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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is beginner series, lesson 2. Welcome to germanpod101.com, the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn German.
Judith: Thanks again for being here with us for this beginner lesson.
Chuck: So here is a reminder. If you don’t already have one, stop by GermanPod101.com and sign up for your free lifetime account.
Judith: Sign up takes less than 30 seconds.
Chuck: And then you will be able to interact with the germanpod101 community.
Judith: And with us of course.
Chuck: Now let’s listen to this conversation. Today’s conversation is a continuation of the last lessons.
Judith: So it is still between Maria Muller and the policeman. Both are speaking formal German.
P: Seit wann wohnen Sie in Berlin?
M: Seit zwei Jahren. Ich arbeite hier.
P: Als was arbeiten Sie?
M: Ich arbeite als Schriftstellerin.
P: Schriftsteller, so so... Reicht das Geld?
M: Ja.
P: Okay... Gehen Sie oft an die Spree?
M: Ja.
P: Auch gestern?
M: Ja, auch gestern.
Judith: Now it’s slowly.
P: Seit wann wohnen Sie in Berlin?
M: Seit zwei Jahren. Ich arbeite hier.
P: Als was arbeiten Sie?
M: Ich arbeite als Schriftstellerin.
P: Schriftsteller, so so... Reicht das Geld?
M: Ja.
P: Okay... Gehen Sie oft an die Spree?
M: Ja.
P: Auch gestern?
M: Ja, auch gestern.
Judith: Now with the translation.
P: Seit wann wohnen Sie in Berlin?
P: Since when do you live in Berlin?
M: Seit zwei Jahren. Ich arbeite hier.
M: For two years. I work here.
P: Als was arbeiten Sie?
P: As what do you work?
M: Ich arbeite als Schriftstellerin.
M: I work as a writer.
P: Schriftsteller, so so... Reicht das Geld?
P: A writer, aha... Is the money enough?
M: Ja.
M: Yes.
P: Okay... Gehen Sie oft an die Spree?
P: Do you often go to the Spree River?
M: Ja.
M: Okay
P: Auch gestern?
P:Yesterday too?
M: Ja, auch gestern.
M: Yes, yesterday too.
Judith: Okay Chuck [Als was arbeitest du?]
Chuck: [Ich arbeite als iPhone Programmierer] I found program ERR and actually you can find one of my most popular apps chess player in the app store.
Judith: Stop the advertisement. This is GermanPod.
Chuck: Oh oops!
Judith: Let’s look at the vocabulary. First word [Seit wann]
Chuck: Since when
Judith: [Seit wann]
Chuck: Since when
Judith: Or also forward time because the answer was [Seit 3 Jahren] for 3 years. In German, there is no difference between since and for. Next word [Sie]
Chuck: You formally
Judith: [Sie]
Chuck: You formally. Note this is always capitalized.
Judith: That’s right. Next word [Jahr]
Chuck: Year.
Judith: [Jahr]
Chuck: Year
Judith: [Das Jahr] And the plural is [Jahre]
Chuck: Years.
Judith: Next [Ich]
Chuck: I
Judith: [Ich]
Chuck: I
Judith: And if you have trouble pronouncing that, please listen to the first lesson of our accent improvement series.
Chuck: And if you have trouble after that, you can just tell people that it’s a dialect of Germany and hope they believe you.
Judith: Next word [arbeiten]
Chuck: To work
Judith: [arbeiten]
Chuck: To work
Judith: Next [hier]
Chuck: Here
Judith: [hier]
Chuck: Notice this isn’t pronounced exactly the same as the English here. Listen to that again.
Judith: Hier
Chuck: Can you spot the difference? Here
Judith: It’s a difference in the vowel and the pronunciation of the R. This will be covered later in the accent improvement series.
Chuck: Also you notice it is spelled hier.
Judith: Yes ie is a way to spell the long e sound. Next word [als]
Chuck: As
Judith: [als]
Chuck: As
Judith: Next [was]
Chuck: What
Judith: [was]
Chuck: What
Judith: Next, a really long one [Schriftsteller]
Chuck: Writer
Judith: [Schriftsteller]
Chuck: Writer. That actually is two words put together, isn’t it?
Judith: Yes except nobody thinks of it that way. [stellen] is to put and [Schrift] is font or script or writing.
Chuck: So literally a write inputter.
Judith: Yes something like that and as it ends in er, it’s always masculine. The feminine is found by adding in. This is what happened in the dialogue with – we saw [Schriftsteller] but we also saw [Schriftstellerin]. That would be a female writer. In German, you usually have to indicate if it’s a female or not. A lot of words just form the female but form by adding the in. [Schriftstellerin]
Chuck: Writer, a female one.
Judith: Next [Geld]
Chuck: Money
Judith: [Das Geld]
Chuck: The money.
Judith: Next [gehen]
Chuck: To go
Judith: [gehen, gehen]
Chuck: To go.
Judith: Next [oft]
Chuck: Often
Judith: [oft]
Chuck: Often
Judith: Next [an]
Chuck: At or to
Judith: [an]
Chuck: At or to.
Judith: Next [gestern]
Chuck: Yesterday
Judith: [gestern]
Chuck: Yesterday
Judith: And last word for today or rather last expression for today is [es reicht]
Chuck: It’s enough.
Judith: [es reicht]
Chuck: It’s enough as in its enough vocabulary.
Judith: Yes it is. So what are we going to talk about now?
Chuck: I think the most interesting word I saw ‘the money’
Judith: Geld.
Chuck: Yes. What? You want me to talk about it.
Judith: Yeah.
Chuck: Alright well…
Judith: You picked the topic. You talk about it.
Chuck: Well actually it sounds like it’s not talked about much in Germany. It’s kind of a sore issue here. You find that most people aren’t ready to talk about it whether they are rich or poor. So it is just not something you do to ask how much someone earns.
Judith: Yes that’s really uncomfortable. Well you can possibly ask [reicht das Geld] or do you earn enough? That’s the closest you can go or something like that. Like there are other phrases that mean the same but you should not ask about the income of other family members either. This is a kind of problem when companies want to find out what the client base looks like although like how much money they have. They have to think of something to get the real data. So what they do in surveys where the household income is a big role, they try to avoid this by giving a choice of wide income brackets, say like 40,000 to 260,000 or whatever. And people who can just choose one of these brackets without revealing exactly how much they earn and still – there are still people that claim to be poor or vice versa. It’s not chic to show that you are rich.
Chuck: Also you should generally avoid asking how much something costs. It’s not as taboo as asking about someone’s income but it still might not go over well.
Judith: Yeah unless somebody says, oh look at this. I got this bargain. Then they already mean that they are ready to talk about the price if they say it’s a bargain. So let’s get back to the serious stuff. I believe today we should talk about the regular present tense.
Chuck: Well I am not usually up for the grammar section, but since I have pretty much always just used the regular present tense even when I am not supposed to, I guess I can do it today.
Judith: Yes I believe so.
Chuck: So in German just like in Spanish, French, Russian and many other languages, verbs change depending on who you are talking about whether it’s I, you, he, we, they and so on. This is called conjugation. In this lesson, we are going to look at just the small part of the present tense conjugation for regular verbs.
Judith: So far we’ve seen [wohnen]
Chuck: To live or inhabit.
Judith: [arbeiten]
Chuck: To work
Judith: And [gehen]
Chuck: To go.
Judith: All of these are regular verbs. Notice that the infinitive always ends in en. The infinitives that form like to live, to work, to go when you don’t know what person is doing it. So this always ends in en and this is how you can recognize it in German.
Chuck: It’s also the form that you will find in dictionaries.

Lesson focus

Judith: Yes and it’s the same form that you have for the [sie] form, the formal you.
Chuck: Ah so it’s like [sie wohnen, sie arbeiten, sie gehen]
Judith: Exactly and this is also just the same as the “they” form. So “they work” would also be [sie arbeiten]. To make the distinction in writing, the formal You is always capitalized. So it’s [Sie] with a capital S but in speaking, you totally can’t distinguish.
Chuck: You’d just have to figure out from the context.
Judith: It’s not too difficult. We’ve also seen the first person singular of verbs, the ich form. In English, it’s I. So for this one, it’s a bit more complicated because you have to take off the final n of the verb. So [wohne] becomes [ich wohne] and [arbeiten] becomes [ich arbeite] and what does [gehen] become?
Chuck: Let’s see [ich gehe?]
Judith: Exactly.
Chuck: You might also recognize this from the very common phrase [ich liebe dich]
Judith: Yes [liebe] the infinitive, [ich liebe] the first person singular, the I form.
Chuck: Which means I love you for those who aren’t playing with it.
Judith: Yes it could also be, I am loving you just like [ich gehe] that can be either I go or I am going. We don’t distinguish the two.
Chuck: We’d watch out because the conjugation isn’t the only hard part about German verbs but be very careful about what position they come in the sentence. It’s different than in English. So it can take some getting used to. In German, the verb always comes the second position. It may sound a bit weird at first. We just have to get used to it but notice, if the sentence is, I am leaving tomorrow, the German order is exactly the same but if the sentence is, tomorrow, I am leaving, then German won’t say the equivalent of tomorrow leaving I because the verb has to come in the second position.
Judith: It’s always in the second position. And in this case, it has the effect the subject of the sentence I actually only comes after the verb. Tomorrow leave I.
Chuck: So in questions, the word order of subject and verb is always inverted. So for yes or no questions, you start with the verb. You know an example of that?
Judith: Yeah you can ask [wohnen Sie in Berlin?]
Chuck: Do you live in Berlin or literally it’s, live you in Berlin.
Judith: It’s much easier than using the do there. Do, does, didn’t. You have to always consider what you kind of use in terms of this verb in German, you just use whatever you already have you know in the real sentence.
Chuck: Yeah if you think German is hard, you should try learning English. Well, that if English wasn’t your native language but for other questions, the verb comes right after the question word.
Judith: For example [wo wohnen Sie?]
Chuck: Where do you live or simply where live you?
Judith: Yes. So the yes/no question is [wohnen Sie in Berlin?]
Chuck: Do you live in Berlin?
Judith: And the question word – question is [wo wohnen Sie?]
Chuck: Where do you live?
Judith: The answer can be [ich wohne] in Berlin
Chuck: I live in Berlin.
Judith: Or if inverted, the verb has to still come in second position. In Berlin [wohne ich]
Chuck: In Berlin I live. Berlin live I.
Judith: Exactly.
Chuck: So you noticed that even though the verbs are more complicated, you have to trade off because the questions are easier to form.


Judith: I don’t think the verbs are all that much more complicated. It’s just a matter of getting used to and we will make it extra easy for you. So I think that’s about does it for today. It’s enough of a bite.
Chuck: All right. So there’s a test on what you’ve learned.
Judith: Make this lesson’s vocabulary stick by using lesson specific flash cards in the learning center.
Chuck: There is a reason everyone uses a flashcard. Isn’t there?
Judith: Yeah they work.
Chuck: Yeah they really do help memorization.
Judith: You can get the flashcards for this lesson at GermanPod101.com.
Chuck: So practice your vocabulary and then enter the GermanPod101 challenge 2009. (wow! was this lesson made that long ago?!)
Judith: You haven’t heard of it?
Chuck: Yeah you got to listen to our latest news podcast or at least read the blog.
Judith: And then hurry up and study German, the competition isn’t around their thumbs.
Chuck: That’s right. You better get on it. All right, I will see you next week.
Judith: [bis nächste Woche]