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Lesson Transcript

Judith: Willkommen zurück
Chuck: Welcome back! Are you ready to improve your German?
Judith: I hope you are because with GermanPod101.com, you will continually improve.
Chuck: Whether you like it or not.
Judith: If your grandparents would disown you for learning German…
Chuck: If your company has a special policy where they decrease the salary of multi-lingual people…
Judith: If you hate traveling around…
Chuck: If you’re not interested in getting to know hot German girls or guys…
Judith: Then by all means, stop checking back on GermanPod101.com, and don’t even think about getting a subscription.
Chuck: Stop the learning German addiction before it’s too late. Turn off now.
Judith: If, however, you do want to learn German, stay tuned.
Chuck: Today, we’re presenting a new lesson of our beginner series. We’re going to continue following John and Michaela. To get the situation again, let’s listen to what happen before. John was arriving by plane in Düsseldorf Airport and Michaela was there to pick him up.
Judith: I’m playing Michaela’s part and Chuck is speaking as John.

Lesson conversation

John: Entschuldigung! Sind Sie “Michaela Wucher”?
Michaela: Nein, ich bin nicht “Michaela Wucher”. Wer sind Sie?
John: Ich bin John Williams. Ich bin aus Pennsylvania...
Michael: Ahhh! Sie sind John Williams! Ich bin “Michaela Wucher”, but it is pronounced Michaela Wucher.
John: Entschuldigung.
Chuck: What will happen now?
Judith: Well, John apologized so I, as Michaela, will accept the apology.
Mishaela: Es ist okay, John. Sind Sie sehr müde?
John: Nein, ich bin nicht sehr müde, nur ein bisschen.
Mishaela: Mein auto ist dort drüben. In zehn Minuten sind wir zuhause.
John: Gut.
Judith: Okay. So now we’re reading this part slowly.
Mishaela: Es ist okay, John. Sind Sie sehr müde?
John: Nein, ich bin nicht sehr müde, nur ein bisschen.
Mishaela: Mein auto ist dort drüben. In zehn Minuten sind wir zuhause.
John: Gut.
Judith: Now we’re going to hear the same snippet again with line by line translation provided by Chuck.
Judith: Entschuldigung!
Chuck: Sorry!
Judith: Es ist okay, John.
Chuck: It’s okay, John.
Judith: Sind Sie sehr müde?
Chuck: Are you very tired?
Judith: Nein, ich bin nicht sehr müde, nur ein bisschen.
Chuck: No, I am not very tired, only a little.
Judith: Mein auto ist dort drüben.
Chuck: My car is over there.
Judith: In zehn minuten sind wir zuhause.
Chuck: In ten minutes, we’ll be home.
Judith: Gut.
Chuck: Good.
Chuck: Now let’s look at the words used in this dialogue. Some words, such as “gut”, you should already recognize from the last lesson, but there are also some new ones.
Judith: The first new one is “Müde.”
Chuck: Tired.
Judith: Ich bin müde [slowly - broken down by syllable].
Chuck: I’m tired. Ich bin sehr müde .
Judith: Sehr [natural native speed].
Chuck: Very.
Judith: Sehr [slowly - broken down by syllable].
Chuck: Very.
Judith: Ich bin nur ein bißchen müde.
Chuck: I am only a little tired.
Judith: Nur [natural native speed].
Chuck: Only.
Judith: Ein bisschen [natural native speed].
Chuck: A little.
Judith: Nur ein bißchen.
Chuck: Only a little.
Judith: Ich bin nur ein bißchen müde.
Chuck: I’m just a little tired.
Judith: Now, the next important word is “mein.”
Chuck: “I.”
Judith: It’s very close to the English, isn’t it? Mien.
Chuck: “My”.
Judith: Auto [natural native speed]
Chuck: “Car.” Notice that “auto” is spelled like auto as in automobile.
Judith: Auto [slowly - broken down by syllable].
Chuck: Car.
Judith: Dort drüben [natural native speed].
Chuck: Over there.
Judith: Note that “dort” alone means “there.” Dort.
Chuck: “There.”
Judith: As an example of the last two words, we can say, “Mien auto is dort drüben.”
Chuck: “My car is over there.”
Judith: Chuck is dort drüben.
Chuck: “Chuck is over there.”
Judith: Mien auto ist gut.
Chuck: Mien auto is sehr gut. Aber mein Auto ist zu Hause.
Judith: We only get that word later. That’s ok right now actually. Zuhause.
Chuck: “At home.”
Judith: Zuhause [slowly - broken down by syllable].
Chuck: “At home.” Nothing that “hause”, as part of the word “zuhause” means “house.”
Judith: It’s just spelled differently but it means the same, zuhause.
Chuck: “At home.”
Judith: Now, the last word you need to understand this dialogue completely is “zehn.”
Chuck: Which, if you learned how to count in German, you know it means “ten.”
Judith: Zehn.
Chuck: “Ten.” In the vocabulary, you’ve learned a very important word, “auto”, which means “car.” Cars are very important in Germany. Each man takes pride in his car.
Judith: Each woman too, but I think men are a bit more proud than women. Let me assure first, unlike in the case of beer, it is very okay to own a foreign brand car provided it’s fast enough.
Chuck: One thing I noticed though is that Germans don’t care that much about having big cars like the Americans do since it’s hard to find parking spots for them in the cities, and most people live in the cities.
Judith: People are also more conscious about the environment and the highest prices for gas.
Chuck: I just can’t believe it. Gas is about twice expensive in Germany as it is in the states.
Judith: Yes, it’s really bad.
Chuck: Driving is still fun, though, because there’s no speed limit on the autobahn.
Judith: Autobahn is what Germans call their highways.
Chuck: Or in the states, you might refer to it as interstate.
Judith: And there’s really no speed limit, except on construction sites and the like. There’s a recommended speed of 130 kilometers per hour, roughly 80 miles per hour. So, that’s the speed you’d find on the middle one of free lanes most of the time. The right lane is typically occupied by trucks who aren’t legally allowed to drive more than 100 kilometers per hour or even less, depending on the type of truck, of course. Apart from the trucks, you will find comparatively few cars on there, except those that are planning to get off at the next town or the next rest area.
Chuck: Exits are always on the right, making it easier to slow down. The left-most lanes are intended to pass other cars and you’re intended to return to the right lane once you’ve done that; but the people driving 200 kilometers per hour or so usually just stay on the left-most lane. It’s also worth noting that in Germany, you must pass in the left; passing on the right is illegal.
Judith: So one can say that the real speed limit is only the traffic jams. Germany is much more densely populated so there’s a little chance of finding a completely empty highway.
Chuck: Well, except on Christmas eve or some other similar holiday when people are celebrating.
Judith: Chuck, have you ever been on the autobahn? What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone?
Chuck: Yeah, I’ve been on there, and I’ve done pretty fast, too, but I don’t know how much. I’m not really that fond of cars, but what I like when I want to go really fast in Germany is I take the trains. In fact, the trains here go up to 300 kilometers per hour, so around 180 miles per hour. So that’s about three times as fast as you’d see on the American highways.
Judith: They can travel the same distance much faster than cars.
Chuck: The network is really nice, too. So about anywhere you live, you’ll find a train station nearby. You pretty much never have the occurrence like in the states where you want to get somewhere and there’s absolutely no way by public transport to get there.
Judith: The public transport is really nice here in Germany.
Chuck: Yeah, of course, especially in the cities.
Judith: Yeah. Trains are very useful when you want to travel into the center of a major city because parking spaces there on cars are costly, and the train stations are usually very conveniently located into the very center of a city.
Chuck: For example, if you want to visit alone, you probably want to go by train because taking a car around there is really difficult since it’s like driving…
Judith: It’s madness.
Chuck: I guess, like driving in Boston or New York. Also, if you go by train, you’ll find that the huge cathedral that a lot of people like to visit there is right next to the train station; but trying to find a place to part nearby is really hard.
Judith: Or even get into there. The whole city is cramped with cars. It’s just no way of driving there; but it’s really convenient. By train, you are there. You can relax while going. You wind up right next to the huge cathedral and then you’re also in the center of all the shopping streets.
Chuck: Once you’re in the city, there’s a lot of buses, trains, and subways. Even small towns have decent buses because the government subsidizes them but where they wouldn’t turn much for profit.
Judith: What’s also nice is that in Germany, any really important buildings, anything you might need like supermarkets, bakeries, doctors, elementary schools, churches, all of these are within walking distance of wherever people live, even in the suburbs.
Chuck: Well, Michaela’s home is not within walking distance; it’s 10 minutes by car.
Judith: She said, “In zehn Minuten sind wir zuhause.” That means, “In 10 minutes, we are home or we will be home.” Note the “wir sind” “we are”. That’s just part of a conjugation you learned in the past lesson.
Chuck: Conjugation? I’m going to take one of those nice buses that we have around here and get out of town now. See you later!
Judith: Just stay here. Come on! We’re going to do a quick recap of the conjugation. Let’s notice Gary the second time around.
Chuck: All right, if you say so; but otherwise, I’m going to head on the next bus.
Judith: Okay. Here it goes. Ich bin.
Chuck: “I am.”
Judith: “du bist”
Chuck: “You are” but this informally…
Judith: “er ist”
Chuck: “He is.”
Judith: “wir sind”
Chuck: “We are.”
Judith: “Wir sind sehr müde.”
Chuck: “We’re very tired.”
Judith: “ihr seid”
Chuck: “You are” plural; or you could say “y’all are” if you’re in the south.
Judith: “Seid ihr zu Hause?”
Chuck: “Are you home?”
Judith: sie sind
Chuck: “They are” or “you are”, formally.

Lesson focus

Judith: Now let’s look more closely at how verbs are used in German. In all of the verb sentences, the German phrases use the exact same word order as the English translation. Have a look particularly at questions and negative sentences. “Wer sind Sie?”
Chuck: “Who are you?”
Judith: Everything corresponds; “wer”, who; “sind”, are; and “Sie”, you; the exact same word order. “Bist du müde?”
Chuck: “Are you tired?”
Judith: Again, the very same word order; “Bist du müde?”, are you tired? “Ich bin nicht müde.”
Chuck: “I am not tired.”
Judith: The negative sentence, too. You can just translate every word. But these ways of saying things are very common in German but not very common in English, actually. Compare “Sie sind müde?”…
Chuck: “Are you tired?”
Judith: …to “Singen Sie oft?”
Chuck: “Sing you often.”
Judith: You would say, “Do you often sing?” And same goes for the way of making a sentence negative. Well, “I am not tired” corresponds one-to-one to “Ich bin nicht müde.”, English typically uses a more complicated structure, whereas for German this structure is natural. See for example, “Ich singe nicht oft.”
Chuck: “I sing not often.”
Judith: “I don’t sing often.” In German, it’s enough to add “nicht” to a sentence to make it negative.
Chuck: In German sentences, the word order is often free; but when it comes to verbs, you have to remember, the verb will come in the second position in normal sentences and it will move to the front of the sentence and questions, just like the verb to-be does in English. What’s new and may take some getting used to is the other side of the same role.
Judith: If a subject is not the first item in the sentence, for example, when a time or place is mentioned first or when a sub verb comes first, the verb’s position doesn’t change. It will remain in the second position. In this case, it will actually precede the subject, and the rest of the sentence follows afterwards. For example, “In zehn minuten sind wir zu Hause.” Literally, “In 10 minutes are we home.”
Chuck: The verb “sind”, are, remains in the second position and follows the first item, the phrase “In zehn minuten”, “in 10 minutes.” In English, the subjects will have to precede the verb, but in instances like this, it’s not the case in German.
Judith: German is more regular this way. In short, the verb’s position is fixed as it always comes second.
Chuck: Yes. Tell me about German being more regular. You guys seem to have everything in a specific order, don’t you?
Judith: “Ordnung ist das halbe Leben.” That’s a German saying. Literally, “Order is half your life,” but it means the same as “Tidy mind is half the battle.” “Ordnung ist das halbe Leben.”
Chuck: But I have to ask, what about the other half of your life? That’s for partying, right? There has to be a reason why Germans go with Rammstein and, of course, beer.
Judith: Well, but drinking age is virtually unknown. You can get alcohol while you’re still in high school. If you live in Bavaria, you can probably get beer as soon as you’re in kindergarten.
Chuck: Officially, you go to be 16 to buy all but the hardest alcohol; but in the land of beer, who cares? Students typically drink tequilas made of ice would like though. Now, please excuse me, listeners, I have to go and stuck up a good German beer.
Judith: Wait. “Kein Bier vor vier.”, “No beer before 4:00.” It’s not acceptable to appear drunk in public before at least, 4:00 PM. “Kein Bier vor vier.”
Chuck: Well, I guess, that’s quite similar to the American saying, but I don’t know if you’ve heard the country song, “It’s 5:00 o’clock somewhere.” So, at least, in Germany, you’ll drink an hour earlier. Well, okay then. Let’s at least finish quickly. Here’s the latest dialogue again.
Judith: Listen carefully. You should be able to understand it without any problems. Remember, John mispronounced Michaela’s name.
Chuck: Don’t you mean, Michaela?
John: Entschuldigung!
Mishaela: Es ist okay, John. Bist du sehr müde?
John: Nein, ich bin nicht sehr müde, nur ein bisschen.
Mishaela: Mein auto ist dort drüben. In zehn minuten sind wir zuhause.
John: Gut.
Judith: Wow, I can’t believe we are making so much progress!
Chuck: Great. I’m happy to help you discover German.
Judith: Dear listeners, did you enjoy this lesson as well? If so, please leave a comment underneath the lesson.
Chuck: You can also go to the forum with any questions and comments you have about Germany and the German language.
Judith: Thank you for listening to GermanPod101.com. Stay tuned as we come back to see John and Michaela in the next lesson.
Chuck: See you soon!
Judith: Bis bald!