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Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here, intermediate season 3 lesson 16. Plotting against the German government. Hello and welcome to Germanpod101.com, the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn German.
Judith: I’m Judith and thanks again for being here with us for this intermediate season 3 lesson.
Chuck: In this lesson, you’ll learn about the German government.
Judith: This conversation takes place on a set scene tour in Berlin.
Chuck: The conversation is between the tour guide and Mr. Jones.
Judith: The speakers are in a business relationship, therefore they’ll be speaking formal German.
Chuck: Let’s listen to the conversation.
RJudith: So und hier sehen Sie das Kanzleramt. Es ist der Sitz der Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel.
Jones: Das Gebäude sieht sehr neu aus!
RJudith: Ja, der Bau des Gebäudes wurde 1997 begonnen und im Jahr 2001 wurde es dann eingeweiht.
Jones: Und vorher war das Kanzleramt in Bonn?
RJudith: Ja, genau. Die gesamte Bundesregierung war vorher in Bonn. Aber 1991 wurde vom Bundestag beschlossen, dass die Regierung in die Bundeshauptstadt Berlin umzieht.
Jones: Und jetzt sind alle Ministerien in Berlin?
RJudith: Nein, ein Teil der Ministerien ist immer noch in Bonn.
Jones: Ach so. Und wohnt Angela Merkel auch in diesem Gebäude?
RJudith: Nein, sie wohnt nicht im Kanzleramt. Die Bundeskanzlerin hat eine Privatwohnung. In diesem Gebäude hier sind nur die Büros der Mitarbeiter.
Jones: Wie viele Mitarbeiter sind das denn?
RJudith: Im Kanzleramt arbeiten etwa 450 Leute.
Jones: 54? Das ist ja nicht viel!
RJudith: Nein, 450!
Jones: Oh! Das ist natürlich mehr!
Jones: Und was ist das für ein Kunstwerk?
RJudith: Das Kunstwerk im Ehrenhof vor dem Kanzleramt heißt „Berlin“.
Jones: Und von wem wurde das Kunstwerk geschaffen?
RJudith: Es wurde von dem spanischen Künstler Chillida geschaffen.
Jones: Haha, Künstler haben immer ungewöhnliche Namen. Christo klingt wie Christus und Chillida klingt wie Chinchilla.
RJudith: Haha, ja da haben Sie Recht!
Tour guide: So, and here you see the chancellor's building. It's the seat of chancellor(ette) Angela Merkel.
Jones: The building looks very new!
Tour guide: Yes, the construction of the building was started in 1997 and in the year 2001 it was inaugurated.
Jones: And before, the chancellor's building was in Bonn?
Tour guide: Yes, exactly. The entire federal government was in Bonn before. But in 1991 it was decided by the parliament that the government will move to the federal capital, Berlin.
Jones: And now all government departments are in Berlin?
Tour guide: No, part of the ministries are still in Bonn.
Jones: Oh. And does Angela Merkel live in this building too?
Tour guide: No, she doesn't live in the chancellor building. The chancellor has a private apartment. Just the assistants' offices are in this building.
Jones: How many members of staff are that?
Tour guide: Approximately 450 people work at the chancellor's office.
Jones: 54? That isn't much!
Tour guide: No, 450!
Jones: Oh! That's more of course!
Jones: And what kind of work of art is that?
Tour guide: The work of art in the honorary courtyard in front of the chancellor's office is called "Berlin".
Jones: And this work of art was created by whom?
Tour guide: It was created by the Spanish artist Chillida.
Jones: Haha, artists always have unusual names. Christo sounds like Christ and Chillida sounds like Chinchilla.
Tour guide: Haha, yes you are right!
Judith: Alright, then let’s talk about Germany and its government.
Chuck: it sounds exciting.
Judith: Judith: Germany is a representative democracy which means that German people don’t directly elect the Chancellor. Rather they elect the representative, as in the members of the [Bundestag], and those form coalitions and elect the Chancellor.
Chuck: The [Bundestag] is a German parliament which is where most of the work gets done. There is also a [Bundesrat] I’d say it’s comparable to the U.S Senate which is filled with representatives of each German [Bundesland].
Judith: Yes, the [Bundesrat] doesn’t have much power as the U.S Senate though because it only gets to vote on laws of the different States.
Chuck: The roles of the German Chancellor, the [Bundeskanzler] Chancellor is comparable to that of the American president but few foreigners also know that Germany has a president who is also the head of state.
Judith: Yes, the [Bundespräsident] president, his role is largely just ceremonial, but he also has to sign new laws before they go into effect. The thing is he can delay signing on the laws but he cannot veto the laws unless he believes that they are unconstitutional. This happens very rarely. Maybe once or twice in a decade you may refuse the signature because he thinks the laws are unconstitutional. Even though the president will usually belong to one of the parties, he’s supposed to be impartial in this office.
Chuck: Let’s look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word is;
Judith: [Bund]
Chuck: Bunch, alliance or federations.
Judith: [Bund, der] and the plural is [Bünde]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [beginnen]
Chuck: To begin.
Judith: [beginnen] the forms are [Er beginnt, Er begann, Er hat begonnen] so it’s parallel to English.
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [einweihen]
Chuck: To inaugurate.
Judith: [einweihen] and the [ein] splits off as usual.
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [gesamt]
Chuck: Entire, total or overall.
Judith: [gesamt]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Hauptstadt]
Chuck: Capital.
Judith: [Hauptstadt, die] and the plural is [Hauptstädte]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Kunstwerk]
Chuck: Work of art.
Judith: [Kunstwerk, das] and the plural is [Kunstwerke].
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Ehre]
Chuck: Honor or distinction.
Judith: [Ehre, die] and the plural is [Ehren]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Hof]
Chuck: Courtyard or court as a king.
Judith: [Hof, der] and the plural is [Höfe]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [schaffen]
Chuck: To manage, to be able to do something or to create.
Judith: [schaffen] a weak verb.
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [ungewöhnlich]
Chuck: Unusual.
Judith: [ungewöhnlich]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [recht haben]
Chuck: To be right.
Judith: [recht haben]
Chuck: Let’s have a closer look for the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Judith: The first word is [Bundes]
Chuck: Federal.
Judith: This prefix is based on the word [Bund] which only means federation in this sense. So [Bundeskanzler] is the federal Chancellor.[Bundesregierung]
Chuck: Federal government.
Judith: And [Bundeshauptstadt]
Chuck: Federal capital.
Judith: As opposed to the capitals of all the governments in each German state the [Bundesländer] and then I want to draw your attention to the word usage in the phrase [1991 wurde vom Bundestag beschlossen, dass...]
Chuck: The German parliament decided in 1991 that,
Judith: Yes the word usage is interesting. We use [von] to give the perpetrator of this passive action [vom Bundestag] by the German parliament and then a [dass] clause to say what happened.[wurde beschlossen, dass] decided that all verbs of thinking or saying use [dass] for the English that. This kind of [dass] was formally spelt with the [ß] and now it’s always spelt with double s.
Chuck: [Einweihen] which means to inaugurate is used much more often in German than it is in English. For example when someone moves into a new apartment, they’ll probably have an [Einweihungs] party. An apartment warming party.
Judith: Yes I guess you’d call it an apartment warming party in Germany, it’s inauguration party. It’s particularly funny because [weihen] that’s part of the [einweihen] means to consecrate so it’s like you have a priest or speaker blessing over your apartment, but of course it’s not happening but it’s the origin of the word.
Chuck: That’s why they seem to drink wine at those parties. So any other use for [einweihen]?
Judith: No it’s generally like the opening of anything new like a new museum, a new apartment a new anything.

Lesson focus

Chuck: Okay. The focus of this lesson is the passive voice of the passive tense.
Judith: In lesson thirteen we already learned that the passive is formed in German by using the verb [werden] with the past participle. So for example [Er wird gesehen]
Chuck: He has seen.
Judith: So far we only have the present tense though.
Chuck: Fortunately, the other tenses are not any more difficult, for the plethoric past tense, just use the past tense of [werden] instead. So
Judith: [Er wurde gesehen]
Chuck: He was seen.
Judith: Maybe in the sentence [Der Minister wurde im Stripclub gesehen]
Chuck: The minister was seen at the strip club.
Judith: To remind you, the forms of [werden] in the past tense are [Ich wurde, Du wurdest, Er wurde, Wir wurden, Ihr wurdet, Sie wurden]
Chuck: It’s not difficult at all, completely regular as long as you know that the stem is [wurde] and the rest is the same for the passive past tense as the passive present tense. Could you give us some examples of the passive past tense?
Judith: Sure you’ll notice that they come up quite a lot in the dialog for example [der Bau des Gebäudes wurde 1997 begonnen]
Chuck: The construction of the building was begun in 1997.
Judith: [Und im Jahre 2011 wurde es eingeweiht].
Chuck: And it was inaugurated in the year 2001. Can you find more examples in the dialog?
Judith: Please try.


Chuck: That just about does it for today.
Judith: Ready to test what you just learned?
Chuck: Make this lesson’s vocabulary stick by using lesson specific flash cards in the learning center.
Judith: There is a reason why everyone uses flashcards.
Chuck: They work.
Judith: They really do help memorization.
Chuck: You can get flashcards for this lesson at
Judith: germanpod101.com.
Chuck: Okay, see you next week.
Judith: [Bis nächste Woche]!