Berlin, Germany: A Must-See Destination!

Many who visit Berlin, the capital of Germany, proclaim it to be one of the most vibrant cities in Europe.

Let’s take a tour through the Berlin of today; a city of veracity, whose history has inspired much progress; shaping one of the most dynamic destinations in Europe.

History

Perhaps Berlin is best known for its most famous dictator, Adolf Hitler who took over power in the 1930s.  The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall is a significant piece of Berlin’s vivid history.

Attractions & Sightseeing

Check your calendar as you’ll want to be a part of this extraordinary experience.

February

The Berlinale – an International Film Festival given during a two week period; Visitors and locals love to stargaze as Berlin hosts over 400 films representing over 120 countries.  Celebrities, parties, art and glamour are all a part of this extravaganza.

May

Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) – an incredible summer festival; featuring festive, celebrations with international cuisine, exotic libations, dance performances,  a parade of floats and hand-made costumes.

June

Christopher Street Day – a gay and lesbian festival.

July

Open Classic Air – a summer concert situated at Gendarmenmarkt, converted into one of the most striking arenas in all of Europe.  Musical selections include:  German-Italian opera, Jazz, Pop, Swing, and Soul hits.  The laser, light and fireworks show is particularly amazing.

August

The Long Night of the Museums - Over 100 cultural institutions and museums open their doors to visitors, all night, to tour collections, artifacts, galleries and exhibitions, augmented by an array of events.  A shuttle service is provided to make travel between venues, easy and affordable.

September

Pyronale – for two nights visitors take in a massive fireworks display.  It is one of the most spectacular fireworks display in the world.

October

Festival of Lights – the whole of Berlin is set a-light with projections of light and illuminations which light up more than 50 famous Berlin landmarks.

December

New Year’s Eve in Berlin – this is the place to be on New Year’s Eve!  Though it gets really cold in the winter months, layer up and enjoy the festivities!  Over 2 kilometers of space, show stages, video screens, party tents, food, refreshment stands, light and laser performances and a stunning midnight fireworks show to cap off the evening, entertains guests.

Berlin offers great events during specific times of the year though the best sightseeing adventures are offered all year round.

Markets, Shops, and Cafes

  • Türkischer Markt  – offers great Turkish fare;
  • Farmers’ Market at Wittenbergplatz – offers local produce including cheese, dried meats, fresh pasta and bread;
  • Christmas Market – features  large skating rink, Fairy Forest, and antiques, traditional German toys, and crafts
  • Markt am Kollwitzplatz – offers an organic market filled with local high-grade produce and spices;
  • Nowkoelln Flowmarkt – offers vintage clothing and home goods including delicious pastries and local fruit juices;
  • Tauentzienstraße, the extension of Kurfuerstendamm  – offers great shopping for the entire family;
  • Hackescher Markt and Hachesche Höfe- offers great places  to head for a dynamic blend  of bars, cafés and shops;
  • KaDeWe – the largest department store on the continent is worth checking out;
  • Winterfeldt Markt – offers a great café hang out for coffee and people watching

Museums & Historic Land Marks

  • Museum Island – this World Heritage site which lay in the center of the Spree, houses five of Berlin’s most historic museums: Neues (Egyptian relics), Pergamon (Roman, Pergamon archaeology), Altes, Alte Nationalgalerie (host of 19th art), and Bode (exhibiting sculpture collections and late antique and byzantine art.)
  • DDR Museum – travel back in time and take an interactive tour East Germany
  • Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial – the history of Berlin is so riveting that you probably won’t experience Berlin in all of its genuineness, if you don’t include a trip to this commemorative site.
  • Berlin Wall – Though most of the Berlin Wall has been destroyed, it’s worth visiting Checkpoint Charlie, the well-known border control during the Cold War which now acts as a tourist centre displaying the Wall’s history.

Accommodations

  • The Swissôtel Berlin is just one out of many hotels in Berlin that will garner you nothing less than 5-star treatment;
  • Melia is one out of many offering a nice and budget friendly option

Restaurants

  • Witty’s – offers the best in Berlin staples;
  • Jolesch – offers a traditional Austro-Hungarian menu;
  • Café Jacques – menu filled with mixed provenance fare; heavy French-Algerian influences and an amazing wine list

Night Life

Berlin is considered to have one of the liveliest night life scenes in Europe.

  • Trinkteufel in Kreuzberg’s Naunynstraße – known for rock and heavy metal;
  • Kiki Blofeld – an outdoor space catering to the summer crowd;
  • Berghain/Panorama Bar – most famous club in Berlin featuring:  house, disco and hard techno;
  • Club der Visionäre – an open-air spot situated on the banks of the canal; great weekend hang out

The brilliant and thrilling facets of Berlin are multi-sensational on every level.  This progressive city inspires and offers an amazing variety of activities for the seasoned or novice traveler sure to fill your storybook with an exhilarating ride of adventures!

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Lesson 16. Modal Verbs in German

Modal verbs is a topic that can be particularly easy for English speaking people. The use of modal verbs is characteristic for all Germanic languages (and both German and English belong into this category).

A modal verb is a certain kind of auxiliary verb that we use in our speech to indicate modality. This includes but is not limited to likelihood, ability, permission, and obligation. So as you see modal verbs do not express actions, they rather show how the acting person feels about the action.

As in English German modal verbs are used together with a verb that expresses the action. This verbs is used in its infinitive form and – attention! – is used in the very end of the sentence.

Ich kann diese Arbeit erfüllen. – I can do this job.

In German there are six modal verbs:

German Modal Verb Modality English equivalent
können Ability and possibility can, to be able to
dürfen Permission to be allowed to, to have the right to, may
müssen Compulsion and/or necessity must, to have to, to need to
mögen Liking to like
wollen Intention to want to
sollen Obligation shall, should, to be supposed to

 

Here are these words used in the sentences:

Ich kann swimmen. I can swim.

Darf ich hier rauchen? May I smoke here?

Ich muss in dem Unterricht nur Deutsch sprechen. In class I have to speak German only.

Er mag die Suppe. He likes the soup.

Sie will dieses Buch lesen. She wants to read this book.

Er soll morgen ankommen. He is supposed to arrive tomorrow.

We will speak about the way modal verbs build their perfect and imperfect forms when we start a relevant lesson. As of now we will learn the conjugation pattern of modal verbs in the Present Tense. You will see that it differs a little from the regular conjugation pattern of other verbs.

können dürfen müssen sollen wollen mögen
ich kann ich darf ich muß ich soll ich will ich mag
du kannst du darfst du mußt du sollst du willst du magst
er kann er darf er muß er soll er will er mag
wir können wir dürfen wir müssen wir sollen wir wollen wir mögen
ihr könnt ihr dürft ihr müßt ihr sollt ihr wollt ihr mögt
sie können sie dürfen sie müssen sie sollen sie wollen sie mögen

 

Exercises

1. Use the correct form of the modal verbs in the sentences below. Use a dictionary if needed.

  1. Ich (wollen)  in diesem Jahr nach Berlin fahren.
  2. (Wollen) du mit mir ins Kino gehen?
  3. Ich  (können) dich heute besuchen.
  4. Diese Studenten  (können) gut deutsch sprechen
  5. Entschuldigen Sie bitte (dürfen) ich hier rauchen.
  6. Auf dem Postamt (können) wir Briefmarken und Briefumschläge kaufen.
  7. (wollen) Sie dieses Buch auf Deutsch oder Englisch lesen?
  8. Der Professor (wollen) mit der Studentin nicht sprechen.
  9. Ich (können) diesen Text ohne Wörterbuch nicht verstehen.
  10. Meine Schwester (wollen) eine neue Wohnung kaufen.

2. Daniel is seven months old. Tell us what he can and what he cannot do.

Example:

Daniel kann schon sitzen. Er kann noch nicht stehen.

(Daniel can sit already. He can’t stand yet.)

Use the verbs from the list below.

viel schlafen

lesen

Milch trinken

spielen

laufen

richtig sprechen

arbeiten

“Mama” sagen


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Lesson 15. Wishes on Special Occasions

With holiday season around  I believe it is time to dedicate this lesson to special wishes on beautiful occasions.

We will start with Christmas and New Year wishes and will move forward trying to cover as many occasions as possible.

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR (WEIHNACHTEN UND NEUJAHR)

The most common and traditional wish on this occasion we know is

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

In German to express the same thought we will have to say

Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr!

In the table you will find more examples of German wishes on Christmas and New Year

German English
Ein frohes Fest!

Frohe Festtage!

Season’s Greetings!

A joyous holiday!

Happy Holidays!

Frohe Weihnachten!

Frohes Weihnachtsfest!

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Merry Christmas!
Ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest! A blessed / joyous Christmas!
Gesegnete Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr! A blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße! Best Christmas greetings!
Ein frohes Weihnachtsfest und alles Gute zum neuen Jahr! A joyful Christmas (festival) and best wishes for the New Year!
Ein frohes und besinnliches Weihnachtsfest! A Merry and Reflective / Thoughtful Christmas!
Glückliches Neujahr! / Ein glückliches neues Jahr! Happy New Year!
Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! A good start in the New Year!
Alles Gute zum neuen Jahr! Best wishes for the New Year!
Prosit Neujahr! Happy New Year!
Glück und Erfolg im neuen Jahr! Good fortune and success in the New Year!

BIRTHDAY (GEBURTSTAG)

German English
Alles Gute Best wishes
Herzlichen Glückwunsch Congratulations
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! Happy Birthday!
Herzliche Glückwünsche mit Geburtstag! Happy birthday!
Viel Glück zum Geburtstag! Many happy returns of the day!

MARRIAGE AND ANNIVERSARY (HOCHZEIT)

German English
zur/zu deiner/zu Ihrer Verlobung! on your engagement!
zur/zu deiner/zu Ihrer Hochzeit/Vermählung! on your wedding!
zur goldenen/silbernen Hochzeit! on your golden/silver wedding anniversary!

In the beginning of the phrase you can add any wishes from the above.

Example:

Alles Gute zu Ihrer Verlobung!

All the best on your engagement!

Below you will find an additional list of most common wishes on different occasions with their translation into English.

GRATULATIONEN UND GLÜCKWÜNSCHE

  1. (Ich) Gratuliere! – Congratulations!
  2. Ich gratuliere Ihnen herzlich! / Herzliche Glückwünsche! – Hearty congratulations!
  3. Frohe Ostern! – Happy Easter!
  4. Ich wünsche Ihnen/dir Glück! – I wish you happiness!
  5. Ich wünsche Ihnen/dir Gesundheit! – I wish you health!
  6. Ich wünsche Ihnen/dir Erfolg! – I wish you success!
  7. Ich wünsche Ihnen/dir und Ihren/deinen Nächsten große Lebensfreude. – I wish you and your loved ones lots of joy.
  8. Meine besten Glückwünsche! – My best wishes!
  9. Ich wünsche Ihnen alles Gute! – I wish you all the best!
  10. Weiterhin alles Gute! – All the best in the future.
  11. Viel Vergnügen! / Viel Spas! – Have fun!
  12. Mögen alle Ihre Wünsche in Erfüllung gehen! – May all your dreams come true!

Remember that in German you use different pronouns based on how much respect you show to the person, if you know them or not, etc. So, if you want to wish to some senior person, your boss, or if you want to show additional respect then you have to use the form “Ihnen” otherwise stick to a less formal “dir”.

Now you know how to wish in German someone on a very special occasion. Your only task will be to prepare a special card in German to wish your friends on Christmas. You still have over a week to do so.

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Lesson 14. Possessive Pronouns in German

Today we will talk about possessive pronouns in German. In German like in English each personal pronoun correlates with a certain possessive pronoun (they answer a question ‘whose?’). However, not like in English German possessive pronouns will change their form based on the gender, number and case. We have not talked about cases yet, so we will stick to dictionary forms for now.

Example:

Dein Hemd ist schmutzig. — Your shirt is muddy.
Deinе Hemde sind schmutzig. — Your shirts are muddy.

Below you will find a table that demonstrates possessive pronouns in masculine, feminine and neuter, as well as in plural.

Personal pronouns Singular Plural
Mask. Neutrum Femininum
ich mein Freund mein Buch meine Pflanze meine Pflanzen
du dein Freund dein Buch deine Pflanze deine Pflanzen
er sein Freund sein Buch seine Pflanze seine Pflanzen
sie ihr Freund ihr Buch ihre Pflanze ihre Pflanzen
es sein Freund sein Buch seine Pflanze seine Pflanzen
wir unser Freund unser Buch unsere Pflanze unsere Pflanzen
ihr euer Freund euer Buch eure Pflanze eure Pflanzen
sie ihr Freund ihr Buch ihre Pflanze ihre Pflanzen
Sie Ihr Freund Ihr Buch Ihre Pflanze Ihre Pflanzen

Now we should check if you have understood everything clearly, so we will do some grammar exercise.

Please translate into German:

His parents

His brother

His sister

Her husband

Her book

Their parents

Their house

My sister

You think that is easy, then let’s switch to the sentences:

1. I know his parents, his brother and his sister.

2. I see her husband often.

3. This is her book.

4. This is their house.

If that has not been all that easy for you, please check the comments section for correct answers.

One more exercise for you.

Please fill in the table

If we sum up everything we have got to know about German possessive pronouns, you will see that there are only two things you have to focus on.

  • Who is the owner?
  • What is the gender, number and case of the object?

Based on the answers pick the pronoun to use. Probably one of the simplest topics in German grammar.

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Lesson 13. Word Order in German Sentences

 

In our previous lessons we have covered basic grammar topics, such as articles, present tenses, etc. We have even learned how to make simple sentences. And while we can say quite a few things already, and talk about ourselves a bit, we still have not discussed such an important topic as word order in German sentences. This is exactly what we are going to do today. We will start with simple sentences today, and probably at some later stage will get to complicated ones

Word Order in Simple Sentences in German

Declarative Sentence

What you have to remember about word order in German simple sentences is that the verb (or rather that part of a predicate that can be conjugated) always takes the second place in the sentence. No matter what. The subject can take the first, the third, sometimes even the fourth, but the conjugated part of the predicate will always be on the second place).

If a subject takes the first place the word order is called a direct word order. If a subject follows the predicate it is an inverse word order. The rest of words take their places based on the meaning of the sentence. In many cases their order is not really fixed.

Example:

Direct Word Order

I II III
Meine Schwester besucht einen Kindergarten

My sister goes to a kindergarten.

Inversed Word Order

I II III
Wochentags besucht meine Schwester einen Kindergarten

On weekdays my sister goes to a kindergarten.

Negation

As you know in German the word nicht plays the role of a negation. As of now we have not used the word all that often, but we will come across it more in future, so please pay attention. If you want to make an entire sentence negative then nicht will take the last place in the sentence. If you only want to make one certain word negative, then use nicht before this word.

Example:
Der Postbote kommt heute nicht — The Postman is not coming today. The whole sentence is negative
Der Postbote kommt nicht heute, sondern morgen — The postman is coming not today but tomorrow. You can see the difference.

Interrogative sentence

There are two types of interrogative sentences in German. One of them requires a yes/no answer, and the other one is using an interrogative word (a question word). In these two types of sentences you will find a different word order.

Yes/No Questions

When making an interrogative sentence which requires a yes or a no as an answer you will have to put the predicate (the part that is conjugated) on the first position. After that follows a subject and then the rest of the words.

Example:

I II III
Meine Schwester besucht einen Kindergarten

My sister goes to a kindergarten.

Besucht meine Schwester einen Kindergarten?

In case if you use an interrogative word for your question, this word takes up the first position followed by the predicate (again the part that is conjugated), then a subject (except cases when the question is about the subject), then the rest of the words.

Example:

I II III
Wochentags besucht meine Schwester einen Kindergarten
On weekdays my sister goes to a kindergarten.
Wann besucht meine Schwester einen Kindergarten?
When does my sister go to a kindergarten?

The most important German interrogative words are the following

German English
Wer? Who?
Was? What?
Wann? When?
Wo? Where?
Warum? Why?
Wie? How?

As of now these are the most important things you need to know about word order in German sentences.

Exercises:

1. Make questions to the following declarative sentences.

2. Read the text below, translate it. Explain the word order in every sentence.

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Lesson 12: Present Tense for Irregular Verbs in German

A few lessons ago we learned how to build Present Tense for regular verbs. It seemed pretty easy because each verb followed s simple standard pattern and received an ending that could easily be remembered. Now, if there are regular verbs you are right to suggest that there are irregular verbs, too. And Building Present Tense for them can become a little bit more challenging, though surely not impossible.

Now, let’s first remember how to build Present Simple Tense (Präsens) for regular verbs: You take the verb’s stem and add a personal ending to that. The endings you learned before can easily apply to irregular verbs as well.

One more time  here are personal pronouns that you must know really well by now.

ich I
du You (informal)
er/sie/es He/she/it
wir We
ihr You
sie / Sie They/You (formal)

The endings pattern is the following:

ich e
du st
er/sie/es t
wir en
ihr t
sie / Sie en

Now, let’s discuss irregular verbs. There are a few categories/types of such verbs. Today we will talk about two of them.

1. Stem-changing verbs (or Strong Verbs)

These verbs are conjugated using the pattern provided above. The only difference will be the change of the letter/sound in the stem in the du- and  er-form.

There can be the following types of stem changing.

  • a > ä

fahren (to drive)

ich fahre
du fährst
er/sie/es fährt
wir fahren
ihr fahrt
sie / Sie fahren
  • au > äu

laufen (to run)

ich laufe
du läufst
er/sie/es läuft
wir laufen
ihr lauft
sie / Sie laufen
  • e > i

sprechen (to speak)

ich spreche
du sprichst
er/sie/es spricht
wir sprechen
ihr sprecht
sie / Sie sprechen
  • e > ie

sehen (to see)

ich sehe
du siehst
er/sie/es sieht
wir sehen
ihr seht
sie / Sie sehen

2. Other irregular verbs

There are verbs in German that are conjugated based on an individual pattern. One of such verbs you already know. This is the verb ‘sein’ (to be).

ich bin
du bist
er/sie/es ist
wir sind
ihr seid
sie / Sie sind

The others are haben (to have), werden (to become), wissen (to know).

ich habe werde weiß
du hast wirst weißt
er/sie/es hat wird weiß
wir haben werden wissen
ihr habt werdet wisst
sie / Sie haben werden wissen

Below you will find a list of a few irregular verbs. Please conjugate them based on the stem vowel and its change pattern.

Nehmen, lesen, essen, gebe, sprechen, fahren, raten, laden, halten, tragen, waschen

Please fill in the table with correct form of verbs (Please leave the last column as it is because we have not yet discussed the modal verbs)


 

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Lesson 11. Plural Form for Nouns in German

Today we will talk about building Plural in German. It is relatively more complex than in English. What we do in English (in most cases anyways) we add an ending –s to the noun and we get a plural form of the same noun.

Example:

house – houses

table ‑ tables

lamp – lamps

Of course there will be exceptions such as child – children, tooth – teeth, woman – women, etc. Yet, basically it is very simple.

German system of Plural building is, however, way more complicated. Based on the type of plural form building we can form a number of groups.

Let’s take a look at these groups.

A noun gets a suffix –e (with or without an umlaut)

Here belong:

  • Over 80% of masculine nouns
    der Gast – die Gäste,
    der Sohn – die Söhne,
    der Stuhl – die Stühle;
    der Tag – die Tage,
    der Abend – die Abende
  • Some neuter nouns (mostly polysyllabic but some nouns with one syllable too) with no umlaut added
    das Diktat – die Diktate;
    das Problem – die Probleme;
    das Diplom – die Diplome;
    das Telefon – die Telefone;
    das Jahr – die Jahre;
    das Heft – die Hefte
  • Around 30 one-syllable feminine nouns with an –a-(-u-) in the stem
    die Hand – die Hände,
    die Wand – die Wände,
    die Nacht – die Nächte,
    die Stadt – die Städte,
    die Kuh – die Kühe

A noun gets a suffix -(e)n without an umlaut

Here belong:

  • Most feminine nouns
    die Frage – die Fragen,
    die Zeitung – die Zeitungen,
    die Frau – die Frauen,
    die Freundin – die Freundinnen
  • Masculine nouns of a weak declension type
    der Student – die Studenten,
    der Herr – die Herren,
    der Name – die Namen
  • A few neuter nouns
    das Bett – die Betten,
    das Hemd – die Hemden,
    das Auge – die Augen,
    das Ohr – die Ohren,
    das Herz – die Herzen,
    das Interesse – die Interessen,
    das Insekt – die Insekten,
    das Ende – die Enden

A noun gets a suffix –er with an umlaut

Here belong:

  • One-syllable neuter nouns
    das Buch – die Bücher
    das Haus – die Häuser
  • A few masculine nouns
    der Mann – die Männer
    der Wald – die Wälder
    der Gott -  die Götter
    der Mund – die Münder
    der Wurm – die Würmer
    der Rand – die Ränder
    der Irrtum – die Irrtümer

A noun does not get a suffix, it gets an umlaut or remains the same

Here belong:

  • Masculine nouns ending with –er, -el, -en

der Vater – die Väter,
der Vogel – die Vögel,
der Garten – die Gärten

  • Neuter nouns ending with er, -el, -en, -chen, -lein, or beginning with ge- and ending with –e

das Fenster – die Fenster,
das Mittel – die Mittel,
das Mädchen – die Mädchen,
das Fräulein – die Fräulein,
das Gebäude – die Gebäude

  • Two feminine nouns:
    die Mutter – die Mütter,
    die Tochter – die Töchter

A noun gets an ending –s with no umlaut

Here belong:

  • Neuter and Masculine Nouns with foreign origin:
    das Kino – die Kinos,
    das Auto – die Autos
    der Park – die Parks,
    der Klub – die Klubs

As you see the system of Nouns Plural Form building is very complex, yet it is still a SYSTEM, so it can be memorized.

Your task will be to learn all the types of plural form building and learn all the new words you have come across in today’s lesson.

Also, please fill in the blanks using words from the picture:

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Lesson 10: Use of Gender in German

You already have noticed that German just like English has articles. However, English is simplified, having just two articles, a and the. Strictly speaking, German also has only two articles, a definite one and an indefinite one. The only difference (major!) from English is that articles are gender-specific and also depend on the cases. We will talk about cases at some point later but for now we will talk about gender.

Like in most languages German nouns are categorized into masculine, feminine and neuter. Yet, it is very important not to mix them up if you want to use proper grammar. Here is when the article comes into play.

Der – for masculine nouns

Die – for feminine nouns

Das – for neuter nouns

You will ask how to know what gender the word is. Well, you won’t know unless you learn the words (this is the reason why it is recommended to learn German words together with the article). Of course, there are recommendations how to remember certain groups of words and their gender but they do not categorize all the nouns. You will have to use a dictionary to look the word up and your common sense. You will sure know that Mann (a man) is definitely masculine, and Frau (woman) is no doubt feminine.

Here are certain recommendations in relation to German genders.

Masculine nouns

~ masculine beings, such as der Mann, der Lehrer (a teacher), der Junge (a boy), der Sohn (a son), der Bruder (a brother), etc

~ weekdays, months, seasons, such as der Montag (Monday), der Januar (January), der Frühling (Spring)

~ cardinal directions and winds, such as der Norden (the North), der Passat (trade wind)

~ minerals, such as der Diamant (diamond)

~ currencies, such as der Dollar (dollar), der Frank (frank) but there are exceptions, i.e die Krone (krona)

~ most nouns that end at -ig, -ich, -ing, -ast, -en, such as der Honig (honey), der Teppich (carpet)

~ most celestial bodies, such as der Planet (planet), der Stern (star), der Mond (moon)

BUT: die Sonne (the Sun), die Venus (Venus)

~ lakes and non-German rivers, such as der Amazonas (Amazon river)

~ fall-outs, cars, alcohol beverages, such as  der Regen (rain), der Schnee (snow), der Mercedes (Mercedes), der Wodka (vodka)

Feminine nouns

~ feminine beings, such as die Frau (a woman), die Tochter (a daughter), die Kuh (a cow)

BUT: das Mädchen (a girl)

~ most nouns that end with -e and –a, such as die Themse (the Thames), die Sonne (the Sun), die Straße (street)

BUT: das Auge (eye), das Ende (end);

~ most of names for trees, flowers, fruits, such as die Tanne (fir tree), die Rose (rose), die Birne (pear)

~ nouns that end with -ei, -ie, – in, -ion, -tät, -heit, -keit, -ung, -schaft, such as die Melodie (melody), die Philosophie (philosophy), die Nation (nation), die Universität (university), die Wohnung (apartment)

Neuter nouns

~ young beings, such as das Kind (a child), das Lamm, das Kalb (a calf)

~ some animals, such as das Pferd (horse), das Schaf (sheep)

~ cities and countries when they are used with adjectives, otherwise they are used without an article with few exceptions: das große London (big London), das schöne Nürnberg (beautiful Nürnberg) , Exceptions: der Haag (the Hague), die Schweiz (Switzerland), der Irak (Irak), countries that end with -ei (they are feminine)

~ metals, such as das Gold (gold), das Kupfer (copper)

BUT: der Stahl (steel)

~ nouns that end with -chen и –lein, such as das Mädchen (girl)

~ nouns that end with -tum and -(i)um, such as das Gymnasium (gymnasium);

~ letters, physical units, such as  das A, das Ypsilon, das Kilowatt

These are just a few categories (not all the nouns can be categorized like this) but at least now you will have an idea of German genders. You will see later why it is important.

Next week we will talk some more about grammar and will learn how to use nouns in their plural forms.

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Lesson 9: Talking about Yourself or anyone else (creating short texts)

In our previous letter we have covered one important topic that will help us now create short (or not so short) sentences. We have learnt how to use Present Tense.

I suggest we will get a few steps back and will first try to remember how we would introduce ourselves.

Revision


Based on this table we can now prepare short introduction dialogs.

Example:

Speaker 1: Hallo, ich bin Anna. Und wie heißt du?

Speaker 2: Ich heiße Alexander.

Speaker 1: Wie geht es dir?

Speaker 2: Danke, es geht. Und dir?

Speaker 1: Danke, gut.

Now, I believe you are capable of translating this small dialog into English but I would like to give you some assistance so that you would know for sure if you did it right.

Translation:

Speaker 1: Hi, I am Anna. And what is your name?

Speaker 2: My name is Alexander.

Speaker 1: How are you??

Speaker 2: Fine, thanks. And you?

Speaker 1: Great, thanks!

Using the template prepare 2 dialogs, one formal and one informal. Write them down and read them aloud. Once done you can proceed to the next part of our lesson.

Where are you from?

‘Where are you from?’ is a common question in all new interactions.

In German it is

Formal:

‘Woher kommen Sie? (or Wo kommen Sie her?’)

Informal:

‘Woher kommst du? (or Wo kommst du her?’)

If you remember our previous lesson you will be able to give an answer to this question:

Ich komme aus =  I am from…

Ich komme aus den USA.

Ich komme aus Spanien.

Ich komme aus Russland.

Let’s now ask where is someone else from?

Woher kommt Anna?

Woher kommt Peter?

The response would be:

Anna kommt aus (Berlin, Italy, Madrid, etc).

Peter kommt aus (fill in the blanks).

Now I believe we are quite ready for our first small text. Please read the texts below and translate them into English. Use the suggested vocabulary if necessary.

Text 1.

Das ist Monika Schulz. Sie kommt aus Berlin. Aber jetzt lebt sie in Dortmund. Sie ist verheiratet und hat zwei Kinder. Frau Schulz ist 32 Jahre alt. Sie ist Lehrerin von Beruf. Aber zur Zeit ist sie Hausfrau. Monika hat zwei Hobbys: Lesen und Malen.

Vocabulary:

Leben – to live

… Jahre alt sein – to be … years old

Verheiratet – married

Kinder – children

die Lehrerin – teacher

der Beruf – profession

Zur Zeit – at the moment

die Hausfrau – housewife

Lesen – to read

Malen – to paint

Translation:

This is Monika Schulz. She is from Berlin. Bit now she lives in Dortmund. She is married and has 2 children. Missis Schulz is 32 years old. She is a teacher by profession. But at the moment she is a housewife. Monika hast wo hobbies: reading and painting.

Text 2

Marie Klein ist Ärztin in Leipzig. Sie ist 28 Jahre alt. Sie ist ledig und hat ein Kind. Marie spielt seht gut Klavier. Das ist ihr Hobby.

Vocabulary:

die Ärztin – doctor

ledig – single, not married

Klavier spielen – to play the piano

Translation:

Marie Klein is a doctor in Leipzig. She is 28 years old. She is single and has a child. Marie plays the piano very well. This is her hobby.

You can see that preparing short texts in German is not that complicated. Let’s try one more time. But now you will be the one creating the text. Please fill in the blanks.

 

Klaus Mueller

Berlin

35, ledig

Programmierer

Tennis spielen

Das…

Er…

Sein Hobby

And finally, let’s play a bit. Some oft he words have been lost in a labyrynth. Search them and build up a text.

 

 

Start with ‘Das ist Monika.’

 

And finally, the most important task of all, create a short text about yourself. Use words and phrases you learned in today’s lesson.

 

In our next lessons we will dive into some more of German grammar so that we would have a chance to create even better texts!

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Lesson 8: Present Tense for Regular Verbs

In order to be able to speak and understand German you need to know a little bit more than just basic phrases and expressions. The basis of each sentence is a verb. It bears the most meaning in most cases unless it is an auxiliary verb (sein (to be), haben (to have) and some more that we will learn later). Most of the verbs in German are regular. It means that their conjugation follows a standard pattern that we will learn today.

We will start with Present Simple Tense (Präsens). There is nothing complicated about that. You take the verb’s stem and add a personal ending to that.

Stem: You might have noticed that most verbs in German end with –en (i.e. heißen). Anything before that –en is the verb’s stem.

Ending: In English we will only add the ending –s when in the 3rd person. See, I play but he/she plays. In German verbs will get endings in all persons. Good news is that the pattern is pretty simple and same endings would apply to irregular verbs, too. Though there are some other things you will have to pay attention to with irregular verbs. But that’s later. For now let’s stick to regular verbs and their conjugation.

You are familiar with personal pronouns already.

ich I
du You (informal)
er/sie/es He/she/it
wir We
ihr You
sie / Sie They/You (formal)

Now, let’s learn the ending pattern

ich e
du st
er/sie/es t
wir en
ihr t
sie / Sie en

What we will do now is that we will take a regular German verb ‘fragen’ (ask) and will conjugate it.

We take the step ‘frag-’ and just add the endings provided above:

ich frage I ask
du fragst You ask
er/sie/es fragt He/she (it) asks
wir fragen We ask
ihr fragt You ask
sie / Sie fragen They ask

Simple as that! Now you can conjugate German regular and almost can conjugate German irregular verbs.

There are a few things that you need to pay attention though.

  • the verb’s stem ends with  t; d; m or n

For example: arbeiten (to work), finden (to find), etc.

The pattern will look slightly different but not complicated to remember. An additional –e is added to ease the pronunciation.

arbeiten
Ich arbeit e
Du arbeit e st
Er, sie, es arbeit e t
Wir arbeit en
Ihr arbeit e t
Sie, sie arbeit en

Here is a list of similar verbs. Please write them down, find their meanings in the dictionaries, and memorize them:

antworten; arbeiten; atmen; begegnen; beobachten; bilden; bitten; finden; gründen; heiraten; mieten; öffnen; rechnen; reden; retten; trocknen; warten; zeichnen

 

  • the verb’s stem ends with s; ß; x or z

It happens rarely and the only difference in pattern is that the ending –st is changed to –t when we use the verb with ‘du’ pronoun. You have seen that in the conjugation of the verb heißen.

heißen
Ich heiße
Du heiß( ) t
Er, sie, es heißt
Wir heißen
Ihr heißt
Sie, sie heißen

Here is a list of similar verbs. Please write them down, find their meanings in the dictionaries, and memorize them:

beweisen;    heizen;    mixen;    reisen;    reißen;    reizen;    s. setzen;    sitzen

  • the verb’s stem ends with n

This is even the smaller group of verbs. If their step ends with an –l we can see the following pattern:

sammeln (to collect)
Ich samm( )le
Du du sammelst
Er, sie, es sammelt
Wir sammeln
Ihr sammelt
Sie, sie sammeln

Here is a list of similar verbs. Please write them down, find their meanings in the dictionaries, and memorize them:

googeln;    lächeln;    klingeln;  sammeln; ändern (ich ändere, du änderst, er ändert, wir ändern, ihr ändert);  dauern (erinnern;   feiern;   klappern;   verbessern

Now you are all set and no regular German verb can be a trouble for you. Let’s see if that’s true.

Fill in the missing endings for the following verbs:

Ich wart-e sitz- komm-e
Du wart-est sitz- komm-
Er, sie, es wart- sitz-t komm-t
Wir wart-en sitz- komm-en
Ihr wart- sitz-t komm-
Sie, sie wart- sitz-en komm-

Find 15 regular verbs in the following image. Sort them according to the type of conjugation and conjugate them. Translate them into English and memorize.

In our next lesson we will start creating short German text speaking about ourselves and our friends, neighbors, or relatives.

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