Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let's Learn German Together - Lesson 3

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Continuing from where we left last ...

She: "Was wird du jetzt machen? What do you want to do now?" (was weert doo yetst maachen)
You: "Zuerst, ich möchte etwas trinken. Ich have Durst. First, I would like to drink something. I am thirsty." (tsu-airst issh moeshtay aet-wass trinken. Issh haabay doorst.)

She: "Dort drüben ist ein Cafe. Gehen wir dort. Over there is a Cafe. Let's go there." (dort druyben ist eye-n kaffay. Gehen weer dort)

You would immediately see some peculiar (from an English point of view, that is) pronunciation:
(i) "j" is pronounced "yay".
(ii) "z" is pronounced "ts" (that is almost like 'zed' but not quite there)
(iii) "d" at the end of the word is pronounced "t". (In the last lesson, you would have noticed "und" (and) being pronounced "oont")

Some other aspects.

(iv) It is common to say in German 'I have thirst', 'I have hunger' (ich habe Hunger) rather than I am thirty / hungry.
(v) I have translated "Gehen wir" as "Let's go". A transliteration would be - "Go we". You will meet many such stock phrases.

(vi) "a cafe" is "ein Cafe". In lesson 2, "a week" was "eine Woche". That is because Cafe is neuter gender and week is feminine. The "ein" becomes "eine" in front of a feminine.

If this is puzzling, just you wait. But don't worry. We will negotiate genders together. Just remember that all nouns in German are either Masculine, Feminine or Neuter. Most books ask you to mug up the gender when you come across a new noun. It never worked for me. I remember genders in context. Now, that I know "Dort drüben ist ein Cafe." Cafe is either male or neuter gender.

It is not only "ein" that changes form. Even "the" takes different forms.

Der - is "the" for male
Die - is "the: for female
Das - is "the" for neuter

Der Mann - the man
Die Frau - the woman
Das Cafe - the cafe

And finally,
(vii) The transliteration of "Was wird du jetzt machen?" is "What will you now make?" But it is used in the sense of "What do you want to do now?"
"Wird" is derived from "werden" which means to become. The usage different from the actual meaning is common across al llanguages and can only be learnt.

The story so far ...
You: "Hello!"
She: "Hallo!"
You: "Wie geht es Ihnen?"
She: "You can call me dear"
You: "Wie geht es dir?"
She: "Gut! Danke. Und dir?"
She: "Wie war die Reise?"
You: "Nicht schlecht."
She: "Bist du müde?"
You (male ego in place): "Nein!"
She: "Wie lange bist du hier?”
You: "Für eine Woche.”
She: "Das ist sehr schön. Ich kann dir im Wochenende Frankfurt zeigen.”
You: "Prima!"
She: "Was wird du jetzt machen?"
You: "Zuerst, ich möchte etwas trinken. Ich have Durst."
She: "Dort drüben ist ein Cafe. Gehen wir dort."


Translate into German:
(a) Over there is a man.
(b) Over there is a woman.
(c) I am hungry.
(d) I would like to go there. (A little tough. Just remember the main verb will be pushed to the end)

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Madhu said...

Dort drüben ist ein Mann.
Dort drüben ist eine Frau.
Ich have Hunger.
Ich möchte dort geht.

Amitabh said...


Very good.
Except for a small mistake in the last one. The main verb which goes to the last has to be in the infinitive form (to go). Hence the translation should be:
Ich möchte dort gehen.


Madhu said...

Well I am not very clear as to when to use gehen and geht..

Amitabh said...

It should be identical to the text given above: "ich möchte etwas trinken."
The main verb takes on the infinitive form and goes to the end.
In any case, also see Lesson 5:

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