Episode 16 – Stress Free German

Full Episode Audio (download link is to the right of the volume icon)

Listening Comp. Audio (download link is to the right of the volume icon)

Hold on, guys…I’m not quite ready. I’m cleaning this bathroom window. And now I need to wash my hands. As you can hear, right now I’m in the Badezimmer, standing over the Waschbecken. Alright, now I just need a Handtuch to dry my hands. Hmm…this Bild on the wall is a little crooked. (scrape) There we go. Okay, now I’m ready…


Welcome to Lesson #16 of Stress Free German. Let me describe again today’s image. These are all neuter, which is why I mentioned the window. That’s our anchor. So, as we heard, I was in the bathroom. Literally the room where the bath is. I washed my hands at the sink. I dried them with a towel. And I adjusted a crooked picture on the wall. So those four neuter elements are: Bathroom, the sink, the towel, and the picture. Let’s look first at…

Badezimmer und Waschbecken

Those two words are what we call compounds…basically two words jammed together. Like “toothbrush” in English. So Bade…zimmer is bath-room. And Wasch…becken is a wash-basin.

On its own, Zimmer refers to any kind of room. And Becken refers to any kind of basin.

Ask: Is this my room?

Ist das mein Zimmer?

Where is the bathroom? think of it as the room where you bathe and clean

Wo ist das Badezimmer?

In Europe, many homes have separate rooms for this. That is, one room has just the toilet and perhaps a tiny sink. And then there’s the room where the bathtub and shower are. It’s where you’d brush your teeth, as well. The Badezimmer.

Imagine you’re seeing one of these tiny sinks for the first time. Let’s comment:

What a small washbasin!

Was für ein kleines Waschbecken!

Let’s visualize our bathroom image again. Can you see the other two elements? I washed my hands, and…then what? Right. I used a towel, and I adjusted a picture.

Handtuch, Bild

Handtuch is another compound word. Basically hand-towel. So you could have a bath-towel… Badetuch and so on.

Ask the restroom attendent: Do you have a towel?

Haben Sie ein Handtuch?

And our last word was: Bild . A picture.

Say: What a beautiful picture!

Was für ein schönes Bild!

Do you remember how to say: I’m in the restaurant.

Ich bin im Restaurant. im…which is short for in dem

So try to say:

I’m in the bathroom.

Ich bin im Badezimmer.

So if you knew that this word…Gästezimmer…refers to the guest room, then you could say:

We are in the guest room.

Wir sind im Gästezimmer.

Important side note here: The gender of a compound word is derived from the final element. So since Badezimmer is neuter, the word Zimmer itself must also be neuter.


Some review now. So, imagine you have a guest staying over, and he’s looking for the towel you gave him. Say…

Your towel is in the wardrobe.

Dein Handtuch ist im Schrank.

But now imagine the towel as sitting on top of the wardrobe. What would you say?

Dein Handtuch ist auf dem Schrank.

Imagine Oskar’s father enters the bathroom. He sees something and calls out to the boy…

Oskar, warum liegt dein Handtuch auf dem Boden?

What was he asking? Oskar, why is your hand-towel lying on the floor?

In this next one, take your time and be careful with the supporting words. Tell the store clerk:

I’m looking for a large mirror and a large picture.

Ich suche einen großen Spiegel und ein großes Bild.

If that was tricky, you can have another shot at the idea with this next phrase:

We are looking for a small rug and a small wash-basin.

Wir suchen einen kleinen Teppich und ein kleines Waschbecken.

Do you see how we’re mixing our new vocabulary with older, most established words and constructions? This is another key technique. Technically it’s known as Novel Usage…that is, every time you’re being prompted to recall something, it’s in some new way. It’s not a rote phrase. You have to build it. That’s a very important technique.

Anyway, my son is looking for his water bottle. I tell him…

Your bottle is in the bathroom.

Deine Flasche ist im Badezimmer.

So he goes in there to look for it. He reaches for the light switch…(SFX click click)

He calls out: Papa, die Lampe im Badezimmer ist kaputt!

We say kaputt in English, too. A lot of people don’t even realize that we simply borrowed it straight from German. Try that again. The lamp in the guestroom is kaputt…or broken.

Die Lampe im Gästezimmer ist kaputt.

Fumbling in the dark guestroom, your friend spills his drink. He doesn’t want to waste a bunch of paper towels, so he asks: Do you have an old hand-towel?

Hast du ein altes Handtuch?

Tell the salesperson…We need a new wash-basin.

Wir brauchen ein neues Waschbecken.

One more, and then a quick break. Try: My brother works in this pub.

Mein Bruder arbeitet in dieser Kneipe.

You hanging in there? Good!


Obviously this course takes a very visual approach to learning. There’s no way around that. But sounds and sound effects can also be very helpful…which is something we tried to incorporate today. We heard light switches flicking, and water running. Or take for example the word: Zug.

Hopefully the image of a train comes to mind, but you can fill things out even more by imagining the sounds of a train. (SFX)

We call these “soundscapes.” For example, where are we now? (beach SFX)

Wir sind am Strand.

And now? (Street SFX)

Ich stehe auf der Straße.

Now? (Train station SFX)

Ich bin im Bahnhof.

We always want to visualize things, and see the scenario we’re describing. But when it’s helpful, try imagining the sound of the place or the thing as well. So as we transition back to the lesson, let’s try that. Let’s prompt using sound effects.

brushingteeth and sink SFX..Which room am I in?

Du bist im Badezimmer.

What’s this little area right in front of me. (water on and off) Washbecken

I’m drying my hands with this…Handtuch

On the wall is hanging a beautiful….bild

Okay, so not everything has a sound effect.


So, today we’re going to try and pick up a new verb from a typical conversation. The set up is that Maria and Tony met the other day at a party, and bump into each other now in the lobby of a language school.

For now just listen, and keep your ear out for Ich mache

Hallo, Maria, wie geht’s?

Hey, Tony! Danke, gut. Und dir?

Auch gut. Maria, kommst du aus Amerika?

Ich? Nein. Ich komme aus Kanada. Und du?

Ich komme aus Italien.

Du lernst Deutsch, oder?

Ja, ich mache einen Deutschkurs.

Ich mache auch einen Deutschkurs.

So in this context, ich mache translates as I am doing. So He said: I am doing a German course.

Ich mache einen Deutschkurs.

I say “in this context” because in other situations the verb functions more like “to make.”

Like, I’m making pizza. For now, though, let’s stick with “to do” or “be doing”. For example:

What are you doing here?

Was machst du hier?

Tell him: I’m taking a German course.

Ich mache einen Deutschkurs.

And what do we know about the word for “course”? It must be…masculine, because “taking” a course counts as doing something to it, and the supporting word has an “en” ending. Right?

She said…einen

There were two other new-ish words in that conversation. Maybe you caught them? Maria asks Tony…Du lernst Deutsch, oder?

You’re learning German, aren’t you?

So that’s how “oder” is functioning in this context. Basically, it’s seeking confirmation.

A kid shows you his new robot. He might ask…

Cool, isn’t it?

Cool, oder?

Then she adds…

Ich mache auch einen Deutschkurs.

auch usually translates as “also”, but as always, it depends on context. Imagine two kids with messy hands. One says…

I need the sink.

Ich brauche das Washbecken.

The other kid just says: Ich auch.

So here we’d translate that as “Me, too.” Or if you prefer more literal: I also…implying, I also need the sink.

Next, imagine that you’re marveling at a painting in a museum. Your friend wanders over, also taking it in. Seeking confirmation, you say: A beautiful picture, isn’t it?

Ein schönes Bild, oder?

She nods, then leads you over to the next masterpiece…

Ja. Und das ist auch ein schönes Bild.

Do you remember how to say: I’m going to Stuttgart.

Ich gehe nach Stuttgart.

Tell her: Me, too.

Ich auch.

Doing great, guys! And now…Hier machen wir eine Pause


So my son was playing in the kitchen the other day. Into a glass he poured some yoghurt, then some orange juice, then he added some mustard, and then ground pepper…then offered his concoction to his sister when she came in. Ewww! she said, wrinkling her nose. Ekelhaft!

Once, we were at my Uncle’s farm in the Austrian alps. My son was feeding a young cow some grass and the cow slobbered all over his hand. Strings of slime dripping from his hand as he pulled away. Eww, I said, wrinkling my face. Ekelhaft!

How would you translate that into English? I guess Gross…or Disgusting. I mean, it sounds like Icky!, doesn’t it? I say I guess because it’s not a concrete idea. Words like this are fun, and if you don’t sprinkle them into a course now and then, learning a language can become a bit stale. Anyway, let’s get back to our new verb for today.

Say: We are doing a German course.

Wir machen einen Deutschkurs.

But remember, it’s also used to indicate the act of creating or producing something. For example:

We are making a gift.

Wir machen ein Geschenk.

He is making a hamburger.

Er macht einen Hamburger.

She is making a salad.

Sie macht einen Salat.

For bonus points, what’s the gender of Salat?

Yes, masculine! And hamburger, too, if you caught it.

I’m making a pizza.

Ich mache eine Pizza.

Same question. What gender? Right. Feminine.

Just to keep our grammar sharp, let’s add an adjective in there.

He is making a small salad.

Er macht einen kleinen Salat.

She is making a big pizza.
Sie macht eine große Pizza.

Imagine you come back from vacation to discover that the fridge is broken. Say..

The refrigerator is broken.

Der Kühlschrank ist kaputt.

And when you open it, you see the milk has curdled into thick yellowish lumps. You pour it out…wrinkle your nose and say…? Ekelhaft!

Fun to say, isn’t it?

How about this: The garbage bin is disgusting!

Die Mülltonne ist ekelhaft.

Again, notice how this is a new phrase for us. It’s a novel usage. And we’re mixing new with words were more solid on.

Your boss asked you to purchase a picture for him. He swings by to pick it up. First greet him:

Good evening, Mr. Schania.

Guten Abend, Herr Schania.

Then tell him: Your new picture is on the balcony….literally standing on the balcony

Ihr neues Bild steht auf dem Balkon.

Great job, guys. See you in the next lesson.

Lesson PDF Download – Right click on PDF Icon – Save Link As…

2 thoughts on “Episode 16 – Stress Free German”

  1. I am having trouble on the Listening Excercises #16. in verus im
    Ich bin in/im der Bar. – Kniepe and Bar are feminine. It is Dative Feminine = im but I am hearing in )-:
    Wir sind im? in? der Bar.

    Are all the rest of these phrases IM because they are Dative – static location – and either Masculine Dative or Neuter Dative?

    I suppose I should be hearing IM all the time in these phrases because of the above….

    Thank you

    1. FEM
      We are in the bar.
      Wir sind in der Bar.

      We are in the restaurant.
      Wir sind im Restaurant. (im being a contraction of “in dem”)

      We are in the woods.
      Wir sind im Wald.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top