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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is Beginner Series, Lesson 20.
Judith: Willkommen zurück.
Chuck: Welcome back. We’ve got something to celebrate.
Judith: What? I don’t know of anything.
Chuck: Come on. This is our twentieth Beginner lesson. It’s a nice round number we’re celebrating, right? I think we could go up for some beers afterwards.
Judith: Maybe. It just means that the lessons of this series cover more than four months of learning German. So how about today, I’ll teach you particularly many useful German words?
Chuck: I was thinking, actually after 20 lessons, we could then take off and go to the beach.
Judith: Impossible! We need you.
Chuck: You can do it alone, can’t you? Or find another guy around…
Judith: No. You can take a couple of minutes off, but I expect you back in time for the translation of the dialogue.
Chuck: So I can go down then, right?
Judith: Just for a few minutes.
Chuck: And people can read the translation of the dialogue in the PDF, right? For that matter, they could see the vocabulary list and the grammar and cultural point too there.
Judith: No excuses. I need you to help me explain things right here on air.
Chuck: All right. I was… I was just kidding. Yeah. Let’s listen to the dialogue already.
Neighbor: 1000 Euro Schaden???
Michaela: Das ganze Wohnzimmer ist verwüstet! Mein Perser-Teppich und die Möbel ...
Neighbor: Aber ich gebe keine 1000 Euro für den Hund aus, da kaufe ich mir lieber einen anderen. Wie wäre es damit? ich bezahle nichts und Sie dürfen den Hund behalten.
Michaela: Okay. Übrigens, im Tierheim in der Stadt gibt es viele Hunde, da können Sie einen aussuchen und sofort mitnehmen. Sie brauchen dann nicht auf ein Paket warten.
Neighbor: Ah, danke für den Tipp.
Judith: Now read slowly.
Neighbor: 1000 Euro Schaden???
Michaela: Das ganze Wohnzimmer ist verwüstet! Mein Perser-Teppich und die Möbel ...
Neighbor: Aber ich gebe keine 1000 Euro für den Hund aus, da kaufe ich mir lieber einen anderen. Wie wäre es damit? ich bezahle nichts und Sie dürfen den Hund behalten.
Michaela: Okay. Übrigens, im Tierheim in der Stadt gibt es viele Hunde, da können Sie einen aussuchen und sofort mitnehmen. Sie brauchen dann nicht auf ein Paket warten.
Neighbor: Ah, danke für den Tipp.
Judith: Now with the translation.
Judith: 1000 Euro Schaden???
Chuck: A thousand Euros of damages???
Judith: Das ganze Wohnzimmer ist verwüstet! Mein Perser-Teppich und die Möbel ...
Chuck: The entire living-room is devastated! My Persian rug and the furniture....
Judith: Aber ich gebe keine 1000 Euro für den Hund aus
Chuck: But I am not spending 1000 Euros for the dog.
Judith: da kaufe ich mir lieber einen anderen.
Chuck: Then I'd rather buy another one.
Judith: Wie wäre es damit?
Chuck: How would that be?
Judith: ich bezahle nichts und Sie dürfen den Hund behalten.
Chuck: I’m not paying anything and you can keep the dog.
Judith: Okay. Übrigens, im Tierheim in der Stadt gibt es viele Hunde.
Chuck: Okay. By the way, at the animal shelter in the city there are many dogs.
Judith: da können Sie einen aussuchen und sofort mitnehmen.
Chuck: There you could select one and take it home immediately.
Judith: Sie brauchen dann nicht auf ein Paket warten.
Chuck: Then you don't have to wait for a package.
Judith: Ah, danke für den Tipp.
Chuck: Ah, thanks for the tip.
Judith: Now lots of useful vocabulary, as promised.
The first word is ganz [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Completely”.
Judith: Ganz [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Complete or completely”.
Judith: Next, Möbel [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Furniture”.
Judith: Möbel [natural native speed]. Mobel.
Chuck: “Furniture”. Note that this is always plural, whereas in English, you would never say “furnitures”.
Judith: Yeah. In English, you would say “the furniture is”, right? Not “the furniture are”.
Chuck: Right.
Judith: Next, ausgeben [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To spend”, as in money.
Judith: Ausgeben [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Ausgeben [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To spend”.
Judith: Aus splits off and the rest behaves just like geben. For example, the forms also “Du gibst aus.”
Chuck: “Ich gebe das aus.”, right?
Judith: Yeah. Next, kaufen [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To buy”.
Judith: Kaufen [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Kaufen [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To buy”. Also note this could turn into a kaufhaus.
Judith: Yeah, with the combination with haus. Kaufhaus is a big store. Next, Anderer.
Chuck: “Other or another”.
Judith: Anderer [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Other or another”.
Judith: Next, halten [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To hold or to consider something as”.
Judith: Halten [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To hold or to consider something as”. Notice this is one of those annoying vowel-changing verbs.
Judith: That’s right. The A changes to E.
Chuck: E.
Judith: For example, “Du hälts ein Stück Papier.”
Chuck: “You hold a piece of paper”.
Judith: Yeah. Or “Er hält sich für glanz klug.”
Chuck: “He considers himself to be very clever.”
Judith: Next, behalten [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To keep”.
Judith: Behalten [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Behalten [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To keep”.
Judith: Yeah. “Be” is a prefix but it doesn’t have to split off.
Chuck: Just to confuse you some more.
Judith: And the verb behaves just like halten, including the vowel change. You will find this always happens when you have a verb and then you have the same verb with a different prefix, it still behaves the same. Next, übrigens [natural native speed].
Chuck: “By the way”.
Judith: Übrigens [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Übrigens [natural native speed].
Chuck: “By the way”.
Judith: Really useful to start a new topic of conversation.
Judith: Next, Tierheim [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Animal shelter”.
Judith: “Tierheim [slowly - broken down by syllable]”. This consists of “tier”, animal, and “heim” is a home. So literally, a home for animals. Tierheim.
Chuck: “Animal shelter.”
Judith: Note that this is neuter and the plural is “Tierheime”.
Chuck: “Animal shelters”.
Judith: Next, aussuchen [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To select or choose”.
Judith: Aussuchen [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Aussuchen [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To select”
Judith: Aus splits off and the rest of it means “to search”. So, search out. Next, sofort [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Immediately”.
Judith: Sofort [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Immediately”.
Judith: Also, another really useful word. Next, mitnehmen [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To take along”.
Judith: Mitnehmen [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Mitnehmen [natural native speed].
Chuck: Take along. I like that this literally means “with to take”.
Judith: Yeah.
Chuck: To take with.
Judith: Take with. But you could even translate this as “along”. This “mit”, whenever you have “mit” as a prefix in a German verb, it usually corresponds to the English “along”; mitbringen, to bring along; mitnehmen, to take along; “mitgeben”, to give along. No, to give along doesn’t quite a word because you don’t say it like this in English. But it always has the same sense.
Chuck: Also notice that mitnehmen is used when you’re at a restaurant and you want to take food with you.
Judith: Yeah. You can ask, “Kann Ich das mitnehmen?”
Chuck: “Can I take it along?”
Judith: We don’t talk about doggie bags. Or if you’re ordering it to place it also off as take out, people might ask you, “Zu mitnehmen oder hier essen?” “You want to take it along or eat it here?” And “mit” always splits off because the decision if something splits off or not is based entirely on what prefix it is. There’s a couple of prefixes that always split off no matter what verb.
Chuck: All right.
Judith: The next verb is brauchen [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To need”.
Judith: Brauchen [slowly - broken down by syllable].
Chuck: “To need”.
Judith: Another really important one. And finally, warten [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To wait”.
Judith: Warten [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Warten [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To wait.” All right. I’ve been waiting. I wonder we’re going to get to our cultural point.
Judith: : Right now, I’m waiting for you to say something about culture.
Chuck: All right. So, let’s see in the dialogue. Wait, with a thousand Euros of damage, that seems quite a lot for a dog to cost, isn’t it? I think she was just trying to rip him off.
Judith: No, actually. I think a German living room can easily have a thousand Euros of damages. I mean, if you think of the furniture, we have this usually expensive. If she has a Persian rug and maybe some fancy designer chairs or maybe nice couch, leather couch or something….
Chuck: Why just get the cheap stuff.
Judith: Because Germans care about how things look. Germans don’t have as big houses as Americans because the space is limited here, but they do take a lot of care with the interior design. They don’t just want something plain functional. For example, I hear that in America, Ikea you call it?
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Ikea is like design, a designer furniture; and over here, it’s student’s solutions. If you go to your first owned apartment and you’ll need something that’s cheap and yet durable and somewhat nice-looking, you go to Ikea.
Chuck: Yeah?
Judith: People like to have nice curtains and rugs and well-chosen furniture. It fits together in some way.
Chuck: And then you might even go to a special place to make curtains for you, right?
Judith: Yeah. My father did that.
Chuck: Yeah. We’re even looking at one.
Judith: He also imported the dining room furniture from Denmark.
Chuck: Nice.
Judith: And I’m sure that our couches from Ikea either. It’s just people like nice stuff and Ikea just have one of the millstone [ph] that everybody has.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: You can spot their stuff a mile away. It’s great if you need something fast and cheap though.
Chuck: Yeah. If you want a furniture whole apartment really quicky.
Judith: Yeah. That’s what I mean. So otherwise, you are looking for stuff that somehow it fits together. Ikea already has a complete solution. You can find a whole room there and it works together somewhat. I mean, the pieces fit to each other and the way they are made and the colors and everything.
Chuck: When they remember to put all the pieces in it.
Judith: Yeah. And if you can figure out the instructions.
Chuck: Yeah. It’s always interesting. They put their own tools in there.
Judith: Yeah. And they managed to make without a single word of any language. They’re trying to be really clever and save from being translated across. Please understand.
Chuck: Yeah. But that’s sweet.
Judith: Getting back to German living rooms….
Chuck: As opposed to Swedish living rooms.
Judith: Yes. One thing is a bookcase should not be missing, because Germans like to display their sophistication. I believe I’ve talked about it sometime before that you want to display books you’ve read but mostly you want to display classics or maybe an encyclopedia. You buy a 26 volume encyclopedia and put it in a nice bookcase and put it in your living room.
Chuck: Yeah. I’ll just keep using Wikipedia but it looks nice, books on the shelf.
Judith: That’s just the way of showing that you’re educated.
Chuck: Yeah. I should know Americans do that.
Judith: I don’t think it’s that strong in America. It’s not that much of an issue. You almost want to appear rich.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: If you’re rich, you can’t do wrong.
Chuck: Yeah, I guess so.
Judith: Here it’s different.
Chuck: Here, you would even hide your wealth sometimes.
Judith: Yeah. I talked about this with a friend actually a couple of days ago, and in Germany it’s just not this association that wealth means you did a lot of hard work. I think that’s associations most Americans have; if they see somebody as wealthy it means, “Oh, you must have been really clever or you must have worked really hard and saved a lot out.” Here in Germany, it’s more like, “How did that guy get his money? Did he cheat somebody? Did he fault somebody? He just had a lucky day at the stocks or…?” The idea that it could be hard work is quite far off. So mostly you want to show like he was a person who deserve this admiration and that’s not done through showing that you’re rich because being rich doesn’t say anything about it.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Sophistication shows it.
Chuck: So basically the…
Judith: And ways of speaking. I think you can show that implies you have a lot of knowledge.
Chuck: Yeah. So basically Germans buy expensive stuff but they don’t want to show that they’re expensive.
Judith: That’s a different way of looking. No. No. I think they’re actually not trying to buy expensive stuff except some people. Some people would buy expensive stuff just because it’s expensive. They’re trying to buy fashion, for example. If it’s expensive, it has to be fashionable. Along with bookcase, there may be another case maybe displaying best China or some nice objects. I don’t know if families in America even have a good China.
Chuck: Yeah. But what’s interesting in the States, I think a lot of people have the good China and they just stick it away in a cupboard somewhere.
Judith: That’s weird.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: And they don’t take it out to use it on their nice guests or whatever are there.
Chuck: No. I think they just never think of it as like the special occasion for that.
Judith: Anyway, to answer your questions, Germans might very well spend more than a thousand Euros on a coach or something. So it’s quite likely if the dog… I don’t know. It’d be bit some stuff. You know, young dogs…
Chuck: Or if it peed on a rug.
Judith: …like to chew. Yeah. Also you have dogs just like to chew on stuff that comes in their way.
Chuck: I’m sure leather doesn’t take well to that.
Judith: Yeah, for example. There’s one rule that really, if you’re going to Germany you should know about, is this because of this general value of rugs and things and also because of this cleaning take that we discussed in another lesson; you will often be expected to remove your street shoes when you’re entering the house, with the idea that the mold [ph] and dirt under your shoes should not spread to the floors of the other room; only the entrance court or some limited part. So then you would go through the house wearing only socks or maybe you will be given slippers. It would be best if you bring some even.
Chuck: Yeah. It depends really from house to house how this is.
Judith: Yeah. It’s probably best if you ask people because some people don’t mind, especially bachelors or students or some really not care; but if you’re in a big household, if there’s a mom living in the household, then it’s pretty likely you will be asked to take off your shoes. People may even expect you to just take off your shoes and not particularly ask you because it’s quite… if they do it every day, then it’s so engrained that they don’t think there’s anybody that would be differently. So in order to avoid any kind of problems like this, you should just look at your host and follow his example or maybe ask him if you should take off your shoes.
Chuck: Yeah. That always works.
Judith: Anyway, it’s more polite.
Chuck: Actually, I remember quite often German visitors at my apartment would ask me when they come in, “Should we take our shoes off?” “Nah, it’s okay. I’m an American.”
Judith: Yeah. Well, that’s the proper way of going if you don’t want to cause any trouble.
Chuck: Yup.
Judith: I mean, I don’t think people would shoo you out like in Japan; still it’s annoying.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: It will make them welcome you less.
Chuck: Yeah. It happened to me once. I was just dead tried from walking. And being in one of those way too crowded subways over there in Tokyo and with my luggage and just got in and I completely forgot to take off my shoes and I did not have a happy host right there.
Judith: Well, if you were the host family, you try to do it right by then. Of course, hotels don’t care. Okay. Let’s get to today’s grammar.

Lesson focus

Judith: Today, we’re going to talk about the modal verb “dürfen”.
Chuck: May we?
Judith: Yes, it means “may”.
Chuck: So we may talk about the modal word then.
Judith: Yes. So “dürfen” literally means being allowed to do something. And the conjugation goes as follows. “Ich darf”.
Chuck: “I may”.
Judith: “du darfst”
Chuck: “You may”.
Judith: “er darf”
Chuck: “He may”.
Judith: “wir dürfen”
Chuck: “We may”.
Judith: “ihr dürft”
Chuck: “You all may”.
Judith: “sie dürfen”
Chuck: “They may”.
Judith: So you can see this, again, this vowel shift in singular and plural, you have a different vowel. Singular, it’s A; plural, it’s ü. Also, the endings are the same as you can expect now from modal verbs, just the same as “wollen, können” or “müssen”, they all display this. And the usage is also the same with a verb, infinitive verb, at the end of the sentence. For example, some example sentences with “dürfen”, “Darf Ich Sie dutzen?”
Chuck: “May I speak to you informally?”
Judith: Yes. “dutzen”] is this verb for talking informally. Maybe not the best example because it’s hard to grasp for an American. So how about “Darf Ich Ihren Computer benutzen?”?
Chuck: May I use your computer?
Judith: Or in a non-question,”Tom darf heute nicht am Computer spielen.”
Chuck: Tom is not allowed to play on the computer today.
Judith: So you notice the verb “spielen” is right at the very end of this long sentence, with “heute nicht am Computer” in the middle between “darf” and “spielen”.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: But you already know that from “wollen, können” and “müssen”, and the future tense, and any case where you have more than one German verb. So let’s just practice the whole thing and listen to the dialogue one more time. Watch out for any cases of “dürfen” and then we’re ready to leave.
Neighbor: A thousand Euro Schaden???
Michaela: Das ganze Wohnzimmer ist verwüstet! Mein Perser-Teppich und die Möbel ...
Neighbor: Aber ich gebe keine 1000 Euro für den Hund aus, da kaufe ich mir lieber einen anderen. Wie wäre es damit? ich bezahle nichts und Sie dürfen den Hund behalten.
Michaela: Okay. Übrigens, im Tierheim in der Stadt gibt es viele Hunde, da können Sie einen aussuchen und sofort mitnehmen. Sie brauchen dann nicht auf ein Paket warten.
Neighbor: Ah, danke für den Tipp.


Chuck: I think Michaela is quite upset here.
Judith: Yeah. Well, what you want to do? She can’t legally take the other guy’s dog away.
Chuck: And she doesn’t really want a dog for a thousand Euros.
Judith: No, but I’m pretty sure it’s tough for her to decide whether she would just give the dog back to this guy who obviously won’t care for it and…
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: I think her advice to him was not quite true, actually. She’s trying to make him believe he can just get another dog from the Tierheim but I’m sure that the Tierheim would look at his situation or maybe his character before giving one of the dogs. Well, it depends on the animal shelter, of course, but I don’t think…
Chuck: I think…
Judith: …he could get a dog as easily as just ordering and pay out.
Chuck: Yeah. I think at least he might actually be sending the dog back to the animal home.
Judith: It could be. We’ll see.
Chuck: Right. Maybe we’ll see next week.
Judith: Yeah. Bis nächste Woche!