Now let’s practice the German sentence structures with some easy statements and questions you can use when you meet someone for the first time or when you’re asking for directions. Let’s begin with statements. You will hear the sentence in English. Translate it into German. Don’t forget: In statements, the verb is in second position. After a short pause, you’ll hear the correct German sentence.
Ich bin Paul.
I come from Spain.
Ich komme aus Spanien.
The Deutschakademie is back there.
Die Deutschakademie ist da hinten.
Very good! Now let’s ask some questions. Like before, you will hear the question in English. After a short pause you will hear the question in German. We will start with questions that don’t have a question word. These questions begin with the verb, remember?
Shall we drink a cup of coffee? � Trinken wir einen Kaffee?
Do you come from Italy? � Kommst du aus Italien?
Well done! Now we’ll turn to questions that begin with a question word. This means the verb is in second position. Again, you’ll hear the question in English and after a short pause in German.
Where’s the station?
Wo ist der Bahnhof?
What’s your name?
Wie hei�t du?
Where do you come from?
Woher kommst du?
Very good! After what has been a long day for Philip, I’m sure you too will enjoy a little rest. Maybe sit back, relax and listen to the dialogues of this unit once more. When you feel ready for the next step, we’ll meet Philip again as he makes plans for his first week in Berlin.
Now let’s take a first look at German grammar. But don’t worry, we’ll take it step by step. In this unit, we’ll study the German sentence structure. Listen to these sentences:
Der Bahnhof ist da hinten. � The station is back there.
Ich bin Philip. � I’m Philip.
These sentences are statements. In such sentences, we put the verb in second position just as we do in English.
Let’s look at an example.
“Ich bin Philip.” “Ich” is in first position. It means “I”.
“Bin” means “am”, a form of the verb “to be”. In the sentence “Ich bin Philip” ‘bin’ is in second position after “ich”. The same is true for “ist” � “is” – in “Der Bahnhof ist da hinten.” Here, “ist” follows “der Bahnhof” � the station.
Now listen to this sentence: “Trinken wir einen Kaffee?” Shall we drink a cup of coffee? This is a question. The verb is “trinken”- to drink. It is put right in the beginning of the question: “Trinken wir einen Kaffee?”
However, questions can also begin with a question word. Remember this question from Philip’s German class: “Woher kommst du?” � Where do you come from? “Woher” is a question word. It means “where from”. In this question “woher” is put in the beginning. It is followed by the verb and the German word for “you” – du comes at the end: “Woher komm st du?”
Ich komme aus … You don’t come from France? Well, here is a short list of countries. First, you’ll hear the English word, then the German translation. After the German translation you have a moment to repeat the German name of the country. Then you’ll hear it once more.
n the afternoon, it is time for Philip to go to his German class. He’s taking a course at the Deutschakademie. On his way to the Deutschakademie, he already catches a glimpse of the city centre. Do you remember the word for city centre? Right, Stadtzentrum. Very good! Now Philip is in class. Listen to his teacher welcoming the group:
Lehrerin Stefanie: Guten Tag und herzlich willkommen bei der Deutschakademie. Ich bin Stefanie. Ich bin eure Lehrerin.
She says: “Guten Tag.” This is slightly more formal than “Hallo” and we only use it during the day, not at night.
say after me:
The teacher continues: “und herzlich willkommen bei der Deutschakademie.” – and welcome to the Deutschakademie. Then she introduces herself.
She says: “Ich bin Stefanie. Ich bin eure Lehrerin.” I’m Stefanie. I’m your teacher. Lehrerin � teacher � Lehrerin. Now the teacher wants to know the students’ names. She asks Philip:
Lehrerin Stefanie: Wie hei�t du?
“Wie hei�t du?” means “What’s your name?”. Wie hei�t du? Philip answers:
Philip: Ich hei�e Philip.
This means “My name is Philip.” Now the teacher wants to know where the students come from. She asks:
Lehrerin Stefanie: Woher kommst du?
“Woher” means “where from”. “du” means “you”. Woher kommst du? Where do you come from? Philip replies:
Philip: Ich komme aus Frankreich.
This means “I come from France.” Let’s listen to the entire conversation again:
Guten Tag und herzlich willkommen bei der Deutschakademie. Ich bin Stefanie. Ich bin eure Lehrerin.
The third flatmate introduces himself. He says: Und ich bin Tim. And I’m Tim. Can you guess what Lukas suggested in the end? He said: “Trinken wir einen Kaffee?” Kaffee � coffee. Trinken wir einen Kaffee? � Shall we drink a cup of coffee? The others happily accept: “Ja, sehr gerne!” Yes, with pleasure. Ja, sehr gerne! Now, let’s listen to the entire dialogue again:
n the meantime, Philip has found the station. He has taken the train to the city centre. The city � die Stadt, the centre � das Zentrum, the city centre � das Stadtzentrum. Philip will share an apartment with three other students. He is just ringing the door bell. Let’s listen in:
Hallo, ich bin Philip.
Ah, hallo Philip. Ich bin Lukas. Komm herein!
Hallo means hello. Philip introduces himself. He says “Ich bin Philip.” I am Philip. Put in your name and try it:
Very good. Philip’s new flatmate also introduces himself. He says: “Hallo, ich bin Lukas.” Then he says: “Komm herein.” This means “come in”. Komm herein! Philip is very happy to see the apartment and soon he also meets the other flatmates. Listen to their first meeting:
Philip, das ist Thomas.
Und ich bin Tim.
Trinken wir einen Kaffee?
Philip, Tim & Thomas
Ja, sehr gerne!
Lukas introduces another flatmate. He says: “Das ist Thomas.” This is Thomas. Repeat after me: Das ist Thomas.
Let’s repeat the vocabulary. You will hear the English word or a short sentence. Then you will hear the German translation. Afterwards, you have a moment to say the German word or sentence yourself. After the pause, you’ll hear the German word or sentence once more. Ok? Let’s begin:
Right now, Philip has just landed at the Berlin airport, am Berliner Flughafen. At the airport � am Flughafen. He has just picked up his luggage and now he’s looking for the local train station to catch a train into the city. But where is the station, der Bahnhof? Where is the train station � Wo ist der Bahnhof? He needs to ask someone. We’ll listen to him asking:
Philip: Entschuldigung, wo ist der Bahnhof?
Philip begins his question with “Entschuldigung”. This means “Excuse me”.
Try to say it: Entschuldigung
Now we’ll hear the answer. The lady Philip has asked is pointing him in the right direction.
Dame (Lady): Der Bahnhof ist da hinten.
This means: The station is back there. Der Bahnhof ist da hinten. Ah, back there! Now Philip sees the station, too. He thanks the friendly lady. He says:
Philip: Ah, vielen Dank!
This means: Thank you very much. Vielen Dank.
Repeat after me: Vielen Dank.
The lady replies:
Dame: Kein Problem!
This means: No problem. Kein Problem.
try saying it: Kein Problem
Very good! Sehr gut!
Now we’ll hear the entire conversation in one go:
Entschuldigung, wo ist der Bahnhof?
Der Bahnhof ist da hinten.
Ah, vielen Dank!