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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 7 – “If It’s Compliments You are Fishing For, Germany May Not Be the Right Pond!” Hello and welcome to GermanPod101.com, where we study 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 looking at today?
Judith: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to receive compliments in German.
Chuck: This conversation takes place at the Berlin Tegel Airport. There, Joe and [Anke] are waiting in line for passport control.
Judith: This is because they’re getting to know each other better, therefore they will be speaking informal German.
Chuck: Let’s listen to the conversation.
D: So, jetzt sind wir in Berlin.
A: Was ist das da vorn?
D: Das da vorn ist die Passkontrolle.
A: Ah. Sprechen die Polizisten alle Englisch?
D: Ja, aber du sprichst ja auch Deutsch.
A: Hmm, ich lerne noch, ich spreche Deutsch noch nicht so gut.
D: Dann sprichst du Englisch. Kein Problem. Oder Klingonisch.
A: Okay... Klingonisch? Seid ihr Deutschen alle Star Trek Fans?
D: Nein. Nur ein Witz.
A: Ah. ...
D: Warten, warten, warten. Ich hasse warten!
A: Ich hasse es auch.
D: So, now we are in Berlin.
A: What is that over there in front?
D: That in front is passport control.
A: Ah. Do all policemen speak English.
D: Yes, but you do also speak German.
A: Hmm, I'm still learning it, I don't yet speak German very well.
D: Then you'll speak English. No problem. Or Klingon.
A: Okay... Klingon? Are you all of you Germans Star Trek fans?
D: No. Just a joke.
A: Ah. ...
D: Waiting, waiting, waiting. I hate waiting!
A: I hate it, too.
Judith: Okay, so what should we talk about in our culture point today?
Chuck: That’s a very nice idea, to think about a culture point.
Judith: I think we should talk about compliments.
Chuck: That’s also a good idea. Good job!
Judith: Joe said that his German is not very good yet, even though it’s clear that he can have a conversation in it. Either he’s very modest or he was fishing for a compliment.
Chuck: Anyway, you don’t have such luck in Germany. An English speaker might’ve complimented Joe on his language skills, but in Germany compliments usually not as easily earned.
Judith: Part of it just probably that many Germans speak a foreign language well. So, it doesn’t impress people as much when you do as well.
Chuck: Or you might get the nice “Oh, you speak German well! For an American.”
Judith: Well, people from Eastern Europe tend to speak really good German.
Chuck: Part of it’s also that Germans don’t usually praise any compliments. And more like they focus on the truth. But it also means that if the Germans compliments you, it means a lot more.
Judith: Yeah. The other thing is, if you compliment a German, he might just continue the conversation. If he believes that what you’ve said was a truthful account of the situation, they he won’t need to thank you for the compliment or he also won’t claim to be to be worse than he knows he is. It’s definitively a difference in cultures.
Chuck: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Chuck: The first word we shall look at is?
Judith: [jetzt]
Chuck: “Now”.
Judith: [jetzt, jetzt]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [da]
Chuck: “There”.
Judith: [da, da]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [vorn, vorne]
Chuck: “In front”.
Judith: [vorn, vorne, vorn, vorne]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Pass, Reisepass]
Chuck: “Passport”.
Judith: [Pass, Reisepass, Pass, Reisepass] This word is masculine and plural is [Pässe] or [Reisepässe]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Kontrolle]
Chuck: “Control”.
Judith: [Kontrolle, die Kontrolle] and the plural is [Kontrollen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Polizist]
Chuck: “Policemen.”
Judith: [Polizist, der Polizist] and the plural is [Polizisten]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [lernen]
Chuck: “To learn” or “study”.
Judith: [lernen, lernen]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [noch]
Chuck: “Still”.
Judith: [noch, noch]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [dann]
Chuck: “Then”.
Judith: [dann, dann]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [ein]
Chuck: “A” or “an”.
Judith: [ein, ein] This word changes according to gender, number and case of the following noun.
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [Witz]
Chuck: “Joke”.
Judith: [Witz, Witz] This word is masculine and the plural is [Witze]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [warten]
Chuck: “To wait”.
Judith: [warten, warten]
Chuck: Next?
Judith: [hassen]
Chuck: “To hate”.
Judith: [hassen, hassen]
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 [Passkontrolle]. This is a compound noun based on [Pass]
Chuck: “Passport”.
Judith: And [Kontrolle]
Chuck: “Control”.
Judith: In German, we like to write this as one long word rather than two separate ones like “passport control”, in English.
Chuck: Generally, you’ll find a lot of long compound nouns in German. Well, because they’re fun or else the Germans do it. To make things easier, you can already keep in mind the gender of the compound noun is based on the last mentioned noun. So, in this case, [Kontrolle] is feminine, and that makes the entire noun [Passkontrolle], feminine.
Judith: Second thing we should look at is the phrase [Nur ein Witz]. This German expression is roughly equivalent to “Don’t hurt me. It’s just a joke”.
Chuck: Well, the last part of that it is.
Judith: Yeah. Not the [ein] in there, that’s the indefinite article. As we shall note plenty of times in the future, [ein] also requires different endings depending on the gender of the noun that follows. For example, “a control” is [eine Kontrolle], because [Kontrolle] is feminine, so we see an [eine].

Lesson focus

Chuck: The focus of this lesson are the forms of the irregular verb [sein], “to be”. This lesson was mostly a review lesson. However, we sneaked in the last two remaining forms of the irregular verb [sein], “to be”. Did you notice it?
Judith: They are [Du bist]
Chuck: “You are” – informally.
Judith: And [Ihr seid]
Chuck: “You are” as in several people. So, can you remind us of all the forms with [sein]?
Judith: Sure. [Ich bin]
Chuck: “I am”.
Judith: [Du bist]
Chuck: “You are”.
Judith: [Es ist]
Chuck: “It is”.
Judith: [Wir sind]
Chuck: “We are”.
Judith: [Ihr]
Chuck: “You all are”.
Judith: [sie sind]
Chuck: “They are”. [sie sind], “they are” is of course the same as [Sie sind], “you are” – formally. The only thing different is that the German word [Sie] is capitalized with the “s” at the beginning, when it’s a formal address. But, unfortunately you can’t tell while you’re speaking. Well, that just about does it for today. Before we go, I want to tell you about a way you that can 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: Play back just as easily.
Judith: So, you record your voice and then you 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: [Bis nächste Woche]