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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 22 – “You’ve Got Mail From Germany!” 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 send off a letter.
Judith: This conversation takes place at a German post office.
Chuck: The conversation is between Joe and Anke.
Judith: The speakers are friends. Therefore, they will be speaking informal German.
Chuck: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Anke: So, hier ist die Post.
Joe: Oh, sieh mal. Da ist aber eine lange Schlange am Schalter!
Anke: Macht nichts! Wir können auch Briefmarken am Automaten kaufen und dann die Postkarte in den Briefkasten einwerfen.
Joe: Oh, super.
Anke: Also, es ist wirklich einfach. Erst wählst du die Briefmarke aus.
Joe: Hmm, und was für eine Briefmarke nehme ich, Anke?
Anke: Na, du willst ja eine Postkarte verschicken. Da kostet das Porto 45 Cent.
Joe: Ach so … Hmm, es geht aber nicht.
Anke: Haha, nein, du drückst ja auch auf den Bildschirm. Drück die Tasten an der Seite, dann geht es.
Joe: Ach so! … Haha, doch nicht so einfach … Hmm, aber ich brauche fünf Briefmarken. Ich habe im Hotel noch Postkarten für meine Familie und Freunde in den USA.
Anke: Kein Problem. Dann drückst du einfach noch mal auf die Taste, bis du fünf Briefmarken hast.
Joe: Aaaah.
Anke: So, jetzt siehst du da den Gesamtpreis 2,25 Euro.
Joe: Okay, kann ich auch 2 Euro und 50 Cent einwerfen?
Anke: Nein, das geht nicht. Der Automat gibt kein Rückgeld!
Joe: Und nun?
Anke: Warte! Ich habe noch 25 Cent. Dann ist es passend!
Joe: Super! Danke Anke!
Anke: Well, this is the post office.
Joe: Oh, look at that. There's a long line at the counter!
Anke: It doesn't matter! We can also buy stamps at the machine and then throw the postcard into the mailbox.
Joe: Oh, great!
Anke: So, it's really easy. First you select the stamp.
Joe: Hmm, and what kind of stamp do I take, Anke?
Anke: Well, you want to send off a postcard. The postage for that is 45 cents.
Joe: Ah... Hmm, but it doesn't work.
Anke: Haha, no, you're pressing on the screen. Press the buttons on the side, then it will work.
Joe: Ah right! ... Haha, not quite so easy ... Hmm, but I need five stamps. I have postcards for my family and friends in the USA at the hotel.
Anke: No problem. Then you just press the button again, until you have five stamps.
Joe: Aaaah.
Anke: Now you see the total, 2 euros and 25 cents.
Joe: Okay, can I also throw in 2 euros and 50 cents?
Anke: No, that's not possible. The machine doesn't give change!
Joe: And now?
Anke: Wait! I have 25 cents. Then it's exact!
Joe: Great! Thank you, Anke!
Judith: Alright! So this lesson is all about postcards and the post office. How about we talk a little bit about what you need to know if you want to send a letter to Germany?
Chuck: First so they can easily learn how to stand in a long line.
Judith: I think everybody knows that even if they don’t like it. Okay, so about letters, if you want to write a German address, the important thing is you first put first name and last name, that much is clear, then the street and number. Note that the house number goes after the street name and then postal code and the city. The postal code goes before the city, but on the same line and, finally, on the fourth line you have the country.
Chuck: That’s right.
Judith: And the postcode, usually just specifies the city not the street or the block. There are only a few cities like Berlin that may have a few different postal codes which roughly specify the area of town.
Chuck: Also note that postal codes just like phone numbers allow you to identify the region within Germany. In fact, sometimes, you’ll see on company websites when they have their [filiale] or branches, that they’ll show all the numbers in Germany, from one through – I think even a zero, right?
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: So one through nine and zero and then you can click the part of the map that you live on.
Judith: Yes. Or you can calculate how much delivery is if you enter your postal code or the first four digits of your postal code.
Chuck: So what do you do if you want to send a postcard from Germany?
Judith: Well, a postcard, if it’s going to another German city, it is 45 cents and a standard letter would be 55 cents. If you’re sending a postcard to anywhere in Europe, it would be 65 cents or a standard letter is 70 cents.
Chuck: Okay, what if you want to send one in the States? To a family.
Judith: Yeah, I guess this is the most useful for you. To the U.S.A., a postcard is 1 euro and a standard letter is 1 euro and 70..
Chuck: A euro and 70?
Judith: For a letter.
Chuck: That’s crazy!
Judith: What do you mean?
Chuck: Last time I remember, it was 70 cents, the other direction.
Judith: Oops.
Chuck: Maybe that was a few years ago.
Judith: It’s possible. The -
Chuck: I think German postal service is quite more efficient than the American one though.
Judith: Well, it’s faster. Uh, if you send a letter within Germany then it will probably be delivered around noon on the next day or the day after at the very most, also for parcels.
Chuck: Well, that sure beats waiting for five days for a letter to go from Pennsylvania to California.
Judith: Well, there’s also a lot of shorter distance.
Chuck: That’s true. Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Chuck: The first word is?
Judith: [Schlange]
Chuck: “Snake, queue” or “line” as in a line that you’re wait in.
Judith: [Schlange, die Schlange] this word is feminine and the plural is [Schlangen].
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Schalter]
Chuck: “Counter, desk” or a “switch”.
Judith: [Schalter, der Schalter] and the plural is the same.
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Automat]
Chuck: “Automat” or “machine”
Judith: [Automat, der Automat] and the plural is [Automaten]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Briefkasten]
Chuck: “Mailbox”
Judith: [Briefkasten, der Briefkasten] and the plural is [Briefkästen] with an “e”.
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [auswählen]
Chuck: “To select”
Judith: [auswählen, auswählen] and the [aus] splits off.
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [was für]
Chuck: “What kind of?”
Judith: [was für] and it would usually put an [ein] or [einer] after that if the noun is not plural.
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [verschicken]
Chuck: “To send out” or “to mail”
Judith: [verschicken, verschicken]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Porto]
Chuck: “Postage”
Judith: [Porto, das Porto]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Bildschirm]
Chuck: “Screen” or “monitor”
Judith: [Bildschirm, der Bildschirm] and the plural is [Bildschirme].
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Seite]
Chuck: “Side” or “page”.
Judith: [Seite, die Seite] and plural is [Seiten]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [gesamt]
Chuck: “Entire, total” or “overall”.
Judith: [gesamt, gesamt]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Preis]
Chuck: “Price” or “prize”.
Judith: [Preis, der Preis] and the plural is [Preise].
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Rückgeld]
Chuck: “Change” as in money.
Judith: [Rückgeld, das Rückgeld] this word is neutral.
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [passend]
Chuck: “Fitting” or “suitable”
Judith: [passend, passend]
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 [Macht nichts]
Chuck: This literally means “Doesn’t make anything” but it really means “Doesn’t matter”.
Judith: [Macht nichts] also, let’s have a look at the compound nouns in today’s vocabulary. For example, [Briefkasten] .
Chuck: “Mailbox”
Judith: Yeah, it’s a combination of [Brief]
Chuck: “Letter”
Judith: And [Kasten]
Chuck: “Box”. Logical, isn’t it?
Judith: There’s also [Bildschirm].
Chuck: “Screen”
Judith: This one is less logical. It’s a combination of [Bild]
Chuck: “Picture”
Judith: And [Schirm].
Chuck: “Umbrella”. A picture umbrella? That’s kind of cute actually.
Judith: It is. And finally, [Rückgeld] it’s a combination of [zurück]
Chuck: “Back”.
Judith: And [Geld]
Chuck: “Money”
Judith: It’s money that you get back.
Chuck: You get “back money”!

Lesson focus

Chuck: This lesson is about higher numbers. We’ve seen a few, but now it’s time to learn the rule.
Judith: Yes. One thing is, we’ve already talked about numbers up to ten, [zehn] then there’s [elf]
Chuck: “Eleven”.
Judith: [zwölf]
Chuck: “Twelve”
Judith: And after that, you just put the word for the German number and add [zehn]
Chuck: So what are they, then?
Judith: [dreizehn, vierzehn, fünfzehn, sechzehn, siebzehn, achtzehn, neunzehn]
Chuck: Hey, I caught a mistake, you didn’t say [siebezehn]
Judith: Yeah, it’s a bit easier saying [siebzehn] instead of [siebezehn], and also I said [sechzehn] instead of [sechszehn] because that’s so hard to pronounce.
Chuck: Wait, can you say [siebezehn] or is that just wrong?
Judith: No, no, it’s wrong. You say [siebzehn].
Chuck: Okay. So watch out for that. Well, are you going to go on or they only get up to 19 today?
Judith: No, no. Actually, I want to cover all the rest of the numbers today. So -
Chuck: All of them? That’s a long lesson! I can’t wait to get to them all!
Judith: Fortunately they’re very regular. So, next is [zwanzig]
Chuck: “Twenty”
Judith: [dreißig]
Chuck: “Thirty”
Judith: [vierzig]
Chuck: “Forty”
Judith: And from then on, the remaining numbers always consist of a base number that you already know like [vier, fünf, sechs] and so on and then the ending [zig] that is “z,i,g”.
Chuck: But you get [siebzig], right?
Judith: Yeah. And [sechzig] and not [sechszig] though. You get the idea. I’m making it easy.
Chuck: Also note that counting with these can be a bit weird at first, because Germans would say the equivalent of, well “one and twenty, two and twenty, three and twenty”.
Judith: [einundzwanzig, zweiundzwanzig, dreiundzwanzig]
Chuck: And so on.
Judith: Yeah, but if you’ve read Jane Austen, you will notice that in Old English, it was done the same way.
Chuck: You and your Jane Austen. So, that gets up to 99. I thought you promised us all the numbers.
Judith: Yes, after 99 you’ll need the number [hundert].
Chuck: That’s not hard.
Judith: Yeah, it’s almost the same as in English, [hundert], “hundred”. And [zweihundert]
Chuck: “200”
Judith: Yes and [vierhundertfünfzig]
Chuck: “450”
Judith: Mm-hmm, and so on. It’s really easy. And same for thousands. The German word is [tausend]. This way, you can describe a whole lot of numbers, even [fünftausendvierhundertzweiunddreißig].
Chuck: “5432”. Or should we say “Five thousand, four hundred, two and thirty”?
Judith: Yes. [fünftausendvierhundertzweiunddreißig].
Chuck: Okay, and what’s next? There’s still a lot of numbers left [Judith].
Judith: Well, there’s [zehntausend], “ten thousand” [hunderttausend]
Chuck: Well, I guess we’re out of time for today.
Judith: [eine Million, eine Milliarde] -


Chuck: Before we go, we wanna tell you about a way to improve your pronunciation drastically.
Judith: With voice recording tool.
Chuck: Yes, the voice recording tool.
Judith: Record your voice with a click of a button.
Chuck: Then play it back just as easily.
Judith: Record and listen.
Chuck: Then compare it to the native speakers.
Judith: And adjust your pronunciation.
Chuck: This will help you improve your pronunciation fast, especially if you want to count really, really high numbers! So, see you next week!
Judith: Bis nächste Woche.


Please to leave a comment.
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GermanPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Wie viele Briefe oder Postkarten habt ihr schon mal auf einen Schlag verschickt?

How many letters or post cards have you sent at once?

GermanPod101.com Verified
Friday at 03:49 PM
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Hi Delia,

Thank you for your feedback.

Please find below your sentences with some tiny little corrections.

Meine Freundin hat mir viele alte Briefe gegeben. Ich hatte diese Briefe geschrieben als ich jung war und nach Indien gereist bin. Sollte ich sagen Freund oder Freundin wenn wir beide Frauen und nicht romantisch befreundet sind?

As for your question: Romantically involved or not, in German you will always say "Freundin" if you refer

to a female friend. 😉

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us again.

Kind regards,


Team GermanPod101.com

Tuesday at 11:50 AM
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Mein Freund hat mir viele alte Briefe gegeben. Ich habe diese Briefe geschreiben wann wird ich jung und ich bin gereist nach indien. Sollte ich sagen Freund oder Freundin wenn wir beide Frauen und nicht romantisch sind? Danke.

GermanPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 01:06 AM
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Hallo robert groulx,

Danke schön for taking the time to leave us a comment. 😇

We are very happy to have you here.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,


Team GermanPod101.com

robert groulx
Friday at 05:48 AM
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thank you for the lesson tranascript

favorite word is [Briefkästen


GermanPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 04:31 PM
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Hi Chris,

Thank you for the comment.

You probably mean this "ja" in the middle of the sentences. It is a particle which is used in situations by a speaker who relates to what has been said before. So it is a bit similar to the English huh or right, Du hast ja keine Ahnung. You have no idea, huh?

I hope this helps.



Friday at 08:04 AM
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Anke sagt „ya" in „Na, du willst ja eine Postkarte verschicken. Da kostet das Porto 45 Cent." und „Haha, nein, du drückst ja auch auf den Bildschirm. Drück die Tasten an der Seite, dann geht es.".

Warum sie sagt „ya" heir?

Anke says "ya" in these two lines of the dialog. Why does she say "ya" here?

I have seen similar usage of "ya" in other lessons too and the usage doesn't make sense.

Danke sehr


Wednesday at 07:22 AM
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Hello, Could you add the genus and plural form for each noun on the vocabulary section? As I found if it's a noun, we need to seach them again for get genus and plural form and remember them.

GermanPod101.com Verified
Monday at 01:56 PM
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Hallo Shahar,

Thank you for your comment and question.

Yes, PS is the same in English and German, it comes from Latin and stands for "post scriptum", so something that was "written after" the main part of the text.

I hope this helps!

Vielen Dank!


Team GermanPod101.com

Shahar Deutsch
Friday at 04:27 AM
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I got an email in German from LEO website and I saw there the intials P. S, at the end of the email.

Is it the same as the "P. S." in english letter?

Are there any special words for P. S. in german?

Vielen dank.

Tuesday at 11:45 AM
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Hallo John,

Danke für deine Frage! Thank you very much for your question!

both "wählen" and "auswählen" means to choose/ to select. "wählen" also means to vote or to dial a phone number. You would use "wählen" if you wanted to say, for example "which subject would you like to choose?" "welches Fach würden Sie gerne wählen?" you would use "auswählen", if you wanted to say, for example "the candidate for the job is chosen carefully." "Der Kandidat für den Job wird vorsichtig ausgewählt." "auswählen" is used more when emphasising the fact that you are singling someone or something out.

I hope this helps!

Vielen Dank!


Team GermanPod101.com