Chatterbug’s new podcast, Long Story Short, covers beginners German for English speakers. Each episode is in German and English and takes you on a journey. Listen as the characters navigate their way through chance meetings, miscommunications and surprises.

You can also listen on Apple or the RSS feed. Below is the transcript of the third episode.

Intro

HELENA: From Chatterbug and produced by Weframe Studios, you’re listening to Long Story Short – Lange rede, kurzer Sinn, ein podcast in Deutsch und English. Language learning is ultimately about a desire to connect more with the people around us: from the hilarious to the complicated, and even the enchanting moments that fill up our days, these stories explore all kinds of connections while teaching you, our listeners, a little bit about language and a little bit about life.

In Season One, we’ll focus on talking points we found to be most valuable for A1 German learners. For those of you following the Chatterbug Curriculum, remember to look out for a few key themes today covering travel, health and describing our clothes.

Today’s episode is “Jeden Tag ein kleines Stück wachsen”, or in English “Every day becoming”. And a little fun fact for you guys: this one isn’t a direct translation because sometimes it can be really tricky to translate word for word. This is a story of two sisters who struggle with what it means to be present for the big moments in our loved ones lives.

Are we able to rely on each other when we’re thousands of miles apart?

Every Day Becoming

[01:30]

ARIAL: Hallo mein Kleiner…

I waved at the screen, a tiny hand tapped back. It had been 20 hours since he arrived in the world. This was to be our first hello. It was only the day prior that I had been FaceTiming with my very pregnant sister, but at 7 months we weren’t expecting this.

LOUISA: Schwanger sein ist so anstrengend.

ARIAL: Louisa moaned.

Oh, das glaube ich dir.

I tried to understand what she was going through.

LOUISA: Ich fühle mich so unwohl.

ARIAL: She said, fidgeting in her chair.

Das tut mir leid … aber ich habe gute Neuigkeiten!

I wanted to cheer her up.

LOUISA: Was denn?

ARIAL: She asked me expectantly.

Ich habe endlich meinen Reisepass erneuert und einen neuen Koffer gekauft!

It had been a long time coming and this meant one more step closer to us back together.

LOUISA: Super! Da fühle ich mich tatsächlich besser. Hast du deinen Flug schon gebucht?

ARIAL: I paused at her response, I knew she’d be unhappy.

Nein, noch nicht.

I admitted. I hoped she could see I was sorry through the screen.

LOUISA: Was, warum nicht?

ARIAL: But, I could hear the strain in her voice.

Ich habe gerade online nachgeschaut und internationale Reisen sind im Moment schwierig.

It was. And she understood.

LOUISA: Ja… Ich weiß, ich weiß. Ich habe auch schon nachgesehen und die Ticketpreise sind ziemlich teuer.

ARIAL: I tried to find a solution, to put her more at ease.

Schau, ich dachte, ich könnte vielleicht in einem Monat fliegen? Das Baby soll ja sowieso erst dann kommen.

And she was determined that I meant what I said.

LOUISA: Okay, aber du musst da sein!

ARIAL: So, I promised her.

Ich gebe mein Bestes. Was machst du heute so? Was ist das für ein Geräusch?

She could tell I was switching topics, but she went with it. Neither of us liked to argue through the phone.

LOUISA: Vögel. Ich bin wandern.

ARIAL: There she goes again, I thought. I couldn’t stop myself…

Bist du sicher, dass du das immer noch alleine machen solltest?

For once, I just wanted her to be careful.

LOUISA: (Rolling her eyes)

Ach, wolltest du mich etwa begleiten? Ich dachte, “internationale Reisen sind im Moment schwierig” …

ARIAL: I could hear the sarcasm in her voice.

Sehr lustig.

I countered, but I really did laugh (at least to myself). I missed her, even in her snide moments. The last time I’d seen my sister, she was only a couple of months pregnant. Barely showing. But I was glad I’d had that at least. The rest of her pregnancy I’d experienced through phone calls. Catching those in between moments. Mornings, for example, were when I would check in. Some days were good. (FaceTime):

Ich mag dein Outfit heute! Unimpressed, she threw me back with…

LOUISA: Danke, du kannst es haben, wenn ich fertig bin.

ARIAL: Gesturing uncomfortably to her growing belly.

(sarcastically) Haha.

Nein, im Ernst, du siehst toll aus in Grün. Und ungewöhnlich dich in einem Kleid zu sehen!!

It was. I only knew my sister to wear the most casual of casual.

LOUISA: Leider ist das das Einzige, was mir heutzutage noch passt.

ARIAL: She said sighing.

Du wirst im Null Komma nichts wieder deine Jeans tragen können.

I cheered, encouragingly.

LOUISA: Gerade will ich einfach nur meinen Schlafanzug tragen.

ARIAL: Louisa smiled, while yawning. But I agreed sleepily too…

Wollen wir das nicht alle?

But other days, weren’t so good: (FaceTime): Wie fühlst du dich heute?

I asked, sensing something was off.

LOUISA: Nicht so gut. Ich habe im Moment Schlafprobleme. Aber ich werde jeden Tag müder! Ich habe einfach nicht viel Energie.

ARIAL: I looked at her tired eyes – trying to be useful from so far away. I gave her suggestions…

Mmmhh… Warum meldest du dich nicht für Yoga an? Es soll toll für die Schwangerschaft sein und gegen Stress helfen.

I’d heard it could help.

LOUISA: Ne, Yoga ist zwar gut gegen Stress, aber mir wird davon übel. Ich probiere es mit wandern.

ARIAL: But she wasn’t having it. She’d always made her own mind up.

Wandern? Ganz Alleine?

I questioned, once again unsure of her thinking. But, she made a good point.

LOUISA: Wer sollte den mitkommen?

ARIAL: I worried about her being there, on her own. And my advice, as usual, was falling on deaf ears. But that was us. And somehow the normality of these little interactions made me feel more at peace with our situation. Still, I checked flights again. I wanted to be there when it happened; when he arrived in the world. Events like these should be experienced together. But, alas, it wasn’t that easy. My sister was an adventurer and life had taken her all over – while I’d watched on and visited as I could. The current climate had taken on a whole new level of division though: travel restrictions were getting serious. I still had time to figure things out – a few weeks at least, we estimated. But no idea how long precautions would go on for. (Phone call ring) My deliberation was then interrupted.

LOUISA: (FaceTime): Ich dachte nur – du solltest eher früher als später buchen.

ARIAL: Louisa was on the phone, trying to reason with me.

Ja, das dachte ich auch.

But she didn’t need to, I agreed.

LOUISA: Und wenn du die Fluggesellschaft anrufst – uhh!!!

ARIAL: Her train of thought though seemed suddenly compromised.

Die Fluggesellschaft anrufen – was?

I said back to her.

LOUISA: Ari –

ARIAL: And all at once, I heard alarm in my name as she spoke. I urged.

Was?

LOUISA: Ari, Ich glaube das Baby kommt …

ARIAL: She uttered the words I was so afraid she would.

Wassss?

Standing in the middle of a forest, my sister’s water had broke. (breathing deeply) Okay, no problem, I reasoned. She could just call someone to pick her up.

LOUISA: Ari – Ich habe zwei Stunden gebraucht, um hierher zu kommen.

ARIAL: The concern in her voice was growing.

Okay, also geh zurück zu deinem Auto und fahr zum Krankenhaus.

I calmly instructed.

LOUISA: Ja. Uh ja…

ARIAL: She agreed, but something about the way she did sounded doubtful.

Was ist los??

I wondered aloud.

LOUISA: Ich kann meine Schlüssel nicht finden.

ARIAL: This couldn’t be happening.

Was meinst du damit, du kannst deine Schlüssel nicht finden? Das ist nicht dein Ernst.

I began to agonise over her actions.

LOUISA: Sie waren in meiner Tasche, aber jetzt kann ich sie nicht mehr finden.

ARIAL: She despaired. And so, we did everything. Retrace her steps, scour the car windows, that ‘Find my Key’ app – turns out it’s not helpful if you never update your apps.

Du musst irgend jemanden finden oder suche nach einer Straße.

I demanded, searching for a way out for my sister.

LOUISA: Ari, hier ist niemand. Deshalb komme ich ja hierher.

ARIAL: She explained, but I wasn’t going to lose hope.

Such einfach!!

It felt like hours. I stayed on the phone with her, whilst trying desperately to reach people on her side. Why would nobody pick up?? She was deep in the forest. Her battery was running low. I couldn’t leave her.

LOUISA: Ich weiß nicht wie lang mein Handy Akku noch reicht.

ARIAL: She was starting to panic. Such einfach weiter. I replied, trying to sound composed. (Phone low-battery notification sound)

LOUISA: Fünf Prozent! Ari, ich glaube ich muss jetzt auslegen sonst geht mein Handy gleich aus.

ARIAL: Louisa anxiously looked at me. Why wasn’t I with her?? Glaubst du, das ist eine gute Idee?

I couldn’t bare the thought of her being alone.

LOUISA: Weiß ich nicht. Ich versuche nur einmal in meinem Leben vorsichtig zu sein.

ARIAL: She was resolved. So I yielded.

Okay. Ich bin für dich da.

I said, even if I couldn’t be in person.

LOUISA: Danke.

ARIAL: And then my screen went blank. I waited and I waited. For all those times I’d tried to help, there was nothing I could do now. And then, finally, a text. It read: Found. What did ‘found’ mean? Something good I prayed. It was. A man, another hiker, had seen her – a pregnant women in a dress and hiking boots lost in a forest, is probably pretty hard not to notice. Something I’d failed to think of through my panic. And he’d run over to help. He’d just left her to pick up his car when I received her message. She spoke…

LOUISA: Ari, ich habe Angst. Ich habe so viele Pläne für ihn und was er werden kann.

ARIAL: The only thing I could think to say in that second…

Das machst du toll. Du machst das so toll. Du hast es fast geschafft.

We weren’t together, but somehow, we were. The man was back with his car and my nephew arrived in the world shortly after. My big sister became a mother that day. I became an aunt. We joke now, that that was the day we found ourselves… All it took was a little searching.

‘Every Day Becoming’ Breakdown

[13:20]

HELENA: And we’re back. We’ve just been listening to “Jeden Tag größer werden” or “Every day becoming”. Danielle is joining us again. She’s our A1 German learner.

DANIELLE: Hello!

HELENA: Hey Danielle! So let’s take a quick recap of what happened in the story and what the story was about.

DANIELLE: Arial is our storyteller and it starts off with her, I guess, seeing a little baby.

HELENA: Yeah. A little hand.

DANIELLE: A little hand. And then she goes into…

HELENA: In the video screen, right!?

DANIELLE: In the video screen, right. Yeah, that’s right. And then she goes into, I guess, talking about how this moment came along. And so we find out that her sister is seven months pregnant and she’s planning to go and see her sister. So I guess she could be there for the birth, but…

HELENA: But what?

DANIELLE: We’re in Corona times and so it’s quite difficult to get flights and if you can get a flight it’s really expensive. And so she’s kind of going back and forth with her sister, her sister’s obviously disappointed and full of emotions because she’s pregnant and she wants her sister there. They kind of go back and forth and do what sisters do, which is kind of argue a little bit. Yeah. And then her sister says that she’s going to go hiking, right?! And she said that at some point and I was like: hiking? Pregnant? Seven months? So yeah, but I did, I, I was pregnant.

HELENA: Yeah I was about to ask.. You have a child?

DANIELLE: Yeah, I do. I have a almost three year old. I was pregnant at some point with him and I remember being quite adventurous as well. I don’t think I went hiking in the forest by myself, but I did do, you know, quite a few things that I probably should not have. And so I totally felt for Louisa, I think her name was, um, and her desire to still kind of live her life, even though she was pregnant. But, you know, Arial is understandably protective, a little bit nervous about her, you know, going hiking in the forest. And then does she lose her phone or her phone is she… the battery is dying?

HELENA: So she calls her sister back and she’s like “Come on, get the flight!” and all of a sudden her water breaks.

DANIELLE: Oh,wow! Her water breaks.

HELENA: In the middle of the forest, while she’s hiking all by herself. And on top of that..

DANIELLE: Quite dramatic, isn’t it?

HELENA: Yes. She can’t find her keys. Like, come on! Yeah, you should have your keys available. Why have you lost them? But I guess those things happen.

DANIELLE: She’s got pregnancy brain though. You know…

HELENA: Oh, is that a thing?

DANIELLE: It’s actually a thing. You forget everything when you’re pregnant. Yeah.

HELENA: So she’s like “Okay, well I have to hang up because I need my phone maybe to make an emergency call”. Then like: “I’m trying to call people, but they can’t really get ahold of anyone”. And so at some point she’s like “I have to hang up. I’ve 4%”. Yeah. And then… That’s the end of the story. Just kidding.

DANIELLE: Oh, no. But then a stranger texts Arial, and says “Found”.

HELENA: Yeah. Found the sister.

DANIELLE: Found the sister.

HELENA: Not the keys.

DANIELLE: Not the keys. She’s in a dress. She’s pregnant. She’s in a forest, hiking alone.

HELENA: Oh, wow.

DANIELLE: Just a recipe for… A very dramatic birth.

HELENA: Yes. I kind of hope that the story ended with her giving birth in the forest, but unfortunately, or fortunately …

DANIELLE: We no longer have to have babies in the forest, so we should be very thankful for that.

HELENA: Yes. She then makes to the hospital so this kind of stranger helped her out. And that’s basically where the story is.

DANIELLE: Yeah. It’s a very lovely story.

HELENA: Yeah. Dramatic but emotional. Yeah. I enjoyed it.

DANIELLE: Yeah. Just how actually, how having, bringing a baby into the world, actually, it, there’s always a bit of, you know, drama involved, but then there’s also all of these emotions as well. So it really, the story really captured both of those emotions.

HELENA: Hormones out of control.

DANIELLE: Yeah, for sure. For sure.

HELENA: But that’s so lovely. Yeah, it’s such a beautiful thing when he was born. Okay. Now let’s take a little closer look at the individual dialogues.

DANIELLE: Sounds good.

HELENA: In this story, three themes were kind of talked about on a deeper level. We have travel – we want to look at words associate with that. We have describing clothes and outfits and also talking about health, which make sense ‘cause she’s a pregnant women. Let’s take a listen to the first dialogue.

DANIELLE: Okay.

LOUISA: Schwanger sein ist so anstrengend.

ARIAL: Louisa moaned.

Oh, das glaube ich dir. I tried to understand what she was going through.

LOUISA: Ich fühle mich so unwohl.

ARIAL: She said, fidgeting in her chair.

Das tut mir leid … aber ich habe gute Neuigkeiten!

I wanted to cheer her up.

LOUISA: Was denn?

ARIAL: She asked me expectantly.

Ich habe endlich meinen Reisepass erneuert und einen neuen Koffer gekauft!

It had been a long time coming, and this meant one more step closer to us back together.

LOUISA: Super! Da fühle ich mich tatsächlich besser. Hast du deinen Flug schon gebucht?

ARIAL: I paused at her response, I knew she’d be unhappy.

Nein, noch nicht.

I admitted. I hoped she could see I was sorry through the screen.

LOUISA: Was, warum nicht?

ARIAL: But, I could hear the strain in her voice.

Ich habe gerade online nachgeschaut und internationale Reisen sind im Moment schwierig.

It was. And she understood.

LOUISA: Ja.., ich weiß, ich weiß. Ich habe auch schon nachgesehen und die Ticketpreise sind ziemlich teuer.

ARIAL: I tried to find a solution, to put her more at ease.

Schau, ich dachte, ich könnte vielleicht in einem Monat fliegen? Das Baby soll ja sowieso erst dann kommen.

And she was determined that I meant what I said.

LOUISA: Okay, aber du musst da sein!

ARIAL: So, I promised her.

Ich gebe mein Bestes. Was machst du heute so? Was ist das für ein Geräusch?

She could tell I was switching topics, but she went with it. Neither of us liked to argue through the phone.

LOUISA: Vögel. Ich bin wandern.

ARIAL: There she goes again, I thought. I couldn’t stop myself…

Bist du sicher, dass du das immer noch alleine machen solltest?

For once, I just wanted her to be careful.

LOUISA: (Rolling her eyes)

Ach, wolltest du mich etwa begleiten? Ich dachte, “internationale Reisen sind im Moment schwierig” …

ARIAL: I could hear the sarcasm in her voice.

Sehr lustig.

HELENA: So, let’s take a look at some of this language used to describe traveling.

DANIELLE: Yes.

HELENA: I’m going to pick key words.

DANIELLE: Okay.

HELENA: “Reisepass erneuern”. “Neue Koffer kaufen”. “Flug schon gebucht”. Do these words mean anything to you?

DANIELLE: She had to get a new Passport.

HELENA: Exactly. So it’s not really described in the story exactly but apparently Arial and Louisa are living in different continents.

DANIELLE: Right.

HELENA: Maybe it’s kind of like my sister and me: my sister is living in Los Angeles still and I’m here in Berlin.

DANIELLE: Same thing with me and my sister.

HELENA: Really?

DANIELLE: Yeah. I’m living here in Berlin as well. And my sister is in Alabama.

HELENA: Oh yeah. And your, you said your son was born in Germany, right?

DANIELLE: Yes. He was born here in Berlin.

HELENA: Was your sister there to his birth?

DANIELLE: No, nobody was here. Well, my husband was here, but yeah, we were sort of on the phone with my mom and my sister for the 36 hours that I was in labor.

HELENA: Oh my God! 36 hours?!

DANIELLE: And that was quite the experience: on the phone, you know, speaking English with my family and then speaking my very limited German to the midwives that were tending to me.

HELENA: So I guess it’s a little similar to Arial and Louisa.

DANIELLE: Yes, for sure.

HELENA: Apparently Arial did however want to come visit Louisa. And she says “Yeah, I got my Reisepass erneuert” that means “I got a new passport”. “Ich habe einen neuen Koffer gekauft”.

DANIELLE: Koffer is a, like a suitcase.

HELENA: Exactly. So she bought a new suitcase and then her sister’s like “Aber hast du schon ein Flug gebucht?” which means…

DANIELLE: Have you booked your flight?

HELENA: Exactly. “Flugbuchen” means …

DANIELLE: Flugbuchen HELENA: …“to book a flight”. And then she’s like “No because internationale Reisen sind im Moment schwierig”.

DANIELLE: “Schwierig” is like…difficult?

HELENA: Yeah. It’s like hard to get done.

DANIELLE: Okay.

HELENA: I mean, that is the case currently, right?

DANIELLE: Sure. Yeah.

HELENA: So international flights are “schwierig” and “ziemlich teuer”.

DANIELLE: “Ziemlich…”. I know “teuer” means expensive. What’s “ziemlich”?

HELENA: “Ziemlich” means pretty.

DANIELLE: Oh, ok.

HELENA: It’s like, kind of a way of making a link, but just like a language filler kind of, instead of saying they are expensive, like they are pretty expensive.

DANIELLE: “Ziemlich teuer”.

HELENA: And then they’re discussing, maybe she should book soon or later. And she says “Ich dachte, ich könnte vielleicht in einem Monat fliegen”.

DANIELLE: I think I can fly in a month.

HELENA: Yeah. Considering coming in a month.

DANIELLE: Yeah. And then the baby isn’t scheduled to come right now, so she thinks it’s pretty safe, right?!

HELENA: Yeah. She’s seven months so…

DANIELLE: So, yeah. But my son actually was born a month and a half early. Yeah. So babies come when they want to come.

HELENA: They sure do. I was two weeks late.

DANIELLE: Really?

HELENA: Yeah. Later in the story right before Louise’s water breaks, she calls her sister again and she’s like “du solltest eher früher als später buchen”. Do you know what that means?

DANIELLE: Yeah, I remember that part. I couldn’t quite catch it. Is like you should book it later? I wasn’t quite clear on that one.

HELENA: Okay. There’s this word you can use “eher” and then in combination with “als”. So “du solltest eher früher als später buchen”, which means “you should book rather earlier than later”. So “eher” kind of means “rather”.

DANIELLE: I see. Okay.

HELENA: And then there’s one more part that has to do with traveling. She says “Und wenn du die Fluggesellschaft anrufst” and then she’s like “uhh!!!” because her water just broke. So what’s a “Fluggesellschaft”? This is a little bit of a tricky word.

DANIELLE: I actually don’t know.

HELENA: It means. The airline company.

DANIELLE: Ah, sure. Fluggeschaft…

HELENA: “Fluggesellschaft”.

DANIELLE: “Fluggesellschaft”.

HELENA: She’s saying “call the airline company and see if you can get a deal. Call a representative. Get a flight”.

DANIELLE: Does it actually work to call the airline? I’ve never tried that.

HELENA: It actually does, but usually you have to pay an extra fee on top of that, which is like the fee of like having somebody on their line. Okay, there’s like a 30€ extra…

DANIELLE: I see.

HELENA: ..to having somebody when you call.

DANIELLE: But it can, but you can actually get deals when you do it that way?

HELENA: I don’t know. I think the Internet’s the best way now.

DANIELLE: I think so too.

HELENA: Maybe she’s old school.

DANIELLE: Just call and see.

HELENA: Just call it up! So before Louisa’s water breaks, she’s on the phone with her sister and she’s kind of making fun of her for being super duper pregnant. She’s describing her outfit. She says she “Ich mag dein Outfit heute!”. What does that mean?

DANIELLE: I made an outfit today?

HELENA: “Ich mag”

DANIELLE: Oh, I like your outfit today.

HELENA: Yeah, exactly.

DANIELLE: Oh, because they’re like FaceTiming.

HELENA: Exactly.

DANIELLE: Okay.

HELENA: So “Ich mag”. “Mag” is like a, it’s a form of the word “mögen”.

DANIELLE: Mögen.

HELENA: Exactly. And she describes the outfit. “Du siehst toll aus in Grün. Und ungewöhnlich dich in einem Kleid zu sehen!”. So how, what is she wearing?

DANIELLE: Okay, repeat again.

HELENA: Okay. “Und ungewöhnlich dich in einem Kleid zu sehen”.

DANIELLE: Ah, okay. I don’t know that “ungewöhnlich” but she says “You look great in green” and…

HELENA: She says “It’s unusual to see you in a dress”

DANIELLE: Unusual! “Ungewöhnlich”. That’s a new word for me. Okay. “Ungewöhnlich”.

HELENA: So, you know, Louisa, she’s a little adventurer, right? Probably she’s not wearing dresses all the time, she’s probably more of like a shorts and jeans kind of girl.

DANIELLE: Yeah. Because she likes “Wandern”, right?

HELENA: Yeah, exactly. But apparently when you’re pregnant, the only thing that fits you at some point is a dress.

DANIELLE: Yeah. For sure. You don’t want to wear pants. I had my son in the summer and I think in those last few months, weeks, I didn’t ever wear pants. Like I only wore dresses.

HELENA: So she says “Du wirst im Null Komma nichts wieder deine Jeans tragen können”. So there, she is, she likes to wear jeans again. But here’s a nice little German phrase: “im Null Komma nichts” DANIELLE: “Im Null Komma nichts”.

HELENA: Yes. This is an expression.

DANIELLE: Nothing…nothing?

HELENA: Basically. So it means: “Null” is zero, “Komma” is comma and “Nichts” is nothing. So “In zero-comma-nothing you’ll be able to wear jeans again”. It basically means a no time.

DANIELLE: Null Komma nichts.

HELENA: Nichts.

DANIELLE: “Nichts”. Okay. That’s a really cool phrase.

HELENA: Yeah. Remember that one! She’s going to wear jeans soon and she says “Gerade will ich einfach nur meinen Schlafanzug tragen”. Schlafanzug…

DANIELLE: Pajamas.

HELENA: Yes, exactly. . “Schlafanzug” if you break down the words “Schlaf” means “sleep” and “Anzug” means “suit”.

DANIELLE: Sleep suit!

HELENA: Yeah.

DANIELLE: Love German! But what she saying there? You’re going to sleep in your…

HELENA: Oh, she’s saying “Right now all I want to do is wear my pajamas”.

DANIELLE: Oh, sure. Yeah. Fair enough.

HELENA: And then Arial says “Wollen wir das nicht alle?”

DANIELLE: You want everything?

HELENA: No…

DANIELLE: No, you don’t want everything? No.

HELENA: Wir?

DANIELLE: We.

HELENA: Wollen wir das nicht alle? She says “Don’t we all want that?”

DANIELLE: Oh, is that what that means?

HELENA: Yeah.

DANIELLE: Okay.

HELENA: “Wollen wir das nicht alle?” Don’t we all want to be in our PJ’s all day?

DANIELLE: I mean, really?

HELENA: Yeah.

DANIELLE: I mean, seven months pregnant. When I was seven months pregnant, I was like traveling. I was, I even went to like a party once and it was like..clubbing.

HELENA: Nice. You were definitely like Louisa then.

DANIELLE: I was still living life, et cetera. Oh right, cause she’s going hiking. Yeah.

HELENA: She can’t cannot sit on the couch all day, but I guess you can also hike in your pajamas.

DANIELLE: Yeah, sure. Why not?

HELENA: So the next little segment is about health. Let’s listen to it. ARIAL: But other days, weren’t so good: (FaceTime): Wie fühlst du dich heute? I asked, sensing something was off.

LOUISA: Nicht so gut. Ich habe im Moment Schlafprobleme. Aber ich werde jeden Tag müder! Ich habe einfach nicht viel Energie.

ARIAL: I looked at her tired eyes – trying to be useful from so far away, I gave her suggestions…

Warum meldest du dich nicht für Yoga an? Es soll toll für die Schwangerschaft sein und gegen Stress helfen.

I’d heard it could help.

LOUISA: Ne, Yoga ist zwar gut gegen Stress, aber mir wird davon übel. Ich probiere es mit wandern.

ARIAL: But she wasn’t having it. She’d always made her own mind up.

Wandern? Ganz Alleine?

I questioned, once again unsure her thinking. But, she made a good point.

LOUISA: Wer sollte den mitkommen?

HELENA: So she starts off with saying: “Wie fühlst du dich heute?

DANIELLE: How do you feel today?

HELENA: Yeah. And how does Luisa feel?

DANIELLE: She’s not sleeping very well and she’s tired all the time and she doesn’t have any energy.

HELENA: Oh, you really got that one.

DANIELLE: Yeah, I remember that.

HELENA: She says “Nicht so gut”, not so bad. “Ich habe im Moment Schlafprobleme”, I have sleeping problems. “Aber ich werde jeden Tag müder!”, so she’s getting more tired every single day. “Ich habe einfach nicht viel Energie”, so not a lot of energy.

DANIELLE: Yeah.

HELENA: Then Ariel’s like… she’s got all the solutions: “Warum meldest du dich nicht für Yoga an?”

DANIELLE: Why don’t you sign up for yoga?

HELENA: Exactly.

DANIELLE: When I was pregnant with my son, here in Berlin, whenever I complained about anything to my midwife or to my gynecologists, they were always like: pregnancy yoga! Schwangerschaftsyoga.

HELENA: Schwangerschaftsyoga.

DANIELLE: Yeah. And now I did it a couple of times. I’m not really a yoga person but it was always suggested.

HELENA: Neither is Lisa, I think. So is that common in Germany? Like, I don’t know…

DANIELLE: It’s just very common. Apparently it’s really good for the ligaments and to prepare the lower half of the body for the labor process. So it’s very, very much recommended and the insurance actually pays for it, which is why I did it. I was like, okay, why not?!

HELENA: Cool. Yeah. I want to talk to you a little about this cultural side of Germany and how they handle pregnancy and generally the health care system here.

DANIELLE: Oh yeah. Being a US American, this is pretty much like heaven when it comes to having a baby. Whenever I tell my friends back home that I went through my entire pregnancy and the entire labor and I think I stayed in the hospital for two days after I had my son, and I think we got a bill for like a 100 euros because we got like a private suite at the hospital so that my husband could stay in the hospital with me, but that’s the only thing that I paid.

HELENA: Oh my gosh.

DANIELLE: For the entire or nine months, well, eight months. And yeah, like it’s crazy because a lot of my friends and family members in the US who have had kids, you know, I think they said the average person in the US when they have a baby walks away with like $20,000 in medical bills, and that’s even if you have great insurance and it’s obviously less than that, but I mean, you could still, it could still be around like 10 grand.

HELENA: Wow. Yeah. That’s yeah, that’s a really nice thing about the German social system. First of all, everyone has to have healthcare it’s mandatory and it’s really like protecting sick people and pregnant people and people who need the extra help. Plus Germany really wants people to have babies because their population is sinking.

DANIELLE: Yeah. So it’s, I mean, the care that I received during my pregnancy here was phenomenal. Like it was so great I had an OB and I had a midwife and I would alternate between going to see them. So then my OB, she handled all of the medical things, but my midwife, she was much better about like, you know, helping me do the stretches and giving me tips for just like my overall wellbeing during pregnancy. And then what was really fantastic was that after I had my son, when I came back home from the hospital, they have this thing called “Wochenbett”, I don’t know how it translates in English actually.

HELENA: “Wochenbett” means “week bed”.

DANIELLE: Week bed.

HELENA: No, not like as in fragile, but as in the day of the week.

DANIELLE: Yeah. So, but what, what does that concept translate to? I wasn’t quite, I never like learn that. I don’t know.

HELENA: Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve never had a kid yet, but it’s one…

DANIELLE: Postpartum, I guess. It’s the postpartum period.

HELENA: Ah, okay. That makes sense.

DANIELLE: Yeah.

HELENA: I guess it’s referring to like staying in bed the week after you have your child.

DANIELLE: And so the mid…, my midwife came to my apartment every single day for the first 10 days we were home and she checked on the baby, she checked on me and then she checked the baby’s belly button. She bathed the baby with me for the first time. And when you’re a first time mother, like, that help was just…I can’t even imagine having to go through that period without my mom, ‘cause I didn’t have my mother here with me. And so she was really like a godsend, really. Yeah.

HELENA: That’s that’s wonderful. Let’s talk about the yoga again. She says it’s good for stress “aber mir wird davon übel”. Do you know what “übel” means?

DANIELLE: No, I don’t.

HELENA: It means nauseous.

DANIELLE: “Übel”?

HELENA: Yeah. So what are some other ways you can describe when you’re feeling sick? Like maybe you have to go to the doctor, like, what are some phrases that you would use to describe not feeling well?

DANIELLE: Well, “Ich bin krank”. “Ich habe Schmerzen”.

HELENA: I have pain.

DANIELLE: I have pain.

HELENA: You could be more specific.

DANIELLE: Mein Bauchweh…

HELENA: Mein was?

DANIELLE: My Bauch.

HELENA: Bauch!

DANIELLE: “Baum” is tree.

HELENA: Yes! My tree hurts?!?!

DANIELLE: Mein Bauch…

HELENA: Or you can say: “Ich habe Bauchschmerzen”.

DANIELLE: Ich habe Bauchschmerzen.

HELENA: Means the same thing. Or Ich habe Kopfschmerzen.

DANIELLE: Kopfschmerzen.

HELENA: Ich habe Zahnschmerzen. Ich habe…

DANIELLE: Augeschmerzen? Is that possible?

HELENA: I mean, I had it yesterday. But I guess you would rather say “Ich habe Kopfschmerzen”, I have a headache. Okay. Yeah, those are all good terms to use when you’re maybe going to the doctor to describe how you’re feeling or if you can’t go to work. Okay, there’s one more little fragment where they’re talking about health and it’s after Louisa’s water has broken and Ariel is saying: “Okay, also geh zurück zu deinem Auto und fahr zum Krankenhaus”. “Fahr zum Krankenhaus”, what does that mean?

DANIELLE: Ride or drive to the hospital.

HELENA: Exactly. “Krankenhaus” is a nice word, it means “sick house”: “Krank” means “sick”, “Haus” means “house”. What are some other words that have the root “Kranken”?

DANIELLE: Krankenheit?

HELENA: Krankheit.

DANIELLE: Krankheit.

HELENA: Which means sickness.

DANIELLE: Sickness. Umh…

HELENA: Krankenpfleger.

DANIELLE: Krankenpfleger. HELENA: Yeah, that means like.. a nurse.

DANIELLE: Oh, Krankenpfleger!

HELENA: “Pfleger” in the sense means “somebody who cares for”.

DANIELLE: Not the Krankenschwester.

HELENA: Krankenschwester is also. It’s a little bit more outdated term. It means sick sister, “sister who cares for the sick”. And then we also have Krankenwagen.

DANIELLE: Krankenwagen. Yeah, I know that one HELENA: The ambulance.

DANIELLE: Krankenwagen. Are there others?

HELENA: Those are the ones that I always use as examples, I’m sure there’s others. So the last part of the story is Louisa not being able to find her key and her battery’s running low. And I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the vocabulary and words that were used in this part of the dialogue.

DANIELLE: Okay.

HELENA: Let’s listen to it.

ARIAL: She agreed, but something about the way she did sounded doubtful.

Was ist los??

I wondered aloud.

LOUISA: Ich kann meine Schlüssel nicht finden.

ARIAL: This couldn’t be happening.

Was meinst du damit, du kannst deine Schlüssel nicht finden? Das ist nicht dein Ernst.

I began to agonise over her actions.

LOUISA: Sie waren in meiner Tasche, aber jetzt kann ich sie nicht mehr finden.

ARIAL: She despaired. And so, we did everything. Retrace her steps, scour the car windows, that ‘Find my Key’ app – turns out it’s not helpful if you never update your apps.

Du musst irgend jemanden finden oder suche nach einer Straße. I demanded, searching for a way out for my sister.

LOUISA: Ari, hier ist niemand. Deshalb komme ich ja hierher.

ARIAL: She explained, but I wasn’t going to lose hope.

Such einfach!!

It felt like hours. I stayed on the phone with her, whilst trying desperately to reach people on her side. Why would nobody pick up?? She was deep in the forest. Her battery was running low. I couldn’t leave her.

LOUISA: Ich weiß nicht wie lang mein Handy Akku noch reicht.

ARIAL: She was starting to panic.

Such einfach weiter.

I replied, trying to sound composed. (Phone low-battery notification sound)

LOUISA: Fünf Prozent! Ari, ich glaube ich muss jetzt auslegen sonst geht mein Handy gleich aus.

ARIAL: Louisa anxiously looked at me. Why wasn’t I with her??

Glaubst du, das ist eine gute Idee?

I couldn’t bare the thought of her being alone.

LOUISA: Weiß ich nicht. Ich versuche nur einmal in meinem Leben vorsichtig zu sein.

ARIAL: She was resolved. So I yielded. Okay.

Ich bin für dich da.

I said, even if I couldn’t be in person.

LOUISA: Danke.

ARIAL: And then my screen went blank.

DANIELLE: Okay. Very stressful situation.

HELENA: Yeah. I would not want to be in this situation with my key’s missing, my water broke. Alone, no one nearby.

DANIELLE: Phone is about to die.

HELENA: Oh my gosh. Horror situation, but it makes for a good story.

DANIELLE: Yeah. This is the only way for babies to come into this world: through chaos.

HELENA: When Louisa is saying she can’t find her keys, she says: “Ich kann meine Schlüssel nicht finden”, means “I can’t find it”.”Nicht finden”.

DANIELLE: Nicht finden.

HELENA: She’s saying “Sie waren in meiner Tasche”.

DANIELLE: It was in my bag.

HELENA: Yes. And another thing she says “Ich weiß nicht wie lang mein Handy Akku noch reicht”. That sounds and a little tricky. Do you know what that means?

DANIELLE: No, I don’t think so. Didn’t catch it.

HELENA: “Handy Akku”. That’s something like pretty singular to German: “Akku” means “battery”. So she’s saying: “I don’t know how long my phone battery will last still”. Then she says: “Mein Handy get gleich aus”.

DANIELLE: My phone is also going?

HELENA: My phone is about to turn off. “Mein Handy get gleich aus”.

DANIELLE: Oh, okay.

HELENA: When I first moved to Germany, I would say something like “Mein Handy ist tot”.

DANIELLE: Yeah. That’s the one that I’ve heard. Yeah.

HELENA: Yeah. But it’s not right.

DANIELLE: It’s not?

HELENA: No, you can’t say “my phone is dead”. And I think in American English, I don’t know how it’s in British English, but you can really easily just be like “my phone’s dead”.

DANIELLE: Yeah.

HELENA: But if you say that in Germany, it doesn’t translate well. So you say “Handy Akku” instead of “Handy Batterie”

DANIELLE: Akku

HELENA: Spelled A – K – K – U.

DANIELLE: A – K – K – U. Akku.

HELENA: Um, I don’t, I don’t know. Let’s take a look at these last few phrases where Arial is on the phone with her sister right before the hang up and she’s trying to be encouraging. And therefore she says “Ich bin für dich da”.

DANIELLE: I’m there for you.

HELENA: Yeah. It’s really sweet.

DANIELLE: Very sweet.

HELENA: Something you can tell anybody when they’re in a bad spot.

DANIELLE: Yeah.

HELENA: And she also says “Das machst du toll. Du hast es fast geschafft”.

DANIELLE: You’re doing great, you’re almost there?

HELENA: Yeah. You’ve almost made it.

DANIELLE: She must have gone through this before. Maybe she just had another pregnant sister.

HELENA: I don’t know. I love the dynamic between the two sisters, it makes me kind of miss mine.

DANIELLE: Yeah, me too.

HELENA: Well. That’s all for our recap. Thank you so much Danielle for joining us and providing your very wonderful insight of how it is to be pregnant, wonderful contribution to the story.

DANIELLE: Thanks for that. Having me.

HELENA: See you next time!

DANIELLE: Bye!

HELENA: Hopefully found our recap useful and can use it to understand the story a little bit better. So, as you guys know, I’m not a language teacher but we do have our wonderful inhouse teachers, Inda and Steffi, who are gonna break down some memory techniques that they use to retain vocabulary that we learned and also give you some handy tips on memorizing German grammar. Take it away, girls!

Grammatically Speaking

[42:18]

INDA: Thanks Helena. So today we are going to discuss “Declensions”. Don’t unplug your headphones, stay where you are: we’re going to get through this together. Declensions is the changing of the form of a word to express a different function in the sentence. It sounds very abstract in the beginning. So, instead of explaining the purpose of each case, I find it more useful to think about common mistakes learners make. So, Steffi and I have brought a few examples for you today and through those examples, we’ll be explaining a little bit the theory behind and give you some tips and tricks to learn declensions.

STEFFI: Exactly. In the story, one of the most important sentences is “Ich bin für dich da” when Arial tells her sister that because she’s going through a very difficult situation. So it’s not “für du” or” für die” as I hear some people say: it’s actually “für dich”. So, this is one of the five common mistakes we’re going to talk about in this episode. So, “für” is one of these prepositions that always go with Accusative, that’s why you hear “dich” and not the other variations. We have five common prepositions that go with Accusative: für, um, durch, gegen, ohne or FUDGO, as I learned when I was very little -we did that at school. Or if you want to be a little bit cooler, you could say: DOGFU. So remember that: FUDGO or DOGFU INDA: I also found an Accusative song on YouTube, which you can Google and listen to.

STEFFI: Are you sure you want to do that? We’re gonna sing a song for you later, so just stay tuned. Yes.

INDA: So the second most common mistake, and perhaps the very first mistake you are going to make in German is to answer the question “Wie geht’s?” and to say “Ich bin gut”. I hear people say that all the time. And it’s very understandable, this is how you say it in English, in most languages, but German works a little bit different here. The correct answer is “Mir geht’s gut!”. And this is one of the cases in which you are expressing something that has to do with the subjectivity of how you’re feeling. So “Mir” translates most times with “to me”. And that’s why you say “Mir geht es gut”, which translates roughly into “It is okay” or “It is good to me”. So “it” stands for the world, my environment, whatever is, you know, related to me and you know, the person next to me might not be doing so well: that’s why it’s “Mir geht’s gut”. So the environment is being okay for me, right?! And we have other similar expressions like “Ich bin heiß”: if you say that, you’re saying.. well, you’re saying that you’re “hot” or “sexy”. But if you say “Mir est heiß”, you’re saying that… you’re commenting on the temperature.

STEFFI: It’s hot in the room. You don’t want to make that mistake.

INDA: Right! Yeah, and I mean I might be feeling cold and you might be feeling hot and that’s why Germans are very careful here: they say “Mir est heiß”. And another example is “Ich bin langweilig”, I hear people say that sometimes.

STEFFI: I hope..Yeah, I hope they were making a mistake.

INDA: Right? “Ich bin langweilig” which means “I am boring”. And if you want to say that something is boring to you, then you will be saying “Mir est langweilig”. So these are my three examples of subjective expressions that you can learn and avoid horrible mistakes.

STEFFI: Yes, please.

INDA: Confusion. So “Mir geht es gut” or “Mir geht’s gut”. “Mir ist heiß” or “Mir ist warm” or “Mir ist kalt” and “Mir ist langweilig”.

STEFFI: Exactly. And we have another one, which is the same reason, actually the same mistake: when you ask someone what they like they say “Mich gefällt or “Ich gefällt” and it’s “Mir gefällt …”: “Mir gefällt der Wine”, I like the wine, this wine, for example. It’s exactly the same reason: in this case you’re saying what you like, specifically you.

INDA: Right. Something is pleasing to you.

STEFFI: Exactly.

INDA: That’s the logic behind it.

STEFFI: So it’s again a subjective expression of what you like or what you’re feeling.

INDA: Right. So that’s the mistake number three. And the four is “Ich helfe dich” instead of saying “Ich helfe dir”. This has to do with “helfen” being one of the Dative verbs. It’s a little bit arbitrary: there is no real logic behind lots of linguistic theory behind, but nothing that can help the learner. So, basically what you have to remember is that most verbs by default work with Accusative, but there is a handful of very common verbs, such as “helfen” and “glauben” as well, that we heard in the story, that are Dative verbs. So you can find them in the Internet, write up a couple of sentences with Dative and just remind yourself: with time it’s going to start sounding correct to say “Ich helfe dir” and in the story we also had “das glaube ich dir” I believe you that. The last verb, Dative verb, I think it’s very common is “passen”. So in the story as well, we heard “Es ist das Einzige, was mir heutzutage noch past”: so when she was commenting on how she grew bigger and nothing is fitting her, so again, “passen”, as to talk about clothes “das passt mir”, “das passt mir nicht”. But you can also use it to say that “something suits you”. Right. Okay. Like if you’re trying to arrange a meeting or something: “Morgen um 10 Uhr?”, “Ja, das passt mir”.

STEFFI: And you had told me about the technique you used when you were learning German or when you started learning German that you did like a test: like every time you came across a verb, you would combine it with “dir” or “dich” or “mir” or “mich” to see if it sounded right.

INDA: Right. My tip is learn a sentence that it’s very common, that you’re going to use and listen to it all the time. And then just by analogy, I know that “passen” is a Dative verb, not because I learned to attach Dative to the verb “passen”. It’s more because I learned the sentence “Das pass mir”. So when I know that “mir” is what goes with “passen” is when the bell rings and it’s like “Okay, it’s Dative” and I need to apply that to the whole paradigm of Dative declensions.

STEFFI: Exactly. It’s not like you’re gonna start learning lists of verbs, Accusative verbs, or Dative verbs. It’s just..

INDA: Please don’t do that.

STEFFI: You learn grammar in context, by actually having phrases you would actually use. At some point it just starts sounding right.

INDA: Right. And then, you know, if you say “Das passt mir”, you know that it’s “Das passt ihm”, “Das passt ihr”. So just by analogy, you start creating correct sentences.

STEFFI: Okay. So the last common mistake is.. sometimes I’ve heard “mit du” or “mit ich”: so it’s almost the same as we had before with the preposition für. So we do have some prepositions that just go with the Dative and, well, I’ve brought you a song so you can learn them and.. Please don’t touch me! It goes like this: Aus, bei, mit, nach Aus, bei, mit, nach Seit, von, zu Seit, von, zu Immer mit dem Dativ Immer mit dem Dativ Dem, der, den Dem , der, den Well, exactly. I think this song will help you.

INDA: Yes. And that song also contains the declensions, the articles already. I think it’s great. So you can start with those and started singing the song if you want to remember them.

STEFFI: So to wrap things up. We have prepositions that go with Dative and Accusative, we have verbs that go with Dative and Accusative, then we also have dative expressions that convey subjectivity such as: “Mir geht es gut”, “Mir ist langweilig”…

INDA: “Mir ist heiß”.

STEFFI: Yes, “heiß”. Exactly. Please, please. Again.

INDA: Be aware of what it means to say “bin heiß”. So thank you very much for listening to this Declension episode, there will be more to follow and we will learn this bit by bit. So don’t despair. We’ve got your back!

STEFFI: And remember: Wir sind immer für Dich da.

INDA: Right.

HELENA: Well, that’s a wrap! Viel dank to Danielle, Inda and Steffi for joining us and a special thanks to our actor, Madlin Maya, for her reading of this episode and for managing to record from home while social distancing. If you’re following with Chatterbug’s Curriculum you can find the links to those episodes topics in the podcast notes or on Chatterbug’s blog. Long Story Short is from Chatterbug and produced by Weframe Studios. We will have a new story for you next Tuesday. I’m Helena and see you next week. Tschüss!