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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginner Season 2, Lesson 13; The German Multilingual Quiz. 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 learn how to express guesses and banter in German.
Judith: This conversation takes place at a German language school during class.
Chuck: The conversation is between three classmates, Paul, Chuck and Angelina. They're playing the Two Lies and One Truth game. Chuck will start by making three statements about himself of which only one is true and the others have to figure out which one.
Judith: The speakers are classmates. Therefore, they will be speaking informal German.
Chuck: Let's listen to the conversation.
Chuck: Okay... Entweder komme ich aus China, oder ich bin schon zum fünften Mal hier, oder ich spreche fließend Englisch und Spanisch.
Angelina: Haha, das ist einfach. Dein Name ist Chuck, also bist du Amerikaner, und als Amerikaner sprichst du vielleicht auch fließend Spanisch.
Paul: Das glaube ich auch. Nummer drei, du sprichst fließend Englisch und Spanisch.
Chuck: Nein, das ist falsch. Ich spreche kein Spanisch. Ich komme aus China.
Angelina: Was? Du kommst aus China???
Chuck: Ja. Meine Eltern sind Amerikaner, aber sie wohnen schon seit vielen Jahren in China.
Judith: Now with the translation.
Chuck: Okay... Either I come from China, or this is my fifth time here, or I speak fluent English and Spanish.
Angelina: Haha, that's simple. Your name is Chuck, so you're an American, and as an American maybe you also speak fluent Spanish.
Paul: That's what I think too. Number three, you speak fluent English and Spanish.
Chuck: No, that's false. I don't speak any Spanish. I come from China.
Angelina: What? You come from China???
Chuck: Yes. My parents are Americans, but they have lived in China for many years.
Judith: All right. Maybe we should talk a bit about language knowledge in Germany.
Chuck: Sounds good.
Judith: One thing I can tell you is that Germans are a lot less likely to know Spanish.
Chuck: That's for sure. I mean, nearby you pretty much only have Spain where they speak Spanish.
Judith: Yeah. But in Germany, English is a mandatory subject at school. You have to take it for at least six years or nine if you want to go to university. It's also increasingly present in primary schools and kindergartens.
Chuck: Which you also have to remember that if people haven't studied English for, say, 10 years, they pretty much forgotten all of it.
Judith: Yes. So if you need to ask a German something in English, if you are lost here and need some help, your best bet is a student or a business man. Photo clerks should also know some English.
Chuck: Of course, the bigger the city you're in, also the more likely they are to regularly come in contact with English speaking tourists.
Judith: Among other groups, understanding of English is surprisingly low. For example in a study, more than 50% 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: Other than English, French is the most commonly studied foreign language followed by Latin. However, this would normally be studied instead of English but rather they’d be studied as a second foreign language. Also note that in former East Germany, Russian used to be the most common foreign language. There, you can run across people who’ve actually never learned English. They’ve only studied Russian.
Judith: Yes. If in Germany you intend to go to university, you will have to study two foreign languages for at least five years each at high school. And this is supposed to give you fluent command of them. You have the option of studying up to four foreign languages even.
Chuck: Well, Judith did that but not many people do. Foreign language classes, once chosen, can usually not be dropped easily and they will affect your grade average. So you need to make a commitment to really become conversational in the chosen languages.
Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word is…
Judith: entweder...oder.
Chuck: Either, or.
Judith: entweder...oder.
Chuck: Next.
Judith: China.
Chuck: China.
Judith: China.
Chuck: Next.
Judith: Mal
Chuck: Time or times, as in number of times.
Judith: Mal
Chuck: Next.
Judith: fließend
Chuck: Flowing, fluent, or fluently.
Judith: fließend
Chuck: Next.
Judith: also
Chuck: So.
Judith: also
Chuck: Next.
Judith: als
Chuck: As or then.
Judith: als
Chuck: Next.
Judith: vielleicht
Chuck: Maybe.
Judith: vielleicht
Chuck: Next.
Judith: glauben
Chuck: To believe.
Judith: glauben
Chuck: Next.
Judith: falsch
Chuck: Wrong or false.
Judith: falsch
Chuck: Next.
Judith: was
Chuck: What.
Judith: was
Chuck: Next.
Judith: Eltern
Chuck: Parents.
Judith: Eltern And this is always plural.
Chuck: Next.
Judith: viel
Chuck: Much or a lot.
Judith: viel
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 „fünfte“.
Chuck: This means fifth.
Judith: It’s the ordinal number based on five. In this dialogue, we say „zum fünften Mal“.
Chuck: For the fifth time.
Judith: It’s fünften here because the word has to change in context like any adjective. Then we should look at the German word „also“.
Chuck: So.
Judith: It’s the German equivalent of „also“ when you’re presenting a logical conclusion. It’s also used as an interjection in a conversation. For example, „Also woher kommst du?“.
Chuck: So, where are you from?

Lesson focus

Chuck: The focus of this lesson is pronouncing the “ch”. By now you should have a pretty decent idea of what German sounds like. Hopefully, you’ve also practice speaking German yourself by imitating the lines of dialogues.
Judith: Now, however, it’s time to focus on some issues in particular. For example, the “ch”. The “ch” usually gives people the most trouble. The rule is that if the “ch” comes after a, o or u, then its pronounced rasply as in the words „noch“ and „brauchen“
Chuck: This is because a, o and u are what we call dark vowels. They’re pronounced in the back of the mouth, close to your throat so the ch that comes after them is also pronounced in the back.
Judith: In fact, this ch comes straight out of your throat. It doesn’t even matter how widely you open your mouth or how you position your teeth and tongue, the ch is formed way before the air even hits those.
Chuck: By contrast, the “ch” that comes after all other vowels.
Judith:E, I, Ä, Ö and Ü
Chuck: Is pronounced softly and further in front. To pronounce this correctly, start from the /y/ as in here.
Judith: Then keep your tongue and mouth in the exact same position and try to blow some air through it and you’re almost there. So „i-ch“ Practice this a lot because this kind of ch comes up in vital words like „ich“ and „nicht“.
Chuck: In the learning center at GermanPod101.com you can find some tools to help you perfect your pronunciation. Oh, Judith, I have one more question.
Judith: Yes?
Chuck: What about the “ch” that’s at the beginning of words. How is this supposed to be pronounced? It doesn’t follow any vowel and I’ve heard different sounds there.
Judith: Yes. Well, when there is a dark vowel or a consonant following the “ch,” then it’s pronounced like k like “ch” Anything else would be too difficult. However, when there is an e or i following, you can choose how you want to pronounce it. Take the word „China“ for example, China you know. We saw it in today’s dialogue. Some will pronounce this using a soft ch as in „ich“ like „China“. And others will pronounce it with a simple SH sound. „China“ And finally, there are some that use a k sound, „China“. All of these variations are correct. I imagine you want to choose either SH or the K, no need to make things difficult for yourself.


Chuck: Well, that just about does it for today. Attention perfectionists, you’re about to learn how to perfect your pronunciation.
Judith: Lesson review audio tracks.
Chuck: Increase fluency in vocabulary fast with these short, effective audio tracks.
Judith: Super simple to use. Listen to the German word or phrase.
Chuck: Then repeat it out loud, in a loud clear voice.
Judith: You’ll speak with confidence knowing that you’re speaking German like the locals.
Chuck: Go to GermanPod101.com, download the review audio tracks right on the lesson page today. So see you next week.
Judith: Also, bis nächste Woche!