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Jonas @howwedu


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Today, we decided to blog about another great sketch from Knallerfrauen by Martina Hill. It's called Schlaflied [Sleep-song = lullaby] and - as always - offers fantastic language learning material.

We decoded and translated the text for you, and decided to add some additional explanations to the video that you might - or might not be interested in: Learning by imitation is the most natural way, so we want to encourage you to practice as much with the original video as possible. Skip the additional information if you want, but it might answer you some questions you've asked yourself and can help you improve your everyday German by having a more systematic look at certain phenomena. When you're already familiar with some of them, perhaps because you've already learned about them in our free German course, our compilation will be a helpful review for you.


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.

Die kleine Lady.
The little Lady.

Sie sind wirklich 'n Engel.
They(=you polite) are really (a)n Angel.

Ach, die ist immer so ruhig und
Oh, she is always so quiet and

die meiste Zeit am Schlafen.
the most Time on-the Sleep.

Ja, tagsüber...
Yes, day's-over...

Aber nachts, da macht
But at-night, there makes

sie mir das Leben zur Hölle.
she to-me the Life to-the Hell.

Da ist die nur am Weinen.
There is ☞ (t)she only on-the Crying.

Die will einfach nicht einschlafen.
☞ (T)She wants simply not on-sleep(=fall asleep).

Schon mal mit 'nem Schlaflied versucht?
Already once with (a) Sleep-song tried?

Ja, natürlich. Das mach' ich jede Nacht.
Yes, natural (=of course). That mak(e) I every Night.

Seit der Geburt. Jede Nacht.
Since the Birth. Every Night.

... heidschi bumbeidschi es schlafen...
...heidschi bumbeidschi it sleep...

Jetzt schlaf doch endlich ein!
Now #sleep [annoyed] finally on#!

...am Himmel die Schäflein, die braven.
...on-the Sky/Heaven the Sheep-lets, the well-behaved.

Warum schläfst du denn nicht ein?
Why #sleep you [annoyed] not on#?

Sie fliegen dahin an dem himmlichen Zelt.
They fly there-to on the heavenly Tent.

Bitte schlaf ein!
Please #sleep on#!

... bum. Aba heidschi bumbeidschi bum bum.
... bum. Aba heidschi bumbeidschi bum bum.

Bitte schlaf ein.
Please #sleep on#!


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.

Die kleine Lady.
Sie sind wirklich 'n Engel.
Ach, die ist immer so ruhig und
die meiste Zeit am Schlafen.
Ja, tagsüber...
Aber nachts, da macht
sie mir das Leben zur Hölle.
Da ist die nur am Weinen.
Die will einfach nicht einschlafen.
Schon mal mit 'nem Schlaflied versucht?
Ja, natürlich. Das mach' ich jede Nacht.
Seit der Geburt. Jede Nacht.
... heidschi bumbeidschi es schlafen...
Jetzt schlaf doch endlich ein!
...am Himmel die Schäflein, die braven.
Warum schläfst du denn nicht ein?
Sie fliegen dahin an dem himmlichen Zelt.
Bitte schlaf ein!
... bum. Aba heidschi bumbeidschi bum bum.
Bitte schlaf ein.

Our little lady!
You {polite} really are an angel.
Uuh, she is always so quiet and
he sleeps most of the time.
Well, during the day.
But at night, she makes
my life a living hell.
Then she cries all the time.
She just does not want to go to sleep.
Have you tried (singing her) a lullaby?
Yes, of course. I do that every night.
Since her birth. Every night.
... heidschi bumbeidschi sleeping...
Now go to sleep! [annoyed]
... in heaven are the little sheep, the well-behaved.
Why don't you go to sleep? {annoyed}
They fly along the heavenly canopy.
Please go to sleep!
Aba heidschi bumbeidschi bum bum.
Please go to sleep!


 

5 interesting sentences to remember

things the decoding might have drawn your attention to

Note: All these are examples of spoken, not written German (except #3).

1. ETWAS AM MACHEN SEIN

Sie ist die meiste Zeit am Schlafen.
[She is the most Time on-the Sleep.]
She sleeps most of the time.

am + (capitalized) Verb + sein describes the state of doing something. But don’t confuse its use with the present progressive (I am doing sth), just consider it as an alternative to the present tense that works when you’re describing a more or less constant state. („Sie schläft die meiste Zeit.“ would be perfectly fine as well.) Furthermore, note that this construction is particularly common in South Germany, and that there are people who might consider this bad German. (For very advanced learners, the SPIEGEL article Wie die Sprache im Rheinland am Verlaufen ist by Bastian Sick might be interesting.)

Other typical uses are:
„Geh’ raus! Ich bin am Arbeiten!“
[Go out! I am on-the Work!]
„Leave! I am working!“

„Bist du schon wieder am Fernsehgucken?“
[Are you already again on-the TV-watch?“]
„Are you watching TV again?“

2. NUR ETWAS TUN/NUR AM ETWAS TUN SEIN

Nachts ist die nur am Schreien!
[At-night is ☞t(she) only on-the Cry/Scream!]
At night, she cries all the time.

nur (only) here is short for immer nur (always only) which is used to express that somebody is always doing the same thing. (Remember that nur also has its usual meanings only or just. The individual context dictates the precise meaning).

3. EINSCHLAFEN

Bitte schlaf ein!
[Please #sleep on#!]
Please go to sleep!

einschlafen (ich schlafe ein, du schläfst ein; ich bin eingeschlafen; ich schlief ein ) [on-sleep] (I #sleep on#, you #sleep on#; I am on-slept; I #slept on#)
go to sleep/fall asleep

einschlafen is a verb with a separable prefix (ein). You can compare its use to the English verbs like clear out. While in English, it’s either clear your drawers out or clear out your drawers, the prefix in German is usually put at the end of the sentence (a # in the decoding shows where it belongs). This is true for all verb forms except the infinitive (einschlafen) and the Perfekt/Plusquamperfekt, where ein is part of the participle (Ich bin/war eingeschlafen. I fell/had fallen asleep).
How to remember that?
It’s easiest to learn verbs directly with their corresponding forms. Add them to your flashcards or write down different example sentences for the different forms.

4. DIE = SIE, DER = ER?

Die ist immer so ruhig.
[☞ (T)She is always so quiet.]
She is always so quiet.

The personal pronouns er (he), sie (she), es (it) and sie (they) can be replaced by the corresponding article forms der, die, das and die. In the decoding we indicate this mixture as a mixture of the and she/he/it/they plus a pointing index, e.g. ☞ (t)he or ☞(t)she. The pointing index illustrates the effect of the replacement: It’s like pointing at someone while you’re talking about that person.
When talking like that about someone who is present, this is quiet impolite. (Was will die denn? - What does SHE want?)

When talking about someone who is absent (or can’t here you) it can express annoyance or anger, but it’s also common for banal gossip. (a student about his teacher: Der ist so gemein! – He is so mean!)

Furthermore, it’s used for answering questions about people, most often about where they are or what they do. Then the answers usually start with die/der. Again, this lays emphasis on the subject.

Wo ist deine Mama?
[Where is your Mum?]
Where is your mother?

Die ist schon weg.
[☞T(She) is already gone.]
She has already gone.

Ist dein Papa da?
[Is your Dad there?]
Is your dad at home?

Nein, der kommt erst um fünf zurück.
[No, ☞t(he) comes first(=only) at five back.]
No, he won’t be back until five.

5. DENN AND DOCH CAN EXPRESS ANNOYANCE

Warum schläfst du denn nicht ein?
[Why #sleep you {annoyed} not #on?]
Why don’t you go to sleep? {annoyed}

The particles denn and doch can express annoyance, denn in questions and doch in declarative sentences. Watch another sketch to see these particles in use.

image attribution: Nana B Agyei https://www.flickr.com/photos/nanagyei/5381832785

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