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Coffee Break German

Lesson 08
Study Notes

Coffee Break German: Lesson 08 - Notes page 1 of 14


LESSON NOTES

GEHEN SIE ÜBER DEN PLATZ


It’s time to develop your skills in dealing with directions and finding
your way around the town. In this lesson you will build your
vocabulary for places in the town and learn to understand more
complex directions. We’ll also introduce the concept of “case” in
German

INTRODUCTION
In the introduction to this lesson, Mark says:

Mark: Heute lernen wir ein bisschen mehr über die Stadt.

ein bisschen
a little

mehr
more

REVIEW
Before learning some new words and phrases, we practised some of
the expressions included in the last lesson.

Sie sind hier, aber der Supermarkt ist dort


You are here but the supermarket is there

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der Strand ist hier und die Apotheke ist dort
the beach is here and the pharmacy is there

We introduced a number of new words in the review section to allow


us to practise this construction further:

das Schwimmbad
the swimming pool

die Schule
the school

das Schwimmbad ist hier und die Schule ist dort


the swimming pool is here and the school is there

die Post
the post office

das Kino
the cinema

die Post ist hier und das Kino ist dort


the post office is here and the cinema is there

der Dom
the cathedral

das Museum
the museum

der Dom ist hier und das Museum ist dort


the cathedral is here and the museum is there

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das Krankenhaus
the hospital

der Park
the park

das Krankenhaus ist hier und der Park ist dort


the hospital is here and the park is there

MORE DIRECTIONS
The following phrases should help you further if you need to ask for
directions in the town.

ich habe mich verlaufen


I am lost

Literally this means something like “I have got myself lost”.

We learned the expression Entschuldigung previously as “excuse


me”. However this is actually a noun meaning “apology”. An
alternative is:

entschuldigen Sie, bitte


excuse me, please / “can you please excuse me”

ist es weit?
is it far?

ja, es ist weit


yes it is far

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nein, es ist nicht weit
no, it’s not far

geradeaus
straight on

links
left

rechts
right

The chances are you may be given more complex directions, but with
the aid of a map, these words can be “picked out” of a conversation,
as Thomas demonstrated:

Mark: Wo ist das Schwimmbad, bitte?


Thomas: Ah, das Schwimmbad... Hmm, ein Moment. Ah! Sie
gehen geradeaus, dann nach links, dann wieder
geradeaus, und dann nach rechts. Dort ist das
Schwimmbad.

dann
then

nach
(in this context) towards / to; so dann nach links can mean “then
to(wards) the left”

If you have not understood something, you can use the expression:

noch einmal, bitte


once more, please

Coffee Break German: Lesson 08 - Notes page 5 of 14


Mark: Noch einmal, bitte.
Thomas: Das Schwimmbad? Gehen Sie geradeaus, dann nach
links, dann wieder geradeaus, und dann nach rechts.
Dort ist das Schwimmbad.

gehen Sie...
you go...

wieder
again

Did you notice that the phrase dort ist das Schwimmbad gives
another example of the verb coming in second position? Since we
want to stress “there” (dort), we start the sentence with this word
and the next word which follows has to be the verb ist. Interestingly
this word order works in English too!

So, you will note that from these directions it is possible to identify
the key words geradeaus, links and rechts in order to reach your
destination! Here is the full translation of the conversation:

Mark: Where is the swimming pool?


Thomas: Ah, the swimming pool... Hmm, just a moment. Ah! You
go straight on, then to the left, then straight on again,
then to the right. The swimming pool is there.
Mark: Once more, please.
Thomas: The swimming pool? You go straight on, then left, then
straight on again, then right. The swimming pool is
there.

Coffee Break German: Lesson 08 - Notes page 6 of 14


die erste Straße rechts
the first street on the right

die erste Straße links


the first street on the left

die zweite Straße rechts


the second street on the right

die zweite Straße links


the second street on the left

die dritte Straße rechts


the third street on the right

die dritte Straße links


the third street on the left

über die Brücke


over the bridge

über die Kreuzung


over the crossroads

über den Platz


over the square

With this final example you will notice that der Platz (the square)
changes to den Platz. This is because the word über means that the
“case” of the word which follows changes. Our Grammar Guru
explains this in more detail!

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GRAMMAR GURU

Well, yes, the whole idea of “case” is a bit


difficult to understand because we don’t
really have cases in English. However we’ll
work through this step by step and I’ll try to
make it clearer for you!
Basically, the case of a word is the form that
it takes as a result of its relationship to other
words in the sentence. I like to think of case as your relationship
status on Facebook! You can be single, in a relationship, engaged,
married, and of course there’s also “it’s complicated”, which works
well for German grammar! Your status changes depending on the
relationship you have with other people, and it’s the same with
words and cases. For example, articles, adjectives, nouns and
pronouns can change, depending on whether they are the subject
or object of a sentence, or if they come after prepositions. Let’s
look at some examples. We’ll focus on the definite article der and
how it changes with the different cases.
The first case is the nominative case. The nominative form of a
word is the way you would find it in the dictionary. If we looked
up “town square” in the dictionary we would find der Platz. Der
is the nominative form of the masculine definite article. If we use
this noun as the subject of the sentence, it stays in the nominative
case, which means it doesn’t change from its dictionary form:
der Platz ist dort
the square is there
However, if we want to use der Platz as the object of the
sentence, for example “I see the square”, where “the square” is the
“object” that we see, we would need to put the word into a different
case. This case is called the accusative case. It’s almost like
you’re “accusing” the square of being the object that you see. We
don’t notice any difference in English when this happens: we say “I

Coffee Break German: Lesson 08 - Notes page 8 of 14


see the square” and “the square is there”. However in German it’s a
bit more complicated.
In the sentence “I see the square” you change the definite article
der into den, so it becomes:
ich sehe den Platz
I see the square
Den is therefore the accusative form of the masculine definite
article. This accusative form isn’t only used when the noun is the
object of the sentence: it’s also used after certain prepositions. One
of these prepositions is über which we have seen in this lesson. So
if you are telling someone to go over the square, you would say:
gehen Sie über den Platz
go across the square
You may also have noticed that die Kreuzung stayed the same
after über. This is because the accusative form of the feminine
definite article stays the same: it’s die in both nominative and
accusative. The same happens with das which remains the same
in both the nominative and accusative.
Let’s recap with the help of this table:

MASCULINE FEMININE NEUTER

NOMINATIVE der die das

ACCUSATIVE den die das

Hopefully you now feel more confident understanding the mystery


of German cases!

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CULTURAL CORRESPONDENT
In this lesson’s Cultural Correspondent feature, Julia continues her
tour of the biggest cities in the German-speaking world.

Hallo Mark, grüß Gott, Thomas, und moin


moin an alle unsere Coffee Break German
Zuhörer. Ich bin’s, Julia, your Cultural
Correspondent, and as promise today I’m
bringing you the second part of our little tour
through the biggest cities of Germany, Austria
and Switzerland. We’ve done Germany, so
today we’re going to focus on the cities you
really shouldn’t miss when travelling to
Austria and Switzerland.

Let’s start in the east with Austria’s beautiful capital Vienna, or as


we say Wien. Vienna is the city of music: the waltzes of Johann
Strauss are known the world over. The river Danube flows
through Vienna and I’m sure you’ve heard of Strauss’s An der
Schönen Blauen Donau. Another interesting fact about Vienna
is that in the international Quality of Living Survey, Vienna has
been ranked first for four years running since 2009!

Moving further west, we come to Salzburg, another beautiful and


graceful city sitting on the river Salzach. What Vienna is to
Strauss, Salzburg is to another very famous composer: Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart. Everywhere you go in Salzburg you will see
Mozart somewhere! For British and American listeners, you may
well know Salzburg from a famous film set in the city about a nun
and the family of children she looked after. The hills around the
city are indeed alive with the Sound of Music!

Before we reach Switzerland on our journey westwards through


Austria, we reach the capital of the Tyrol region, Innsbruck. It’s
the fifth biggest town in Austria and a huge winter sports town.
Indeed it was the location of the 1976 Winter Olympics and in
January 2012 the Winter Youth Olympic Games took place there.

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Crossing the border to
Switzerland, we reach
the largest city in the
country, Zürich. It is
among the world’s
largest financial
centres, and it is home
to many museums and
Salzburg art galleries.
Zürich
Our last stop on our
Luzern Innsbruck Wien
German-speaking
tourist trail is Luzern,
Lucerne, which is a
beautiful city nestled in
the mountains. It is very
popular with tourists
who can stroll through the old town and marvel at the timber-
framed buildings - we call this Fachwerk in German - and in
summer can take a boat out onto the lake and enjoy spectacular
views of the Alps on all sides!

So there you have it! What are you waiting for? Start planning
your tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland, so that you
can put your Coffee Break German into practice!

DAS REICHT FÜR HEUTE

Ready for more? Turn the page to continue with the


bonus materials for this lesson.

Coffee Break German: Lesson 08 - Notes page 11 of 14


CORE VOCABULARY
das Schwimmbad
the swimming pool

die Schule
the school

die Post
the post office

das Kino
the cinema

der Dom
the cathedral

das Museum
the museum

das Krankenhaus
the hospital

der Park
the park

ich habe mich verlaufen


I am lost

entschuldigen Sie, bitte


excuse me, please / “can you please excuse me”

Coffee Break German: Lesson 08 - Notes page 12 of 14


ist es weit?
is it far?

ja, es ist weit


yes it is far

nein, es ist nicht weit


no, it’s not far

geradeaus
straight on

links
left

rechts
right

noch einmal, bitte


once more, please

die erste Straße rechts


the first street on the right

die erste Straße links


the first street on the left

die zweite Straße rechts


the second street on the right

die zweite Straße links


the second street on the left

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die dritte Straße rechts
the third street on the right

die dritte Straße links


the third street on the left

über die Brücke


over the bridge

über die Kreuzung


over the crossroads

über den Platz


over the square

BONUS VOCABULARY
die Einbahnstraße
the one-way street

der Tunnel
the tunnel

der Kreisverkehr
the roundabout

die Ampel
the traffic light

der Zebrastreifen
zebra crossing / pedestrian crossing

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