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LESSON NOTES

WIE VIEL KOSTET DAS?


In this episode of Coffee Break German we’ll start by learning the
numbers from zero to ten and then learn to deal with transactional
situations involving paying for things in cafés and shops.

INTRODUCTION
Mark asked the following question in the introduction:

Mark: Also, Thomas, was lernen wir heute?


Thomas: Wir lernen die Zahlen.

die Zahlen
the numbers

Coffee Break German Note the word order in the following sentence:

heute lernen wir die Zahlen


Lesson 06 today we’re learning the numbers

Study Notes Since this sentence starts with the word heute, the verb and the
subject pronoun need to change places.

REVIEW
In the review section for this lesson, Thomas challenged Mark to
translate some sentences from German into English:

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meine Mutter heißt Susanne wie heißt dein Bruder?
my mother is called Susanne what is your brother called?

mein Vater heißt Stefan So, just as mein Bruder changed to meine Schwester, so does
my father is called Stefan mein Bruder change to dein Bruder.

meine Schwester heißt Anna This was put into practice with a conversation:
my sister is called Anna
Mark: Thomas, wie heißt deine Schwester?
If you wish to ask the question, “what is your sister called?” then you Thomas: Meine Schwester heißt Sylvia.
can change meine Schwester to deine Schwester: Mark: Und wie heißt dein Vater?
Thomas: Mein Vater heißt Stefan.
deine Schwester Mark: Und wie heißt deine Mutter?
your sister Thomas: Meine Mutter heißt Inge.
Mark: Und wie heißt dein Bruder?
deine Schwester heißt Anna Thomas: Mein Bruder heißt Johannes. Und Mark, wie heißt
your sister is called Anna deine Tochter?
Mark: Meine Tochter heißt Katherine.
wie heißt deine Schwester?
what is your sister called? / what is your sister’s name?

This pattern of M > D for “me” to “you” (informal) is repeated with a


number of words: COUNTING FROM 0-10
The words for each number from zero to ten are listed below:
mich > dich

mir > dir null


zero
meine > deine
eins
Take care, however, with meine > deine as this needs to change one
depending on the gender of the noun:
zwei
two

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drei
three
PAYING FOR THINGS
vier
four To ask how much something costs, you use the following phrase:

fünf wie viel kostet das?


five how much does that cost?

sechs To answer this question, use the following construction:


six
das kostet fünf Euro
sieben that costs five Euros
seven
You may also hear:
acht
eight
es kostet fünf Euro
it costs five Euros
neun
If you don’t understand a complex price like es kostet
nine
zweihundertneununddreißig Euro then you can ask the
following question:
zehn
ten
können Sie das bitte aufschreiben?
can you write it down please?
We will look at larger numbers in future lessons, but learning these
numbers will allow you to “spell out” larger numbers for the time
If you want to ask for the bill in a café or restaurant, you can ask for
being: for example if a shopkeeper were to say to you:
die Rechnung:

das kostet zweihundertneununddreißig Euro


die Rechnung, bite
that costs two hundred and thirty nine Euros
the bill, please

then you would be able to understand this number if it were given as


zwei - drei - neun.

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können Sie mir die Rechnung bringen? entschuldigung
can you please bring me the bill? excuse me

Read and listen to the following conversation which uses a variety of


shopping vocabulary, including these phrases:
GRAMMAR GURU
kann ich Ihnen helfen?
can I help you?
Hallo, and welcome once again to my
Grammar Guru segment. As ever, it’s my job
ich schaue nur, danke to help simplify things for you, when it
I’m just looking, thanks comes to German grammar.
Today’s segment is not so much about what
Mark: Hallo, guten Tag. we’ve been looking at in the main lesson;
Thomas: Grüß Gott. Kann ich Ihnen helfen? instead I’m going to mention something that
Mark: Ich schaue nur, danke. will come in useful in future lessons - and it’s worth getting a head
Thomas: OK. start on this.

Mark: Wie viel kostet das? So far we’ve looked at nouns and adjectives, but we’ve not really
spoken about verbs. Now, what is a verb? Some people describe
Thomas: Das kostet einhundertvierundzwanzig Euro.
verbs as “doing words”. You can think of it in this way if you like.
Mark: Können Sie das bitte aufschreiben?
A verb is the action or state in a sentence, so if we think about
Thomas: Natürlich. Eins - zwei - vier (124). following sentence,
Mark: Eins - zwei - vier. Danke. “the cat ran along the roof”
Thomas: Gern geschehen.
then “ran” is the action - the verb. In the sentence,
Mark: Auf Wiedersehen.
“the cat sat on the mat”,
Thomas: Tschüss.
“sat’ is the verb.
Verbs sometimes change form, depending on who is doing the
Note the expression gern geschehen or gerne which means action, or when the action is being done. Think of “the cat sits...”;
“the cat is sitting”; “the cat will be sitting”. In each case we’re
something along the lines of “you’re welcome”.
talking about sitting in some way or another.
Another phrase which may come in useful in a shopping scenario is Equally, “the car ran”, “the cat is running”, and “the cat will run”
where you’re trying to capture the attention of the shop assistant or are all referring to running in some way. Just as verbs change
waiter / waitress: form in English, they also change form in German.

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The starting point for all of this is the form you’d find in the The appearance of the city has been very much affected by its
dictionary. If you look up “ran” or “running” in the dictionary, recent history. Berlin was divided into West and East Berlin by a
you’d be probably directed to “run”. This dictionary form has a wall for more than 28 years. This Berliner Mauer, the Berlin
special name: it’s called the infinitive. In German, most infinitives Wall, actually consisted of two different walls which were 155km
end in -en, so when you look up a verb in the dictionary, you’ll long, and the space between them about 70m wide. As a result,
find the infinitive form ending in -en, for example, “to run” - when the wall came down in 1989, there suddenly was a lot of free
laufen, and “to sit” will be sitzen. space in the middle of Berlin. Nowadays this space has been filled
The infinitive form is often translated as “to do something”, so with several buildings and parks. One of the parks is called
laufen, “to run” and sitzen, “to sit”. Mauerpark, “Wall Park”, where you will find a famous flea
market every weekend as well as concerts during the summertime.
That’s really all I wanted to share with you today. This will come
in useful in future lessons as we develop our understanding of Only a few parts of the original wall still exist. Very popular
verbs further. among tourists is the so-called East Side Gallery, the longest and
most permanent open-air gallery world wide. It shows paintings
by international artists commenting on the political changes
CULTURAL CORRESPONDENT around 1990.

When you walk through Berlin today you may come across a
In this lesson’s Cultural Correspondent feature, Julia talks about the
double line of cobblestones running through the streets. This line
city where she lives: Berlin. indicates the original route of the wall to the people nowadays. I
still find it very moving that I’m easily able to pass this line on my
Hallo Mark, hallo Thomas, und guten Tag an walks through town. Life was not that simple for my parents’
alle unsere Coffee Break German Zuhörer!
generation.
Ich bin’s, Julia, your Cultural Correspondent, In this episode I’ve focused on only one aspect of Berlin and there’s
and today I’m going to take you on a trip. In lots more to see and do. However this aspect of our recent history
fact, I’ll take you to my home town, Berlin,
is so important for Berliners, as well as for visitors, I think it’s
and I’ll tell you what you really shouldn’t
important not to miss it out. I’ll tell you more about Berlin another
miss while visiting this amazing town.
time! Tschüss und bis zum nächsten Mal.
Berlin is a city of contrasts: it can be very
old, and young; it can be beautiful, and ugly; very modern and
also very historical; and it can also be very rich and poor; and
very traditional, as well as very international and multicultural. COMING UP NEXT TIME
All these contrasts make it a kind of magnet for people from all
over the world who enjoy living. and working, or just spending
In the final section of the lesson Mark asked the question:
their holidays here.

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was lernen wir nächstes Mal? CORE VOCABULARY
what are we going to be learning about...
die Zahlen
Thomas answered by explaining, the numbers

nächstes Mal lernen wir etwas über die Stadt null


next time we’re learning about the town zero

Note the inversion of the subject pronoun wir and the verb lernen. eins
You can compare this to heute lernen wir ..., “today we’re
one
learning...”
zwei
two

DAS REICHT FÜR HEUTE drei


three

Ready for more? Turn the page to continue with the vier
bonus materials for this lesson. four

fünf
five

sechs
six

sieben
seven

acht
eight

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neun
nine
BONUS VOCABULARY
zehn
ten es kostet zehn Franken
it costs ten (Swiss) francs
wie viel kostet das?
how much does that cost? es kostet fünf Dollar
it costs five dollars
das kostet fünf Euro
that costs five Euros es kostet acht Pfund
it costs eight pounds
es kostet fünf Euro
it costs five Euros das trinkgeld
tip
können Sie das bitte aufschreiben?
can you write it down please? kann ich mit Karte zahlen?
can I pay by card?
die Rechnung, bitte
the bill, please die Kreditkarte
credit card
können Sie mir die Rechnung bringen?
can you bring me the bill? der Bankomat /der Geldautomat
ATM, cash machine
kann ich Ihnen helfen?
can I help you?

ich schaue nur, danke


I’m just looking, thanks

entschuldigung
excuse me

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