The Lernen to Talk Show: Episode 24
After a week of zipping around France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, I finally made it back to Nordrhein-Westfalen on January 8th. The next day my friend Jan was good enough to invite me over for a candid conversation about roast goose and banana juice. I was a bit nervous about this episode, as I had been speaking quite a bit of English for the previous two weeks. But I think I managed to hold my own. Sometimes I feel like a break from learning a language is necessary to recharge every once in a while. Just like any new skill, your brain can only handle so much before it needs a rest. I think that my short time away from Germany gave some of what I’d practiced for so long a chance to sink into my subconscious. Yes, that makes sense.
0:49 – None that I’ve tasted, anyway…
1:16 – “Frag mich” wasn’t quite right… I refer to “die Leute”, which means “the people”, a plural word. That requires a plural conjugation of “fragen”, namely, fragen.
1:20 – Ooh! Here’s something I think I’ve actually mastered since this video was filmed. The word kennenlernen is one of the strangest and most frustrating words in the German language. It means “to meet”, but literally it is a combination of the words kennen (to know) and lernen (to learn). In other words, “knowlearn”. Why a word as instrumental as “meet” doesn’t merit its own unique verb I do not know. But that’s not the complicated part. The word itself is one of German’s notorious separable verbs. That means that the verb itself gets divided in two when it is used as the main verb in a sentence. For example, if, having just moved here, I wanted to ask somebody how they meet new people in Cologne, I might say “Wie lernst du neue Leute in Köln kennen?” I don’t know about you, but I never would have thought that in that sentence the words “lernst” and “kennen” were actually one word, separated by five other words. Anyway, what I should have said in the video here was, “Manchmal die Leute, die die Lernen to Talk Show gucken, frag mich, wie lerne ich meine Gäste kennen?”
1:42 – I abbreviated the name of the program I’m participating in because it is prohibitively long for subtitles. It’s called the Parliamentarisches Patenschafts-Programm, which literally translates into “Parliamentary Godparents Program”. The official American name is the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. Fancy.
1:44 – I like how people say “quasi” in German. It basically means “basically”.
1:57 – Saint Martin just keeps coming back. I hope that some day I can have a goose named after me.
2:03 – Also served that night was goose grease as a substitute for butter for the bread.
2:27 – November 16th, to be exact.
3:19 – Jan was just full of fun words that day. I need to try to use berichten more.
3:28 – I have since that day learned that “Wir haben die Grüsse bekommen” sounds completely preposterous. I was under the impression that the word Grüsse in German was like the word saludo in Spanish, as both translate to “greeting”, but saludo also means “wave”. I wanted to say “we’ve gotten the wave”, which is the three-minute signal. But what I ended up saying was “we have been greeted.” Unfortunately I said this in another future episode before I learned the error of my ways. Next time I will try to remember to say “Wir haben das Zeichen bekommen,” or, “we’ve gotten the signal.”
3:30 – “bis Ende” was not a good way to say it… a better way to say it would have been “Wir mussen jetzt enden.”
3:34 – Thomas was the cameraman. Thanks Thomas!
3:38 – I don’t know why I got all fancy and said “Programm” (and with the wrong article, too). Du musst wieder in die Show kommen would have been better.
4:11 – I’d asked this question many times before, but for whatever reason the phrase never stuck with me. Probably because there’s just no satisfying way to express agreement in German. I mean, stimmt is great and all, but it’s just so impersonal! I guess it’s implied that when I say stimmt I mean that I’m the one agreeing, but still, I like saying that I agree with something. Ich stimme dir zu will have to do.