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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: This is Intermediate Series Lesson 21.
Judith: Willkommen zurück, liebe Hörer.
Chuck: Welcome back, dear listeners. It’s Wednesday again, so time for another intermediate lesson. So what did you prepare for us today, Judith?
Judith: Today we’ll do a song by Subway to Sally.
Chuck: Subway to Sally… that doesn’t sound very German.
Judith: No, actually is the name that’s English, but they sing in German or occasionally in Latin.
Chuck: Latin?
Judith: Subway to Sally does medieval rock. Basically, instead of looking towards the latest technologies to make their music interesting, this band is looking to the past and they let medieval melodies and instruments influence their style. This kind of music is very popular with people who love metal or gothic music.
Chuck: Sounds interesting. I think I’ll have to check out this band. So what song are we doing by Subway to Sally?
Judith: Today’s song is called Unentdecktes Land. As usual, you can find a link to it in the lesson description.
Chuck: Ok, let’s get started.
Judith: Wir sind Forscher und Entdecker.
Chuck: “We are researchers and discoverers…”
Judith: Waren längst an jedem Ort.
Chuck: “We were everywhere for a long time”?
Judith: Längst as in “already”, “long since”.
Chuck: Ah ok.
Judith: For example, if your mother tells you to do something or, let’s say, your wife, you answer Das habe ich doch schon längst getan, “I already did this, like, way ago.”
Chuck: Yeah, I think I can understand that.
Judith: Alle Bücher sind gelesen.
Chuck: “All books have been read.”
Judith: Und enträtselt jedes Wort.
Chuck: “And”, let’s see, “and unlocked these secrets of every word?”
Judith: Yes, that’s a pretty good translation. I didn’t think you could do it. Enträtseln is like to “to demystify” but your translation is actually closer to the original, like “de-enigma”.
Chuck: Hi hi.
Judith: Un-enigma something.
Chuck: Looks like today is my day.
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: I'm guessing that line of “all books have been read” could be for you, right?
Judith: No. I'm so far behind on my reading.
Chuck: Or [inaudible 00:02:32] books. Ok.
Judith: Alle Karten sind gezeichnet.
Chuck: “All cards are shown”?
Judith: No, zeichnen is “to draw”.
Chuck: Ah, right.
Judith: And in this case it wouldn’t be card but “map”.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Because they’re talking about discoveries. So “All maps have been drawn.” Jedes Erdloch untersucht.
Chuck: “Every earth hole…”
Judith: “Hole in the earth…”
Chuck: “Researched”?
Judith: Yes, “examined”.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Untersuchen is “examine”, “research”. Jeder Hügel ist erklommen.
Chuck: “Every hill has been climbed”?
Judith: Yes, erklommen is an irregular form of erklimmen.
Chuck: oh?
Judith: There is no klimmen, only erklimmen.
Chuck: Oh, ok. That solves that problem.
Judith: Jeder Grashalm ist verbucht.
Chuck: Grashalm?
Judith: Is “a blade of grass”.
Chuck: Ah. “Every blade of grass is booked”?
Judith: “Has been booked” as in has been accounted for. Here, you write about it. Ok, there are like 300 Grashalme here and… It’s overdoing it, of course, but they mean to say everything has been [inaudible 00:03:52].
Chuck: It’s interesting that I’ve never thought of buchen in that sense. Like if you book a hotel room, it’s literally that they’re writing your name in a book. See where it comes from.
Judith: Yes, yes. Buchen is “to book”, but verbuchen is “to account”, to do…
Chuck: Ok, I see.
Judith: To account for. And now the chorus. Doch dein Gesicht in meiner Hand ist das unentdeckte Land.
Chuck: “Indeed your face…”
Judith: “But your face…”
Chuck: “But”.
Judith: “But” is always like to show difference, like “however”, “but”.
Chuck: Ok. “But your face in my hand is an undiscovered land or country.”
Judith: Yes. And then we continue with the next stanza. Durchs Gebirge, durch die Steppe, kämpften wir uns unverzagt.
Chuck: Gebirge?
Judith: Gebirge, “mountain range”?
Chuck: Ok. I know Berg is “mountain”. And unverzagt?
Judith: “Without withering”, “being self-conscious”. Verzagt is like afraid of a conscious, like…
Chuck: So “Through mountain ranges through the steps”?
Judith: Yes. Came up in Dschinghis Khan.
Chuck: Ah ok. “We fought…” [inaudible 00:05:24]
Judith: Yeah, literally “we fought ourselves” but it’s “we fought our way”, yeah.
Chuck: [inaudible 00:05:30] themselves a bit too. We don’t know.
Judith: Maybe. Jedem Tier auf dieser Erde haben wir schon nachgejagt.
Chuck: So “We’ve chased every animal on the earth already.”
Judith: Yes. Jagen is “to chase” and nachjagen is “to chase after”. It’s almost the same.
Chuck: I thought jagen was “to hunt”.
Judith: Yes, “hunt” or “chase”.
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: Von der Mündung bis zur Quelle fuhren wir auf jedem Fluss.
Chuck: “From the mouth…”?
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: “Until the source, we guide on every river”?
Judith: “Guide”?
Chuck: Führen. I'm thinking führen.
Judith: No, it’s not führen.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Fuhren is past tense of fahren.
Chuck: Ah ok, I see. “We traveled on every river.”
Judith: Und wir stiegen auf zur Sonne. Höher als einst Ikarus.
Chuck: “And we are going up to the sun”?
Judith: “We rose up”, this is also past tense, stiegen instead of steigen.
Chuck: Yeah. “Higher than an Icarus.”
Judith: Yeah, “higher than Icarus” but einst is “once, once upon a time, long ago”.
Chuck: Ok, so längst.
Judith: It can also mean for the future, like “at some point”, it’s a weird word like that, einst.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Well, it’s all very far, like you only know from stories. And you know Icarus, of course. Well, Icarus was this guy who was imprisoned, I believe, by the [inaudible 00:07:18]. And he and his father were prisoners and unable to escape from the island. And they devised a way of flying using wings made of wax?
Chuck: Wax?
Judith: Yes, they made wings made of wax and they were able to fly off the island like that. But Icarus got too arrogant and he flew too close to the sun and the sun made his wings melt and he crashed into the sea.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: And then we have the chorus several times and that’s the end of the song.
Chuck: Alright.
Judith: It’s a kind of short song but a nice one. So for culture I thought we would talk the idea of exploring colonization, as in in the beginning of the song – everything has been explored, all the maps have been drawn.
Chuck: But Germany didn’t do any colonization, did they? I mean I tend to think of the British and the French.
Judith: Yes, British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, of course.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Also the Dutch to some extent. Germany not really because the population was not really in favorite for the longest time and the government wasn’t either. Only in 1884, Bismarck, the chancellor at that time, started to protect the estates of merchants in Africa. And that was when the world had been basically already split up between the various European powers. Only at that time the slogan was Platz an der Sonne that became popular with the population. Platz an der Sonne, can you translate?
Chuck: “The [inaudible 00:09:06] on the earth or the sun”?
Judith: A spot, a spot in the sun.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: As in a nice, sunny place. Maybe they had a particularly cold winter or something.
Chuck: Ok.
Judith: Yeah, so that became a goal of German politics in 1897 and yeah. At that time everything was basically already done, so there wasn’t much coming out of it. I mean even the USA, the USA were already independent. They had finished the succession?
Chuck: Succession, yeah, succession.
Judith: Yeah. They had already finished the succession war.
Chuck: Succession.
Judith: Ok, how about you tell that part about the USA?
Chuck: So the USA had already finished their succession.
Judith: Yes, and they were involved in colonial politics themselves, I think they had a couple of colonies like islands. And it’s…
Chuck: Well, I still do to today.
Judith: Yeah, yeah, they do. Like Guam and places, but I'm not sure how many they had at that time. Anyway, so you see everything was basically done with the colonies themselves already started becoming independent. Germany had a really hard time acquiring colonies at that time. I believe some years before Germany had to reject the offer to take part of Dutch India in exchange for not taking something else. I don’t know, was the Danish India. So at some point they had the change to have colonies and rejected. And now they just weren’t able to. And they got some parts of what is today Togo, Cameron, Amibia, Tanzania and Africa, basically because German merchants already had their seats there. And also some islands in Macaronesia. And some Chinese city, the city of Qingtao.
Chuck: That city sounds familiar to me for some reason.
Judith: Yes, in German it’s still called Zingtau, that’s the old transcription.
Chuck: That’s the Chinese beer, isn’t it?
Judith: Yes. Guess what? When the Germans arrived, they built a brewery.
Chuck: That makes sense.
Judith: That’s one of the things they built. And like 20 years later, the Germans had to give up all colonies because of the end of the First World War. But the Chinese in Zingtau still had their brewery, and now it’s in the possession of China and other countries. But they still brew beer, basically according to the German recipe and it’s one of the most popular beers in China and outside.
Chuck: Yeah, so if you’re ever in China you can enjoy some German beer that has Chinese label on it.
Judith: It’s not quite German yet, it has been made a bit smoother, you know, for the local taste but they follow the same basic idea of the Reinheitsgebot. You know, that you only may use certain ingredients in making beer and nothing else.
Chuck: Wheat, barley, hops and malt? Right?
Judith: You forgot yeast.
Chuck: Oh yeah, wheat isn’t required, right?
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: I just drink too much wheat beer, I guess.
Judith: Some kind of grain. I mean you can use wheat, you can use barley, you can [inaudible 00:12:20]. No, no, you can’t use, just… I don’t think I should be talking about beer because I'm not Bavarian, I'm not the expert on that. I don’t drink beer myself.
Chuck: That’s too bad.
Judith: The basic ingredients that they might have, and if you put something else in it then it’s not technically beer by German law. Well, recently they had to change that because of European laws, you have to allow the import of foreign beers, which don’t necessarily follow the rules and…
Chuck: Yeah. It’s also interesting here that it’s pretty hard to find imported beers because people don’t drink them, except the foreigners, I guess.
Judith: Well, there are some Germans who appreciate foreign beer. Yeah, we got so many local sorts of beer. Like, in every city you can’t even get beer from other parts of the country, only some bigger brands, but mostly if you go in a pub, you will find the beer that’s brewed within, say, 50 kilometers of the place.
Chuck: Yeah. Recently I had a friend who came visit me from the States, and he was just surprised at the range of beer here. And he took one sip and he said, “Wow! Beer has taste!” It was nice to see him have nice experience with German beer.
Judith: Well, try it out. If you come here, try it out.
Chuck: Yeah.
Judith: Give it a chance.
Chuck: You have to try all the flavors, of course.
Judith: You mean the different types like Alt and Pilsner and Kölsch and Berliner Weiße and Hefeweizen.
Chuck: Hefeweizen, there you go. Alright. If you’re in Bavaria you have to try Hefeweizen. Anyway, I think we’re getting a bit off-topic here.

Lesson focus

Judith: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s do some grammar, shall we?
Chuck: Uh, yeah.
Judith: Well, you don’t sound as enthusiastic anymore.
Chuck: Das Bier wird getrunken. Right?
Judith: Yes, that’s passive. “The beer is drunk”, but we have done passive before so today we’re looking at some slightly different sentences, but it’s passive-like participle constructions, which were very abundant in this song. The sentences look passive but they’re not technically passive. Well, as a review first. How do you create a passive sentence? You just gave an example. Das Bier wird getrunken. Basically, you take the auxiliary werden and you put it in the tense you need, and then you add the past participle of the verb that you actually mean. So, for example, for the verb zeichnen, is “to draw”, the different passive tenses would be es wird gezeichnet, like es wird getrunken is present tense. Es wird gezeichnet werden, future, es wurde gezeichnet, preterite past, es ist gezeichnet worden, perfect and es war gezeichnet worden, past perfect. But in this song we saw alle Karten sind gezeichnet.
Chuck: “All maps are drawn.”
Judith: Yes, sind gezeichnet. This is not werden gezeichnet, it’s not sind gezeichnet worden. Maybe they meant alle Karten sind gezeichnet worden, but right now it looks like gezeichnet is a participle and they use it like an adjective, you know, so you can combine it with sein. And the rest is present tense. And this is the case throughout the song. It gives a very peculiar feel to it. They use a lot of passive-like constructions like this.


Chuck: Well, anyway, I think I'm going to go grab a beer and check out this song and see what this medieval rock is all about.
Judith: I think you’ll like it. This song could almost be done by Rammstein.
Chuck: Rammstein.
Judith: Maybe I manage to interest you in this song.
Chuck: Yeah. I’ll definitely have to give it a listen.


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

GermanPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Some other groups to consider: ich und ich Silbermond Danke!

GermanPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 09:31 PM
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Hallo Andrey,

Thank you so much for your positive message! 😇❤️️

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

We wish you good luck with your language studies.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,


Team GermanPod101.com

Tuesday at 10:06 AM
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I like more these kind of lessons, where you learn history, culture and art. I was a bit tired of those lessons of Chuck meeting random people and having basically the same boring conversations over and over about trivial things, because in real life you don't struggle that much with talking with friends about going to the cinema or eating cake, but with reading school books, official documents and journals. I'm glad I found these lessons without so much blablabla.

GermanPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 05:34 AM
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Hallo robert groulx,

Danke schön for taking the time to leave us a comment. 😇

Let us know if you have any questions.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,


Team GermanPod101.com

robert groulx
Sunday at 11:21 PM
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thanks for the lesson

my favorite words are Jeder Hügel ist erklommen


GermanPod101.com Verified
Monday at 11:44 AM
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Hi Barrie,

thanks for the suggestion! While this season of our lessons is complete, we will keep your suggestion in mind if we ever do a new series like this!



Team GermanPod101.com

Barrie Dewhirst
Thursday at 12:42 AM
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Hi Judith

Johnny Cash hat auch ein Lied auf Deutsch gesungen. Er heisst "Wer Kennt den weg". Er wartet auf YouTube. Es wurde toll sein wenn Sie diese Lied benutzen konnen.

Johnny Cash sang a version of "Walk the Line" called "Wer Kennt den weg". It's available on YouTube. It would be great if you could use this song.



Wednesday at 07:48 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions! :grin: