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Lesson I.9: Schule
Hello from Berlin! 
School in Germany 
- School is not regulated nationwide, but by each Land
- German "Kindergarten" is optional - it translates rather to "play school", "Vorschule" being roughly the equivalent to "Kindergarten"
- From the age of six on, all Germans attend a "Grundschule" (elementary school) for four or six years, depending on the Land.
- After that, they go to either
- the "Hauptschule" which is industrially oriented,
- the "Realschule", which is ... oriented,
- the "Gymnasium", which is academically oriented,
- or the "Gesamtschule", or comprehensive school.
- Schooling is obligatory until the age of 16, but the Gymnasium diploma "Abitur" can only be obtained after 12 or 13 years, i.e. at age 18 or 19.
- Latin and sometimes even ancient Greek are regularly taught at the Gymnasium. For the "Abitur", at least two foreign languages as well as some calculus and analysis classes have to be taken.
- School days often are from 8:00-13:00. In most 'Länder', only the older students have additional classes between about 14:00-15:30 (i.e. 8AM - 1PM and 2PM - 3:30PM)
- In most schools, Extracurricular Activities are offered, such as Drama Club or School Choir, but they are less common than in the U.S. Though many students feel some sort of identification with their school, most are just happy when they can go home.
- Generally speaking, many schools still are more formal than US or Canadian schools.
- The marking system uses
- 1 (very good, 87,5% or 96%),
- 2 (good 75% or 85%), **
- 3 (satisfactory, 62,5% or 65%),
- 4 (sufficient 50% or 45%).
- 5 (faulty) is failed or 25%.
- 6 (not sufficient) is only used when the student literally hands in a blank sheet or failed.
- These marks can be modified with a "+" or a "-" to indicate a tendency, so e.g. 2+ is a fairly good mark that corresponds to about 80%.
Silke: Jetzt haben wir Mathe. Torsten: Oh nein, ich habe überhaupt keine Lust dazu. Silke: Hast du die Aufgaben gemacht? Torsten: Ja, im Bus. Silke: Super! Kann ich sie abschreiben?
Lehrer (Betritt den Raum): Guten Morgen! Klasse: Guten Morgen!
Lehrer: Wer möchte die Aufgaben an der Tafel rechnen? Florian? Florian geht zur Tafel, schreibt an und liest vor: "5 plus 8 ist gleich 13" "8 minus 5 ist gleich 3" "3 mal 8 ist gleich 24" "24 geteilt durch 12 ist gleich 2" Lehrer: Sehr gut, Florian!
Die Glocke läutet. Es ist Fünfminutenpause. Silke: Schnell, wir müssen zu Musik! Torsten: Au ja, darauf freue ich mich schon. Silke: Was machen wir heute? Torsten: Wir wollen ein Lied von Grönemeyer singen! Silke: Welches denn? Torsten: "Alkohol", glaube ich.
Nach dem Musikunterricht: Silke: Jetzt haben wir nur noch Geschichte... Torsten: Komm, wir schwänzen und gehen ins Bistro. Silke: Schon wieder!
Und Satz für Satz ... 
Oh nein, ich habe überhaupt keine Lust dazu.
"Lust (zu etwas) haben" means "feeling like (it)". "Ich habe keine Lust (dazu)" is "I don't feel like (it)". "Ich habe überhaupt keine Lust" emphasizes it, meaning "I don't feel like it at all."
Hast du die Aufgaben gemacht? Have you the tasks done?
"Did you do your homework?"
Ja, im Bus. Yes, in the bus.
This is a common practice of students everywhere in the world, I guess...
Notice the contraction of "im", which is derived from "in dem", "in the".
Super! Kann ich sie noch schnell abschreiben? Super! Can I just quickly copy them?
"Super", "Cool", "Toll", are common exclamations ... "Noch schnell" is here meant as "while there is still time"
Lehrer (Betritt den Raum): Guten Morgen! Teacher (enters the room): Good Morning! Klasse: Guten Morgen! Class: Good Morning! Wer möchte die Aufgaben an der Tafel rechnen? Florian? Who would like the tasks on the blackboard calculate?
"Who would like to do these questions on the blackboard?" Note that "Tafel" is related to "table", meaning a flat surface, and indeed German "Tafel" can also designate a table prepared for a feast.
Don't let the weird order of the words disturb you, even if the phrase seems totally incomprehensible at first. I'll try to construct this bit by bit:
This is the basic question and answer pair:
"Wer rechnet?" - "Ich rechne." "Who calculates?" - "I calculate."
To ask, if you want to do something, you use a construction similar to English:
"Wer will rechnen" - "Ich will rechnen." "Who wants to calculate" - "I want to calculate."
Note that the "to" is already included in the German word "rechnen". "Rechnen" is clearly already an infinitive, and doesn't need a "zu" to prove it. This is one of the main reasons why complicated conjugations can survive, they contain information that doesn't have to be expressed otherwise then...
To be a little more polite (or at least seem like it, since our teacher probably wouldn't take a no for an answer)
"Wer möchte rechnen?" - "Ich möchte rechnen!" "Who would like to calculate?" - "I would like to calculate"
This is another example for brevity by conjugation. The word "möchte" contains the "would", as it is a "Konjunktiv"-form of the word "mögen" which translates to "like". Don't be discouraged, many Germans don't realize this, and many don't use the Konjunktiv correctly, if ever. However, "ich möchte"-phrases are extremely popular, so just use them, even if you didn't understand yet a word of the explanation above ;-)
Let's introduce objects in our phrase:
"Wer rechnet die Aufgabe?" - "Ich rechne die Aufgabe" "Who calculates the task?" - "I calculate the task", meaning "Who answers the question"
This is a direct object, "Aufgabe" is in the accusative case. Because this is a feminine noun, this is not so obvious, but the structure is the same as in:
"Wer sieht den Mann?" - "Ich sehe den Mann." "Who sees the man?" - "I see the man."
Now, we also have an adverbial expression of the place. This is an expression that defines the verb, thus ad-verbial.
"Wer rechnet an der Tafel?" - "Ich rechne an der Tafel" "Who calculates on the blackboard?" - "I calculate on the blackboard"
Now let's put all this together:
"Wer rechnet die Aufgabe an der Tafel?" - "Ich rechne die Aufgabe an der Tafel." "Who calculates the task on the blackboard?" - "I calculate the task on the blackboard"
Note that the order expressions is widely interchangeable. You can emphasize something by putting it closer to the end of the question.
And now for the whole phrase in all its glory:
"Wer | möchte | die Aufgabe | an der Tafel | rechnen?" - "Ich | möchte | die Aufgabe | an der Tafel | rechnen." "Who | would like | the task | on the blackboard | calculate?" - "I | would like | the task | on the blackboard | calculate."
It wasn't THAT bad, was it?
Florian geht zur Tafel, schreibt an und liest vor: Florian goes to the blackboard, writes on and reads out:
"Florian goes to the blackboard, writes down and reads out aloud"
"zur" is another contraction, this time of "zu" and "der". Note that after "zu" follows the dative case, so "der" is not the masculine but the feminine article.
"anschreiben" splits to "schreibt an", and means literally "writing on". It is often used when writing legibly on a large, visible surface such as blackboard or a flipchart.
"vorlesen" splits to "liest vor" and translates to "read aloud".
"5 plus 8 ist gleich 13" "8 minus 5 ist gleich 3" "3 mal 8 ist 24" "24 geteilt durch 12 gleich 2"
So, as you might have guessed, plus and minus are the same as in English - they are just pronounced German. The verbs "addieren" and "subtrahieren" are probably not difficult either... "Ist gleich" or short "gleich" or just "ist" corresponds obviously to "is equal to" or "equals".
"mal" means "times". This is also used in every day phrases, such as "100mal habe ich dir gesagt ..." "I told you a 100 times ..." The corresponding verb is "malnehmen" or "multiplizieren"
"geteilt durch" is literally "divided by", and the verb is "teilen" or "dividieren".
Lehrer: Sehr gut, Florian! Very good, Florian!
Now, that was easy!
Die Glocke läutet. Es ist Fünfminutenpause. The bell rings. It is five-minute-break
Between single classes, there is usually a break of five minutes to allow teachers and students to go from one classroom to another. In most schools, classes such as German, English, History, Philosophy are taught in the classroom. Classes that use special equipment, such as all sciences, music and arts and of course computers and sport are being taught in a specialized lab classes. Roughly every second break is 15 minutes long, and if there are lessons in the afternoon, there's often a break of 45 to 60 minutes for lunch.
Schnell, wir müssen zu Musik! Quick, we must to music!
This sentence sounds strange. This is, because in everyday German, sometimes the verb gehen can be left out, if it is clear what is meant. In this case, the complete phrase would have to be "Wir müssen zu Musik gehen". But since Torsten will not think Silke is going to fly there, there will be no misunderstanding. Additionally, the word "class", or "course" is missing, which is the usual way of students to talk about their subjects.
Note: In English, the phrase might be "We have to go to the music room" instead of must. The German translation "Wir haben in den Musikraum zu gehen" would be understood, but is quite formal. Additionally, there is a connotation that the speaker distances himself from the order he is being given.
Au ja, darauf freue ich mich schon! Oh yes, to this look forward I myself already!
Whew, what was that?
Let's start at the beginning. "Au ja" ist an exclamation meaning "cool", "that's great". It has nothing to do with the German equivalent of "ouch!", which is "au(a)!"
"Sich freuen" means "being happy". It is reflexive such as in "I help myself", because the subject and the object are the same. Some phrases simply are constructed like this, even if there seems to be no real reason to this, and many languages know this phenomenon. The "sich" here is technically the accusative of "he, she, it" and is being changed depending on the person:
ich freue mich I am happy du freust dich you are happy er, sie, es freut sich he, she, it is happy wir freuen uns we are happy ihr freut euch you are happy Sie/sie freuen sich they are happy
Note that "to be happy" actually would be rather translated by "glücklich sein", but it is the closest English equivalent to "sich freuen".
"Sich über etwas freuen" means "to be happy about something". This is kind of self-explanatory. But "sich auf etwas freuen", literally "to be happy on something" means "to look forward to". This is a common phrase that uses the on in the same wide sense as in "on drugs", or "living on something" - there is no spatial relation here...
In "darauf" you recognize the "auf". The "da" is a demonstrative prounoun such as in "that place". "Darauf" actually is another contraction which developped a long time ago from "da-herauf". The "darauf" is referencing the word "Musik" from Silke's sentence.
So "Au ja, darauf freue ich mich schon" or "to-this look-forward I myself already" just means "Great, I'm already looking forward to that"
Maybe it comforts you a little that the English phrase in a word-by-word translation to German would be just as unintelligible...
Was machen wir heute? What make we today?
"What we (are going to) do today?" Note again, that "machen" often does not translate to "make", but to "do"!
Wir wollen ein Lied von Grönemeyer singen! We want a song of Grönemeyer sing!
"We want to sing a song by Grönemeyer!"
Welches denn? Which then?
"Alkohol", glaube ich... "Alcohol", believe I...
Note that adding a "glaube ich" is another common phrase, exacly as "I think" or "I believe" can be added to an English phrase. (Never mind the word order, this is because Alcohol is the object, so the verb is at the second position in the text)
Herbert Grönemeyer is a very popular German rock singer from the Ruhr region. His most famous songs include "Männer", "Bochum" (a city in the Ruhr region), "Mensch" and also "Alkohol".
Nach dem Musikunterricht: After the music class:
"Unterricht" comes from "unterrichten" "to teach", and means simply "class". Better not think about "under" and "right" here, which you might have correctly recognized as the word's components "richten" literally means "to correct".
Jetzt haben wir nur noch Geschichte... Now have we only still history...
"Now we have only history left"
Komm, wir schwänzen und gehen ins Bistro. Come, we skip and go in the bistro.
"Come on, let's skip class and go to the bistro instead". As in English, "Komm" can be used to motivate others.
There is yet another contraction here "ins" is derived from "in das", meaning "in the". "das" is the neutral article in accusative case here.
Schon wieder! Already again!
- Make a list of all the contractions used in this chapter. Can you determine the full tables?
School-Related Verbs 
Lesen To Read Schreiben To Write Rechnen To Calculate (doing maths) Studieren To Study Lernen To Learn Zeichnen To Draw Malen To Paint
School Subjects 
Deutsch German Englisch English Russisch Russian Französisch French Latein Latin Mathe Maths Mathematik Mathematics Sport PE or Gym Kunst, Zeichnen Arts Musik Music Werken Crafts Sachkunde, Sachunterricht Science Lesson in Elementary School Geschichte History Erdkunde Geography Politik Politics Biologie Biology Geografie Geography Religion RE or Religion Ethik Ethics Chemie Chemistry Physik Physics Informatik Computer Science Elektronische Datenverarbeitung Computer Science
School Supplies and Ect. 
der Radiergummi Eraser/Rubber der Bleistift Pencil das stift, der Kugelschreiber Pen der Füller, der Füllfederhalter Fountain pen das Fach Subject die Klasse Class der Lehrer Teacher (male) die Lehrerin Teacher (female) die Schule School der Schüler Pupil der Student Student (College/University) die Stunde/Schulstunde Lesson die Pause Break die Schultasche Backpack
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