Lesson I.4: Freizeit
Literally, Freizeit means free time, i.e., spare time. In this dialogue, Franz and Greta are familiarizing each other with their sports activities.
*The audio recording says "das", but it should be "der".
Sports and Activities
Spielen, Machen and Other Verbs
All three verbs that you were introduced to in Lesson 2 are irregular in some way; however, most verbs are regular verbs. In English, the regular conjugation is very easy: only for the third person singular an "-s" is added to the infinitive ("to see" becomes "he/she/it sees"). Unfortunately, there are more endings in German. The following two tables show the endings for the two regular verbs spielen (to play) and machen (to do; to make):
As you see, the endings are the same for corresponding forms of spielen and machen. In fact, they are the same for all regular verbs. Thus, you can always just remove the -en from the infinitive of a regular German verb to form the stem (e.g., spielen becomes spiel- and machen becomes mach-) and then add the ending for the particular person. Here is a table with these endings:
|Verb: conjugation — Konjugation
*The form for you (polite) — Sie is exactly the same as for the plural, 3rd person pronoun they — sie.
- Was machst du?
- What are you doing?
- Ich spiele Basketball.
- I'm playing basketball.
- Spielst du Fußball?
- Do you play soccer?
- Ich mache Hausaufgaben.
- I'm doing homework.
- Er macht Hausaufgaben.
- He's doing homework.
- Machst/Treibst du Sport?
- Do you play sports?
Note that in English one plays sport, while in German one does sport. You can also use the question words from Lesson 3 to form more combinations:
- Warum spielst du Baseball?
- Why do you play baseball?
- Wann machst du die Hausaufgaben?
- When do you do the/your homework?
To say "not", use "nicht". "Nicht" goes after the verb but before the sport.
- Wer spielt nicht Fußball?
- Who doesn't play soccer?
- Wir spielen nicht Tennis.
- We don't play tennis.
|Vocabulary: Conjunctions — Verbindungen
Both German and English have compound sentences; the applications of these are enormous. They can be used in lists and also in compound sentences. For example,
- Ich spiele Basketball und er spielt auch Basketball.
- I play basketball, and he also plays basketball.
The new word, also — auch is very important. The one grammar rule about auch is that it always comes after the verb.
Other Verbs and Their Conjugations
|Grammar: Verbs — Verben
Schauen, schreiben and schwimmen are all regular verbs; i.e., they follow regular conjugations. To conjugate them, you first remove the -en from the infinitive to form the stem (i.e., schau-, schreib-, and schwimm-), and then add the correct ending. Here is an example:
|verb (infinitive)||first step (stem)||conjugated form|
Arbeiten is an irregular verb; however, it has a simple change. Whenever the ending starts with a consonant, an -e- is added before it. For example, du arbeitest (not
du arbeitst). As well as er/sie/es/ihr arbeitet (not er/sie/es/ihr arbeitt).
Lesen is also an irregular verb. For the second and third person singular the form is liest, i.e., du/er/sie/es liest (not
Sehen is the last irregular verb. The second person singular is du siehst and the third person singular is er/sie/es sieht.
Two More Verb Forms
There are two common verb forms in English that just don't exist in German: the ing-form (or: present progressive); e.g., "I am playing" or "he is making"; and forms with "to do"; e.g., "I do play" or "he does not play".
The simple rule is: these constructions don't exist in German. Thus, you should translate I am playing to ich spiele. Similarly, I do play is also translated to ich spiele. Anything else (
ich mache spielen or ich bin spielen) is either not possible in German or has a different meaning.
The phrase I do not play should be translated to ich spiele nicht (literally: I play not) since nicht (not) comes usually after the verb. This may sound like Early Modern English in a play by Shakespeare, and this is no coincidence since German and English are both West Germanic languages.
Expressing likes and dislikes
* gern and gerne can be used interchangeably.
In German, there are several ways to express likes and dislikes; this is just one of them. You can also add other verbs for other activities, e.g., I like to read. — Ich lese gern. or I like to work. — Ich arbeite gern. or I like to watch TV. — Ich schaue gern Fernsehen.
To express preference, you can use lieber instead of gern. For example, I prefer to play basketball. — Ich spiele lieber Basketball. or I prefer to read. — Ich lese lieber.
To express favorite activities, you can use am liebsten (meaning most of all) instead of lieber or gern. For example, Most of all, I like to play chess. — Ich spiele am liebsten Schach.
To express dislikes, you can use nicht gern instead of gern, for example I don't like to swim. — Ich schwimme nicht gern. or I don't like to work. — Ich arbeite nicht gern. or I don't like to play soccer. — Ich spiele nicht gern Fußball.
Numbers are among the most important and most useful words: we need them to talk about time, amounts, money, etc. Even if you are "just" a tourist, you often cannot avoid numbers. Learning numbers can be a bit of a pain; thus, here is some advice: whenever you have time, count something in German; e.g., steps, cars, people, seconds, whatever: just count.
*Some numbers are missing in the audio recording.
**Some people sometimes say zwo instead of zwei in order to distinguishing it more clearly from drei (three), especially on the phone.
Notice the pattern: -teen translates to -zehn, and -ty to -zig.
There is one big problem with the numbers: in German the unit position comes before the tens and is connected by und (and). For example: twenty-three — dreiundzwanzig (literally: threeandtwenty), twenty-four — vierundzwanzig, thirty-five — fünfunddreißig, forty-six — sechsundvierzig, etc.
One exception is eins which becomes ein- in 21, 31, 41, etc.: twenty-one — einundzwanzig (literally: oneandtwenty), thirty-one — einunddreißig, forty-one — einundvierzig, etc.
German is not the only language with this "reverse" order of numbers: Danish (another Germanic language) and Arabic do it the same way. This was also the standard way of forming numbers in older versions of English ("Four and twenty blackbirds/Baked in a pie." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sing_a_Song_of_Sixpence).
What's On the Test
To go straight to the lesson test, go here.
The test will have four parts to it: Grammar (79 points), Translating (95 points), Reading Comprehension (20 points), Vocabulary (20 points), and Previous Topics (10 points) in that order. The Grammar section will test your ability to know the verbs from this lesson and its various versions, to know articles - the genders of them and the correct usage of them, and correct word order.
The Translating section is worth the most points, and it too has three sections. You must know the translations for sentences and phrases going from English to German, and be able to take a German dialogue and translate it back into English. Also you must know the translation from Numbers to German.
The third section, Reading Comprehension, is Comprehension Questions you must know how to read the conversion and after reading you will be asked question on the previous conversion.
The fourth section is a vocabulary section. You get 20 English words on the left and 20 German words on the right, and be asked to match them. To study for that, check out the 401 flashcards related to this lesson at FlashcardExchange.com Part I and FlashcardExchange.com Part II.
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