Learn German with DW Radio D (Series 2)
To finish with, German students can test their listening comprehension once again with a little quiz. Eulalia and Compu present four listening exercises that need to be solved. Which words are missing? For the last episode, the team at Radio D have thought up something special. Eulalia presents a quiz where listeners have to guess certain words. Compu can give a few clues, but whoever has been paying close attention in the last 25 episodes will be able to work it out without any help. Correct answers can be sent in by email to [email protected] And after so much hard work the professor lets listeners off from further grammar exercises.
Now it’s time once again to say goodbye: unfortunately Jan’s internship is coming to an end and Philipp and Paula are thinking about a letter of reference. Today Jan expresses his generosity. There is to be a small farewell party to mark Jan’s last day as an intern at Radio D. He surprises his colleagues with some drinks and snacks. But Paula and Philipp are still busy writing him a letter of reference. For this they need to find the right phrasing, because if Jan gets a good reference then he can maybe attend a journalism school. The professor is taking a look at the conjunctions “falls” and “wenn”, and explains conditional sentences to the listeners.
This time Jan is visiting a school that offers an unusual idea for a German project. He asks the pupils why they are learning German on top of their mother tongue, and what they want to do later in life. Jan comes up with a report from a school that consists 80 percent of immigrants and presents them with an unusual German project. There he meets Vladimir, Yen-Lin and Gülseren who report about their experiences with two different languages and their difficulties in learning German. The professor goes easy on listeners this time and limits himself to a short grammar lesson. He explains temporal phrases with the conjunction “bevor”, which mark an event in the past.
The excursion through Berlin ends for Paula, Philipp, Jan and Josefine with a relaxing and informative meal in the garden of the Tacheles Art House. There Josefine makes an interesting acquaintance. Marching around makes you hungry and the journalists from Radio D would like to eat something. Only after conferring can they eventually decide on a place. In Tacheles Josefine meets an artist who makes sculptures out of rubbish and from him she learns more about the history of Tacheles. The listeners, on the other hand, learn more about relative clauses and syntax from the helpful professor.
This time in the Radio D studio Paula is looking at German reunification. She has invited several guests to discuss this matter together with her. Paula is hosting a discussion on the theme “East and West Germans”. She speaks to an east German car mechanic, a psychologist and an economy expert. Her questions to the guests today: are there still prejudices? And what would be a more positive perspective for East and West Germans? The professor also has some complex questions to tackle: he is shedding light on the subjunctive of “haben” and “sein” and the subjunctive construction with the verb form “würde”.
In Berlin Paula, Philipp, Jan and Josefine visit the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate and the wall path, which shows where the Berlin Wall stood. Radio D presents a radio play about the construction of the wall. On the evening of 13th August, 1961, the GDR national police begins erecting a wall along the border with West Berlin. A married couple whose house lies directly on the border spontaneously decides to flee. In the West the fire brigade is waiting and they catch all the people who jump out of the windows. In today’s grammar lesson we have the indefinite article “ein” and the indefinite pronoun “eins”. The professor draws your attention to several hazards that one must watch out for in these situations.
Paula and Philipp are busying themselves in Berlin with the art project “United Buddy Bears” that is being organized by artists from 120 different countries. An interview should reveal more details about the project. Back in Berlin Paula and Philipp go on an excursion through the capital with Josefine and Jan. Josefine is most fascinated by a very special art project: 120 big plastic bear statues are going on a world tour as a symbol for tolerance. The journalists question the press spokeswoman of the company and learn more about the colorful bears. While the others amuse themselves in Berlin, the professor has work to do: he is explaining adjective endings that come before the substantive. Not an easy business.
At the end of their stay in Jena, the two reporters visit a particularly fascinating museum. In the House of the Romantics they make the acquaintance of several famous German thinkers of the 18th century. The House of the Romantics in Jena is devoted to early Romanticism. Here visitors can learn more about the new ways of thinking of the era and learn about the attempt at an intellectual and poetic revolution. The two journalists from Radio D take the listeners with them on a foray through the museum and introduce them to Fichte, Novalis and the salon of Caroline Schlegel. With so much going on at the same time it stands to reason that the professor should explain the conjunctions “als” and “wenn”, which can be used to describe simultaneous events.
In the 18th century Jena attracted numerous great thinkers from various other towns. Among them was the famous writer Friedrich Schiller. Philipp and Paula present a radio play about his first lecture in Jena. In this episode listeners learn a bit about Schiller and Goethe and can plunge into 18th century Jena. Here Schiller gave his first lecture at the age of 29. Over 500 students came to this event. Due to the huge surge in listeners, a new venue for the lecture had to be found at the last minute. The professor brings listeners back from the past to the future and looks this time at the verb “werden” which indicates a future event.
The mystery of the secret laser beams is almost solved. But Paula and Philipp have little reason to be happy. The whole story is already in the newspaper. Where did their rivals get all the information from? Bad news for Paula and Philipp: there is already a detailed report about the origin of the lasers in the newspaper. That just leaves the question of why the entrance to the optics plant wasn’t better guarded. The two journalists set off on their way there. Once there, they hope to find a press conference and a statement by the press spokesperson. Who was it who actually spoke here? On the occasion of all this confusion, the professor asks this question and looks at direct and indirect speech.
Paula and Philipp have come a step closer to solving the mystery. They now know where the laser beams are coming from. But Eulalia has not returned from her reconnaissance flight. What could this mean? After Paula and Philipp have located the laser beams, they inform the optics plant so that the case can finally be solved. But they are most concerned by the disappearance of Eulalia. The two journalists have heard a suspicious cry. Has something happened to Eulalia? After so much tension the listeners can take a breather with some grammar. The professor deals with the possessive pronouns of the third person singular “sein” and “ihr”.
The two journalists from Radio D don’t get any further with their own investigations. Then, just at the right moment, Eulalia surprisingly pops up in Jena. Maybe she can save Paula and Philipp some work. Paula and Philipp can’t get into the optics plant and the building is very high. That’s where Eulalia comes in helpful since she can observe from the air where the laboratories of the plant are located. And the clever owl does indeed make an interesting discovery. But then something unforeseen happens. The professor is also totally confused by all this commotion so in this episode he takes the example of the reflexive verb “konzentrieren”. This presents a good opportunity to take a closer look at reflexive pronouns.
Philipp and Paula have a first suspicion and want to take a look at what the laser experts are doing in the “optic town” Jena. And they already have an idea where they could get some information. In the optics plant Philipp and Paula want to investigate a lead. An interview at the site should answer their first questions. But the press spokesperson doesn’t want to give them any information at all and sends Paula and Philipp away. The reporters investigate on their own initiative and become witnesses of secret events. The professor proves that he is more talkative than the press spokesperson by dealing with everyday speech, in particular abbreviated phrases in the spoken language.
As soon as they arrive in Jena, Paula and Philipp of course want to get to the bottom of the mysterious laser attacks. Soon after, there is already another occurrence. What is going on? On the way to the hotel, the two reporters from Radio D use the opportunity to ask the taxi driver about the mysterious occurrences in the town. They come across a sudden warning: someone is going around and destroying car mirrors with laser beams. Are these attacks connected to the laser congress that is currently being held in Jena? The grammar situation looks rather more harmless. The professor explains the prepositions “mit”, “zu” and “in”, which take the dative.
Philipp’s car is broken so the two journalists from Radio D have to travel to the site of their next investigation by train. Some very strange occurrences are taking place there. A clear case for Paula and Philipp. Just as Philipp has finished taking his car to be repaired, a new investigation is already waiting. In Jena someone is causing trouble with laser beams. Paula and Philipp need to shine a light on the matter. So they go by train to the site of the occurrences. But as is so often the case, not everything happens as it should. The professor uses this as an excuse to look at the modal verb “sollen” and explains its meaning in a statement or question phrase.
The professor takes up the listeners’ questions about the episodes so far. With the help of several audio samples he shows the listeners that they can already understand a lot without knowing every word that is said. The main focus of the mail from listeners this time is strategies for better understanding of the spoken language. The professor answers the learners’ questions again and gives useful tips on listening comprehension and vocabulary learning. Among the things he presents are loudspeaker announcements, phone calls, and radio announcements. The listeners learn how you can order what is said based on intonation, known words and background sounds and guess unknown words from the context.
At the age of 22, Ludwig van Beethoven composed the world famous “Ode to Joy” that is now the anthem of the European Union. An audio play leads the listeners out of the Beethoven house and straight into the 18th century. Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most famous citizens of the town of Bonn. Paula and Philipp present an audio play about the composition of his well-known 9th Symphony and the greatest stroke of fate in the life of the famous composer: the loss of his hearing. When someone doesn’t understand something, it makes sense to repeat what was said. The professor deals with indirect speech in subordinate clauses with the conjunction “dass”.
The two journalists from Radio D are still puzzling over whether the music students are right with their suspicions. But Eulalia is again one step ahead of them. She too has made a night-time discovery. Eulalia surprisingly appears in Bonn and comes to the aid of Paula and Philipp once again. She has already seen the unknown pianist and knows where the music is coming from. The reporters from Radio D follow Eulalia’s advice to conduct an interview with the “young Beethoven.” But will they manage to find the musician? Even though Paula and Philipp have still not succeeded in finding out the explanation for the strange piano concerts, our professor can show us how to go about conquering something as he tackles subordinate clauses.
Philipp and Paula want to find out who is playing the piano so beautifully in the Beethoven House each night. In a street cafe they find out some interesting things. Have they got a hot lead or is it just rumors? After a short night Paula and Philipp are sitting in a street cafe when they overhear an interesting conversation. Three music students seem to have a suspicion about who the night-time pianist could be. Paula and Philipp learn of an especially gifted and mysterious music student who everyone calls “Beethoven”. While Philipp and Paula wonder who the passionate pianist in the Beethoven House is, our professor passionately devotes his time to indirect question phrases without an interrogative.
Jan begins his first day as an intern at Radio D. But Paula and Philipp hardly have time to take care of him because Compu has a new case for them. The reporters have to rush off to Bonn. Just as Jan has got to know all his colleagues in the editorial office, the first investigation is already underway. Paula and Philipp have to rush head over heals to Bonn. In the birth house of the composer Beethoven strange things have been happening at night. On the site they both set about getting to the bottom of it. Less mysterious than the events in the Beethoven House is word order in indirect questions, which the professor is taking a closer look at today.
“Use your head to save your legs”, goes the expression. But sometimes that’s not enough. Eulalia tells listeners an interesting story, because she too knows of an unusual race. Story time on Radio D: like in Grünheide, it went similarly for the hedgehog who challenged the hare with much bigger legs to a race. Together with his wife he wanted to teach the hare a lesson about what such pride leads to. Most of the story is told in the preterit form. For the professor it therefore offers another good reason to investigate the past tense forms of verbs -- this time also the irregular verbs which present a few hazards.
In Grünheide strange things are happening. How can it be that the Trabbi reached its goal before the fast Porsche? In Jan, Paula has a quick-minded companion who knows where the mystery’s solution lies. Thanks to Jan Backer, Paula makes an interesting discovery on the way to Möllensee. Something doesn’t quite seem right about this race. Paula is on the trace of the Trabant driver’s trick. And what does Philipp know? He seems to have fallen for the Trabant driver Günther’s trick. Only the professor can never be fooled. This time there are more preterit forms on the program and the irregular verbs “haben” and “sein” are no problem for him either.
In the bar in Grünheide a young man suddenly appears who Paula takes along to the finishing line of the race in Möllensee. What does the stranger know about the unusual race and what links him to Radio D? As Philipp’s car won’t start, Jan Becker, who Paula met shortly before in the bar, comes unexpectedly to their aid. While Philipp stays in Grünheide, Paula drives with Jan to Möllensee. That is where the race is supposed to finish. On the way Paula learns something about the stranger that she really should have known already … The Professor also looks to the past and examines the preterit forms of the modal verbs “müssen” and “wollen”.
In the bar in Grünheide Paula and Philipp begin to ask around. The villagers are all convinced that the Trabbi will win the race against the Porsche. But Philipp sees it very differently. In order to find out what is going on with the race in Grünheide, Paula and Philipp take to the local bar. There they hope to get some useful information from the regulars’ table. But they keep on hearing the same stories. After a couple of beers, Philipp gets himself into a risky bet with the locals. The professor is still concentrating on the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives, especially with the umlaut accents on some of the adjectives and the different forms of the superlative.
Paula and Philipp’s next assignment takes them to a small village in Brandenburg. A very special kind of race is supposed to take place here. Of course the two reporters from Radio D could not miss out on that. An unusual race draws Paula and Philipp to the countryside. Initially it doesn’t seem like much is going on. But once they arrive in Grünheide in Brandenburg it becomes very interesting. Lots of people are bustling towards the local bar. The driver of a Trabant, a popular East German car, claims his car goes faster than a Porsche. For the professor the race is a good opportunity to take another close look at comparative and superlative forms of adjectives. Which car is fast, which is faster than the other, and which is the fastest altogether?
All listeners who are joining in for the second part of Radio D still have the opportunity in this first lesson to get to know the completely normal chaos of the office. There is some excitement in the Radio D editorial office: The editors Philipp and Paula, the cleaner Josefine, the owl Eulalia and the computer Compu receive an email from their former colleague Ayhan. Since Ayhan left Berlin to look after his father, Paula has had the blues. Philipp, on the other hand, seems to be in a very good mood. And the professor, who’s always willing to listen to the listeners’ questions, also gives some important tips for listening comprehension for newcomers in Part 2 of the series.