Episode 8 – Stress Free German

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Welcome to Lesson #8 of Stress Free German. I left you hanging with a new verb conjugation. Did you figure it out?

The question was: He has a new computer.

Er hat einen neuen Computer.

So we’ve got: I have, you have, he has…

Ich habe, du hast, er hat

Because we’ve absorbed so many new words these first seven lessons, we’re not going to add any new material today. Instead, we’re going to spend this lesson trying to become fluent with what we already know. We’re going to do that by focusing on constructions, which is the fancy linguistics term for a fill-in-the-blank phrase. Ready to dive in?

Our first construction is to ask, Where is the ____?

So if I prompt you with the word “bus,” you say…

Wo ist der Bus?

glass

Wo ist das Glas?

church

Wo ist die Kirche?

cheese

Wo ist der Käse?

gift

Wo ist das Geschenk?

newspaper

Wo ist die Zeitung?

If you’re able to right now, look out your window and when you see something that you know the gender of in German, put it into this construction. His pause and spend a minute on that.

Okay, next construction: This is my ____.

Ready?

dog

Das ist mein Hund.

watch

Das ist meine Uhr.

cellphone

Das ist mein Handy.

wife

Das ist meine Frau.

brother

Das ist mein Bruder.

mama

Das ist meine Mama.

As before, look around and find things that are yours. But only put it into this construction if you know the gender. Hit pause and give that a go.

So far these have been simple, declarative phrases, right? No action is being taken. So let’s transition to phrases where we have this (fist / palm). The construction this time is:

I have your ____. And as always, we’re saying this to a friend or close family member.

suitcase

Ich habe deinen Koffer.

water

Ich habe dein Wasser.

glasses

Ich habe deine Brille.

Pay attention to those supporting words. It was different each time. Masculine changes here to deinen. But neuter remains as dein. And feminine ends with that feminine ‘e’…deine.

Remember, this whole system is intended to help you recall the genders. Let’s try it again…

apple juice

Ich habe deinen Apfelsaft.

beer

Ich habe dein Bier.

flower

Ich habe deine Blume.

refrigerator

Ich habe deinen Kühlschrank.

water

Ich habe dein Wasser.

bag

Ich habe deine Tasche.

Next: Do you see my _______ ?

passport

Siehst du meinen Pass?

window

Siehst du mein Fenster?

school

Siehst du meine Schule?

brother

Siehst du meinen Bruder?

house

Siehst du mein Haus?

watch

Siehst du meine Uhr?

Speaking of watches and clocks, now feels like a good time for….

TIP OF THE DAY

Another question I get asked a lot is about which German movies or shows to be watching. This is another misconception people have, that just putting on a German show–with or without subtitles –will magically help their German. Again, it might work for some, but I don’t recommend it. The first issue is that subtitling is done so loosely as to be almost completely useless. In fact, it’s often detrimental, because you start making associations that aren’t correct. If you can watch without the subs, and are more or less certain of what you’re hearing, then definitely go for it. But that’s not likely to be the case with a full speed German movie.

However, a cartoon like Peppa Pig…Peppa Wutz in German…now that’s a good show. But again, don’t watch with subtitles. Instead, apply Active Listening. As you watch the episode, you keep your finger on the pause button. After a character says a line, you hit pause, and immediately parrot it. Just say it right back, as best as you can. It doesn’t matter if you know what you’re saying. That’s a key point. But if you do know what it means, then take a moment to play with the phrase. Make it into a construction. So for example…in this scene the narator tells us that Luisa Loffel loves carrots.

Luisa Löffel liebt Karotten.

So make it a quick construction. Say: She loves carrots. She loves oranges. She loves juice.

Sie liebt Karotten.

Sie liebt Orangen.
Sie liebt Saft.

You will benefit more after just ten minutes of that kind of active listening than watching ten hours of incomprehensible German TV.

Back to work. So, next construction:

I want your coffee.

Ich will deinen Kaffee.

I want your beer.

Ich will dein Bier.

I want your watch.

Ich will deine Uhr.

I want your orange juice.

Ich will deinen Orangesaft.

I want your water.

Ich will dein Wasser.

I want your bag.

Ich will deine Tasche.

For this next one, because we’ll be working with adjectives, there’s more processing we have to do with the patterns. So let’s slow the pace a little bit. As always, these are all to a friend or family member:

You need a big coffee.

Du brauchst einen großen Kaffee.

You need a big beer.

Du brauchst ein großes Bier.

You need a big bag.

Du brauchst eine große Tasche.

I need a big apple juice.

Ich brauche einen großen Apfelsaft.

I need a big house.

Ich brauche ein großes Haus.

I need a big bag.

Ich brauche eine große Tasche.

I’m looking for a new computer.

Ich suche einen neuen Computer.

I’m looking for a new cellphone.

Ich suche ein neues Handy.

I’m looking for a new watch.

Ich suche eine neue Uhr.

I’m looking for a new refrigerator.

Ich suche einen neuen Kühlschrank.

I’m looking for a new shelf.

Ich suche ein neues Regal.

I’m looking for a new school.

Ich suche eine neue Schule.

Even if we’re not doing anything to the noun, as in these next phrases, it still takes some time to arrange the patterns. So don’t rush….

Where is my old passport?

Wo ist mein alter Pass?

Where is my old smartphone?

Wo ist mein altes Handy?

Where is my old watch?

Wo ist meine alte Uhr?

Where is my new computer?

Wo ist mein neuer Computer?

Where is my new glass?

Wo ist mein neues Glas?

Where is my new bench?

Wo ist meine neue Bank?

These next ones are simpler, so let’s crank the speed back up again.

I love Starbucks.

Ich liebe Starbucks.

I hate McDonalds.

Ich hasse McDonalds.

I love Germany.

Ich liebe Deutschland.

I hate the house.

Ich hasse das Haus.

I love Austria.

Ich liebe Österreich.

I hate school.

Ich hasse Schule.

And we’ll by practicing our “he” form of verbs. So try to say…

He has a flower.

Er hat eine Blume.

a cellphone.
Er hat ein Handy.

a dog.

Er hat einen Hund.

He loves tea.

Er liebt Tee.

He loves Munich.

Er liebt München.

He needs a passport.

Er braucht einen Pass.

He needs glasses.

Er braucht eine Brille.

He is looking for Starbucks.

Er sucht Starbucks.

He is looking for the park.

Er sucht den Park.

He has an old computer.

Er hat einen alten Computer.

He has a new house.

Er hat ein neues Haus.

That was a pretty tough lesson, I realize, but it had to be done. Next lesson we’ll talk about another big mistake language learners usually make. And in the mean time, keep up the great work!

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