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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is Intermediate Series Lesson 19.
Judith: Willkommen zurück.
Chuck: Welcome back, listeners.
Judith: I'm glad you’re with us today because today is a very important lesson.
Chuck: How so?
Judith: Today we will look at a very popular East German song.
Chuck: Oh, from East Germany. So we’re going to learn a communist song today?
Judith: The song isn’t.
Chuck: So what song is it my comrade?
Judith: Ha ha. It’s called Sieben Brücken and it’s by Karat.
Chuck: So and I guess I can find the music through a link on the website again?
Judith: Yes, of course. Just go to GermanPod101.com and look at this lesson description. You will find the link there.
Chuck: Alright. So let’s see what this communist song is.
Judith: It’s not a communist song.
Chuck: Commy…
Judith: Stop it. Manchmal geh ich meine Straße ohne Blick.
Chuck: “Sometimes I go down my street in an instant”?
Judith: No, ohne Blick, it’s not Augenblick.
Chuck: Ah right.
Judith: Augenblick is the instant. Blick is “look” or “view”.
Chuck: “Without looking”.
Judith: Yeah, “without a look”, “without looking”, yes.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Manchmal wünsch ich mir mein Schaukelpferd zurück.
Chuck: “Sometimes I want to have my Schaukel horse back.”
Judith: Schaukelpferd. It’s a rocking horse.
Chuck: Well, I was close.
Judith: So sometimes I wish my rocking horse back.
Chuck: So basically wants his childhood back, right?
Judith: Yes. Manchmal bin ich ohne Rast und Ruh.
Chuck: Sometimes I'm without rust and peace?
Judith: Rast is “rest”, “without rest”, “restless”, “Sometimes I'm restless”. And Ruh is the abbreviation for Ruhe, “calm” or “tranquility.
Chuck: Ah ok. Is Rust “rust”?
Judith: No, Rost with O, that’s “rust”.
Chuck: something.
Judith: No.
Chuck: Ok, never mind.
Judith: Don’t confuse our listeners.
Chuck: But it’s fun.
Judith: So we have Rast and with an A it means “rest”. And then we have Rost with an O, it means “rust” as in, yeah, what happens to iron.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Manchmal schließ ich alle Türen nach mir zu.
Chuck: “Sometimes I close all the doors to me.”
Judith: “After me” as in I walk through a door and immediately close it. Manchmal ist mir kalt und manchmal heiß.
Chuck: “Sometimes I'm cold and sometimes hot.”
Judith: Yeah, notice ist mir. In German you can’t say ich bin kalt, ich bin heiß, you have to say mir ist kalt, mir ist heiß.
Chuck: Yeah. It has a bit of a different meaning if you can guess what “I'm hot” might mean.
Judith: Manchmal weiß ich nicht mehr, was ich weiß.
Chuck: “Sometimes I don't know any more what I know.”
Judith: It’s an easy song, isn’t it?
Chuck: Yeah, it much better than last one.
Judith: Manchmal bin ich schon am Morgen müd.
Chuck: “Sometimes I'm already tired in the morning.”
Judith: Und dann such ich Trost in einem Lied.
Chuck: “And then I look for peace”?
Judith: No, “consolation”. Trost is “consolation”.
Chuck: Ok. “Then I look for consolation in a song.” That’s probably why she’s singing actually… or he’s singing?
Judith: He.
Chuck: Ok. Oh, so now our listeners know I actually haven’t heard the song yet…
Judith: It’s bad. You need to prepare better.
Chuck: You only give them to me like a few minutes before we left. I didn’t have any time.
Judith: You listen to this right after the lesson, promise?
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: Ok. Now the chorus. Über sieben Brücken musst du gehen.
Chuck: “You must go over seven bridges.”
Judith: Yeah, “cross seven bridges”. Sieben dunkle Jahre überstehen.
Chuck: “To seven dark years to go past”?
Judith: No, überstehen.
Chuck: Not “understand”.
Judith: Stehen is “to stand” and über is “over”. “Overstand” you can’t say. It means “to overcome”.
Chuck: Ah ok.
Judith: Or “to bear”, “bear out”.
Chuck: Überstehen sounds cooler.
Judith: So you have to overcome the seven dark years. Sieben Mal musst du die Asche sein.
Chuck: “Seven years you have to be the ashes”?
Judith: “Seven times”.
Chuck: Ah.
Judith: Mal.
Chuck: “Seven times you have to be the ashes”?
Judith: Aber ein Mal auch der helle Schein.
Chuck: “But once the light ticket”?
Judith: No, no ticket. In this case it’s Schein as in scheinen.
Chuck: “Seemingly”?
Judith: Schein, the Schein.
Chuck: “Seeming”? No…
Judith: No, not “seem”. In English, the word “the shine”.
Chuck: Oh, “shine”, ok.
Judith: Yeah.
Chuck: That easier than I thought it was.
Judith: So “Sometimes you’re the ashes and sometimes you’re the light, you’re the brightness.”
Chuck: Ah, there we go.
Judith: Manchmal, this is the next stanza. Manchmal scheint die Uhr des Lebens still zu stehen.
Chuck: “Sometimes the clock of life stands still.”
Judith: “Seems to stand still.”
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: As in life doesn’t seem to be going forward. Manchmal scheint man immer nur im Kreis zu gehen.
Chuck: “Sometimes it seems that one goes always in a circle.”
Judith: Yes, going round and round. Manchmal ist man wie vom Fernweh krank.
Chuck: “Sometimes is one homesick”?
Judith: No. You’re confusing Heimweh and Fernweh. Heimweh, Heim is “the home”, is being homesick. Fernweh is the opposite. I don’t think there’s an English word for it.
Chuck: Being “farsick”.
Judith: I actually looked it up in a dictionary and it suggested “wanderlust”, which is another German word.
Chuck: It’s also an English word.
Judith: But Fernweh is a bit different. It’s longing for an exotic country, like wanting to be somewhere very, very far. Not necessarily wanting to be in a hole in the ground, but rather learning to be among a completely different culture, for example.
Chuck: Sounds like “wanderlust” to me.
Judith: Well, “wanderlust” is just… For me, “wanderlust” and Wanderlust and Fernweh, Wanderlust is the desire to move, to get… Whereas Fernweh you just want to be somewhere else. You don’t care about moving there.
Chuck: Aha, ok.
Judith: Well, in English it might be the same but in German it’s… yeah.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: And “wanderlust” can be within Germany. You know, it’s originally in this song, Das Wandern ist des Müllers Lust, it’s about craftsmen just walking around and studying with different masters. That was all within a certain country or a certain area, they wouldn’t go too, too far. They wouldn’t go to China to study.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Fernweh is really far. Manchmal ist man wie vom Fernweh krank.
Chuck: “Sometimes one’s sick of being away.”
Judith: No.
Chuck: No?
Judith: “Sometimes you’re sick as if from longing to be in a different place.”
Chuck: Ah, it’s the same sentence.
Judith: As sick as if from wanderlust.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Manchmal sitzt man still auf einer Bank.
Chuck: “Sometimes one sits still on a bank”?
Judith: “Bench”.
Chuck: Oh, “a bench”.
Judith: Yes, in German they’re two meanings - Bank is “bank” and it’s “bench”.
Chuck: Ah, is there a bank called Benk?
Judith: No.
Chuck: Ok. Oops. Yeah, I was thinking that sitting still on the top of a financial center seemed a bit strange.
Judith: No, sitting still on a bench.
Chuck: That makes more sense.
Judith: Manchmal greift man nach der ganzen Welt.
Chuck: “Sometimes one attacks the whole world?”
Judith: No, “sometimes you grip”.
Chuck: Ah, “takes”, not angreifen.
Judith: Greifen is “to grip”.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: You want to hold the whole world, you want to… yeah.
Chuck: So angreifen is “attack”, right?
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: Ah ok, that is what I was mixing up.
Judith: Greifen is simply “to grip” or “to try to take”.
Chuck: Yeah. Again her translation makes more sense than mine. Not fair I tell you.
Judith: Manchmal meint man, dass der Glücksstern fällt.
Chuck: “Sometimes one means that the…”
Judith: “Sometimes one thinks…”
Chuck: Ah.
Judith: In the sense meinen.
Chuck: “One thinks that the shooting star falls”?
Judith: No, Glücksstern is “the star of lucky”.
Chuck: Ah, I was thinking something like that.
Judith: Your lucky star. Your lucky star.
Chuck: Yeah, not Sternschnuppe. “Sometimes one thinks that the lucky star falls.”
Judith: As in that your luck is turning.
Chuck: Interesting way to put it.
Judith: Yeah. In German it’s not common like this either, not that I know of. Manchmal nimmt man, wo man lieber gibt.
Chuck: “Sometimes one takes what one would rather give.”
Judith: Or “where one would rather give”.
Chuck: You mean like in boxing, right?
Judith: I don’t think that’s what he meant. Manchmal hasst man das, was man doch liebt.
Chuck: “Sometimes one hates what one does love.”
Judith: Yes, I really like the Latin poem Odi et Amo. If anybody knows Latin I can really recommend it. But there. Ok, so then there’s the chorus again and that’s the song.
Chuck: Alright. So, wait, I didn’t see any communism in there. You let me down.
Judith: It’s not. It’s just a German song that originally comes from Eastern Germany. Karat was one of the main exports in terms of music of the German Democratic Republic.
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: And actually there’re a couple of other very good bands, not all of them made it in the Unified Germany. For example, it is another one that made it but there are a lot of them that just never got discovered because with the reunification, the East German radio stations slowly got replaced by West German ones or West German companies would move in and they would just play Western German music and so the music scene never consolidated. The Eastern German music just became something weird or crazy.
Chuck: That seems hardly fair, but I guess they say that history is written by the winners, right?
Judith: I don’t think we should ignore it. I mean they have probably a lot of very good stuff and I think now’s the time to remember about it.
Chuck: Yes, what I said, it’s not fair.
Judith: There’s also some things that the East German stage did get right, so to say. For example they made culture very cheap. For example if you want to, like, attend a concert or you want to go get books from the library or things like that you can…
Chuck: Like Hershey’s chocolate is cheap.
Judith: No.
Chuck: And yummy.
Judith: No, I wouldn’t say that. We’re talking of culture here.
Chuck: Yeah?
Judith: So they gave subsidies to culture so that everybody could take part of culture or could access it. Also, education is free. Well, it’s almost the same still in Germany, in all of it, and they organized cheap holidays, cheap camps or youth activities. It was fun too. One thing that they had though is that they were very anti-religious, the entire East German state was not favorable to Christianity, just like Soviet Union itself, so they had some holidays meant to eradicate some Christian holidays. For example the Jugendweihe was meant like this. It’s a non-religious celebration of achieving adulthood, the Jugendweihe, when you’re turning from a youth to an adult you celebrate this and this…
Chuck: What does Weihe mean exactly?
Judith: Weihe, weihen is “to consecrate”.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: So it’s like…
Chuck: Youth consecration.
Judith: Yeah, something like that. It’s non-religious but it took the place of the confirmation in the Protestant Church or the formation in the Catholic Church, these sacraments that you take it. It’s approximately 14 years or is it 16 years of age? And so this is their replacement for it and it’s still done today. For example, in 2000 they still had 40 percent participation in East Germany, everywhere else is not really known. In Switzerland I think it’s also still popular.
Chuck: One other thing I noticed is that it seems like there’s more women in engineering, in math and science there.
Judith: Yeah, they generally encouraged everybody to get into these supposedly male fields.
Chuck: Sounds pretty wise.
Judith: Yeah, definitely, yeah. I mean, they also had problems with the workforce. They just needed every qualified person they could get, they didn’t have the means to not care about half the population.
Chuck: Yeah. And I also heard that they support chess as a way to, say, battle capitalism?
Judith: Yes. Well, that’s also like in the Soviet Union. A lot of chess grandmaster just come from the Soviet Union or were educated at that time. I don’t think there’s any chess grandmaster from the DDR or at least not one that won a big championship, but it was also encouraged. Yes, chess was encouraged there.
Chuck: I’ll have to look into that.
Judith: Yes, you’re into chess, aren’t you?
Chuck: Yeah. I have a few iPhone apps too for that.
Judith: No, no hidden advertisement here.
Chuck: No, no. Just mentioning some of my hobbies.

Lesson focus

Judith: Ok. Grammar. Time for grammar.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Today I want to talk about some sub clauses in German. Well, German has sub clauses, just like English.
Chuck: What’s a sub clause?
Judith: A sub clause is something that’s not the main clause, something that is an additional information in a sentence.
Chuck: Like, can you give me an example?
Judith: Yeah, we will go through lots of examples.
Chuck: Yay!
Judith: I'm planning to compare a lot between English and German. And you will notice that in all German sub clauses the verb is at the end.
Chuck: At the end? That means that you don’t know what someone’s talking about until they finish the sentence?
Judith: Until they finish the sub clause.
Chuck: Aha.
Judith: Ok, the first type of sub clauses that we’re going to talk about is the relative sub clause. Those are the ones that use “who” or “which” in English. And you will find that Germans make a lot of mistakes like that, they never know when to say “who” and when to say “which”. So that’s because in German we don’t have the difference between it being people or things, we just have der, die, das or welcher, welche, welches as relative pronouns and this depends on the gender of the word rather than whether it’s human or not human. So an example of this kind of sub clause is Der Mann, der einen Brief schreibt or you could say Der Mann, welcher einen Brief schreibt, but der is more common.
Chuck: Yeah, I notice this is also something I used to make a lot of mistakes about. Like I would say like Judith, das “Did something” and, “I'm not a thing!”
Judith: Yeah, yeah. I know one guy in my English class who would always say “teachers which” and then it’s like, “Teachers are not things!” and my English teacher would get really upset. But in German… so we have a sentence Der Mann, der einen Brief schreibt and then you can say something more about the man maybe. Der Mann, der einen Brief schreibt, sieht beschäftigt aus? Can you translate?
Chuck: Or liebt seine Frau?
Judith: Something like that. So “the man who is writing a letter”, this part - der einen Brief schreibt, “who is writing a letter”. And note that, in German, you have to put a comma before the relative clause and also after if the main sentence continues after it. So if it’s at the end of the sentence then you don’t have a comma because it’s… because you put a dot there already. And the relative pronoun has to be adapted. One thing I already said is it has to be adopted for the gender of the word. Like der Mann you have to put der, or die Frau you have to put die or welche. And also you have to adapt it for the case that the actual word would have taken in the relative clause. So in this sentence, der Mann, der einen Brief schreibt, you could say der Mann schreibt einen Brief as a main clause and it would be der that tells you. But if you say der Mann, den ich liebe, “the man whom I love”, that’s accusative. “Whom”, you even hear it in English. You would say ich liebe den Mann and that’s how you know that it’s der Mann, DEN ich liebe, that’s accusative. and this is one type of sub clause, it’s a relative clause, we call it. Another type is the noun clause. This is difficult to identify because the starting word may differ but basically the idea is that the clauses fulfilled an important role in the sentence and they can’t be left out. For example ich weiß nicht mehr, was ich weiß in this song - do you remember how you translated it?
Chuck: “I don't know what I know.”
Judith: Yeah. Or “I no longer know what I know”. So ich weiß nicht mehr is hard to leave on its own, you need to specify “what do I not now?” It’s the object, it’s a vital part of the sentence and that’s the sub clause, was ich weiß. Or you could have a sentence like Ich denke, dass Karat eine interessante Band ist “I think that Karat is an interesting band”.
Chuck: Or “I think that Karat an interesting band is”.
Judith: Yes, cause in a sub clause the verb is at the end in German so the whole thing doesn’t make sense if you just say ich denke. Everybody’s asking, “Ok, what are you thinking? Tell me.”
Chuck: Oh so you can think. That’s nice.
Judith: Yeah.
Chuck: I think therefore I am.
Judith: So dass Karat eine interessante Band ist, that’s the main thing of the sentence, that’s the sub clause that specifies it all. And you have to be careful because I think that Karat is obviously translated as dass with a double S here and you almost need a comma too. So comma, dass with double S in this kind of case.
Chuck: Yeah, if you’re reading an old text you may see that ß there, the dass.
Judith: Yes, it used to be an ß but now it’s always double S. And as a third type of clause that we can talk about today is the adverbial clause. These are sub clauses that are introduced by subjections such as “when”, “where”, “because” or the like. So they act approximately like an adverbial in the sentence. For example, Er ist gegangen, weil die Party langweilig war.
Chuck: He left because the party was boring.
Judith: Yes, so weil die Party langweilig war is the sub clause. As you can see by the verb moving to the end, “because the party was boring”. Or Als ich in New York war, habe ich viel gesehen.
Chuck: When I was in New York, I saw a lot.
Judith: Yes. And you notice it’s like an adverbial because you could replace it by any adverbial like Im Juni habe ich viel gesehen. “In June, I saw a lot.” Als ich in New York war works just like the same, the same part of the sentence. And as a third thing, Wenn du mitkommst, freue ich mich.
Chuck: If you’re coming along, I’ll be happy.
Judith: Yeah. And this is hard for English speakers because we’re using the word wenn in German and this does not mean “when”, it means “if”, “if you’re coming along”.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Wenn du mitkommst.
Chuck: I never make that mistake. And there’s another type of clause, the Santa Claus.
Judith: Please.
Chuck: Oh I just want to wish them all a Merry Christmas.
Judith: It’s too early. I think you just want to distract from the lesson.


Chuck: I think I want to finish the lesson actually.
Judith: Ok.
Chuck: Anyway, you can review these examples and explanations in the PDF.