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The Lernen to Talk Show: Episode 20

January 9, 2012

We’re back and better than ever! Sorry about the wait, folks. Things have been crazy here at Tulpenstrasse Studios. This episode takes us way back to 2011, when times were much simpler than today. HD cameras were harder to come by back then, which explains why the video has lower definition than usual. Actually that’s not true. I simply hadn’t brought my camera with on my visit to France, because how could I have known that I would meet a German there? Well it turns out I did, and luckily my good friend James was willing to fill up his camera’s memory to capture a conversation. So sit back and join Bettina and I as we discuss Lyon, medical school, and my humble beginnings with the German language.

Thanks to James for filming, and to Rena for helping with the subtitles!

0:37 – Things didn’t start out very smoothly. It turns out “Pfingsten” is just a German word for Pentecost!

0:45 – Kunstliches Fest?

0:48 – Kirche sounds like Küche sounds like Kirsche sounds like Kuchen sounds like kochen. Germans, however, never get these words confused.

0:49 – The beautiful Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière calls Lyon its home.

1:02 – Anna is the person Bettina was visiting. The correct way to ask my question would have been, “Und Anna wohnte auch in Juni in Lyon?”

1:12 – Ich spiele die Oboe. DIE.

1:13 – Keine Geige. Both the oboe and the violin is feminine in German.

1:28 – Here’s a case of me coming up with something I want to say in English then attempting to translate it directly. This is something that you generally shouldn’t do if you’re trying to learn a language. At least that’s what people tell me. I think it’s impossible not to do that unless you’re already somewhat fluent. Still, doing so will typically make you look like an idiot, like it does me here.

1:46 – This doesn’t really make sense unless you know what the Lyon Fête des Lumières is. Light shows of all shapes and sizes take over the cities, including elaborate interactive facade decorations like the pinball one Bettina mentions. Here’s an awesome video of it!

2:08 – I should have said “…die ich kennengelernt habe…” Here is one of the mistakes I often make that has been most difficult for me to overcome. In German, the grammar required for describing a subject in a sentence, after having mentioned the subject, is much more robust than in English. In English what I wanted to say was “The first German person I met taught me the word for pinball.” The correct way to say this in German translates literally to “The first German person, who I met, taught me the word for pinball.” That extra word, “who”, varies from sentence to sentence depending on the gender of the subject. In this case, I correctly use the feminine article “die” for “die Person”, but then I incorrectly switch to the neutral “das” to occupy that “who” position. Thus, the correct sentence would have begun, “Die erste deutsche Person, die ich kennengelernt habe…”

2:25 – I should have used the word “gekommen”, not “gegangen” here. It’s the difference between “I’ve come so far” and “I’ve gone so far”.

2:35 – Ärztin is the correct word for female doctor. I made my best guess with “Arzte”.

2:43 – What I ask here literally is whether two semesters miss her, like, emotionally. The correct way to ask this question would have been “Brauchst du noch zwei Semester?”

2:46 – But she got what I was saying anyway!

And as a special bonus, here are a couple of my favorite things from the Lyon Fête des Lumières:

One Comment leave one →
  1. Avital permalink
    January 9, 2012 23:24

    That Flipper video is awesome! Also, is that a new coat? I couldn’t quite tell.

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