Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
John: Hi everyone, and welcome back to GermanPod101.com. This is Business German for Beginners Season 1 Lesson 12 - Asking for Help in a Difficult German Business Situation. John here.
Jennifer: Guten Tag! I'm Jennifer.
John: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask for help in a difficult situation. The conversation takes place in the office.
Jennifer: It's between Linda Müller and Stefan Herzog.
John: The speakers are co-workers, therefore, they will speak informal German. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Linda Müller: Es tut mir leid dich zu stören, aber könntest du mir helfen?
Stefan Herzog: Klar, was ist los?
Linda Müller: Der Drucker steckt fest, weißt du wie das funktioniert?
Stefan Herzog: Lass' mich mal nachsehen...
Linda Müller: Vielen Dank.
John: Listen to the conversation one time slowly.
Linda Müller: Es tut mir leid dich zu stören, aber könntest du mir helfen?
Stefan Herzog: Klar, was ist los?
Linda Müller: Der Drucker steckt fest, weißt du wie das funktioniert?
Stefan Herzog: Lass' mich mal nachsehen...
Linda Müller: Vielen Dank.
John: Listen to the conversation with the English translation.
Linda Müller: I'm sorry to bother you, could you help me?
Stefan Herzog: Sure, what is it?
Linda Müller: The printer is stuck, do you know how it works?
Stefan Herzog: Let me see...
Linda Müller: Thank you so much!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
John: I think that this is a situation that anyone who has ever worked in an office can relate to.
Jennifer: Yes, at some point, the printer is going to jam.
John: And it’s usually when you don’t have any time and need to print something urgently.
Jennifer: Right. If you don’t know how to fix the printer then you need to ask a colleague for help.
John: How do German businesses view employees that ask a lot of questions?
Jennifer: When you start the job, it’s common to ask a lot of questions.
John: Of course, that's to be expected.
Jennifer: In fact, if you don’t ask questions people might think that you don’t care about your job.
John: I guess it’s suspicious if you’re new and act like you know everything already.
Jennifer: When you start your job, you’ll probably have a supervisor that can help you with things, and also help you sort out the company’s hierarchy.
John: Do German companies have a strict hierarchy?
Jennifer: It’s not strict, but it’s usually quite orderly.
John: Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
John: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is...
Jennifer: jemanden stören [natural native speed]
John: to disturb someone
Jennifer: jemanden stören[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jennifer: jemanden stören [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Jennifer: helfen [natural native speed]
John: to help
Jennifer: helfen[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jennifer: helfen [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Jennifer: Drucker [natural native speed]
John: printer
Jennifer: Drucker[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jennifer: Drucker [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Jennifer: nachsehen [natural native speed]
John: to check
Jennifer: nachsehen[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jennifer: nachsehen [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Jennifer: Vielen Dank. [natural native speed]
John: Thank you so much.
Jennifer: Vielen Dank.[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jennifer: Vielen Dank. [natural native speed]
John: Next we have...
Jennifer: klar [natural native speed]
John: clear; clearly; of course
Jennifer: klar[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jennifer: klar [natural native speed]
John: And last...
Jennifer: aber [natural native speed]
John: but
Jennifer: aber[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jennifer: aber [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
John: Let's have a closer look at the usage of one of the phrases from this lesson. The phrase is...
Jennifer: Der Drucker steckt fest
John: meaning "The printer is stuck." What can you tell us about this phrase?
Jennifer: Der Drucker, meaning “the printer,” is a masculine noun. Feststecken can have two meanings.
John: The first is “to fasten and attach.”
Jennifer: The second is “to inhibit progress.”
John: So in this case, we’re using the second meaning.
Jennifer: A more formal and stiff sentence you can use is Der Drucker ist defekt -
John: "the printer is defective." Can you give us an example using the first phrase?
Jennifer: Sure. For example, you can say, Der Drucker steckt fest, weißt du wie das funktioniert?
John: ...which means "The printer is stuck, do you know how it works?"
John: Okay, now onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

John: In this lesson, you'll learn how to ask for help in a difficult situation. This is quite important as there are many situations where you might need to ask for help. Sometimes there won’t be an obvious person to ask, like a help desk or supervisor.
Jennifer: Right. You may need to ask someone in the street for help, so you need to know how to do it politely.
John: First, it’s nice to open with an apology, especially if the other person seems busy.
Jennifer: In the dialogue, Linda uses Es tut mir leid, which is “I’m sorry.” This is followed by the accusative dich and then zu stören.
John: That’s a verb in the infinitive form. Then, you can ask for help.
Jennifer: You can use the conjunctive form of the verb kann and say Könnten Sie mir behilflich sein?
John: As in the dialogue, you can also start the question with the adversative conjunction, meaning “but.”
Jennifer: This is aber.
John: So how does the sentence sound all together?
Jennifer: Es tut mir leid dich zu stören, aber könntest du mir helfen?
John: “I'm sorry to bother you, could you help me?” Let’s review the conjugation of the verb meaning “could” in German. “I could” is...
Jennifer: Ich könnte
John: Next is "you could."
Jennifer: Du könntest
John: What’s “he could?”
Jennifer: Er könnte.
John: Remember that this verb conjugation can also be used to say the polite form of “you could.”
Jennifer: Right. Ist könnte.
John: Next we have “we could.”
Jennifer: Wir könnten
John: "you could" (plural)
Jennifer: Ihr könntet
John: and what is "they could?"
Jennifer: Sie könnten
John: Ok, what’s another useful sentence when asking for help?
Jennifer: You could also say, Ich bräuchte Unterstützung.
John: which means “I need help.”
Jennifer: Haben Sie eine Minute?
John: “Do you have a minute?” Ok, now let’s see how to answer if someone else asks you for help. How would you reply?
Jennifer: If you’re willing to help, you could say Klar, was ist los?
John: “Sure, what is it?”
Jennifer: Gern, wie kann ich Ihnen behilflich sein?
John: “Sure, how can I help?”
Jennifer: Keep in mind that the phrase behilflich sein, “to be helpful,” expresses someone’s willingness to help.

Outro

John: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Jennifer: Auf Wiedersehen!

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