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Lesson Transcript

Rebecca: Hallo! Rebecca here. I'll be your friendly neighborhood non-German guide to everything German.
Widar: And I'm Widar, here as the native German to help along the way.
Rebecca: That's right, this lesson is all about your home and native land, Germany!
Widar: Yes, and yours too, Rebecca!
Rebecca: Well, kind of. I've been living here for many years, so it really has started to feel like home to me. Anyway, we're here to teach you the ins-and-outs of the wonderful German language.
Widar: Yes, German is a really unique language in a lot of ways. The grammar, the slang, the dialects…everything!
Rebecca: Yeah, but I think those listeners out there who have studied other Western languages and are approaching German for the first time will be amazed that German has a lot in common with English, for example.
Rebecca: It's truly a beautiful language, with a rich history and intriguing culture to match.
Linguistics section
Rebecca: What is it about this language, anyway? What language family does German belong to?
Widar: That's actually a really good question, because the German language has a long history.
Rebecca: Right. The roots of the German language go back to a time before Christ. Like English and Dutch, the German language derives from the West Germanic language family, which itself belongs to the Indo-European language family. Then there's a strong Latin influence, which was the official language of the Roman Empire…but this goes too far for now…
Widar: Yes. Let's take a look at how many native German speakers are out there. I've heard there are around 105 million speakers of German!
Rebecca: That's a huge number! How come? I thought the German population consists of about 82 million people.
Widar: Indeed, that's true, but Germany is not the only country where the German language is the official language. There are five countries and several independent territories where the German language is the official or one of the official languages… Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein, as well as in the Province of Bolzano (Italy) and parts of Belgium.
Rebecca: Apparently, that puts it in the top ten list of languages based on the number of native speakers. What about the German writing system? Can you tell us more about it for a moment?
Widar: Sure. Germans use one alphabet – the Latin alphabet that you know from most European languages, including English. There are also a few unique German letters that are frequently used, but don't worry. They are easy to learn!
Rebecca: Yeah, they're really fascinating. But we'll cover the writing system more in-depth in the next lesson.
Widar: Yes, we will! Now let's talk about pronunciation for a moment.
Rebecca: Ah yes, pronunciation. I'll tell you right now that German pronunciation is actually not that difficult.
Widar: And the German vowels are really simple! Not like in English where you have so many different ways to say one vowel.
Rebecca: Yeah, with German, there's only one pronunciation. You just say it as you see it. I've heard that the vowels in German are comparable to those found in Spanish or Italian in this sense.
Widar: Interesting!
Rebecca: We actually have a series for German pronunciation. In those lessons, you'll learn a lot about German pronunciation.
About the Motherland
Rebecca: So how about going over a bit more about Germany itself. Germany and the German language have a long history behind them.
Widar: Yes, and at the same time, it's one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.
Rebecca: Germany is a very modern country indeed. Situated in central Europe, it's an important place for people from East and West Europe to meet. Thus, a multinational tradition developed over the past twenty years that has a strong influence on people's daily life. This development, together with the traditional German lifestyle, produces a great cultural mix in Germany's metropolitan areas.
Widar: Oh yeah, that's true. Here in Berlin, the heart of Germany, you can really sense these cultural influences.
Rebecca: Let's look at the name of Germany, in German.
Widar: Germany is known as "Deutschland."
Rebecca: It's a composition of two words…"deutsch," an adjective that means "German," and "land," which means "country." So, literally, this means "German country."
Widar: And if you look back at the German history, you can understand why this country has various names. Germans call their country "Deutschland," while French people say "Allemagne," which goes back to the Germanic tribe of the Alemanni.
Rebecca: And in English, we say "Germany" and call them "Germans" because historically many Germans belonged to the famous Germanic tribe whose members fought against the Roman Empire for a very long time.
Widar: That makes sense!
Top five reasons to learn German
Widar: Who can resist the lure of German?
Rebecca: Okay, top five list!
Widar: Top five reasons to learn German!!!
Rebecca: Okay, starting with number five…
To communicate with German people. Whether it's with German friends, family members, or people you meet when traveling…it doesn’t matter. German is one of the top ten languages in the world based on the number of speakers. That's over one hundred million people. That's a lot of people to converse with!
Widar: Number 4…
German pronunciation is easy! German is pronounced just the way it looks, so you can start speaking right away.
Rebecca: Number 3…
Learn more than just a language. Learning German will give you great insight into the world of German and European culture in general that you just can't get any other way. By learning how the language works, you'll learn more about how the culture works.
Widar: Number 2…
German is fun! German has a lot to offer in the way of pop culture – fun and interesting movies, music, TV shows – you name it! Learning German will give you even greater access to the rich world of German pop culture.
Rebecca: And the number 1 reason you should learn German…
You can get rich. Germany boasts one of the largest economies in the world, only after the United States and China. Proficient speakers of German can find jobs in various fields such as business, international relations, finance, electronics, engineering, information technology, tourism, translation, education, and much, much more.
Widar: Wow…!
Rebecca: Okay everybody, are you ready? Get out your pen and notebook, grab your iPod, fire up your computer, or whatever you use to study, and get ready for some German lessons.
Widar: straight from the heart of Berlin, Germany from GermanPod101.com!


Widar: Ok. Some of our listeners already know about the most powerful tool on GermanPod101.com
Rebecca: line-by-line audio.
Widar: The perfect tool for rapidly improving listening comprehension...
Rebecca: by listening to lines of the conversation again and again.
Widar: Listen until every word and syllable becomes clear. Basically, we breakdown the dialog into comprehensible, bite-size sentences.
Rebecca: You can try the line-by-line audio in the Premium Learning Center at GermanPod101.com
Widar: That does it for this lesson.
Rebecca: See you next time!
Widar: Auf Wiedersehen.
Rebecca: Goodbye!