The Lernen to Talk Show: Episode 26 – Nico!
A wise man five days ago told me, “Mühsam ernährt sich das Eichhörnchen.” This literally translates into “The squirrel nourishes itself laboriously.” And that is how the Germans proverbially say “slow and steady wins the race.” My point is, I’m still here, The Lernen to Talk Show is still here, and German is still being learned. Your patience will continue to be rewarded, one acorn at a time.
Five and a half weeks ago I got to speak with my friend Nico on the campus of Universität Duisburg-Essen, not far from where we’d met four months earlier. We first bonded over lunch discussing Motörhead, and as you can see our conversations have matured significantly since then, to the realm of rowdy homeless people in Gelsenkirchen. I felt immediately afterwards that my German had been pretty good! On closer examination, however, I saw that there were moments where I totally misunderstood what Nico had said. Try to guess when those were!
0:32 – “auf die Show”, I say. “in der Show,” I should have said.
0:58 – Duisburg, I only make fun of you because I love you.
1:12 – Beschäftig means busy. But in German “busy” is something only a person can be. Places can’t be beschäftig, nor can weeks. I should have said Ich bin beschäftig, or “I am busy.”
1:19 – “Alles meine Gepäck” is incorrect… correct would have been “All mein Gepäck”.
1:20 – Well that didn’t make a lick of sense, did it? Even though Nico’s question was pretty straightforward, I somehow wasn’t listening well enough and decided to think that he asked what I wanted to do during my last week in Duisburg.
1:26 – Duisburg boasts one of the largest inland harbors in all of Europe. At 89 hectares, it certainly was not my place to confuse its gender by saying “die” instead of “den”.
1:55 – Here’s a mistake I make pretty often. Aussehen is a word you use when you want to describe how something appears, but it needs to be broken apart and transformed and distributed among a sentence in a very specific way. Here I said, “Es sieht aus einfach cool…” I should have said, “Es sieht einfach cool aus…”
2:10 – It’s technically on neither river, rather an inlet dug from the Rhine in order to preserve Duisburg’s water access.
2:15 – I did not mean to imply here that people from Gelsenkirchen are bad at geography, despite the fact that it clearly looks like that’s exactly what I’m doing. I meant that Nico’s the expert because he is from a town not far from these rivers.
3:05 – Obdachlose is the correct word, not “Hauslose”. That’s like saying “houseless”.
3:10 – I said this wrong. Here’s how to say it right: Sie sind alle sehr interessiert für das, was ich mache. They are all very interested for that, which I am doing.
3:16 – My old nemesis um… zu is back for more.
3:33 – Maybe this is what I get for insulting his performance. It was not my playing I was trying to describe, but rather that of the aggressive vagabond in the train station.
3:46 – I find this hard to believe. He’s probably amazing at guitar.
4:04 – Das ist kein gutes Ende would have been a better way to say that. How meta!