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The Lernen to Talk Show: Episode 14

November 7, 2011

Sorry about the delay folks! A busy week postponed this episode’s post-production to this weekend. There were benefits to this delay though! As a result, I was able to have four different people weigh in on the subtitles. You may notice this week’s translation being particularly nuanced. You can thank Niklas, Jan, Silke, and Ulf for that. Now without further ado, grab a piece of lasagna and join me as I discuss with Jana Halloween, Saint Martin’s Day, and concerts in Köln.

0:47 – That “viel” shouldn’t have been there.

2:42 – The show was great. They played the whole new album, and all but three tracks off the first. More notable, however, is something that happened to me this evening, while walking around Hamburg (exactly one week after the concert). I was walking down Reeperbahnstrasse, in a particularly lively part of town known as Kiez, when I stopped to take a look at a Bon Iver poster. No sooner had I stopped, than I noticed music coming from inside the building where it was hung. I thought that surely my ears were deceiving me when I heard the falsetto opening to “Calgary”. I looked through the doorway that led out to a smoker’s area and saw that, sure enough, Justin Vernon and co. were standing on stage bathed in the same blue lighting as the week before. Until the door was closed ten minutes later I stood and watched, dumbfounded by the coincidence.

3:09 – This is the best German I’ve spoken to date caught on film.

3:33 – This is how trains talk in Germany.

3:47 – I had the camera focus on the lasagna so that I could check how much time was on the clock without letting on that I was checking the time. Then I declared how much time was on the clock. Sheesh.

6:23 – Another typical sein/haben mistake. In case you don’t know what that means, let me offer a brief explanation. In speech, the past tense of a verb is generated by conjugating either the verb haben (to have) or the verb  sein (to be) and adding the past participle of the originally desired verb. For example, “I traveled to Hamburg” would be “Ich bin nach Hamburg gefahren,”  bin in this case being the verb sein conjugated for the subject ich, meaning “I”. Knowing when to use haben and when to use sein can get tricky. A general rule of thumb is to use sein whenever movement from place to place is involved (traveling, for example), and to use haben whenever nothing is moving from place to place (eating, for example). There are, of course, times when this rule does not apply. Here is one of those exceptions. I accidentally use haben in conjunction with the past participle of sein, which again means “to be”. I was trying to say “thanks for having been here”, and I naturally chose to use haben, as no movement is involved in just “being”. But, as Jana points out, the correct form is to use sein, not haben, in conjunction with the past participle of sein. That is probably more than you were interested in knowing, explained more poorly than you deserve.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Avital permalink
    November 7, 2011 05:05

    Uber top-highlights!!!! Also, you say “here” (in English) with a German accent now…😉

  2. November 11, 2011 01:07

    how have you lived your whole life and only cooked for people twice? and how was this lasagna?

    also, do you ever sit around and watch the first couple episodes? your progress has been astounding! like, x^4.

  3. November 15, 2011 20:24

    oh my god you’re so right! ahhhhh I’m a total fanboi

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