german for beginners

Wortstellung im Satz

wortstellung-im-satz

Tekamolo could be:

  • a dog’s name
  • a company’s name
  • a japanish word
  • etc.

Now let me tell you what it should be for you, german learners:

tekamolo

Because most probable, the order in which you would put the words in a phrase, is not the one in which a german would put them, was invented tekamolo. To help you remember how to make a decent sentence when you’re taking an exam or when you want to write an e-mail to Angela Merkel. Because in other cases, when you talk your daily bullshit (quick because you don’t want people to notice how wrong you declinate the adjective), tekamolo will obviosuly be your last thought.

Now, as usual an example:

beispiel-worstellung-im-satz3

 

Deutsch perfekt

image

What to read when trying to improve your german? Novels, magazines, newspapers… There is enough choice but the difficulty of the articles may not fit your level.

We all  tried to read a book with the dictionary. Each time you find a new word you search it immediately in the dictionary. After 2 such tries you quit… is too stressful and is not the right way to do it. At least for me was not an option, I don’t have the patience. I always prefered to read something even over my level of understanding and try to guess the meaning of the words from the context.

There is a magazine that was recommended to me long ago and that is specially made for people who want to learn german. Is called Deutsch perfekt and is made intelligent. It presents you articles in 3 categories: leicht (light), mittel (medium) and schwer (difficult). And the most important: it does the boring job for you – searching in the dictionary. All articles have certain words or even entire expressions explained right besides the text. They are even translated in 7 languages: english, spanish, french, italian, turkish, polish and russian! They have crosswords, grammar exercises with solutions and generally interesting articles about the DACH countries ( Germany D Austria A Switzerland CH).  You can check it out for yourselves on their webpage Deutsch perfekt.

Is published once per month and last time I bought one, in 2012 it cost 6.5€ in Germany.

P.S.: for the ones which still prefer the dictionary, the best and mostly used digital one is Leo 😉

 

einen Artikel

Pistol-rule-adjective-declination

Children learn a language by hearing it at home. The parents talk it (supposedly) correct because is their mother-tongue. They never learn grammar rules.

So do we also, but when we start learning a language later in life we need grammar. It is said when you start learning a language later than 13 you will never be able to speak it like a native speaker… well I think there are also exceptions!  So parallel to learning grammar rules (that are boring) we hear native speakers and we “copy” what they say. Just like children. We hear it that way, we reproduce it that way!

And so it happened that I heard things like this:

Ich esse ein Apfel.

Ich habe ein Hund.

Ich mache ein Fehler.

der Apfel, der Hund, der Fehler = all are masculine nouns.

In all this sentences is used the accusative case.

Then, grammatical correct is:

Ich esse einen Apfel.

Ich habe einen Hund.

Ich mache einen Fehler. 

But when I pronounce it correctly it sounds even strange. So, I asked a german teacher how come the germans speak wrong??!! It came out that many times, the native speakers pronounce it quick and we don’t hear the “en”. They kind of say “einn” swallowing the “e” and pronouncing a kind of double “n”.

Well, this being said, I was happy I clearified this issue for me. Now I know accusative, masculin singular, indefinite article is einen.

ALWAYS!

…also when it sounds like ein.

Und jetzt wünsche ich euch einen schönen Tag!  🙂

 

The German Prepositions

image

 

Some prepositions force the use of a certain case.

The ones shown above are common prepositions used with dative and/or accusative.

In order to remember them easier there are some short forms.

Accusative:

d – durch

o – ohne

g – gegen

f – für

u – um

Dative:

g – gegenüber

a – aus

m – mit

b – bei

a – außer

s – seit

Example of prepositions used with accusative and dative:

Ich bin auf der Straße.                Wo bin ich? –> Dative

Ich gehe auf die Straße.              Wohin gehe ich? –> Accusative

 

Der Käse ist im Kühlschrank.    Wo ist der Käse? –> Dative

Ich stelle der Käse in den Kühlschrank. Wohin stelle ich der Käse? –> Accusative

 

Example of preposition with dative:

Ich spiele mit dem Ball.    –> mit asks ALWAYS for dative!  NO accusative possible.

 

 

1 Mai = Maibaum

IMG_2759

maibaum

When you think of waking up on Sunday, what do you dream of? Waking up late? with the smell of fresh coffee? or maybe breakfast (= das Frühstück) in bed? or just relax and linger in bed until you get bored?

… but what about being woken up at 8 by the police ringing at your door?

This was our (hope) once in a lifetime, unique experience on Sunday 1 Mai, one week ago. First thought (= der erste Gedanke) that passed through my brain: who rings at this hour??? …Answer: the Police! Second thought that passed through my brain: what in the world could we have done so wrong? Answer: we parked exactly in front of the place where the Maibaum will be placed. What is Maibaum?!?? Answer: a tree (= der Baum).

(der) Mai = May (the month)

(der) Maibaum = the Maypole

Am vorletzten Sonntag wurde der Maibaum aufgestellt. 

The second last Sunday, the Maypole was erected.

In Germany and Austria the maypole (or Maibaum) is a tradition going back to the 16th century. It is a decorated tree usually painted in the Bavarian colours of white and blue and decorated with emblems depicting local crafts and industry.

source: Wikipedia

The folk festival of Maibaum is my favourite. I remember first time I attended such a celebration I didn’t have any ideea about what should be going on. I came in a small village (das Dorf) in Bavaria and I saw some people pushing up slowly a tree, traditional bavarian music was played by a band dressed in traditional bavarian clothing (Dirndl & Lederhosen) and people were sitting in the middle of the closed, main road of the village drinking beer (das Bier) and eating home-made (hausgemacht) cakes (der Kuchen (sg.), die Kuchen (pl.)) .

So, in the picture you see the Maibaum that costed us a fine of 15 Eur + 2h of sleep.

The sex and the elf

 

elf

 

I know that after reading this title you have great expectations but I am going to disappoint you. This post is about the numbers (die Zahlen) in german. Let me tell you a story.

Long time ago when the currency in Germany was still the Deutsche Mark, my husband (at that time not my husband yet) went with 2 other friends in a bar. One of the friends was Italian so he didn’t understand german. They drank some beers and then they wanted to pay. One beer cost about 5,5 DM so they said to the waitress “Sechs ist gut” (six is ok – including the tip). The poor Italian guy was looking stupefied. Obviously he understood “Sex is good”…

The first thing my german teacher told me when learning the numbers was “don’t pronounce 6 like sex”. Now how you shold pronounce it correctly? listen here. That guy has a good german pronunciation (die Aussprache).

 

11 = elf

11 has nothing special, I just find it extremely funny.

Then there is the complicated part after 20. The numbers with two digits are pronounced inversed. For example:

21 = twenty one (in english)

21 = one and twenty (in german) = einundzwanzig

It’s more difficult when hearing bigger numbers. E.g. siebenundsechzig (67). Your brain will automatically think AHA 76…and then your brain will think a second time and will say “wait…is in german so is 67”. LOL! Yes…you will be slower in calculation in german. And yes, you will sometimes write the numbers the other way round, I mean first the 7 then the 6 from right to left.

This being said I hope I made you curious about the german numbers and wish you good luck with learning them.

A Word to begin

EnglisherGarten

Hello everybody,

In this blog I would like to help people trying to learn german. We all know that the easiest way to learn a language is living in that country where the language is spoken. But what if you cannot just move there? I am living in Germany since 5 years now and I want to offer all of you the possibility to learn german relaxed. That is – everyday little by little. By seeing things, by learning them in a context…as if you would be here.

I am going to post pictures taken on the streets, conversations, phrases, sometimes grammar, funny situations that I encounter in my everyday life but also infos about how things work here in case you just moved to Germany. And hopefully like this you can learn some german meanwhile you have fun reading some stories.

This being said I wish you lots of fun and let’s get started!

Regards from München,

Catalina

P.S.: by the way, that’s Englisher Garten (in Munich) in the picture above.