Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let's Learn German Together - Lesson 9

Just below Terminal 1 Frankfurt airport is the Long Distance Rail Station. Very convenient.
This is your chance to witness the world famous punctuality of the DB, the Deutsche Bahn.
DB is the German Rail company.
The service is fantastic.
Both Terminals, 1 and 2, have Travel Centres where one can buy tickets.


You said bye-bye to your friend and are now standing, patiently, in a queue to buy tickets to Bremen.
As you approach the ticketing clerk, he greets you with a warm smile and says ...

TC: "Guten Tag!" (Good day! Gooten Takh)
You: "Guten Tag! Ein Ticket nach Bremen bitte. Zweite Klasse." (Good day! A tickt to Bremen please. Gooten Takh. Eye-n ticket naakh Bremen bittay. Ts-why-te classe)

TC: "Einfach oder hin und zurück?" (single or return. eye-n-faakh odour hin oont tsurukh)
You: "Einfach bitte." (single please. eye-n-faakh bittay)

The TC enters the details in the computer and takes out an A-4 size printout with all details of your trip and a ticket.

He explains ...

TC: "Der nächste Zug kommt am vier sechs." (The next train comes on platform 4. Dair nextay tsukh commt um gly-ish fee-er.)

You: "Muss ich umsteigen?" (Do I have to change. Mu-ss issh umsty-gen)
TC: "Ja! In Heidelberg." (Yes at Heidelberg. Ya in Heidelberg)

The instruction on the printouts are absolutely clear. It tells you which platform you will get down, when and which is the connecting train from which platform. All neatly documented. Many a times the two connecting trains are separated by a few minutes, but more often than not you will make it.

TC: "Das macht Neunundsiebzig Euro bitte." (That would be 79 Euros please. Daas maakht noyen-oont-siebtsish ou-row bittay)

You: "Nehmen Sie Kreditkarten?" (Do you take credit cards? Nay-men zee credit-carten)
TC: "Natürlich nehmen wir Kreditkarten!" (Of course we take credit cards. Naatyurlish nay-men we-er credit-carten)

And he points to the display indicating in large bold colours - 'Kreditkarten'.

You pay and walk off towards the platform with a "Danke schön". (Thank you. Daankay schoen)

You hear someone calling out: "Entshuldigung!" (Excuse me. ent-shool-dee-goong)
Now what?
Oh the tickets!
You sheepishly pick up the tickets.
Another "Danke sehr!" (Thank you very much. Daankay Seyer.)

And off you go to catch the train.

Interesting Points:

a) "Guten Tag" or good day can be used any time of the day. Tag is masculine gender. Hence Gut becomes Guten.
b) "hin und zurück: stands for to and back. Hence return journey.
c) Most of the bigger Travel Centres have people who speak good English. But it is a good idea to speak with them in German to get used to their manner of speaking. The small rail stations - even in cities like Frankfurt - may have people who cannot speak a word of German.

d) "Machen" is an universal sort of word. "das macht .." (= that makes ...) means that would cost. "Was machen Sie?" means what are you doing? It could also mean, what are you making? Depends on the context.

e) And now for two digit numbers. Germans speak two digit numbers greater than 20 in the reverse order. Meaning one and twenty (einundzwanzig = ein-und-zwanzig), two and twenty(zwei-und-zwanzig) and so on. Germans love compound words. Always written and spoken without a break.

The numbering system above 20 is as follows:

21 -- einundzwanzig (eye-n-oont-tswan-sish)
22 -- zweinundswanzig (ts-why-oont-tswan-sish)
23 -- dreiundzwanzig (dry-oont-tswan-sish)
29 -- neunundzwanzig (noyen-oont-tswan-sish)
30 -- dreißig (ß=ss) (dry-sish)
31 -- einunddreißig (eye-n-oont-dry-sish)
34 -- vierunddreißig (fee-er-oont-dry-sish)
35 -- fünfunddreißig (fyun-oont-dry-sish)
40 -- vierzig (fee-er-sish)
46 -- sechsundvierzig (zekhs-oont-fee-er-sish)
47 -- siebenundvierzig (zee-ben-oont-fee-er-sish)
48 -- achtundvierzig (aakht-oont-fee-er-sish)
50 -- fünfzig (fyunf-sish)
60 -- sechzig (zekh-sish)
70 -- siebzig (zeeb-sish)
80 -- achtzig (aakht-sish)
90 -- neunzig (noyen-sish)
99 -- neunundnuenzig (noyen-und-noyen-sish)


In the last lesson I asked you to read aloud the numbers in single digit. Now, read the numbers in double digits. Any numnber. Your phone number. The car license plate number driving in front of you. Any number.

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