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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 19 – “Have You Ever Seen a Blind Fish 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 with us for this lesson [Judith]. What are we looking at today?
Judith: Today, you’ll learn how to ask for directions in German.
Chuck: This conversation takes place at a German street.
Judith: The conversation is between Joe, [Anke] and later one passerby.
Chuck: Joe and [Anke] are friends and they will be speaking informal German to each other, and formal German to the passerby. Let’s listen to the conversation.
Joe: Hey Anke! Schön, dass du mitkommst!
Anke: Ach, mache ich doch gern! … Wollen wir los?
Joe: Ja. Wie fahren wir?
Anke: Wir können von hier aus zum Kudamm laufen.
Joe: Okay, das klingt gut!
Anke: Schön! Wir gehen auch nur die Straße hier geradeaus.
Joe: Oh, super. Dauert das lange?
Anke: Nein, vielleicht 10 Minuten.
Joe: Na dann los.
Anke: Sieh mal, da vorn ist der Kudamm.
Joe: Oh, so schnell sind wir da!
Anke: Ja. … Hmm, wir könnten ja im Café Kranzler einen Kaffee trinken.
Joe: Café Kranzler?
Anke: Ja, das ist das Café da vorn.
Joe: Wo?
Anke: Na da, das Café mit dem roten Sonnenschirm!
Joe: Ich sehe es nicht.
Anke: Da links. An der Ecke.
Joe: Aaaah, jetzt kann ich es sehen.
Anke: Haha, du Blindfisch!
Joe: Ich was?
Anke: Du Blindfisch! Das sagt man, wenn jemand etwas nicht sehen kann.
Passant: Entschuldigung… könnt ihr mir sagen, wo die Gedächtniskirche ist?
Anke: Natürlich. Sie können sie schon von hier aus sehen. Es ist die Kirche da links.
Passant: Aaah, okay. Danke!
Anke: Bitte.
Joe: Haha, wenn er die Kirche von hier aus nicht sehen kann, dann ist er auch ein Blindfisch!
Joe: Hey Anke! Nice of you to come along!
Anke: Ach, I'll gladly do that! ... Shall we go?
Joe: Yes. How are we going?
Anke: We can walk from here to the Ku´damm.
Joe: Okay, that sounds good!
Anke: Nice! We'll just go straight ahead on this street.
Joe: Oh, super. Does it take long?
Anke: No, maybe 10 minutes.
Joe: Well let's go then.
Anke: Look, the Ku´damm is up there in front.
Joe: Oh, we're there so quickly!
Anke: Yes. ... Hmm, we could drink a coffee at the Café Kranzler.
Joe: Café Kranzler?
Anke: Yes, that's the cafe in front.
Joe: Where?
Anke: Well there, the café with the red parasol!
Joe: I don't see it.
Anke: There on the left. At the corner.
Joe: Aaaah, now I can see it.
Anke: Haha, you "blind fish"!
Joe: Me what?
Anke: You blind fish! That's what people say when somebody can't see something.
Passer-by: Excuse me... can you tell me where the Memorial Church is?
Anke: Of course. You can see it from here already. It's the church over there on the left.
Passer-by: Aaah, okay. Thanks!
Anke: You're welcome.
Joe: Haha, if he can't see the church from here, then he, too, is a blind fish!
Judith: Alright, now all this talk is all about churches, let’s talk a bit about religion in Germany. What do you think?
Chuck: Alright, sounds good.
Judith: In Germany, just like in the States, freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution. Here we have any faith and practice any faith openly or also in private and you might not be prejudicial or favorite because of your religious beliefs.
Chuck: The majority of Germans are non-practicing Christians. Officially there are 32.3 present Protestants and 31.9 Catholics. But actually, numbers are probably a bit higher because being registered as a Christian means you pay an extra tax which will go to your church to help it upkeep. So, if you come to work in Germany and they ask you what religion are you’re from, remember this will affect your taxes.
Judith: Yes. The second largest religion is Islam. Four percent of Germans believe in it and then Buddhism and Judaism claim approximately, well, a quarter of a present each. This lack of diversity probably derives from the fact that Germany is not a country of immigrants unlike the United States.
Chuck: There’s also a lack of diversity when it comes to [non-domination] churches and sex. That however might be due to Germany’s strict laws in such organizations. The German government doesn’t easily recognize new faiths and once more they will actively pursue organizations who use religions indoctrinations to defray people of their money.
Judith: Still, there’s one way in which Germany is more Christian than the U.S.A. and that is in most of German [Bundesländer], that’s the federal states, German public schools have to provide religion education classes. The mission of German high schools is to produce mature adults who are capable of independent thought and who have some idea of what their purpose in life is, who know what is good and what is wrong and so on.
Chuck: What happens if you’re really against attending religious classes? I can imagine that a lot of atheists would be against that.
Judith: Yeah, of course atheists, Muslims also everybody else you can opt of those classes if you claim reasons of conscience, you have to write an official statement and say you have reasons of conscience forbidding you to attend these classes.
Chuck: What’s an easier way to get out of it?
Judith: Yeah, in some of the lower grades, people do it by having just to avoid going to these classes at all, but very often the school then will offer philosophy classes instead you have to attend with the same basic idea they are. The philosophical classes will also try to school you independent thought, think about what you purpose in life might be, what is good what is wrong just on the basis of philosophical beliefs. Anyway, religious educational classes in Germany are typically either for Catholic or for Protestant just very recently they started to introducing also Muslim religious education classes, but most of the content in these classes is not specific to one particular faith, you can attend it even if you’re an Atheist or a Muslim even, I know some of my classmates did that. Most of the time you’ll be talking about the beliefs of all kinds of religions not just the Christianity, to become familiar with what they believe and also you discuss issues that people might need guidance on, like drugs, sex, abuse, abortions that are foreign for discussion.
Chuck: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Chuck: The first word is?
Judith: [los]
Chuck: “Go!” or “Get going!” as in a shout of encouragement.
Judith: [los, los]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [können]
Chuck: “Can, be able to” or “be allowed to”.
Judith: [können, können]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Straße]
Chuck: “Street”.
Judith: [Straße, die Straße] and the plural is [Straßen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [geradeaus]
Chuck: “Straight ahead”.
Judith: [geradeaus, geradeaus]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [dauern]
Chuck: “To last” or “to take a certain amount of time”.
Judith: [dauern, dauern]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [schnell]
Chuck: “Quick, quickly” or “fast”.
Judith: [schnell, schnell]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [rot]
Chuck: “Red”.
Judith: [rot, rot]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Schirm]
Chuck: “Umbrella”.
Judith: [Schirm, der Schirme] and the plural is [Schirme]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [links]
Chuck: “Left” or “on the left”.
Judith: [links, links]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Ecke]
Chuck: “Corner”.
Judith: [Ecke, die Ecke] and the plural is [Ecken]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [sagen]
Chuck: “To say”.
Judith: [sagen, sagen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [man]
Chuck: “One, you” or “people”.
Judith: [man, man] this is an impersonal pronoun much like the French [on]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [jemand]
Chuck: “Someone”.
Judith: [jemand, jemand]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Kirche]
Chuck: “Church”.
Judith: [Kirche, die Kirche] and the plural is [Kirchen]
Chuck: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Judith: The first word is [könnten]
Chuck: “Could”.
Judith: This form with the extra “t” is actually the conditional, which we won’t study until much later. However it’s useful to know this one form because we use it to make polite requests, for example [Könnten Sie mir helfen]
Chuck: “Could you please help me?”
Judith: Then, I want to talk about [Sonnenschirm]
Chuck: “A sun umbrella”.
Judith: Yes, it’s a compound based on [Sonne]
Chuck: “Sun”.
Judith: And [Schirm]
Chuck: “Umbrella”.
Judith: Similarly you can say [Regenschirm] which is based on [Regen]
Chuck: “Rain”.
Judith: And [Schirm]
Chuck: “Umbrella”.
Judith: Or you can just say [Schirm] and people would guess which one you mean. Then, there’s this word [Blindfisch]
Chuck: “Blind-fish”.
Judith: It’s a term for someone who doesn’t see the obvious. A mild insult based on the word [blind]
Chuck: “Blind”.
Judith: And [Fisch]
Chuck: “Fish”.
Judith: Finally, we have one name in this dialogue which is a bit difficult [Gedächtniskirche]
Chuck: “Memorial church”.
Judith: [Gedächtniskirche] This refers to the [Kaiser-Wilhelm] Memorial Church [Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche] which we listed among Berlin sights in the previous lesson. It’s a really nice building to see.

Lesson focus

Chuck: The focus of this lesson is the irregular verb [können] as in the phrase?
Judith: [Jetzt kann ich es sehen]
Chuck: “Now I can see it!” In this lesson we came across the verb [können] which is also a similar irregular in German. Actually it matches [wollen] one to one.
Judith: Yes. For [wollen] the singular stamp is [will] and for [können] it’s [kann]. For [wollen] the plural stamp is [woll] and for [können] it’s [können].
Chuck: The endings are exactly the same, so what are the forms?
Judith: [Ich kann]
Chuck: “I can”.
Judith: [Du kannst]
Chuck: “You can”.
Judith: [Er kann]
Chuck: “He can.”
Judith: [Wir können]
Chuck: “We can”.
Judith: [Ihr könnt]
Chuck: “You all can”.
Judith: [Sie können]
Chuck: “They can”. 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 then you listen to it.
Chuck: Then 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]