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The Lernen to Talk Show: Episode 12 – Happy Birthday Ellen!

October 18, 2011

Friends! This week’s episode finds me in my local train station, talking transportation with my good friend Niklas. See the inner workings of a real live Hauptbahnhof! Discover Germany’s super effective carpooling system! Learn a new birthday song! It’s all here, in Episode 12:

Thanks to Tobi and Ali for working the camera!

0:29 – “Die” should be “den”. Here’s a perfect example of one of my main qualms with learning German. Here I commit a classic error of not knowing the proper gender of my choice of word. Bahnhof is a masculine word, and I mistakenly give it a feminine article. What I say, however, could be interpreted as even more incorrect than it really was. Here I look like I didn’t know it was supposed to be accusative case! Or worse, that I didn’t know the masculine article for accusative case! But really I just didn’t know the gender.

0:33 – Little did I know, Niklas just said exactly what I say here except in a more nuanced way.

0:50 – I say “fahrst”, I should have said “fährst”. Surprisingly I don’t think I’ve used this word much before…

0:53 – “dem Deutsche Bahn” should be “der Deutsche Bahn”. Another case of the mistaken case.

1:10 – See 0:50

1:13 – This goofy word translates literally to “withdrivebargain”.

1:30 – And by “goofy” I mean “logical”.

1:41 – I’m very proud that I said this as almost correctly as I did. The word “mal” is very mysterious in when and where it appears in this language, and here I managed to do it naturally and correctly for what I think is the first time.

2:05 – Close call.

2:13 – DIE UHR, DIE!

2:43 – Hilarious!

2:53 – I was right the first time! “Ich mag das sehr gern.” I’d been battling with this phrase all week. Knowing when to say “sehr” and when to say “viel” is a lot harder than knowing when to say “very” and when to say “many”.

3:04 – This goof– I mean, logical word translates literally to “rollstairs”.

3:10 – Considering the amount of time I spend being confused, I feel like I should have learned this word by now. Apparently the word is “verwirren”. I should have said “Wir können unseren Kameraman verwirren.”

3:26 – I was trying to find the word for “advertisement”, which is “Werbung”. I wanted to remark on the ad that is pasted to the vertical part of each step such that it’s visible as you walk up the stairs. I saw a particular alluring Ritter Sport ad in this style in the Cologne train station.

3:40 – Hearing this again later made Niklas and Tobi laugh very hard. It was that bad. But to be fair, the correct way of saying it may very well be the most difficult sentence I’ve ever heard: “Ist es so wie du es dir vorgestellt hast?” I can’t even begin to guess how to approach that sentence. As I see it, it contains at least two superfluous words.

5:25 – I took some artistic liberties with the translation here in order to give it in English the nice rhyme it has in German. I think I did a pretty good job maintaining the meaning. Isn’t it an awesome song?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. tobi permalink
    October 18, 2011 23:44

    Oh my god, iam looking like a disgusting geek 🙂

    • October 19, 2011 00:04

      Tobi, just because I approved this comment doesn’t mean I approve of this comment. You look great. Though I’m not sure I’d accept a compliment from the guy in the “redneck hat”. Doonkel-doo!

  2. Kansas Kate permalink
    October 20, 2011 00:55

    Der Satz mit “War es so wie du das dir vorgestellt hast?” war ÜBERHAUPT nicht schlecht. Es passiert immer bei deinen Episoden, dass ich weiss, genau was du sagen willst und dann warte ich (und dir die Daumen drücken!) um zu hören, wie du es sagst…und dieses Mal war ich so erstaunt und glücklich….ehrlich gesagt, ich fand es echt super, wie gut du das mit diesem schwierigen Satz gemacht hast….voll cool! bin sehr stolz auf dich….gute Episode!

  3. Avital permalink
    October 21, 2011 04:56

    I love that birthday song! Does it rhyme in German, too? Also, why did you keep saying “stairs stairs”? I see no explanation for the repeated word and I am “verwirrt” (which is the word you didn’t know). 🙂

  4. Priya permalink
    October 22, 2011 17:17

    Wanna know something extra cool about Mitfahrgelegenheit? You can also use it on the train! I never used Mfg to get a ride with someone, because that sounds too much like the beginning of a horror movie, but I used it frequently to share the regional weekend train pass Deutsche Bahn offers (Schoenes Wochenende Ticket). Up to five people, 40ish Euros, any regional train on the weekend. You can’t travel too far because of the train restriction, but I used it frequently between Rostock and Berlin.

  5. Darshana permalink
    November 1, 2011 04:52

    Wow, those lyrics are way better than our birthday song’s lyrics. Way way better.


    Tell Tobi he definitely doesn’t look like a geek, and that’s coming from one of your ungeekiest friends. Do you talk to your German friends mostly in German or English?

  6. February 16, 2015 19:07

    🙂 🙂 🙂

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