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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is Beginner Series, Lesson 4.
Judith: Willkommen zurück
Chuck: Welcome back! Have you been following the series well?
Judith: And have you done the exercises in the learning center to improve your retention?
Chuck: If you have, then you should know that Michaela and John were driving through Dusseldorf’s old town and they’re now at her home.
Judith: What is her home like and what will happen now?
Chuck: Let’s find out.

Lesson conversation

Michaela: John, das ist mein mann Heinz. Heinz, das ist John Williams aus den USA.
John: Angenehm.
Heinz: Angenehm. Herr Williams, woher genau kommen Sie? Wo sind Sie zuhause?
John: Ich komme aus Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Heinz: Aha. Und was machen Sie beruflich?
John: Ähmm...
Michaela: John arbeitet als freiberufler.
Heinz: Er ist arbeitslos?
Judith: Now, read slowly.
Michaela: John, das ist mein mann Heinz. Heinz, das ist John Williams aus den USA.
John: Angenehm.
Heinz: Angenehm. Herr Williams, woher genau kommen Sie? Wo sind Sie zuhause?
John: Ich komme aus Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Heinz: Aha. Und was machen Sie beruflich?
John: Ähmm...
Michaela: John arbeitet als freiberufler.
Heinz: Er ist arbeitslos?
Judith: Now with the line-by-line translation provided by Chuck. I will read the whole dialogue.
Judith: John, das ist mein Mann Heinz.
Chuck: John, this is my husband Heinz.
Judith: Heinz, das ist John Williams aus den USA.
Chuck: Heinz, this is John Williams from the USA.
Judith: Angenehm.
Chuck: Pleasure.
Judith: Angenehm.
Chuck: Pleasure.
Judith: Herr Williams, woher genau kommen Sie?
Chuck: Mr. Williams, where exactly are you from?
Judith: Wo sind Sie zuhause?
Chuck: Where is your home?
Judith: Ich komme aus Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Chuck: I come from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Judith: Aha. Und was machen Sie beruflich?
Chuck: Ah. And what do you do for a career?
Judith: Ähmm, John arbeitet als Freiberufler.
Chuck: John works as a freelancer.
Judith: Er ist arbeitslos?
Chuck: He’s unemployed?
Judith: So, what did we learn?
Chuck: Well, we learn that Michaela is married and her husband doesn’t quite like me.
Judith: There was quite some interrogation, but we are going to learn lots of useful phrases from it.
Chuck: When this podcast is over, use the line-by-line dialogue tool and practice saying these questions after the speaker. Repeat the questions and ask them for yourself so that you will remember these phrasings when it really matters when you’re in Germany and trying to make conversation.
Judith: The first useful phrase is “Das ist mein mann.”
Chuck: “Mann” means “man.” Mann, man. But when you combine it with “mein”, so “mein mann”, that means “my husband.”
Judith: So “das ist mein mann” means…
Chuck: “This is my husband.”
Judith: “Das ist” can be used to introduce anybody.
Chuck: Das ist Judith.
Judith: Das ist Chuck.
Chuck: Das ist Rammstein.
Judith: When somebody introduces somebody else to you this way, you should say, “Angenehm.” Angenehm literally means “pleasant.” Angenehm.
Chuck: Pleasant.
Judith: Angenehm is actually a very common abbreviation for “Angenehm Sie kennenzulernen.”
Chuck: That’s a bit long word there; but it means, “Pleasure to meet you”, “It’s nice to meet you.”
Judith: The next useful tidbit we are learning in this lesson that you can use, “woher kommen Sie” to ask where somebody is from. “Woher” means…
Chuck: “From where.”
Judith: Woher [natural native speed].
Chuck: From where.
Judith: Don’t confuse with just “wo” which means “where.” Kommen is easy. It means…
Chuck: “To come.”
Judith: Kommen [natural native speed].
Chuck: “To come.”
Judith: Woher kommens to, Chuck?
Chuck: Ich komme aus America. We’re all living in America! America is wunderbar.
Judith: “America ist groß.” “America is big.” Woher genau kommen Sie, Chuck?”
Chuck: Ich komme aus Hershey, Pennsylvania. Actually, I come from Harrisburg. That’s not what the script says.
Judith: Okay.
Chuck: Ich komme aus Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Judith: “Genau” means…
Chuck: “Exactly.”
Judith: Genau.
Chuck: “Exactly.”
Judith: Woher genau kommen Sie?
Chuck: “Where exactly do you come from?”
Judith: Another important question to know is, “Was machen Sie beruflich?”
Chuck: “What do you do professionally” or “what do you do for a living?”
Judith: Two keywords here: machen…
Chuck: “To do” or “make”.
Judith: Machen.
Chuck: “To do” or “make”.
Judith: Machen is one of the most versatile German words just like “to do” is in English. The other word is “Beruflich.”
Chuck: “Professionally” or “by profession.”
Judith: Beruflich.
Chuck: “Professionally” or “by profession.” We’ll also note here that “beruf” means “career.”
Judith: Now, there are several ways of answering that, and I don’t want to burden you with a list of professions people could mention. Let’s just learn one answer, “Ich bin freiberufler.”
Chuck: “I’m a freelancer.”
Judith: Freiberufler.
Chuck: “Freelancer.”
Judith: Freiberufler. Ich bin freiberufler.
Chuck: “I’m a freelancer.”
Judith: If you happen not to be a freelancer, for now, you could just consult an English-German dictionary and learn whatever word applies to you.
Chuck: Or you could just become a freelancer and that saves you some learning.
Judith: What I really hope is that you don’t have to answer, “Ich bin arbeitslos.”
Chuck: “I’m unemployed.”
Judith: Arbeitslos consists of “arbeit”…
Chuck: That is “work” as a noun.
Judith: And the ending “los” which corresponds to the English ending “less.” So we could say that “arbeitslos” means “workless, unemployed.”
Chuck: So you’ll also notice from these words that you might find the familiar phrase “Arbeit macht frei” which means “work makes you free.”
Judith: It’s really bad. Don’t try those phrase on any German because that’s associated with the Third Reich and no German wants to b reminded of that. Don’t go there. We were just discussing the word “arbeitslos” which consist of “arbeit” and “los”, workless. It was really bad offense to insinuate that German’s unemployed. On the other hand, most people don’t like it when you insinuate that they’re really rich either.
Chuck: Wealth is actually something few people brag about in Germany, and the size of your income is also a taboo. Don’t make a mistake of asking someone about that. Actually, just avoid talking about money altogether if you can.
Judith: Also avoid talk about religion. In Germany, religion is something between you and God. People don’t normally talk about it. Part of it is probably that most Germans are non-practicing Christians so the topic wouldn’t be relevant for them; but even people with very strong beliefs usually don’t broach the topic. It’s an implicit agreement. They won’t try to convert you to their views and you won’t try to convert them to yours.
Chuck: Didn’t you actually know that religious ads are banned in Germany? You can’t even run an advertisement campaign for religion and ideology or a political party.
Judith: For parties, there’s an exception during campaigns, but you will never see religious or ideological advertisement.
Chuck: So Germany has been a nice place to live if you want to just live according to your beliefs without anybody trying to question you about them or convince you otherwise.
Judith: Well, except for a very few sects. If a sect just try to brainwash people into giving up all their money to the sect founder, that sect is not protected by religious freedom in Germany. It’s just a common crime.
Chuck: Actually, what amazed me coming to Germany is there are very few Christian schools. Really, the vast majority of schools are public with only a handful of private ones.
Judith: Yes, but in exchange, there’s some religious teaching at the public schools.
Chuck: What? Religious teaching? How?
Judith: Well, at some point, Hitler wanted to keep the church silent about all the atrocities he was committing, so he offered them something that no other politician had ever offered: teaching religion at public schools. Of course, Hitler’s idea of religious education was more like education in a Christianity heavily influenced by Germanic mythology and partly ideology but it was a huge game for the church. After the Second World War, nobody nullified that deal.
Chuck: So you mean today, they still teach that stuff in religious education?
Judith: No. Of course, the curriculum has been adjusted. Today, you’ll learn the basics of the Christian faith. You’ll review facts and different stances towards moral Christians such as abortion or genetic research and you’ll also learn about other religions and what they believe. The idea is to encourage tolerance.
Chuck: But who has to take these classes? Do the atheist too?
Judith: Religious education is an integrated part of the curriculum, so theoretically everybody has to attend these classes throughout primary school and high school.
Chuck: But wait, I though Germany had religious freedom?
Judith: I said theoretically. By German law, you have to be 16 to be considered mature enough to change your religion against your parent’s rule. So if you want to skip religious classes, your parents have to write a small statement that it goes against your conscience to attend them or you can write that statement yourself if you’re 16 or over. In some cases, the school will then require you to attend philosophy classes instead.
Chuck: Philosophy classes? That’s a bit different from religious education, isn’t it?
Judith: One might think so, especially seeing my philosophy class. There were all kinds of students in that class, including atheists, agnostics, Muslims, and even stony Christians who just didn’t like their religious education teacher. We always have very lively debates, but in the end the goal is the same; the state wants you to think about what’s right and wrong and to be able to form your own opinion about moral issues. It does not matter all that much if you examine such questions from a religious point of view or from a philosophical point of view as long as you do think about these questions. It’s similar to how suddenly most classes in grades 11 and up will require you to analyze texts to identify stylistic devices and defend your own opinion on the matter. The state wants you to be able to think independently and to be able to protect yourself against global manipulation.
Chuck: So I guess that could also have been influenced a bit by the Holocaust.
Judith: Maybe.

Lesson focus

Chuck: But speaking of verbal manipulation, in this lesson you’ll learn how to manipulate regular verbs.
Judith: It’s called conjugating them. You already know how to conjugate the irregular verb “sein” – to be.
Chuck: At least we hope you do because we’ve used this verb over the past three lessons already. If you want to look at the conjugation quickly, jump back and have a look at the PDF of Beginner, Lesson 2. Now conjugating regular verbs is much easier than conjugating “sein.” Here’s an example using the verb “kommen” – to come.
Judith: Kommen.
Chuck: “To come.”
Judith: Ich komme.
Chuck: “I come.”
Judith: Du kommst.
Chuck: You come (informally to one person).
Judith: “Er, Sie, es kommt.”
Chuck: “he she or it comes.”
Judith: Wir kommen.
Chuck: “We come.”
Judith: Ihr kommt
Chuck: “You come” (informally to several people).
Judith: Sie kommen.
Chuck: “They come or you come” (formally to one or several people). In all these cases, we could translate “I’m coming” instead of “I come”, “You are coming” instead of “you come” and so on, because in German there’s no difference.
Judith: Here’s another example using the verb “machen” which is an extremely versatile German verb. “Ich mache, du machst, er macht, wir machen, ihr macht, Sie machen”
Chuck: Compared to the endings of the verb “sein”, there are two very noticeable similarities; the second person singular ends in –st “bist, kommst” ; the third person singular ends in t “ist, kommt”.
Judith: You will find that even irregular verbs still adopt at least these two endings.
Chuck: Now “arbeiten”, which means “to work”, is another verb that uses exactly the same scheme. As an exercise, we will give you the forms of arbeiten out of order. After each form, try to translate.
Judith: Ich arbeite
Chuck: “I work.”
Judith: Wir arbeiten.
Chuck: “We work.”
Judith: Er arbeitet.
Chuck: “He works.”
Judith: Du arbeitest.
Chuck: “You work.”
Judith: Ihr arbeitet.
Chuck: “You work.”
Judith: Plural this time. Sie arbeiten.
Chuck: Either you or they work. Wir arbeiten viel.
Judith: Yes, we work a lot.
Chuck: And I don’t believe in the “arbeite macht frei”, so can we go home now?
Judith: Note quite. It’s almost enough work for today. Here’s a dialogue again for practice. Remember that as a premium member, you can also choose to listen to the dialogue only or to listen to it line-by-line.
Michaela: John, das ist mein mann Heinz. Heinz, das ist John Williams aus den USA.
John: Angenehm.
Heinz: Angenehm. Herr Williams, woher genau kommen Sie? Wo sind Sie zuhause?
John: Ich komme aus Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Heinz: Aha. Und was machen Sie beruflich?
John: Ähmm...
Michaela: John arbeitet als freiberufler.
Heinz: Er ist arbeitslos?


Judith: Now, what do you think will happen next? I’d be curious to see how you imagine the story to continue.
Chuck: In any event, you’ll find out next week. Be sure to get the feed if you don’t have it already so that you can be informed as soon as the next lesson is out.
Judith: Using the new My Feed feature, you can even select precisely what lessons you want to be informed about and what parts you want to be automatically downloaded.
Chuck: For example, you could skip all the audio blogs since I don’t appear in them.
Judith: No. If your level up German is good enough, I definitely recommend that you listen to the audio blogs. They can really help you acquire the vocabulary and cultural knowledge that you will need to understand advanced German.
Chuck: Also if you want, you can follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/germanpod101. Anyway, thanks for listening to GermanPod101.com and see you soon!
Judith: Bis bald!