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Lesson Transcript

Chuck:This is Advanced Focus Lesson 4.
Judith: Willkommen!
Chuck:Welcome to another Advanced Focus Lesson. Here, we’ll improve your understand of German vocabulary by analyzing verb prefixes.
Judith: When you’ll understand how a German word came to be, you’ll find it a lot easier to remember this word and to use it correctly.
Chuck:So, which prefix are we looking at today?
Judith: Today we shall look at the German prefix [zer-].
Chuck:That sounds like a very destructive prefix, but before we dive into the lesson, I’ll remind our listeners about the free vocabulary trainer in the learning center.
Judith: Yes, you can practice your vocabulary right there, in the learning center of GermanPod101.com. We’ve even added the words from the lessons already, so you don’t need to enter them yourself.
Chuck:For this lesson, you can find not just the words we mentioned here, but also useful words that use the prefix [zer-].
Judith: I hope you’ll use this tool to improve your German by leaps and bounds, but let’s speak German now.
Judith: [Die Vorsilbe “zer-” spaltet sich nicht ab].
Chuck:Unlike the other prefixes we covered, this one is not split off.
Judith: [Außerdem hat sie nur eine Bedeutung, nämlich die des Kaputtgehens oder Zerstörens].
Chuck:Only one meaning. “To break down” or “smash up”. Often, one word can even mean both, depending on the context. [Judith, was sind Beispiele für diese Vorsilbe]?
Judith: [Zum Beispiel “zerlegen”].
Chuck:“To disentail”.
Judith: [zerlegen besteht aus “zer-” und “legen”].
Chuck:“To put”. We roughly get “to put apart”, but in English we’d say “disentail”. [Und wie wäre es mit noch einem Beispiel]?
Judith: [zerfallen].
Chuck:“To fall apart”.
Judith: [Oder zerbrechen].
Chuck:“To break into pieces”.
Judith: This is one of the words that can be both active and passive. If I say [Ich habe die Vase zerbrochen] with an object like that, this means that “I broke the vase”. However, if I say [Die Vase ist zerbrochen], this means that “The vase broke”.
Chuck:In one case I’m actively involved, in the other I’m not. And in one case I’m the subject and the other the vase is. The trivial tags of two meanings is the object. This is called transitivity in linguistics. If there’s an object in the sentence, something is done to the object to make it kaput. If there is no object that object is going “kaputt” seemingly on its own.
Judith: And there’s another very interesting feature of these sentences. When there’s an object, the verb will use the auxiliary [haben] for the perfect tense. But, when there’s no object, the verb uses the auxiliary [sein].
Chuck:Amazing, I never paid attention to that before.
Judith: You learn something new every day. Every day that you listen to GermanPod101 that is.
Chuck:And then, you have to make sure you won’t forget it again. Just review the PDFs from the past lessons, occasionally. That’s a refresh of memory.
Judith: Okay. [Okay, also bis nächste Woche]!
Chuck:See you next time!