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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is Intermediate Series Lesson 2.
Judith: Willkommen.
Chuck: Welcome to the second GermanPod101.com Intermediate Lesson.
Judith: At GermanPod101 we want to help you actually make good on your plans to learn German.
Chuck: And we also know for our own experience it’s hard to motivate yourself to study, so we want to make it fun and interesting and rewarding.
Judith: That’s also the idea of these intermediate lessons. A lot of people learn German in order to understand German music better, so what’s more logical than to learn German through music?
Chuck: We try to present a lot of different kind of German music styles while also taking into account that the songs shouldn’t be too difficult to understand. Today we’ll feature the song Verschwende deine Zeit by Silbermond. Silbermond is a modern German pop rock band and this hit was one of their early successes.
Judith: As usual, the lesson description contains a direct link to a site where you can listen to part of the song or you can buy the full song as a legal MP3.
Chuck: Yeah, I like it so much I went out and bought one myself. So let’s go through the song, Judith. Could you read the complete lyrics once before we start looking at single lines’ vocabulary? I think some listeners requested that.
Judith: Ok. Jeden Tag zur selben Zeit grüßt uns die Alltäglichkeit. Und wir sagen immer schön Hallo. Und jeden Tag kriegt man gesagt, was man tun und lassen darf. Doch darauf ham wir heut keinen Bock. Denn wir wissen, dass die Uhr tickt. Vieles ist so nichtig. Nichts so wirklich wichtig. Absolut unwichtig. Mach was dir gefällt. Komm verschwende deine Zeit. Mach mal nichts und nimm dir Zeit. Davon geht die Welt nicht unter. Lass dir nichts erzählen. Mach dich frei von dem was stresst. Lass mal los und lebe jetzt. Verschwende deine Zeit und mach was dir gefällt. Was du heute kannst besorgen, das besorg dir lieber morgen. Oder lass es einfach ganz. Leg dich lieber nochmal hin und gib der Hektik keinen Sinn. Genieße einfach den Moment. Denn wir wissen, dass die Uhr tickt. Vieles ist so nichtig. Nichts so wirklich wichtig. Absolut unwichtig. Mach was dir gefällt. Komm verschwende deine Zeit. Du hast dich viel zu lang geweilt.
Chuck: Alright, well let’s go through it.
Judith: Ok. A couple of lines at a time. Jeden Tag zur selben Zeit grüßt uns die Alltäglichkeit.
Chuck: So I’d say that’s like “Every day, at the same time”?
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: Ah, then the “every day” greets us.
Judith: No, the Alltäglichkeit greets us. Alltäglichkeit is like banality, something that happens every day. You know alltäglich, the adjective, means “every day” or “a common place”. And Alltäglichkeit is just a noun based on that.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: I wouldn’t say it’s an incredibly common noun, but alltäglich as an adjective might be worth remembering .
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: Und wir sagen immer schön Hallo. Und jeden Tag kriegt man gesagt, was man tun und lassen darf.
Chuck: Ok. So “We always say a nice “Hello” and every day “kriegt man gesagt”, what does that mean?
Judith: A slang, gesagt kriegen. “You get said”, “somebody tells you”…
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: What you can do or not do.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Doch darauf ham wir heut keinen Bock. Denn wir wissen, dass die Uhr tickt.
Chuck: Well, I totally don’t get that at all. At least the first line, Doch darauf ham wir heut keinen Bock.
Judith: Well, ham is a colloquial abbreviation of haben and it’s used in the song because of the rhythm. And keinen Bock haben is also colloquial. An expression, it means “we’re not in the mood for that”, “we don’t want to do that”.
Chuck: Ok, it’s like ich habe keinen Bock dafür.
Judith: Darauf.
Chuck: Darauf, ok.
Judith: Ich hab heute keinen Bock auf Kino, for example, “I'm not in the mood for the cinema. So Doch darauf ham wir heut keinen Bock. Denn wir wissen, dass die Uhr tickt.. Can you get it now?
Chuck: “Today I don’t have any…”
Judith: “Today we don’t want that”. The thing that’s mentioned in the last line, being told what you can do and what you can’t do, every day the same thing. “Cause we know that the clock is ticking”. In German the word is very similar, ticken. Vieles ist so nichtig. Nichts so wirklich wichtig.
Chuck: “A lot is so unimportant”? Nichtig?
Judith: Yeah, nichtig is a kind of fancy word, “having no importance”.
Chuck: “Not so really important”.
Judith: “Nothing is so really important”. Nichts.
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: Don’t confuse nicht and nichts.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Absolut unwichtig. Mach was dir gefällt.
Chuck: “Absolutely unimportant. Do what you want.”
Judith: Yes. And now for the chorus, Komm verschwende deine Zeit. Mach mal nichts und nimm dir Zeit. Davon geht die Welt nicht unter.
Chuck: “Come and waste your time”, mach mal nichts, “Do nothing some time and take your time…”
Judith: Yeah, “just do nothing for a change”. Mal is like a suggestion.
Chuck: It sounds like a pretty good idea.
Judith: Davon geht die Welt nicht unter. Lass dir nichts erzählen.
Chuck: “The world’s not going to go to pieces.” Lass dir nichts erzählen. “There’s nothing to explain”?
Judith: No. “Don’t let them tell you that.”
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Mach dich frei von dem was stresst. Lass mal los und lebe jetzt.
Chuck: “Make yourself free from what is stressing you.”
Judith: “Liberate yourself” even.
Chuck: Yeah. “And just let loose and live now.”
Judith: Verschwende deine Zeit und mach was dir gefällt.
Chuck: “Waste your time and do what you want.”
Judith: The central.
Chuck: I like this song.
Judith: I figured you would. It sounds good too. Was du heute kannst besorgen, das besorg dir lieber morgen.
Chuck: “What you can take care of today that you can also take care of tomorrow.”
Judith: Yeah, rather preferably do tomorrow.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: This is based on a German saying. The saying is Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen. “What you can procure today, don’t move it to tomorrow”. Basically the same thing as “A stich in time saves nine”, right? That is the English saying?
Chuck: Yeah, the saying is English is “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today”.
Judith: Yeah. So what they do is they turn it around. They start with the first language, everybody will recognize from the saying, and then they say, “Oh, preferably do it tomorrow”.
Chuck: I remember once seeing a Garfield comic where he says, “Don’t do today what you can put off till tomorrow”.
Judith: Yeah, it’s the same spirit.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Oder lass es einfach ganz. Leg dich lieber nochmal hin
Chuck: “Or leave it. Leave everything now.”
Judith: No, “just let it go now. Don’t do it at all.” Lassen is not “do”.
Chuck: A lot of this I can actually understand but I have trouble translating it into English.
Judith: That’s a good sign, it means that you are getting more fluent.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: If you’re not translating in your head.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Leg dich lieber nochmal hin “Lie down again.”
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Judith: “Preferably lie down again.” und gib der Hektik keinen Sinn. Genieße einfach den Moment.
Chuck: “Don’t let the hectic… Don’t let yourself be hectic” I guess. Literally “don’t give the hectic any sense”.
Judith: Yeah, don’t give it credibility, don’t see the reasons to be.
Chuck: Yeah, just enjoy the moment.
Judith: Yeah. And now a part that was also repeated from above, Denn wir wissen, dass die Uhr tickt. Vieles ist so nichtig. Nichts so wirklich wichtig. Absolut unwichtig. Mach was dir gefällt. Since we had it already, it’s basically saying “We know the clock is ticking, but everything is so unimportant, nothing is really important. Absolutely unimportant, just do what you want.” And then is the chorus again, and after that we have Komm verschwende deine Zeit. Du hast dich viel zu lang geweilt.
Chuck: Geweilt? What does that mean?
Judith: It’s… It’s not actually correct here. What they mean is…
Chuck: You should write it correctly then.
Judith: No, that’s not what I was saying. It’s a play on words, if you want. Normally the word would be langweilen, sich langweilen, “to bore”, “to be bored”, and the participle of that would be gelangweilt, “bored”, “in a bored way”. So they take it apart and piece it together differently, lang geweilt, cause they actually mean “you have been bored for too long”, they mean both the lange and the gelangweilt. They can’t fit that in one line. They can’t say Du hast dich viel zu lange gelangweilt. That wouldn’t fit within the rhythm.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: So they just use this geweilt as an abbreviation, if you want.
Chuck: Ok, that’s cool.
Judith: And is followed by the chorus and that’s it.
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: So what do you think? Does this song have a point? I mean, to be giving this advice to Germans?
Chuck: Yeah, I think I'm going to follow it and I'm going to head out now, so I'm going to waste some time.
Judith: No, not yet.
Chuck: And I’ll talk to you later.
Judith: I had enough time trying to convince you to come in today.
Chuck: Alright, I’ll come back.
Judith: What I meant is do you think that Germans should take this advice?
Chuck: I think everyone should. I mean Americans even work more than the Germans do.
Judith: I don't know. The thing is, in Germany there’s definitely the sense of daily routine that they talked about in the first, following the rules and there’s a very strict sense, you have to follow the dictates and do the same every day and…
Chuck: Eat the same time every day, right?
Judith: Well, a lot of people do. Not everybody. It’s like the stereotypical order that they say Germans have.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: But there’s also people that don’t agree with that and they call those people that do it here Spießer. Spießer generally means this kind of person that does everything as expected and follows the trot and it’s very much a regulated lifestyle. Actually there’s a big German philosopher that proposed this kind of thing. It’s Kant, the German Kant, he was really known for this. I think he was actually psychologically ill in a way because he just couldn’t do things other than in this very regulated lifestyle. It’s like if the neighbors saw him leave the house a minute later, then they would check their watches to see if they needed adjustment. That’s really bad.
Chuck: Interesting. Well, he certainly doesn’t know when to stop his sentences.
Judith: Imagine this. No, he’s so hard to read. I pity anybody who has to read him.
Chuck: Yeah, the English translation would even be easier to read than the original German.
Judith: Probably.
Chuck: For Germans.
Judith: Other than that, well, the song talked a bit about the hectic here in Germany. I haven’t seen much of that, how about you? Do you think it’s more hectic here?
Chuck: Doesn’t really feel like it.
Judith: In Berlin, I think Berlin is not as hectic as New York. Far from it.
Chuck: Definitely not. I mean I definitely felt more stressed when I lived in New York than when I lived here.
Judith: Yeah.
Chuck: Then I think you might also find it in other cities, like Frankfurt, that are more business-oriented. So I think of Berlin as more of an artsy city. You know, people are very laid back.
Judith: Well, there’s plenty of business here.
Chuck: Yeah, of course, just the general feel of the city.
Judith: Yeah.
Chuck: When you pass by the art galleries on your way to work, and you pass by like four of them.

Lesson focus

Judith: Well, that’s also because the rent is so cheap so a place where they can get a lot of exposure for very cheap rent. Now let’s look at another topic of this lesson and that’s the grammar part of it. Fortunately, it’s a grammar that a lot of you already know because it’s borderline whether it is intermediate or not. You probably have dealt with it before but not as extensively.
Chuck: So you can consider this a refresher if you’re already familiar with it.
Judith: The topic is the imperative.
Chuck: That sounds kind of scary. Is that a weapon?
Judith: No, it means command, the grammatical form of a word that’s a command, like for say “Go!”.
Chuck: It sounds kind of like a weapon to me.
Judith: In the song this was not a weapon. They used this form, for example, Verschwende deine Zeit, “Waste your time!” I don’t think you would see that as threatening.
Chuck: Alright, I’ll give you that one.
Judith: So when you’re giving a command formally to one person or even to several people, then it’s really easy because you just take the infinitive and add a Sie. Basically you’re just inverting things. Instead of Sie gehen heute ins Kino, Gehen Sie heute ins Kino.
Chuck: And then if you have the stress at the end going up then it’s a question, right? Gehen Sie heute ins Kino?
Judith: Yes, very good observation. So with this one you have to be sure to let your words go down at the end. You can even do it forcefully like Gehen Sie!
Chuck: Yeah, make it sound like a weapon.
Judith: And then very similar to that we have the imperative for first person plural, that’s the “we” form. It’s like the English “let’s”, “let’s go”, that would be Gehen wir in German. We don’t need a word like Lass uns gehen, that would be possible but we can also just say Gehen wir. So that would be the infinitive and the word wir form if you’re talking informally to several people, like to a group of friends, then you could tell them Geht if you’re not yourself included. That is simply the form that you would normally use, like ihr geht, second person plural form, but you’re leaving out the pronoun and you’ll see this is generally the case. When you want to be polite you have to add the pronoun and for the impolite forms you don’t have it.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: And finally one more form left. It’s informally talking to one person, that would be simply Geh, “go”, or Verschwende.
Chuck: As in the important phrase Geh weg.
Judith: Yeah. Geh weg is a very good example that you might actually use. I don’t think you would tell somebody Verschwende deine Zeit, but that’s what the song was called so it’s also an example…
Chuck: If you get some drunk guy with a bit too much German beer at night come up to you and you might need to say Geh weg.
Judith: Yeah. Well, since we have to note that it’s just the word stem. Like from gehen you only take geh, and from verschwenden you only take verschwende. You notice that the geh is even shorter and that it doesn’t have the E at the end. The E is generally dropped when the word is very short already, so it will be one syllable only. Gehe would be two syllables. In this case, why need that E? With the verb tun, for example, “to do”, imperative would be tu.
Chuck: Yeah, you mentioned that word stem issue. So how does that work for those vowel changing verbs?
Judith: For these verbs the vowel changes only for the informal form, when you’re addressing one person informally, like a friend. So it would be based on the second person singular, and taking the stem based on that. For example, the verb sehen, “to see”, second person singular would be du siehst and of that you take the stem so you remover the ST and that would be sieh, that’s the imperative. For splitting verbs such as weg gehen you have to remember that they will always be split, like Gehen Sie weg, we already had it, or Geh weg. For all the forms, it’s split. And for irregular verbs there’s actually only one irregular verb with irregular imperative, I mean, and that’s the verb sein. Even haben is regular in this case, and the verb sein uses sei as an imperative, so it looks almost regular.
Chuck: So like Sei ein Mensch.
Judith: Yeah. More commonly you might request Sei still. And for the plural, if you’re addressing several people it would be seien. So you’re actually adding an e in the middle there.
Chuck: When would you actually use that?
Judith: Well, like Seien Sie still, when you’re requesting your neighbor to shut off his music. The rest is regular again, like if you’re talking to several people in second person, plural, then it would be seid, just like ihr seid.
Chuck: Ok. So I think I'm going to try an imperative of my own. Machen wir Feierabend!
Judith: You just had to use that word, didn’t you? Feierabend is like everybody’s favorite German word.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Can you explain it?
Chuck: Literally it means “holiday evening” but that’s not what it means. It’s sort of that you just take a break for the evening. It’s the end of the work day.
Judith: Yeah, definitely.
Chuck: Ich muss meine Zeit verschwenden.
Judith: Do you have to? Well, I guess you can now look at the PDF transcript for a summary of what we learned.
Chuck: After you waste some time, of course.
Judith: Well, wasting some time… You might want to listen to that song too and…
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: And do some exercises in the learning center, but that’s not wasting your time, that’s actually helping your German.
Chuck: Yeah. Or you could feel like you’re relaxing and wasting your time while you do it though.
Judith: Yeah, I heard the brain actually memorizes things better when you are in a relaxed state of mind.
Chuck: Yeah, so always relax and listen to GermanPod101.
Judith: Alright.


Chuck: So waste some time and we will see you next week.
Judith: Bis nächste Woche!