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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginner Series, Season 1, Lesson 4 – “Cloudy with a Chance of German”. Hi, my name is Chuck and I’m joined here by?
Judith: Judith. Hello, wie geht es dir, how are you?
Chuck: [Mir geht es gut, danke] I’m fine, thanks.
Judith: So, Chuck. What is the goal of today’s lesson?
Chuck: In this lesson you’ll learn how to talk about the weather in German.
Judith: This conversation takes place on a commercial airplane, heading to Germany.
Chuck: The conversation is between Anke and Joe, our two main characters. The speakers agreed to use informal German in the previous lesson, so from now on, they’ll address each other informally. Let’s listen to the conversation.
A: Wie ist das Wetter in Berlin heute?
D: Heute ist es kalt, aber die Sonne scheint.
A: Es ist kalt?
D: Ja, aber zumindest regnet es nicht.
A: Es schneit nicht??
D: (lacht) Nein, es schneit nicht. In Deutschland schneit es im April nicht.
A: Aber es ist kalt?
D: Ja, heute ist es nicht warm. Manchmal ist es warm im April, aber nicht heute.
A: How is the weather in Berlin today?
D: Today it is cold, but the sun is shining.
A: It is cold?
D: Yes, but at least it doesn't rain.
A: It doesn't snow??
D: (laughs) No, it doesn't snow. In Germany it doesn't snow in April.
A: But it is cold?
D: Yes, today it is not warm. Sometimes it is warm in April, but not today.
Judith: Okay, how about we talk about the German weather? What can you expect if you’re traveling here? Yeah, right. Now it’s really cold in January, what are going to expect? The weather in Germany is quite typical for its region as in the remaining countries of Central Europe, a temperate cool and cloudy weather dominates.
Chuck: The weather in the northern part of Germany is influenced by winds from the North Sea most of the time. Its temperatures are over 28 degrees Celsius or 82 degree Fahrenheit in summer and below zero Celsius, 32 Fahrenheit, in winter are uncommon.
Judith: Most of Germany is flat and not high above sea level, so it used to be a quite uncommon to have snow on the ground. Certainly it would snow several days between December and February, but the snow was hardly ever enough for us to slay on. Most day it would melt immediately upon contact with the ground. In the past two years, however, they have been quite incredible amounts of snow even in the northern lowlands and they have stayed long enough to be a really annoyance.
Chuck: What’s pretty amazing to me, at least, is well – she said it was pretty flat here and when it snows, and the snow stays on the ground you’ll find many parents will take their kids out with sleds and they’ll just drag them on the sidewalk.
Judith: Yes, on the [Schlitten] I don’t see anything wrong with it.
Chuck: Yeah, but you get the sleds to slide down the hills and it's fun.
Judith: For what do you need hills? What do you do if you don’t have hills?
Chuck: You don’t use sleds. Anyway, Germany has clearly four seasons of approximately three months each. And I actually find it quite similar to my home state of Pennsylvania, climate wise.
Judith: Yeah. But, the four seasons are really as clear cut a start and you shouldn’t expect big changes in weather within 48 hours. Except possibly in April. April is known to be variable, sometimes it offers temperatures approaching zero and sometimes there’s a heat below everything in between.
Chuck: Yep, just like Pennsylvania. So, another thing that’s interesting is that in general, the climate within Germany is pretty similar in the North and the South, because as you go South, it also is more elevated, so the further South you get, the cold is supposed to go because of the elevation, but also the warmth is supposed to go because of the latitude. Cause, I mean I lived in [Heilbronn] and then in Berlin, [Heilbronn] is in the South and Berlin is in the North and it seems pretty much the same, to me. Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Judith: First, [der, die, das]
Chuck: “The”.
Judith: [der, die, das, der, die, das] Next, [Wetter]
Chuck: “Weather”.
Judith: [Wetter, Wetter] Next, [heute]
Chuck: “Today”.
Judith: [heute, heute] Next, [kalt]
Chuck: “Cold”.
Judith: [kalt, kalt] Next, [Sonne]
Chuck: “Sun”.
Judith: [Sonne, Sonne] Next, [scheinen]
Chuck: “To shine” or “to seem”.
Judith: [scheinen, scheinen] Next, [zumindest]
Chuck: “At least”.
Judith: [zumindest, zumindest] Next, [regnen]
Chuck: “To rain”.
Judith: [regnen, regnen] Next, [schneien]
Chuck: “To snow”.
Judith: [schneien, schneien] Next, [Deutschland]
Chuck: “Germany”.
Judith: [Deutschland, Deutschland] Next, [warm]
Chuck: “Warm”.
Judith: [warm, warm] Next, [manchmal]
Chuck: “Sometimes”.
Judith: [manchmal, manchmal]
Chuck: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Judith: First, let’s have a closer look at the word [nicht]
Chuck: “Not”.
Judith: Typically, it’s placed after the verb in order to negate the whole sentence. When you just want to deny one particular fact, though, you place the [nicht] before that fact. Compare [Ich komme nicht zur Party heute]
Chuck: “I’m not coming to the party today, but doing something else.”
Judith: [Nicht ich komme zur Party heute]
Chuck: “There’s not I who is coming to the party today.”
Judith: And [Ich komme nicht heute zur Party]
Chuck: “I’m not coming today to the party, but maybe some other day.”
Judith: Next, we should explain the [der, die] and [das].
Chuck: Definitively.
Judith: All of these evaluate translations of the definite article, the English word “the”. In German, just like in Spanish, French and Russian, all nouns have genders. They can be masculine, feminine or neutral and the article will have to match that fact. [Der] is for masculine nouns, [die] is for feminine nouns and [das] is for neutral nouns. For example, you’d say [der Mann]
Chuck: “The man” – masculine.
Judith: [die Frau]
Chuck: “The woman” – feminine.
Judith: And [das Kind]
Chuck: “The child” – neutral.
Judith: The tricky part is when a word does not imply a gender. Then Germans will assign genders pretty much randomly, for example we say [das Wetter]
Chuck: “The weather” – neutral.
Judith: But, [die Sonne]
Chuck: “The sun” – feminine.
Judith: You will have to memorize the gender alongside each new German noun. So, in the comment lessons, we will always tell what gender words are when we study them in the vocabulary section.
Chuck: This can seem like quite a fear and concern at first, but after a while you’ll get used to it.
Judith: Yes.

Lesson focus

Judith: The focus of this lesson is the German word order, part one.
Chuck: So far, the German word order in German sentences has always been the subject, verb and then the rest such as objects or descriptions of time or place. This corresponds to the typical English word order. However, in this lesson, we’ve seen a lot of sentences with a different word order which the verb comes before the subject.
Judith: For example, [Heute ist es kalt]
Chuck: “Today it’s cold.” The reason is that the basic rule of German word order is that the verb must come in second position in sentence.
Judith: So, if the subject comes first, German word order corresponds to the English one. But, if anything else comes first, for example a word of time like [heute]
Chuck: “Today”.
Judith: The two languages are no longer the same.
Chuck: The German will put the verb in second position and the subject will lie behind the verb.
Judith: In first position, you can have the subject, you can have a word of time or place or manner or a conjunction, you can even have a group of words such as [in Deutschland]
Chuck: “In Germany”.
Judith: Or [aber zumindest]
Chuck: “But at least.”
Judith: The thing is that you need to put the verb immediately afterwards, in second position.
Chuck: Could you give me an example, then?
Judith: Okay, for example, [In Deutschland scheint die Sonne]
Chuck: “In Germany, the sun shines.” Or literally “In Germany shines the sun.”
Judith: [Aber zumindest regnet es nicht]
Chuck: “But at least, it doesn’t rain.” Literally, “But at least rains it not.” You see it takes some getting used to, but after a while it seems natural. On another note, did you notice that all the weather related verbs ended in “t”? Just like [ist], this is the mark of the third person singular of regular verbs. You’ll use the same “t” ending when talking about Joe or [Anke].
Judith: For example. [Joe kommt aus Kanada und Anke wohnt in Berlin]
Chuck: Well, that just about does it for today or today does it just – okay, I’m not going to try that. Remember, don’t forget to subscribe to the premium feed.
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Judith: See you next week!
Chuck: [Bis nächste Woche]