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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 6 – “How Far Will Klingon Get You in Germany?” Hi, my name is Chuck and I’m here with [Judith].
Judith: Hello everyone and welcome back to GermanPod101.
Chuck: What are we learning today?
Judith: In this lesson you’ll learn how to talk about your job and the languages you speak. Today’s conversation takes place on an airplane landing in Berlin.
Chuck: The conversation is between Joe and [Anke], an American and a German who met on a plane.
Judith: The speakers have become friends quickly therefore they would be speaking informal German.
Chuck: Let’s listen to the conversation.
D: Du arbeitest nicht als Agent, also was machst du beruflich?
A: Ich bin Übersetzer.
D: Für welche Sprachen?
A: Ich bin Übersetzer für Englisch und Französisch.
D: Ahh, ich spreche auch Französisch. In Kanada sprechen alle Englisch und Französisch, oder? Ihr sprecht alle zwei Sprachen?
A: (lacht) Nein. Wir sprechen alle Englisch, nur in Québec sprechen viele Französisch.
D: Aber du sprichst Englisch, Französisch und Deutsch.
A: Ja, und ich spreche auch Klingonisch, aber nur ein bißchen.
D: Klingonisch?? Wirklich??
A: Ja.
D: Was ist „Hallo“ auf Klingonisch?
A: nuqneH.
D: Wow.
D: You don't work as an agent, so what are you doing for a living?
A: I am a translator.
D: For which languages?
A: I am a translator for English and French.
D: Ahh, I speak French, too. In Canada everybody speaks English and French, right? You all speak two languages?
A: (laughs) No. We all speak English, just in Quebec many speak French.
D: But you speak English, French and German.
A: Yes, and I also speak Klingon, but just a little.
D: Klingon?? Really??
A: Yes.
D: What's "Hello" in Klingon?
A: nuqneH.
D: Wow.
Judith: Alright. So, how about we talk a bit about the foreign language knowledge in Germany?
Chuck: In Germany, Klingon is a mandatory subject -
Judith: No.
Chuck: - in school for – what?
Judith: There’s a few people who speak [Klinger] in Germany, but not all that many. In fact -
Chuck: You don´t has it as a subject?
Judith: No.
Chuck: Okay.
Judith: If you want to find something everybody knows, try English. It’s your best choice, it doesn’t quite work out but it’s a language most known. English is a mandatory subject at school for at least five years of seven if you want to go to university. And it’s also increasing presence in kindergartens.
Chuck: All right, I meant English not Klingon. So, however the quality of instructions varies a lot from school to school, most people won’t remember any of their English, say, ten years after they get out. Well, unless you have to use it often in the meantime. So, if you would want to ask something in English to a German, your best pet is a student or a business man.
Judith: Among other groups, understanding of English is actually quite low. For example, in a study, more than 15 present of Germans were unable to understand English slogans used in German TV ads. Things as simple as “Where money lives.” This is another reason for you to learn German, of course.
Chuck: I live in English, French is the most commonly studied after our language, followed by Latin. However, these wouldn’t normally be studied instead of English. Rather these are studied as a foreign language. In Eastern Germany, Russian used to be the most common foreign language, studied by older generations instead of English. So, if English doesn’t work, you can always try Latin.
Judith: Or Russian, if you’re in the East. If you intend to go to university, then you’ll have to study two foreign languages for at least five years each at high school, which is supposed to give you fluent command of them. You have the option of studying up to four foreign languages even, as I did, but few will do that. Four language classes, once chosen, cannot usually be dropped easily and they’ll affect your mark average.
Chuck: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Chuck: The first word we’ll look at is?
Judith: [also]
Chuck: “So”.
Judith: [also, also]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [was]
Chuck: “What?”
Judith: [was, was]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [machen]
Chuck: “To make” or “to do”.
Judith: [machen, machen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Übersetzer]
Chuck: “Translator”.
Judith: [Übersetzer, Übersetzer] This word is masculine, and the plural is the same.
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [welcher]
Chuck: “Which”.
Judith: [welcher, welcher]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Sprache]
Chuck: “Language”.
Judith: [Sprache, Sprache] This one is feminine, and the plural is [Sprachen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Englisch]
Chuck: “English language”.
Judith: [Englisch, Englisch]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Französisch]
Chuck: “French language”.
Judith: [Französisch, Französisch]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [sprechen]
Chuck: “To speak”.
Judith: [sprechen, sprechen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [auch]
Chuck: “Also” or “too”.
Judith: [auch, auch]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [alle]
Chuck: “All” or “everybody”.
Judith: [alle, alle]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [viele]
Chuck: “Many”.
Judith: [viele, viele]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Deutsch]
Chuck: “German language”.
Judith: [Deutsch, Deutsch]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [ein bisschen]
Chuck: “A little”.
Judith: [ein bisschen, ein bisschen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [auf]
Chuck: “On” or “onto”.
Judith: [auf, auf]
Chuck: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Judith: The first word we’ll look at is [welcher] this word also changes according to the word that follows it. In this case, it’s [welche] to match [Sprachen]. By the same line, [im] is a combination of [in] and the article, so it can be translated as “in the”. Neither of these issues is really important, so don’t worry about them, we’ll cover them later.
Chuck: As you’ve might noticed, German language names tend to end in “ish”. “I, s, h”. This is especially true for languages that end in “ish”, “I, s, h” in English.
Judith: For example, English, Spanish, Finnish, Turkish.
Chuck: But in German there are a lot more languages ending in “ish”. Such as?
Judith: [Chinesisch]
Chuck: “Chinese”.
Judith: [Japanisch]
Chuck: “Japanese”.
Judith: [Portugiesisch]
Chuck: “Portuguese”.
Judith: [Italienisch]
Chuck: “Italian”.
Judith: And even [Klingonisch]
Chuck: “Klingon”. In case of dell, pronounce the English name in German and change the England to “ish” and give it a decent chance to get it right.
Judith: To say “In French”, you should say [auf Französisch] or “In English” is [auf Englisch], even though [auf] literally translates to “on”, so in German we literally say “on English”. Prepositions like this don’t typically transfer across languages, so be prepared for Germans to sometimes use prepositions differently than you’re used to.

Lesson focus

Chuck: The grammar focus of this lesson are about changing verbs.
Judith: This lesson saw also a healthy dose of the verb [sprechen] adds the same endings as the other regular verbs we’ve seen. However, there’s one important change. When we use [sprechen] in the second or third persons singular, so when we’re addressing somebody informally or when we’re talking about he, she or it, then first “e” changes to an “i” suddenly. [du sprichst] and [Joe spricht]
Chuck: But wait, aren’t those the endings that we’re used to? An “st” for [du] and “t” for the third person?
Judith: Yes, but we would expect to see [du sprechst] not [du sprichst], it’s a vowel change. [Sprechen] is not the only word that does this. There’s an entire category of common verbs that would dub vowel changing verbs.
Chuck: Oh, yeah. I remember that, I think the first six months I moved to Germany I made this mistake every time, for someone until corrected me. So you were there first. All these vowel changing verbs change its vowels for the second and third person, singular. But, only those. Most of the time switches from “e” to “I”. [Judith] can you give us the complete form of [sprechen], just for practice?
Judith: Sure. [Ich spreche]
Chuck: “I speak”.
Judith: [Du sprichst]
Chuck: “You speak” – informally.
Judith: [Er spricht]
Chuck: “He speaks”.
Judith: [Wir sprechen]
Chuck: “We speak”.
Judith: [Ihr sprecht]
Chuck: “You all speak”, as in several people.
Judith: [Sie sprechen]


Chuck: “They speak” or “You speak” – formally. Well, that just about does it for today. Okay, some of our listeners already know the most powerful tool in GermanPod101.com
Judith: Line by line audio.
Chuck: The perfect tool for rapidly improving your listening comprehension. Oh wait, that doesn’t work for Klingon.
Judith: By listening to the lines of the conversation again and again.
Chuck: Listen until every word and syllable becomes clear. Basically, we break down the dialogue into comprehensible bite size sentences.
Judith: You can try the line by line audio in the premium learning center at GermanPod101.com.
Chuck: Okay, hope you can say that you can speak a little German now. See you next week!
Judith: [Bis nächste Woche]