is more interesting. It just corresponds to the word stamp, without any ending and no pronoun.
Judith: For example, [Geh] or [Komm]
Chuck: “Go!” or “Come!”
Judith: Really, just the word stamp, no “en” ending.
Chuck: Pretty much just like English, then.
Judith: You can’t distinguish it. In English the infinitive is “to go” and the imperative is “to go”, is “go” so…
Chuck: Yeah. Oh, well.
Judith: Also note that you would use the informal imperative with people that you’re insulting. Like, the taxi driver is doing to this pedestrians and people in their way. If you’re insulting someone, using the polite [Sie] in those cases would just be extremely weird.
Chuck: Can you give me and example, then?
Judith: What do you mean?
Chuck: Of using an imperative to insult someone.
Judith: [Komm schon, Idiot]
Chuck: Nice. [Kommen Sie schon, Idiot] sounds a bit strange. Finally, if you want to make a suggestion and include yourself, as in English “Let’s go!” you can use another type of imperative in German. For the first person, plural.
Judith: Yeah. For this, just place [wir] after rather than before the first person plural form, you know, normally it would be [wir gehen] but for this kind of imperative you say [gehen wir]
Chuck: All right, let’s get over that again. [gehen wir] is a suggestion to a group that you’re part in, [gehen Sie] is a formal imperative, [Geh] is the informal imperative. Well, that just about does it for today. Before we go, I want to tell you about a way to improve your pronunciation drastically.


Judith: The voice recording tool.
Chuck: Yes, the voice recording tool in the premium learning center.
Judith: Record your voice with a click of a button.
Chuck: Then play it back just as easily.
Judith: So, you record your voice and then you listen to it.
Chuck: Compare it to the native speakers.
Judith: And adjust your pronunciation.
Chuck: This will help you improve your pronunciation fast. So, see you next week!
Judith: [Bis nächste Woche]
Chuck: [Wie bitte]?
Judith: [Ach, ich meine das Auto da vorne]!
Chuck: [Achso].
Judith: [Und wie lange werden Sie in Berlin bleiben]?
Chuck: [Ich bleibe nur zwei Wochen].
Judith: [Achso, wie heißt das Hotel]?
Chuck: [Das Hotel heißt Hotel Berlin].
Judith: [Lauf doch]!
Chuck: [Wie bitte]?
Judith: [Nein, nicht Sie! Der Fußgänger]!
Chuck: [Das Hotel da vorn].
Judith: [Okay, das macht 15 Euro].
Chuck: [Bitteschön].
Judith: [Danke].