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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 16 – “Marking the Most of Your Memories in Germany”. Hello and welcome to GermanPod101.com where we study modern German in a fun educational format.
Judith: So, brush up on the German that you started learning long ago or start learning today.
Chuck: Thanks for being here with us for this lesson, [Judith]. What are we talking about today?
Judith: In this lesson you’ll learn how to talk about your family in German.
Chuck: This conversation takes place in a German hotel room. The conversation is between Joe and his mother, whom he’s calling on the telephone.
Judith: The speakers are family therefore they will be speaking informal German.
Chuck: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Joe: Hallo Mama!
Mutter: Oh, Hallo Joe! Wie geht es dir?
Joe: Mir geht es gut! Ich rufe aus dem Hotel an.
Mutter: Oh, hast du ein Telefon auf dem Zimmer?
Joe: Ja.
Mutter: Und wie findest du München?
Joe: Aber ich bin in Berlin!
Mutter: Oh … Berlin! … und wie findest du Berlin?
Joe: Bis jetzt finde ich es gut hier. Die Menschen sind alle nett und das Hotel ist auch gut. Wie geht es euch?
Mutter: Ach, hier ist alles gut. Deine Schwester ist bei Freundinnen.
Joe: Und was machen die Männer?
Mutter: Dein Vater und deine Brüder spielen Basketball.
Joe: Ist das Wetter so schön schon?
Mutter: Ja. Die Sonne scheint und es ist warm. Und morgen kommen Großmutter und Großvater uns besuchen.
Joe: Oh, das ist schön!
Mutter: Ja. … Na gut, dann noch viel Spaß in München!
Joe: Du meinst in Berlin!
Mutter: Haha, ja natürlich … in Berlin! Mach viele Fotos!
Joe: Danke, bis bald!
Mutter: Bis bald!
Joe: Hello mum!
Mother: Oh, hello Joe! How are you?
Joe: I'm good! I'm calling from the hotel.
Mother: Oh, do you have a telephone in the room?
Joe: Yes.
Mother: And how do you like Munich?
Joe: But I am in Berlin!
Mother: Oh ... Berlin! ... and how do you like Berlin?
Joe: Until now I like it here [find it good here]. All of the people are nice and the hotel is good, too. How are you all?
Mother: Oh, everything is good here. Your sister is with [female] friends.
Joe: And what are the men doing?
Mother: Your father and your brothers are playing basketball.
Joe: Is the weather so nice already?
Mother: Yes. The sun is shining and it is warm. And tomorrow grandmother and grandfather are coming to visit us.
Joe: Oh, that's nice!
Mother: Yes. ... Well, have fun in Munich!
Joe: You mean in Berlin!
Mother: Haha, yes of course... in Berlin! Take many photos!
Joe: Thanks, see you soon!
Mother: See you soon!
Judith: Alright. So, for our cultural topic today, how about -
Chuck: Let’s talk about – Let’s talk about Canadian families.
Judith: No, not Canadian obviously, German families.
Chuck: This is a Canadian family.
Judith: Does it matter?
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: I think this is GermanPod and we should be talking about German families.
Chuck: If you insist…
Judith: So, actually they’re not that different from American families, most German households will consist of a mother, a father and one or two children.
Chuck: It’s very uncommon for grandparents or aunts and uncles to live with the family or for young couples not to have their own apartment. But though sometimes a younger child might have their own apartment but like right next to the parents, right?
Judith: Yeah or like a separate part of the house. It’s possible.
Chuck: Okay.
Judith: What it just means that it’s uncommon for young couples to not have their own house entrance, let’s say that.
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: Or a part of the entrance. It would be awkward. One issue is that there are fewer births than deaths in Germany, so the population is expected to get older on average of the years, despite the migration even.
Chuck: Well also, just like in America. Single parents are becoming more and more common, but the divorce rate is not nearly as high as in the U.S.
Judith: Yeah, that might change over the years but right now it’s high but not as high and one other thing that you should be aware of is that Germany allows homosexual couples to enter into a civil union, which gives them similar benefits as marriage but it’s not the same.
Chuck: Well, it gives them benefits like common taxes-
Judith: Common taxes.
Chuck: - and visitation rights in hospitals, right?
Judith: Yeah. Things like that.
Chuck: Okay. Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Chuck: The first word is?
Judith: [Mama]
Chuck: “Mom”.
Judith: [Mama] this word is feminine and the plural is [Mamas]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Mutter]
Chuck: “Mother”.
Judith: [Mutter, die Mutter] and the plural is [Mütter]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [gehen]
Chuck: “To go”.
Judith: [gehen, gehen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [nett]
Chuck: “Nice” or “kind”.
Judith: [nett, nett]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [alles]
Chuck: “Everything”.
Judith: [alles, alles]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Schwester]
Chuck: “Sister”.
Judith: [Schwester, die Schwester] and the plural is [Schwestern]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Freundin]
Chuck: “Female friend” or “girlfriend”.
Judith: [Freundin, die Freundin] and the plural is [Freundinnen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Mann]
Chuck: “Men” or “husband”.
Judith: [Mann, der Mann] and the plural is [Männer]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Vater]
Chuck: “Father”.
Judith: [Vater, der Vater] and the plural is [Väter]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Bruder]
Chuck: “Brother”.
Judith: [Bruder, der Bruder] and the plural is [Brüder]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [spielen]
Chuck: “To play”.
Judith: [spielen, spielen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [morgen]
Chuck: “Tomorrow”.
Judith: [morgen, morgen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Foto]
Chuck: “Photo”.
Judith: [Foto, das Foto] and the plural is [Fotos]
Chuck: And note that the German photos start with “f”.
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Judith: The first phrase is [Wie geht es dir]
Chuck: Literally “How goes it to you?” well, more commonly “How are you?”
Judith: Yeah, the grammar behind this does not really make sense, so just learn it as a phrase. The typical answer is [Mir geht es gut]
Chuck: Literally “To me goes well” or “I’m well”.
Judith: But, don’t be surprised if people say that they’re not feeling all that well. The question is more rare in German and at the same time, the answer is going to be more frank.
Chuck: But this phrase seems quite long to me, it almost sounds like saying “How are you doing?” in English, something that you don’t meet very often.
Judith: [Wie geht es dir] Yeah, you can shorten it if you’re talking informally, you can shorten it to [wie geht´s] and then apostrophe “s” instead of [dir] But only if you’re talking informally.
Chuck: But it would be informal because it’s “dear” right?
Judith: Yes. What I mean is, you know, there’s a formal variation of this question which is even more rare which is [wie geht es Ihnen] is a form of [Sie] and that one cannot be shortened to [wie geht´s]
Chuck: Okay. That’s good to know.
Judith: The other thing I wanted to talk about is the word [groß]
Chuck: It normally means “large” or “tall” or “great”.
Judith: However, in this lesson you’ve seen it used as a prefix as in [Großmutter]
Chuck: “Grandmother”.
Judith: And [Großvater]
Chuck: “Grandfather”.
Judith: So, it has the sense of the English “grand” here, but it’s also used for “great” as a prefix like [Großonkel]
Chuck: Wait, that’s “great-uncle”, right?
Judith: Yes, “great-uncle”. So, we use the word [groß] differently. And then, if you want to say “great-grandfather”, it’s not [Großgroßvater] it’s [Urgroßvater] we’ve got a different prefix.
Chuck: Okay. [ur] is usually used for things that are quite old or ancient, right?
Judith: Yes, yes, that’s the idea.
Chuck: But they won’t call their great-grandfather ancient.

Lesson focus

Chuck: The focus of this lesson are the noun plurals, for the last time.
Judith: Yes, this is the last lesson about noun plurals.
Chuck: Yay!
Judith: We’re almost done with them.
Chuck: I mean, “Aw...”
Judith: Or you can be happy because it’s not that nice to learn so much grammar. We already learned –
Chuck: Remember that quote, people. “It’s never nice to learn so much grammar”.
Judith: What I mean is that the less you stay away from the formal plural, the better. Perfect Esperanto, of course.
Chuck: I think I have to agree with that.
Judith: Well, we already learned that a lot of German nouns will add “en” or “n” for plural, especially if they’re feminine nouns or if they end in “I” already and then, we’ve encountered nouns that don’t change at all, for example the ones ending in “er” or “en” and in the last lesson we’ve seen nouns that add “I” for plural. Now, let’s look at the final few ways that nouns can form a plural.
Chuck: Many modern nouns and some others will add “er” for plural then if there’s an “a” or “u” in the word it would also get the Umlaut as well.
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: So we get, like, [Kind] as in [Kinder] which you might recognize from the English word “kindergarten” or from the German word [Kindergarten]
Judith: Yes. [Kinder] means “kids”, so [Kind, Kinder] is an example of this and then there’s [Buch, Bücher]
Chuck: “Book”.
Judith: And here you see the rule about the “a” or “u” because [Buch] has a “u” in it and it got the umlaut and that in turn it also changes the pronunciation of the “ch” because [Buch] you’ve heard [ch] and in [Bücher] you have [che] that softer variation, because it’s after a light vowel as we’d call it and another example would be [Mann, Männer]
Chuck: “Men”.
Judith: Yeah.
Chuck: That actually sounds a lot like in English. Man and men.
Judith: Yeah, the vowel of change again makes it sound more – but we also have the “er” ending where in English you really have to focus on your pronunciation “man”, “men”. I believe Germans are even thought to say [men] in order to be understandable. Okay, now the final type, possibly the easiest type are those nouns that end in “s”. It’s mostly used for foreign words, I mean especially German words that are derived from English or for German words that are derived from French and also abbreviations and the abbreviated words like [Foto], you know [Foto] is short for [Fotografie] so the plural is [Fotos] and also nouns that end in “a”, “e” or “u” those uncommon endings, those would just add an “s” for plural. Like [Mamas]
Chuck: “Mom” or “moms”.
Judith: Yes and [Papas]
Chuck: “Dads”.
Judith: [Teams] and…
Chuck: Taxi!
Judith: No, that one technically has the plural [Taxen] but a lot of Germans say [Taxis], that’s right.


Chuck: Well, that just about does it for today. Before we go, I want to tell you about a way to drastically improve your pronunciation.
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: And play it back just as easily.
Judith: So, you record your voice then 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: [Also bis nächste Woche]