Dialogue - German

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Vocabulary

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Tandem tandem; language exchange
niemand nobody
Klasse class
besonders / besonderer especially; special
Sache thing
meinen to mean, to think
Lehrbuch textbook
Partner partner
schreiben to write
stehen to stand
Austausch exchange, replacement
korrigieren to correct
während while, during
verbessern to improve

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The focus of this lesson is zu
Sie helfen ihm, sein Englisch zu verbessern.
"You help him to improve his English."



A lot of times when English uses the infinitive in a sentence, German uses the preposition „zu“. For example:
1. Wir haben nicht viel Zeit, Deutsch zu üben. - We don't have much time to practise German.
2. Ich habe keine Lust, nach Hause zu gehen. - I am not in the mood to go home.

The rule for these cases is to place the „zu“ immediately in front of the verb. This means that when you have two verbs piled up at the end of your subclause, the „zu“ is placed in the middle: „schlafen zu gehen“ (to go to sleep). And when you have a splitting verb, the „zu“ is inserted between the prefix and the verb stem! For example: „mitzukommen“ (to come along), „abzugeben“ (to give away), „wegzugehen“ (to go away) and so on.

„zu“ is essential when making a subclause with „um“. „um“ always requires a „zu“ somewhere later in the phrase. Here are some examples of such phrases;

Ich komme nach Deutschland, um Deutsch zu lernen. = I come to Germany in order to learn German.
Es ist zu kalt, um rauszugehen. = It is too cold to go out.

 

Cultural Insights

Practising German wherever you are

If you aren't in Germany, that is no excuse not to practise German. Here are some things you can do.

1. Get a language exchange partner. If you are in a major city or in a university town, there are bound to be some Germans, Austrians or Swiss people that you could practise with.
2. Go to German language meet-ups. This is where German expats as well as German language enthusiasts get together to speak German and exchange stories.
3. Surf the German internet. You can use a browser plugin to automatically give you translations whenever you hover over an unknown word, so you don't need to keep a
dictionary open. At the beginning, German blogs are a good choice. If you follow the news closely, German news sites might also interest you, because you'll be able to understand a lot from context. Deutsche Welle offers news in particularly simple German. They also have slow news podcasts.
4. Watch some German movies with subtitles. Having German subtitles will really increase the amount of learning you get out of a movie. You could also watch German TV. If there is none locally, look online, various German TV stations offer at least some of their program online.
5. Get some German books from the library or from an online bookstore. Stay away from the classics, those are hard even for Germans. The easiest are bilingual books, that is books that have German and English side-by-side, or books that you have already read in English.

Do you have more suggestions? Let us know in the comments.

 

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Chuck: Chuck here, Upper-Beginner Season 2, Lesson 1 - Easy ways to practice German. Hello and welcome to GermanPod101 I am Chuck.
Judith: And I am Judith. This is Upper-Beginner Season 2.
Chuck: It is the perfect level for you if you just studied absolute Beginner Season 2.#
Judith: In this series we will continue to follow Paul Martens, his german host family and his adventures at the german language school in Berlin.
Chuck: We will also continue to improve our understanding of German grammar and improve our vocabulary.
Judith: So what is today`s topic?
Chuck: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to talk about studying German.
Judith: This conversation takes place at the Schneider family home.
Chuck: The conversation is between Frau Schneider and Paul Martens.
Judith: The speakers are adults, therefore they’ll be speaking formal German.
Chuck: Let`s listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Frau Schneider: Guten Tag, Herr Martens!
Paul Martens: Guten Tag, Frau Schneider!
Frau Schneider: Wie war der Unterricht?
Paul Martens: Nicht schlecht. Ich lerne viel dazu. Ich finde es nur schade, dass wir nicht so viel Zeit haben, Deutsch zu üben. Es gibt zu viele in der Klasse.
Frau Schneider: Deutsch üben? Sie meinen Deutsch zu sprechen oder zu schreiben?
Paul Martens: Besonders sprechen.
Frau Schneider: Sie sind ja in Deutschland, also können Sie immer Deutsch sprechen.
Paul Martens: Ja, aber dann korrigiert mich niemand. Außerdem möchte ich die Sachen üben, die im Lehrbuch stehen.
Frau Schneider: Ich kann Sie gerne korrigieren. Aber... möchten Sie nicht ein Sprachtandem?
Paul Martens: Ein Sprachtandem? Was ist das?
Frau Schneider: Ein Sprachenaustausch. Sie könnten einen deutschen Partner suchen. Während Sie Ihr Deutsch verbessern, helfen Sie ihm, sein Englisch zu verbessern.
Paul Martens: Das klingt gut.
Judith: Now it’s slowly.
Frau Schneider: Guten Tag, Herr Martens!
Paul Martens: Guten Tag, Frau Schneider!
Frau Schneider: Wie war der Unterricht?
Paul Martens: Nicht schlecht. Ich lerne viel dazu. Ich finde es nur schade, dass wir nicht so viel Zeit haben, Deutsch zu üben. Es gibt zu viele in der Klasse.
Frau Schneider: Deutsch üben? Sie meinen Deutsch zu sprechen oder zu schreiben?
Paul Martens: Besonders sprechen.
Frau Schneider: Sie sind ja in Deutschland, also können Sie immer Deutsch sprechen.
Paul Martens: Ja, aber dann korrigiert mich niemand. Außerdem möchte ich die Sachen üben, die im Lehrbuch stehen.
Frau Schneider: Ich kann Sie gerne korrigieren. Aber... möchten Sie nicht ein Sprachtandem?
Paul Martens: Ein Sprachtandem? Was ist das?
Frau Schneider: Ein Sprachenaustausch. Sie könnten einen deutschen Partner suchen. Während Sie Ihr Deutsch verbessern, helfen Sie ihm, sein Englisch zu verbessern.
Paul Martens: Das klingt gut.
Judith: Now with the translation.
Frau Schneider: Guten Tag, Herr Martens!
Mrs. Schneider: Good day, Mr. Martens!
Paul Martens: Guten Tag, Frau Schneider!
Paul Martens: Good day, Mrs. Schneider!
Frau Schneider: Wie war der Unterricht?
Mrs. Schneider: How was class?
Paul Martens: Nicht schlecht. Ich lerne viel dazu. Ich finde es nur schade, dass wir nicht so viel Zeit haben, Deutsch zu üben. Es gibt zu viele in der Klasse.
Paul Martens: Not bad. I'm learning a lot of new stuff. I just find it unfortunate that we don't have much time to practice German. There are too many people in the class.
Frau Schneider: Deutsch üben? Sie meinen Deutsch zu sprechen oder zu schreiben?
Mrs. Schneider: Practice German? You mean speaking German or writing?
Paul Martens: Besonders sprechen.
Paul Martens: Particularly speaking.
Frau Schneider: Sie sind ja in Deutschland, also können Sie immer Deutsch sprechen.
Mrs. Schneider: Well, you are in Germany, so you can speak German all the time.
Paul Martens: Ja, aber dann korrigiert mich niemand. Außerdem möchte ich die Sachen üben, die im Lehrbuch stehen.
Paul Martens: Yes, but then nobody corrects me. Besides, I'd like to practice the things that are in the textbook.
Frau Schneider: Ich kann Sie gerne korrigieren. Aber... möchten Sie nicht ein Sprachtandem?
Mrs. Schneider: I'll gladly correct you. But... don't you want a language tandem?
Paul Martens: Ein Sprachtandem? Was ist das?
Paul Martens: A language tandem? What's that?
Frau Schneider: Ein Sprachenaustausch. Sie könnten einen deutschen Partner suchen. Während Sie Ihr Deutsch verbessern, helfen Sie ihm, sein Englisch zu verbessern.
Mrs. Schneider: A language exchange. You can find a German partner. While you improve your German, you help him improve his English.
Paul Martens: Das klingt gut.
Paul Martens: That sounds good.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Judith: Alright, so maybe we should have some tips about how to practice German wherever you are.
Chuck: Well, I’d say you should come to Germany.
Judith: Well, if you’re not in Germany it’s not an excuse not to practice. There are always some things you can do, like get a language partner even if you’re not in Germany. if you’re in a major city or in a university town, they’re bound to be some Germans or maybe some Austrians, Swiss people. You can always find some people to practice.
Chuck: Just like you saw in the dialogue, there was an American living in berlin. There’s bound to also be, say, a German living in Chicago.
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: Or you can go to the German language meetups. I know I went to one quite regularly in New York while I lived there. It’s where German expats as well as German language enthusiasts get together to speak German and exchange stories.
Judith: Or you can surf the German internet. I love browsing the internet in other languages. You can use a browser plug-in to automatically give you translations, so you don’t need to use a dictionary.
Chuck: At the beginning, German blogs are a good choice. If you follow the news closely, German news sites might also interest you cause you’ll be able to understand a lot from context.
Judith: There’s a site, [Deutsche Welle]. They offer news in particularly simple German, I mean not on the main website but on one of the sub-points, navigation you can find ‘News in Easy German’. They also have slow news.
Chuck: It’s also an interesting idea if you’re in a hotel room and you’re just bored because [Deutsche Welle] is in a lot of countries and a lot of hotels.
Judith: Also, you could watch some German movies, maybe use some subtitles. German subtitles will really help you learn more because you will be able to understand more words. You could also watch it with English subtitles, of course, but then you’re likely to not pay as much attention to the German. Or you could watch German TV. If there’s none locally, you can look online. Various German TV stations offer at least some of their program online.
Chuck: You can also listen to German podcasts. We know that you listen to podcasts cause you’re listening to one now, but you can listen to ones that are from other Germans speaking German.
Judith: Or you can get German books. The library is bound to have some, or maybe an online book store. Stay away from the classics, those are hard for Germans even. But you could get some bilingual books, for example, I mean books with German and English side by side, or you can get books that you already read in English.
Chuck: In any case, I hope our suggestions help get you started. Do you have more ideas? Let us know in the comments. Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
VOCAB LIST
Chuck: The first word we shall see is.
Judith: [Schade]
Chuck: It’s a pity.
Judith: [Schade, schade]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Klasse]
Chuck: Class.
Judith: [Klasse, Klasse, die Klasse] and the plural is [Klassen].
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Meinen]
Chuck: “To mean” or “think”.
Judith: [Meinen, meinen]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Schreiben]
Chuck: To write.
Judith: [Schreiben, schreiben]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Besonders]
Chuck: “Especially” or “special”.
Judith: [Besonders, besonders]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Korrigieren]
Chuck: To correct.
Judith: [Korrigieren, korrigieren]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Niemand]
Chuck: Nobody.
Judith: [Niemand, niemand]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Sache]
Chuck: Thing.
Judith: [Sache, Sache, die Sache] and the plural is [Sachen].
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Lehrbuch]
Chuck: Textbook.
Judith: [Lehrbuch, Lehrbuch, das Lehrbuch] and the plural is [Lehrbücher].
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Stehen]
Chuck: To stand.
Judith: [Stehen, stehen]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Tandem]
Chuck: “Tandem” or “language exchange”.
Judith: [Tandem, Tandem] The word is neuter and the plural is [Tandems].
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Austausch]
Chuck: “Exchange” or “replacement”.
Judith: [Austausch, Austausch, der Austausch] and the plural is [Austausche].
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Partner]
Chuck: Partner.
Judith: [Partner, Partner, der Partner] and the plural is the same.
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Während]
Chuck: “While” or “during”.
Judith: [Während, während]
Chuck: Next.
Judith: [Verbessern]
Chuck: To improve.
Judith: [Verbessern, verbessern]
Chuck: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
VOCAB AND PHRASE USAGE
Judith: The first word we look at is [Dazu].
Chuck: “In addition to that” or “about that”.
Judith: [Ich lerne viel dazu].
Chuck: I learn a lot of new stuff.
Judith: [Dazu kann ich nichts sagen].
Chuck: I can’t say anything about that.
Judith: So the difference between “in addition to that” and “about that” is the stress. If you say [Dazu] with the stress on [Zu], then it means “in addition to that”. And [Dazu], with a stress on the [Da], means “about that”. Then we have a sentence [Dann korrigiert mich niemand].
Chuck: Then nobody corrects me.
Judith: It’s an unusual word order. [Dann korrigiert mich niemand] with the subject at the end, [Niemand korrigiert mich dann].
Chuck: If you hear that in literal English, “Then corrects me no one”.
Judith: Yes.
Chuck: [inaudible 00:07:57] funny.
Judith: In German it’s normal because you want to stress the “Dann”, like if I do this then… Ok, next one. [Im Lehrbuch stehen].
Chuck: To stand in a textbook.
Judith: “To be written in a textbook”. Germans tend to make this mistake because we say [Es steht im Buch] so in English they would say “it stands in the book”, “it stands on that sign”, but they mean “it’s written on there”. Ok, last thing. I'm not sure if you noticed, but we saw both [Sprach] and [Sprachen] as a prefix in this lesson. This is one of the annoying things about German compound nouns. There’s no good reason for it to be [Sprachtandem] but [Sprachenaustausch].

Lesson focus

Chuck: The focus of this lesson is the use of [Zu]. A lot of times, when English uses the infinitive in a sentence, German uses the preposition [Zu]. Can you give some examples?
Judith: Yes. [Wir haben nicht viel Zeit Deutsch zu üben]
Chuck: We don’t have much time to practice German.
Judith: [Ich habe keine Lust nach Hause zu gehen]
Chuck: “I'm not in the mood to go home.” The rule for these cases is to place the [Zu] immediately in front of the verb.
Judith: This means that when you have two verbs piled up at the end of your sub clause, the [Zu] is placed in the middle, like [Schlafen zu gehen].
Chuck: “To go to sleep.” And when you have a splitting verb, the [Zu] is inserted between the prefix and the verb stem. Can you give some examples of that?
Judith: Yes, like [Mitzukommen].
Chuck: To come along.
Judith: [Abzugeben]
Chuck: To give away.
Judith: [Wegzugehen]
Chuck: To go away.
Judith: And so on.
Chuck: [Zu] is essential when making a sub clause with [Um]. [Um] always requires a [Zu] somewhere later in the phrase. How about some examples of that?
Judith: [Ich komme nach Deutschland um Deutsch zu lernen].
Chuck: I come to Germany in order to learn German.
Judith: [Es ist zu kalt um raus zu gehen].
Chuck: It`s too cold to go out.

Outro

Chuck: Well, that just about does it for today. Like our podcasts?
Judith: Then like our Facebook page, too.
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Judith: Just search for GermanPod101.com and like our fanpage.
Chuck: And if you like to listen to our series at GermanPod101.com
Judith: Let us know.
Chuck: Just click the like button next to the lesson or series.
Judith: See you next week.
Chuck: Also bis nächste Woche.