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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is Beginner Series, Lesson 3.
Judith: Willkommen zurück
Chuck: Welcome back!
Judith: This is already the third Beginner lesson.
Chuck: And again, we’ll be following Michaela and her American pen pal, John.
Judith: If you don’t recall what happened so far, you can do a quick review right now by going to the learning center and listening to the conversation track of the previous two lessons. This is much faster than listening to the complete podcast again.
Chuck: Right now, Michaela and John are going home in her car. On the way, Michaela is indicating some of the sights to him.
Judith: As usual, I will play Michaela and Chuck is playing John.

Lesson conversation

John: Es gibt viele schöne Gebäude hier.
Michaela: Ja, das ist die Altstadt. Hier gibt es auch viele Bars.
John: Und was ist das?
Michaela: Das ist der Rhein dort drüben. John, wir sind da. Das ist mein Haus.
Judith: Now, read slowly.
John: Es gibt viele schöne Gebäude hier.
Michaela: Ja, das ist die Altstadt. Hier gibt es auch viele Bars.
John: Und was ist das?
Michaela: Das ist der Rhein dort drüben. John, wir sind da. Das ist mein Haus.
Judith: Now, I will read the whole and Chuck will give you the translations.
Judith: Es gibt viele schöne Gebäude hier.
Chuck: There are many nice buildings here.
Judith: Ja, das ist die Altstadt.
Chuck: Yes, this is the oldtown.
Judith: Hier gibt es auch viele Bars.
Chuck: There are also many bars here.
Judith: Und was ist das?
Chuck: And what is that?
Judith: Das ist der Rhein dort drüben.
Chuck: That is the [river] Rhine over there.
Judith: John, wir sind da.
Chuck: John, we’re there.
Judith: Das ist mein Haus.
Chuck: That’s my house.
Judith: I’d like to say more about the sights of Düsseldorf. It’s really a city worth seeing.
Chuck: Particularly the Altstadt, the old town where there’s many bars.
Judith: I figure you’d go for that aspect, Chuck.
Chuck: Well, it is called the longest beer counter in the world, and the beer is really excellent.
Judith: Chuck, have you been drinking before the show?
Chuck: No, just kidding. I still remember the “Kein Bier vor vier” rule, that is, no beer before 4:00 PM.
Judith: Good. I’m afraid though that our listener’s vocabulary is not good enough to learn more about Düsseldorf from Michaela at this point.
Chuck: So let’s improve our vocabulary.
Judith: This lesson again featured quite a few unknown words along with some known ones. As you go on, you will encounter more and more well-known words in the dialogues. The first phrase is “es gibt [natural native speed].”
Chuck: There is or there are.
Judith: Es gibt [slowly - broken down by syllable].
Chuck: “There is or there are.”
Judith: Note that there’s no difference in German. You always say “es gibt.” The next word is viele [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Many.”
Judith: There are actually two words, viele…
Chuck: “Much.”
Judith: And viele.
Chuck: “Many.”
Judith: Schön [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Nice or pretty.”
Judith: Schön [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Nice or pretty.”
Judith: Gebäude [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Buildings or building.”
Judith: Gebäude [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Buildings or building.”
Judith: So now you can say, “Es gibt viele schöne Gebäude.”
Chuck: “There are many buildings.”
Judith: Many nice buildings, schöne Gebäude. Now we have “das [natural native speed].”
Chuck: “This or that.”
Judith: Das [natural native speed].
Chuck: “This or that.”
Judith: Das [natural native speed].
Chuck: “That.”
Judith: The following word is really easy. It is “Haus.”
Chuck: This one’s really easy. It means “house.”
Judith: Haus.
Chuck: I think they got it already.
Judith: Yeah, but this building is a bit different. It is H-A-U-S in German, at least. Haus. Now we have a question word, “Was? [natural native speed].”
Chuck: “What?”
Judith: “Was? [natural native speed].
Chuck: “What?”
Judith: “Was” means “what?” And finally, the last word for today is Altstadt [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Old town.”
Judith: Altstadt [natural native speed].
Chuck: “Old town.”
Judith: This literally means “old town”, too, because “alt” means “old” and “Stadt” means “town.” Now let’s talk about the Altstadt, the old towns.
Chuck: We’re not going to get into history now, are we?
Judith: Of course, we are.
Chuck: You know I hate history.
Judith: I love history. I love history.
Chuck: Well, I do have to say there are many cities in Germany with nice historical towns, and it’s quite shrinking when compared to American cities. The whole sense of history is different, because in the States, something might be called old if it’s 200 years old, and here that would be considered pretty recent. So what’s the difference between American and the European?
Judith: I don’t know.
Chuck: Well, European thinks that 100 miles is a long way, and the American thinks that 100 years is a long time.
Judith: That’s very true. A hundred years, it’s definitely recent. Some German cities can be traced as far back as 500 before Christ. I’m very interested in history, and if you’re like me, the western part of Germany should be particularly interesting for you because that is where the Frankish Empire with those Medieval castles stretched, especially with the area along the Upper Rhine that’s known for its castles.
Chuck: In the extreme western part of Germany, you will also find Roman ruins. The Rhine was a natural boarder to their empire.
Judith: But Germanic tribes on the other side of Rhine resisted too fiercely.
Chuck: So in the left side of the Rhine, they built many camps and fortifications.
Judith: Xanten, a rather small town that’s not very remarkable otherwise, has a really great archeological park where they dug up and reconstruct the large parts of the Roman colony there. Every two years, Europe’s largest Roman re-enactment festival takes place there and the entire part is populated with actress and hobbyists showing you all parts of Roman life.
Chuck: So even if you hate history like me, you can still learn how to shoot a catapult, see legions exercising, or watch gladiator fights that have not been choreographed.
Judith: You can even learn about subjects that would never come up at school, for example, Roman hair-dos or Roman fashion and food.
Chuck: Yeah. But this German interest in early history has always amazed me. I’d say there are parts or re-enactment festivals dedicated to any part of German history before 1900; the barbarian life, the Romans, the Frankish empire, medieval crafts and trades, the industrial revolution, the war against Napoleon, and so on and so on. Maybe it’s because Germans have trouble identifying with Germany as a modern country given its past.
Judith: There’s probably less patriotism here than any other country of the world.
Chuck: Yeah, I guess, except for joining the World Cup.
Judith: Yeah. Of course.
Chuck: So other than the World Cup, people find it easier to associate with Germany’s earlier history.
Judith: Whatever the reason, Germany is that place to be if you like history or also beauty because most cities and most houses are designed with beauty in mind, not plain functionality, and this starts with the Altstadt, of course. There are also plenty of museums, theaters, amusement parks, spas, and the like.
Chuck: When there several big cities close to each other like in the Ruhrgebiet metropolitan area, then there’s a rivalry between them, and every city tries to out-do the other in terms of museums, parks, theaters, clubs, et cetera.
Judith: This particularly applies to Düsseldorf and Cologne. For example, never try to order a Cologne beer in a Düsseldorf pub.
Chuck: But most of the time, this rivalry is great for the people living there. They really have a lot of choices when deciding where they go.
Judith: Now, however, we don’t have a choice. We have to confront you with a grammar topic that is unavoidable in German, word genders.
Chuck: No! I hate those things.
Judith: I’m sorry.
Chuck: Can you keep those away from me?
Judith: I’m really sorry. I didn’t invent them. I will try to help you learn them though.
Chuck: All right.

Lesson focus

Judith: The first thing you need to know is that German divides everything into three genders: masculine…
Chuck: Male.
Judith: …feminine.
Chuck: Female.
Judith: And neuter.
Chuck: Neutral.
Judith: Really, everything has a grammatical gender in German, not just people or pets.
Chuck: For example, a computer is masculine in German but a keyboard is feminine. Can you believe it?
Judith: Most of the time, it doesn’t make sense, so you will have to learn the gender along with the noun.
Chuck: A great way to learn the gender is if you imagine some male or female or neutral archetypes or stars along with word. Make the situation funny or weird and you’ll have note to remembering it. For example, to remember that Bar in Germany is feminine, you might imagine a bikini model lying in a bar counter. Don’t laugh! It works.
Judith: If it works, do you use it. Anyway, the translation of the word “the” changes depending on the gender of the noun. Masculine words get the article “der”, feminine words get the article “die”, and neuter words get the article “das”. The gender of a noun will always be mentioned in the vocabulary list.
Chuck: I wrote the words I learned in the past.
Judith: I’ll give you the agendas now and you’ll see if you used to remember the meaning. Das Auto.
Chuck: “The car.”
Judith: Die Entschuldigung.
Chuck: “The apology.”
Judith: Das Gebäude.
Chuck: “The building.”
Judith: Die Bar.
Chuck: I think I get this one. That one means, “The bar.”
Judith: Das Haus.
Chuck: It’s another toughie, “the house.”
Judith: Der Rhein
Chuck: And it keeps getting harder, this will be “the Rhine.”
Judith: Die Altstadt.
Chuck: “The old town.”
Judith: For compound words like Altstadt, it’s particularly easy to determine the gender. Just look at the noun that is the last part of it. That noun determines the agenda of the whole word. In this case, the last part is “Stadt” which is feminine, so Altstadt is feminine too.
Chuck: Thanks for the tip. That will reduce the amount of time I need to spend studying and that could give me more time to party. There’s not much left the study in this lesson? I can go and enjoy beer at that bar with that bikini that’s lying on the bar counter.
Judith: Actually, I believe we have taught enough for this time. Let’s just listen to the dialogue again.
John: Es gibt viele schöne Gebäude hier.
Michaela: Ja, das ist die Altstadt. Hier gibt es auch viele Bars.
John: Und was ist das?
Michaela: Das ist der Rhein dort drüben. John, wir sind da. Das ist mein Haus.
Chuck: So I’m curious how the story will turn out. Is Michaela single? And how good of a friend is this John?
Judith: We don’t know. I guess we’ll have to wait till next week to find out.
Chuck: In the meantime, I’ll be using the learning center to brush up my vocabulary and to listen again to the dialogues. You should do the same.
Judith: Awesome! Thank you for listening to GermanPod101.com.
Chuck: See you soon!
Judith: Bis bald!


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