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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is beginner series, lesson 1.
Judith: Welcome to GermanPod101.
Chuck: With us, you will learn to speak German with fun and effective lessons. We will also provide you with cultural insights.
Judith: And tips you won’t find in a textbook.
Chuck: In this lesson, you will learn some first things about German.
Judith: Some greetings, some basic grammar and you are set.
Chuck: Every lesson will feature a dialogue completely in authentic German.
Judith: Today the dialogue will be between the police officer and a German woman. I will play the German woman.
Chuck: Now if you are listening on an iPod
Judith: Or an iPad Touch or an iPhone
Chuck: Just click the center button of your iPod or tap the screen on an iPad Touch or iPhone to see the notes for this lesson while you listen.
Judith: Read along while you listen.
Chuck: This technique will help you remember faster.
Judith: And it will help you with your pronunciation as well.
Chuck: Now let’s listen to the conversation.
P: Guten Tag!
M: Guten Tag!
P: Wie ist Ihr Name?
M: Maria Müller.
P: Alter?
M: Dreißig.
P: Nationalität?
M: Deutsch.
P: Wohnort?
M: Berlin.
P: Geburtsort? Auch Berlin?
M: Nein, Essen.
Judith: Now it’s slowly.
P: Guten Tag!
M: Guten Tag!
P: Wie ist Ihr Name?
M: Maria Müller.
P: Alter?
M: Dreißig.
P: Nationalität?
M: Deutsch.
P: Wohnort?
M: Berlin.
P: Geburtsort? Auch Berlin?
M: Nein, Essen.
Judith: Now with the translation.
P: Guten Tag!
P: Good day!
M: Guten Tag!
M: Good day!
P: Wie ist Ihr Name?
P: What is your name? (literally): how is your name?)
M: Maria Müller.
M: Maria Müller.
P: Alter?
P: Age?
M: Dreißig.
M: 30.
P: Nationalität?
P: Nationality?
M: Deutsch.
M: German.
P: Wohnort?
P: Place of residence?
M: Berlin.
M: Berlin.
P: Geburtsort? Auch Berlin?
P: Place of birth? Berlin too?
M: Nein, Essen.
M: No, Essen.
Chuck: So wait! Judith, what have you done to be questioned by the police?
Judith: I don’t know.
Chuck: I think there is something I don’t know about you.
Judith: But it’s not me, it’s my character, Mary Miller but I don’t know what she did either.
Chuck: That’s what they all say.
Judith: I guess the next lessons will show.
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: For this first lesson, I thought we’d talk about some greetings in German. Well you’ve already seen the greeting [Guten Tag].
Chuck: Good day.
Judith: This was used in the dialogue. It’s a formal greeting which can be used throughout the day. There is also [Guten Morgen].
Chuck: Good morning.
Judith: This is specific to the morning only till about noon.
Chuck: And you will also notice that some people will just say [Morgen].
Judith: Yeah or variations even. There is also [Guten Abend].
Chuck: Good evening.
Judith: Starting at about 6 PM, you can greet people with [Guten Abend] instead of [Guten Abend] and there is [Gute Nacht].
Chuck: Goodnight.
Judith: This is not a greeting. It’s a way of saying bye. And normally, you would say goodbye as [Auf Wiedersehen].
Chuck: Goodbye and note this is a formal.
Judith: And it can be used any time of the day. All of this is formal language. You should use this kind of language with people that you don’t know, with strangers, with random adults, with officials, teachers anybody but when you are talking informally for example to your friends or to children, you should use a different kind of language. You can say hello for example or hi for a greeting and the informal way of saying goodbye is [Tschüss]. There are also variations depending on the region and personal style. I think there are even some people that say [Hallöchen] or Hallöle or [Tschüssi] but to me it sounds very childish. What do you think about this issue of formal and informal?
Chuck: When I first got here, I didn’t think it was very important but after being here a while, I noticed that it was very important. For example, you don’t go into a bank and just say, hello or hi, you would say [Guten Tag] and also we should use the [Sie] form which means you formally.
Judith: Yeah there are two different words for you in German. One is [Du] when you are talking informally and then there is Sie when you are talking formally. And the conjugation changes accordingly too and you are also expected to address people as [Herr] so and so. That means mr. or [Frau] for mrs until they tell you otherwise. It will take a while unlike in America where people say, hey I am Tom, okay. It’s quite surprising for me because here I am so used to calling everybody by their last name and [Herr or Frau] or whatever. Anyway, we will get back to this in the next lesson and also to the [Du] and Sie. For now, let’s have some basic notes about the German language. What can you tell me Chuck?

Lesson focus

Chuck: Well German is Germanic language believe it or not. So it has the same origin as for example English, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and for an English speaker, it’s comparatively easy to learn because you recognize a lot of words from English as well.
Judith: Yes or expressions and sayings that are similar, structures that are similar but there are also some things that are difficult that are different in English and German and German speakers have trouble with these.
Chuck: One of the things that I know I have had a lot of trouble with is the gender of nouns. We just don’t have that in English.
Judith: Yes but you may have seen it in Spanish or French.
Chuck: So German has three of them.
Judith: Yes German has three genders.
Chuck: Masculine, feminine and neuter.
Judith: Yes and the definite article changes accordingly. So when you have a masculine noun which is a male noun if you want, the article the is translated as [Der]. For feminine nouns, it’s [Die] and for neuter nouns, its [Das]. Well some of it is obvious. For example [Der Mann]
Chuck: The man,
Judith: Is masculine. [Die Frau].
Chuck: The woman
Judith: Is feminine and [Das Kind].
Chuck: The child
Judith: Is neuter because you don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl but very often these genders are assigned randomly and you will have to learn them by heart. For this reason, whenever you learn a noun, germanpod101 will tell you the gender as well. So for example, if I am teaching the word [Name] just now, I will say [Der Name] and that’s how you know that the [Name] is masculine. That’s the word for name. So this is how we will do in the vocabulary section and you will notice the gender of every noun and try to memorize it.
Chuck: Yeah one thing you might also have noticed if you ever read German is that a disproportionate number of words are capitalized but why?
Judith: That’s because all German nouns have to be capitalized. This is a special rule in German but it makes it easier to read or find because you are not wondering. For example, in English, the word book can be a noun or a verb like the book or to book a flight and this kind of confusion cannot exist in German because nouns are always spelt with the capital letter.
Chuck: At least not if you are reading.
Judith: Yeah. Well it’s also that we don’t have as many words that just sound the same. And in German, what I really like is that you can combine noun after noun after noun to form really long detailed descriptions. In this case, nouns are actually written together. So there is one long string of a word. It looks really daunting to a learner but they are actually quite easy.
Chuck: What’s that really long German word?
Judith: Oh there is a game that children play where they have to put one noun after the other and the last one who can’t add another noun to the whole thing is the loser. So there is one that goes like [Donaudampfschiffekapitänsmützenfarbe] whatever like the color of the – of a Danube River captain’s hat. It does not make sense but it is fun. So an easy example would be the word kindergarten which you have in English too. It’s a combination of kinder
Chuck: Children
Judith: And garden
Chuck: Garden.
Judith: So a garden for children and you see if you know those parts, then the long German nouns are not scary anymore and as an additional relief, you don’t need to learn the gender of them either.
Chuck: If there is a compound word, then that’s the gender of the last word in the compound.
Judith: Yes so in this case, the last word is [Garten] and it’s [Der Garten] masculine. So the entire word will be masculine as well. [Der] kindergarten. In today’s dialogue, there were two compound nouns [Wohnort]
Chuck: Living place or place of residence.
Judith: Yes and [Geburtsort]
Chuck: Birthplace
Judith: [Wohnort] is a combination of a verb and a noun because [Wohnen] to live or inhabit is a verb. So [Wohn] to live or inhabit and [Ort] place. [Wohnort] place of residence, place where you live. And [Geburtsort] is the combination of [Geburt] birth and [Ort] place with an additional S in between for no apparent reason.
Chuck: So you could all see those extra Ss sort of like glued kept towards together.
Judith: Yes and you will see it quite often. Now let’s look at the other words that came up in today’s dialogue. First we have [Guten Tag].
Chuck: Good day or good afternoon.
Judith: Yeah we already mentioned it. It’s a formal greeting. Then [Wie].
Chuck: How.
Judith: [Wie].
Chuck: How. Note that [Wie] is spelled wie.
Judith: Yes the ie combination is along e…
Chuck: And ordinarily if you see a W in German, it’s pronounced like a V.
Judith: Yes always. It’s a question word, wie how and the question we had in the dialogue is [Wie ist Ihr Name?]. So [Ist] is “is”, [Ihr] is “your (formal)” and [Name] is “name”. Let’s go through them more slowly. [Ist]
Chuck: is
Judith: [Ist]
Chuck: Ss
Judith: Almost the same as in English and there is [Ihr]
Chuck: Your formally
Judith: [Ihr]
Chuck: Your formally
Judith: [Name]
Chuck: Name.
Judith: It’s actually just the same as in English except for the capitalization [Name] but we pronounce every single letter and it’s [Der Name] masculine.
Chuck: The name.
Judith: Then we had [Alter].
Chuck: Age
Judith: [Das Alter].
Chuck: The age
Judith: Then long word [Nationalität].
Chuck: Nationality.
Judith: [Die Nationalität] I will say it slowly too [Nationalität]
Chuck: Nationality.
Judith: This is feminine [Die Nationalität] as I said and actually all words ending in [tät] are feminine and they all end in T in English. The other way around is not true. You can’t say all words that end in T end in [Tät] in German but this way it works. Next word [Deutsch]
Chuck: German.
Judith: [Deutsch]
Chuck: German.
Judith: This can be an adjective for the person or the language. [Deutsch]
Chuck: German.
Judith: Next [Wohnen].
Chuck: To live or inhabit.
Judith: [Wohnen, wohnen].
Chuck: To live or inhabit.
Judith: The [Wohnen] does not mean you are alive. It means you live at a place. Here we have the combination of [Wohnort] and this involves the word [Ort]
Chuck: Town, place or location.
Judith: [Der Ort]
Chuck: Town, place or location.
Judith: Next [Geburt].
Chuck: Birth
Judith: [Geburt, Geburt].
Chuck: Birth.
Judith: [Die Geburt] Feminine.
Chuck: The birth.
Judith: Next [Auch].
Chuck: Also
Judith: [Auch]
Chuck: Also
Judith: Very important word and finally we know how to answer a yes/no question in German. The word for no is [Nein].
Chuck: No.
Judith: [Nein].
Chuck: No.
Judith: And the other [Ja].
Chuck: Yes.
Judith: [Ja].


Chuck: Yes. All right, I think that just about does it for today.
Judith: Before we go, we want to tell you about the way to drastically improve your pronunciation.
Chuck: Oh yes that voice recording tool. Isn’t it?
Judith: Yes the voice recording tool in the premium learning center.
Chuck: Just record your voice with a click of a button.
Judith: And then you can play it back just as easily.
Chuck: So record your voice and then listen to it.
Judith: Compare it to the native speakers
Chuck: And adjust your pronunciation.
Judith: This will help you to improve your pronunciation fast.
Chuck: We will also be releasing an entire mini series focusing on pronunciation improvement. So check back in GermanPod101. See you there.
Judith: Yes see you there. Tschüss.