click on your session number to display today's instructions

The project text consists of two parts: The decoding (a word by word translation) and the parallel text (a regular English translation next to the German original). Today you're going to do the following 3 activities:
  • Basic understanding: Scroll down to the parallel text (or click ↓ Translation in the side bar), click on the first word of the English text to start the audio and read the English translation while the German text is playing. Repeat.
    2 minutes
  • Cracking the code: Now work with the decoding. Set the audio to SLOW, start the player, and read the English word by word translation while the German audio is playing. Reading this translation gives you an idea how the German sentence structures work and shows you exactly what every single word means. Repeat once. Set the player to fast and repeat again.
    4 minutes
  • Active speaking: Set the audio to SLOW and start to speak in chorus with the native speaker! Don't worry about making mistakes. Focus on single sentences, repeat them often and try to get closer and closer to the native pronunciation.
    6 minutes

Did you know? The side bar allows you to scroll dynamically from the decoding to the translation. The buttons will automatically take you to the current point in the corresponding text.
Today's activities:

  • Exploring the code: Start the slow audio recording and read the English word by word translation. Repeat sentences that seem difficult in their structure. If the meaning of the decoding isn't entirely clear, go to the regular translation and check what it says. Repeat. Repeat with the fast recording.
    5 minutes
  • Active speaking: Work with the decoding again. Set the audio to SLOW and start to speak in chorus with the native speaker! Repeat every sentence twice (click on them two repeat). Now choose three to five sentences and practice speaking them using the fast audio recording. Repeat every one of them at least four times.
    6 minutes

Today's activities:

  • Going really slow: Professional musicians do it, athletes do it - practicing pieces and moves really slowly allows them to focus on the details and brings their performance to perfection. Start the slow audio recording and read the English word by word translation. Repeat directly by clicking on each sentence and let your eyes jump between the German text and its English decoding. Then repeat again and speak with the native speaker. Proceed to the next line of text and work your way through the text.
    6 minutes
  • Active speaking: Work with the Parallel Text. Set the audio to SLOW, speak every sentence twice (click to repeat), at first, read the German text and speak in chorus with the native speaker, then speak in chorus again while reading the English translation (highlighted in blue). Finish with one round of active speaking using the decoding.
    6 minutes

Today's activities:

  • Parrotting: Today it's time to exxagerate. By now, some lines of the text might annoy you, so now it's time to mock the native speaker. Exxagerate his style of speaking, overarticulate, ape the different voices, and invent new ones, and overact. (3 times with the slow, once with the fast text, repeat single sentences if you want to.).

    8 minutes
  • Active speaking: Finish with speaking the entire text twice in chorus with the native speaker, using the fast audio recording. .
    4 minutes

Today's activities:

  • Translating: Go the the Parallel text, read the English sentence and try to think of its German translation. Click on the English sentence to get immediate feedback, then click again to repeat in chorus with the native speaker. Proceed in this way.

  • 6 minutes
  • Playing with the volume: Today, we're going to work through the text systematically and practice to listen closely. Repeat the text three time, at first, you turn up the volume and speak in a rather low voice, then reduce the volume, while a little louder and pay attention to the differences in pronunciation, and finally, turn the volume down even more and take the lead. Speak with confidence.
    6 minutes

Today's activities:

  • Annotations: Have a look at the annotations below the parallel text, to perfect your understanding.
  • CSLS: Another exercise to get closer to a natural way of speaking is CSLS - chorus, speak, listen, speak. Start with the first sentence, and speak it in chorus with the fast audio recording, then pause the recording, speak it alone and listen closely, then play it again and simply listen, try to make out differences in intonation and pronunciation, then pause once more and speak alone again. Proceed to the next sentence.
    6 minutes
  • Active speaking: Speak the entire text twice in chorus with the fast audio.

  • 3 minutes

Today's activities:

  • Attention, please: By now, you're already very familar with the project text - perhaps too familiar. With the repeated training with the project text, we're pursueing several goals, and one of them is to make the use of certain structures so natural that you can use them correctly without having to think about them. Still, it's important to ensure that you have not only assimilated the German sentences and words, but also their exact meaning. To do so, put on the fast audio recording. Listen to a single line of text, then pause and ask yourself if you know the exact meaning of every single word said (use the decoding to check) and also whether you know the exact meaning of the sentence as a whole (use the parallel text to check). Repeat sentences that are difficult with the slow and fast audio recording.
    6 minutes
  • Active speaking: Speak the entire text three times in chorus with the fast audio.

  • 3 minutes

Today's activities:

  • Goodbye Anne! Now its the time to say farewell. Set a timer to twelve minutes, spend them applying the method of your choice and make sure you spend at least 6 minutes with active speaking.
    12 minutes


Decoding

Using the player buttons, choose to display German, English or decoded German below the video. The following transcript is clickable. Click on any German sentence to jump to that point in the video. When the video runs, the current part in both the decoding and the ↓ parallel text further below will be highlighted to facilitate comparison of the different translations when you want to jump back and forth. Click to hide.

Wie man in Deutschland ein Haustier bekommt
How one in Germany a Pet gets

Frau Schmidt hat ein großes Haus
Woman Schmidt has a big House

und einen großen Garten.
and a big Garden.

Heute sitzt sie allein in ihrem Garten.
Today sits she alone in her Garden.

Sie sieht eine Katze.
She sees a Cat.

„Hallo, woher kommst du denn?1
“Hello, where-from come you {SURPRISE}?

Wie heißt du?“
How are-called you?”

Die Katze schweigt2
The Cat says-nothing

und Frau Schmidt nickt.
and Woman Schmidt nods.

„Aaaah, du heißt Tiger.
“Oooh, you are-called Tiger.

Ich heiße Anne. Ich wohne hier.“
I am-called Anne. I live hier.”

Die Katze schweigt.
The Cat says-nothing.

„Ach, du kommst aus dem Dschungel?
“Aha, you come from the Jungle?

Nein! … Sicher?“
No! … Sure?”

Frau Schmidt lacht.
Woman Schmidt laughs.

Die Katze schweigt immer noch.
The Cat says-nothing always still.

„Du bist süß! Wie geht es dir denn?
“You are sweet! How goes it you {interest}?

Mir ist es ein bisschen langweilig.“
To-me is it a bit boring.“

Stille.
Silence.

„Ach! Dir geht es gut, wenn du hier bist?
“Ach! To-you goes it good, when you here are?

Herzlich willkommen!“
Heartfelt welcome!”

Die Katze schweigt.
The Cat says-nothing.

„Ja, du kannst hier bleiben!
“Yes, you can here stay!

Dann hast du mich
Then have you me

und ich habe eine Katze.“
and I have a Cat.”


Parallel Text

The following transcript is clickable. Click on any sentence to jump to that point in the video. When the video runs, the current part will be highlighted in both the parallel text and the ↑ decoding above to facilitate comparison of the different translations when you want to jump back and forth. Click to hide.

Wie man in Deutschland ein Haustier bekommt

Frau Schmidt hat ein großes Haus und einen großen Garten. Heute sitzt sie allein in ihrem Garten. Sie sieht eine Katze.
„Hallo, woher kommst du denn?1 Wie heißt du?“
Die Katze schweigt2 und Frau Schmidt nickt.
„Aaaah, du heißt Tiger. Ich heiße Anne. Ich wohne hier.“
Die Katze schweigt.
„Ach, du kommst aus dem Dschungel? Nein! ... Sicher?“
Frau Schmidt lacht. Die Katze schweigt immer noch.
„Du bist süß! Wie geht es dir denn? Mir ist es ein bisschen langweilig.“
Stille.
„Ach! Dir geht es gut, wenn du hier bist? Herzlich willkommen!“
Die Katze schweigt.
„Ja, du kannst hier bleiben! Dann hast du mich und ich habe eine Katze.“

How to get a pet in Germany

Ms. Schmidt has a big house with a big garden. Today she is sitting alone in her garden. She sees a cat.
“Hello there, where did you come from {surprised}? What’s your name?”
The cat says nothing and Ms. Schmidt nods.
I see, your name is Tiger. My name is Anne. I live here.”
The cat says nothing.
Oh, you’re from the jungle? No! … Are you sure?”
Ms. Schmidt laughs. The cat still doesn't say anything.
“You are sweet! How are you doing{interested}? I’m a bit bored.”
Silence.
“Oh! You feel fine, when you are here? You're welcome!”
The cat says nothing.
“Yes, you can stay here! Then you'll have me, and I'll have a cat.”


1 Note that “Woher kommst du (denn)?” or “Wo kommst du (denn) her?” are very versatile sentences. You can use them to ask “Where are you from?” when meeting person for the first time, as shown in the flashcards. But in combination with denn or a certain intonation, they can also translate to: Where did you come from? (You see an animal somewhere where it doesn’t belong. ) Where in the world did you come from? (All of a sudden, your sister who you thought to be at school appears in your living room) or What brings you here? (You get an unexpected visit of an old friend who lives far away). We want to use this example to make a point: It’s not for nothing that certain words are ranked as the most frequent. So to profit the most from knowing Top 1000 words, you need to know how you can apply them in different contexts. This is the strength of howwedu 512.

2 In terms of clarity, to say nothing is probably the best translation of schweigen (to say nothing/not say anything; to remain silent). schweigen implies that you have the capacity to speak, but you decide not to say anything. In court, for example you're told "Sie haben das Recht zu schweigen." [You have the Right to say-nothing.] (You have the right to remain silent.). So you can see that in our project text, the narrator assumes that the cat has the capacity to speak, as it's typically assumed in children's stories. If he just wanted to say "The cat does not react", he would have said something like Die Katze reagiert nicht. [The cat reacts not.]. Also, a typical everyday use is to ask someone whether he can schweigen: "Kannst du schweigen?" [Can you say-nothing.] means "Can you keep it to yourself?". But when a teacher asks his students to be quiet because he's annoyed by the noise they make, he wouldn't use "Schweigt!" (the imperative of schweigen), but rather "Seid still!" [Be (completely-)silent!] (Will you keep quiet?) or "Seid leise!" [Be quiet!] (Keep the noise down!; not as strong as "still"). So schweigen is really about saying nothing, and cannot be used generally for make no noise.

 
→ back to session 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 P1
→ Learn more about studying with decodings and parallel texts

Tribute

The study routine for the project text is an adaptation of the Birkenbihl method. On my way to fluency in English, French and Spanish, this method helped me a great deal. In the howwedu German course, I've integrated what I consider the most helpful aspects of the method:

  • working with the same text across several days
  • decodings
  • speaking loud in chorus with the native speaker

Furthermore, we've strategically improved the way of decoding regarding consistency and interconnectedness with the regular translation.

Vera F. Birkenbihl (1946-2011) was a popular German leadership trainer and non-fiction author. She was known for her unconventional study methods and for her unique way of presenting what seemed to be barren and difficult topics in an entertaining way.

If you're already an advanced learner, check her talks on Memetik, pragmatische Esoterik, Humor, and Männer und Frauen on youtube, they are hilarious.

Below is a video with a short overview of the original Birkenbihl method that our project texts are building on. If you find that it works for you, don't hesitate to add the step passive listening to your daily routine.

→ back to the session overview
→ Learn more about studying with decodings and parallel texts

→ session 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 P1

.

image attribution: Andrey https://www.flickr.com/photos/akras/1477140536

Don't miss any new course material:
get notified when new session or project texts are uploaded

Comments