All posts by Katri Laakso

Colours and Music

Today we held our last official meeting – meaning that we will hold one online meeting, because we didn’t find any time to meet in the real world before the first of our group is leaving Finland.

Today I had bought finish Glögi and some chocolate for us to enjoy – a good thing, as Sunyoung and Hyejin both hadn’t tried Glögi before and that is a must if you are in Finland in Christmastime! 🙂

I had thought of colors (Farben) to be one important thing we were still missing, so we gathered the most important ones in German (I won’t translate them, as most are very close to the English colors):

Farben: rot, grün, gelb, blau, schwarz, weiß, braun, lila.

After that we talked about the colors we prefer (Lieblingsfarbe) and other things we like (ich mag) or love (ich liebe).

Throught the colors we also got to a song by the band “Die Prinzen”, where a few colors were mentioned. We listened to the song and I had Sunyoung and Hyejin try and identify the colors the singer talked about. That’s when I realized how many German expressions use colors – so I wrote down a few I could think of.

Ich bin blau = (word for word: I am blue) I am drunk.
Ich sehe rot = (wfw: I see red) I am very angry.
Ich sehe schwarz = (wfw: I see black) I don’t see that happening / nothing is working / I am depressed.
Grünschnabel = (wfw: green peak) an unpolite name for a young or inexperienced person (comparable to “brat”)

Especially the different use for the color blue in both English and German is quite interesting, as being blue in English means being gloomy or sad!

Because of “Die Prinzen” I thought about other good German musicians or bands which might be interesting for Sunyoung and Hyejin. Here is a list of my favorites (they might all be a little “old school” already, but still their music is good!): Die Prinzen, Die Ärzte, Wise Guys, Xavier Naidoo (Söhne Mannheims).

As I got excited about music in general, I just had to show a song of Bodo Wartke, a German piano-comedian (meaning he is an amazing pianist and singer but makes comedy through playing, singing, acting or something else). His “Liebeslied” (=lovesong) is available in (I think) every language. Especially the German versions are quite funny, because they are divided into different accents. If you want to check a special language or send somebody a lovesong with languages you decide on your own, check out this “Liebesliedgenerator”!

And while I am going on about musician-comedians, check out Igudesman and Joo on youtube as well! They’re simply amazing and amazingly funny! 😀

But that’s it for today – it feels somehow strange to not be meeting with Sunyoung and Hyejin any more. The whole autumn has been really nice and interesting! 🙂

Finish Independence Day with Korean food

On the Finish Independence Day Sunyoung and Hyejin had promised to cook me and Johanna (my flatmate) Korean food. I really looked forward to this, it was (in a way) the turn for Korean food after we made some German food the week before.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures (Hyejin and Sunyoung took some – so you might see them in their posts) because I used my phone to play German Christmas songs while we were preparing the food. Our meeting was supposed to be for learning German after all! 🙂

While we were chopping, slicing and cooking everything, we switched through English, German, Finish and Korean quite randomly and talked about whatever came to mind. It might have looked quite funny to outsiders and even we got a little confused from time to time…
But we managed to get everything done as it should be and even watched the Independence fireworks from the balcony for a moment.

The food tasted great – it was something like mixed rice, where you put onions, meat, zucchini, mushrooms and salad together. Sunyoung and Hyejin had brought a special Chili-sauce (really quite hot) and sesame-oil, which was supposed to be mixed under the food. I started quite carefully, as I wasn’t too sure about how hot I like my food and not at all used to the taste of sesame-oil. But even though the food was really different from what I am used to, it was great! I especially liked the meatballs we had made in addition to the mixed-rice ingredients. And fortunately a small portion was left, just enough for me to eat on the next day! 🙂

As we were eating I realized that 6.12. is a special day in Germany as well, as it is “Nikolaustag”. Nikolaus is a saint who gave gifts to poor people when he lived and he is believed (or children are made to believe) to come on the night between 5. and 6. December to leave something nice for children that have been well behaved. He is quite much like Santa Claus actually. Only, that it is tradition to polish one’s shoes (my family would use rubber-boots, as it is possible to fit much more into them than into ordinary shoes) and put them outside in the evening. In the morning they will be filled with apples, clementines and nuts. Nowadays people use less and less of these healthy things and more of chocolate or candy – in some families children even get “real” gifts. But I think the idea of fruits and nuts is much better (I can’t say no to chocolate, but even so), as it is much more traditional. The saint Nicolas probably really gave these kinds of things to poor children – I doubt he would give them chocolate or expensive toys or useless stuff.

Well, anyways this means our dinner was a Korean dinner on Finish Independence day as well as on German Nikolaustag. Quite a cultural mess, don’t you think? 😀

OnePiece auf Deutsch

Sooouu, once again we stuck with OnePiece when we met last friday. I think that’s a really good way to learn a language. If you know about the content of the series and about what’s happening, and on top of that are interested in the series, it is much easier to guess what the characters are talking about, even if you don’t understand everything.

Well, anyways we continued from the last episode we had watched before and decided to stop every time there was something interesting. I took a pen and paper right away, so I could write down everything Sunyoung and Hyejin wanted to know.

In the end we had a list with words and expressions (most of them useful, at least I hope so). Here are a few examples:

Ich auch = Me too/also.
Ich bin auch durstig/hungrig. = I am thursty/hungry as well.Was war das? = What was that?
Was ist das? = What is that?
Warte mal! = Wait a moment!
Warte auf mich! = Wait for me!
Beeile dich! = Hurry up (Hurry yourself)!

And because I realized I hadn’t taught any way to ask, if one didn’t understand something, I let Hyejin and Sunyoung listen to a German children song (quite old actually). The words are (short version – there are variations, of course):

Ich hab einen Walkman! Was hast du gesagt? = I have a walkman! What did you say?

I hope it is much easier to remember “Was hast du gesagt?” through this song – at least for me I think it would be. And of course, one can always just use “Sorry?” or “Entschuldigung?” or (the not so polite way) “Was?”.

As a beginner in a language I think knowing how to express that you didn’t understand something is a very important thing – else people will assume that you understood everything, which can easily lead to misunderstandings…

I hope you didn’t misunderstand anything I wrote 😀

Until next time!

Flammkuchen und Apfelstreusel

(Because – like I just realized, I forgot to write a post about our last meeting, this will include a review of both meetings 20.11. and 29.11.)

Our meeting on 20.11. was actually quite short compared to others, because we only had 45 minutes. So it basically included simply watching one OnePiece episode. This time we decided to stop every now and then when there were important words or phrases, that Hyejin or Sunyoung wanted to remember. That was easier than watching the whole episode and trying to remember all things for afterwards. I think words like “Freund” (=friend) and “Essen” (=food) that came quite often were easy to remember and won’t be forgotten too soon. And now Hyejin and Sunyoung have the link to the site with German dubbed OnePiece episodes as well, so they can watch them whenever they feel like it 😀
here it is for you guys, too:

At our next meeting, we had first planned on baking something. Because of it being moved to later in the day (schedules again), I thought it would be nice to first eat something salty. So I prepared all the ingredients and the dough for “Flammkuchen”, because the dough had to rest for 30 minutes before baking it. When Hyejin and Sunyoung came we could directly start with making the “Flammkuchen”. While it was in the oven, we switched to preparing the “Apfelstreusel”.
“Flammkuchen” really is quite close to Pizza in terms of preparing. You just need the bottom – usually its round – and then you put “Schmand” (like sour cream) “Zwiebeln” (=onions) and “Speck” (=bacon) on top of it. It tastes very different from Pizza, though, as it has no tomato sauce and the dough for the bottom is made without yeast. If you are interested in trying to make one yourself (it’s really not that difficult), here is the recipe we used:

Next came the “Apfelstreusel” (basically an apple cake), which we prepared while the “Flammkuchen” was in the oven. When the “Flammkuchen” was ready, we put the cake in and enjoyed the first part of our dinner, which really tasted delicious! I actually had never made “Flammkuchen” myself before, so I wasn’t really too sure about how it would work out. I’m glad it worked so well! For the cake we had to wait for it to cool down after baking it, so we used that time to clean the kitchen and watch one more episode of OnePiece, although this time only as amusement and not too much focusing on learning German, as we were all quite tired already. Even though, I think it always helps to just hear the foreign language being spoken to get used to the sound and pronunciation. And of course there were a few words I had to translate and sentences that Hyejin and Sunyoung recognized or understood even without my help 🙂
The “Apfelstreusel” was really delicious, I think I will have to use that recipe more often! There are really many variations of this cake and I have tried many different versions already. But this one is genuinely good! Here it’s for you, if you’re interested:

So much for this time, next time we will meet without “real” food (only snacks) but after that Sunyoung and Hyejin promised to cook some Korean food in turn. I’m really looking forward to that! 🙂

Gehst du gerne shoppen?

Our last meeting has been already some time and I almost forgot to write a post… but here it is now, just in time before our next meeting 🙂

Last Thursday we were probably all a little tired and not really that excited to study. Hyejin and Sunyoung had proposed to watch a German movie, but unfortunately my laptop just had broken down, so we had to think of something else.

We decided on going through vocabulary one might need when shopping (one of the most important and interesting parts of life?), and tried to make questions and sentences with those. Again, I was quite amazed at the abilities of Hyejin and Sunyoung to intuitively switch the word order of a sentence in order to make it into a question.

For example from “Ich gehe gerne shoppen (einkaufen).” to “Gehst du gerne shoppen (einkaufen)?”. It didn’t seem too difficult on them, although the verb-forms of “gehen” (ich gehe, du gehst, wir gehen) got mixed up sometimes. But with a cheat sheet it worked really well! 🙂

It was quite difficult to keep the new vocabulary to a minimum, so it wouldn’t be too much to remember – there are just so many things that could prove important and useful. Also the use of the adverb “gerne” was quite difficult to explain, as it has the same meaning as “to like”, but is used in a different way for which the English has no equivalent – at least I don’t know of any.

For our next meeting I decided to prepare myself a little better, so I asked Hyejin and Sunyoung in advance what they want to do and we decided to go with an episode of OnePiece again. That’s a really fun and relaxing way to study – for all of us 😀

Honey Pomelo and One Piece

Today we met quite late after I had a long day at school. I was quite tired, which was why I proposed we could watch an episode of some anime (we had talked about different animes before and found out that we pretty much like the same series).

Although I didn’t have the time to buy groceries, I found a Honey Pomelo I had bought a few days ago and completely forgotten. I was surprised as Hyejin and Sunyoung apparently never had eaten Pomelo before. A new experience again, and something healthy as a snack for a change! 😀

Almost all the first episodes of well-known anime-series are easy to find on the internet in German-dubbed versions. We decided on OnePiece, as Hyejin and Sunyoung said, they probably remember by heart what happens and what the characters say.

It was really strange for me to watch this anime German dubbed, as I had only watched it with English subtitles and was used to the original Japanese voices…

but it was interesting, how Hyejin and Sunyoung were able to notice some sentences or words, which they had heard before. Like “Wer bist du?” (=”Who are you?”). And they asked me for the meanings of some words that made them curious. One of them was “Feigling” (=coward). It was really interesting to see, how somebody who doesn’t understand German fluently can pick out certain sentences or special words.

After watching the episode we first talked a little bit about One Piece in general and all that has happened, or what might happen in future episodes………. we probably could have talked about that much more 😀

But so that we would not forget the German words and expressions we had heard in the episode, I wrote some of them down, trying to make them as useful in real life as possible.

Here a few of them:

Ich habe      – Hunger (“hunger”)
(“I have”)    – Durst (“thirst”)
– Kopfschmerzen (“a headache”)
– Schnupfen (“a running nose”)

Ich bin   – hungrig (“hungry”)
(“I am”) – durstig (“thirsty”)
– müde (“tired”)

Mir ist              – kalt (“cold”)
(“I feel/am”) – warm (“warm”)
– heiß (“hot”)

Numbers – Nummern

Our meeting on the 09.10. was completely numbered.

After going through the numbers from 1 to 13 and explaining how to add the numbers up to form 21, 375 and so on.

The system was quite easy to explain, as it is very similar to English numbers, only that you have to remember to turn the numbers around when you say two-digit numbers. For example twenty-one is ein-und-zwanzig (one-and-twenty) in German. This goes on until 98.

When Hyejin and Sunyoung had figured these out, I started to ask questions like: “Wie viele Waffeln sind das?” (“How many waffles are there?” – we were eating waffles and chocolate with our lemon tea… mmmmhhh), or “Wie viele Katzen sind hier?” (“How many cats are here?” – as there are three cats in my apartement). Hyejin and Sunyoung tried to answer my questions in German and that actually worked really well. They still checked the note to remember the correct pronunciation, but after some ten to twenty minutes they started to remember them by heart.

We also discussed numbers in different languages – at least Finnish, Korean, Arabic and Japanese. It’s quite surprising how different the numbers are in all those languages. But luckily there are only that many numbers, so they may not take too much time to learn.

Of course, we didn’t only talk about numbers, we also went through the things I teached in our last meetings, so they won’t be forgotten.

I’m looking forward to seeing how much Hyejin and Sunyoung remember after the autumn break – or how much more they have learned. I was really surprised how well they remember some basic sentences and the pronunciation has improved as well!

But – that’s it from this meeting.

Here the German numbers for you to review if you are interested:

1     Eins
2     Zwei
3    Drei
4    Vier
5    Fünf
6    Sechs
7    Sieben
8     Acht
9     Neun
10   Zehn
11   Elf
12    Zwölf
13    Dreizehn   (and from here on to 19, you just add -zehn in the end. Exceptions are: Sechzehn (no ‘s’) and Siebzehn (the ‘en’ goes missing)

20   Zwanzig
30   Dreißig
40   Vierzig  (and you’ll probably guess how the rest is working…)

100  (Ein)hundert

And one example for big numbers: 375 Dreihundertfünfundsiebzig or 498 Vierhundertachtundneunzig

This actually reminded me, that we didn’t include the zero 0 in our numberlesson. I will save it for next time. And until then – Tschüssi! 🙂

Teaching German – our first meeting

Our first “official“ meeting took place on 23.09.14 in my apartment. Already in the beginning there was some misunderstanding about the location, though, which resulted in Sunyoung and Hyejin coming there half an hour later than what we originally had planned. Luckily, neither of us was in any big hurry, so we drank tea and talked about pronunciation in German language for about an hour.

Although I have studied pedagogy and have taught musics as well as various instruments, I have never before had the chance to teach German. So this is something quite new and – although interesting – quite challenging for me.
I realized that pronunciation is quite difficult to explain, if one doesn’t know about the language the other one speaks. As I know nothing about Korean, I probably started a little bit too fast with many difficult things. The German ‘r’ and ‘ch’ are the most difficult for Sunyoung and Hyejin. As in Korean there doesn’t seem to be any ‘r’ at all, the English ‘r’ is the only one they know of. And that one is quite far from the German. But the ‘r’ seems to be difficult to almost all German learning people. There is even an 8 minute long video on youtube, trying to explain the pronunciation:
But I think in the future, I will ignore these “special” consonants, as they might just come with time and I don’t want the difficulty to be discouraging.
In the progress of explaining different pronunciations, we made an excurse on the German articles “der”, “die” and “das”. It took me a few examples to explain, which gender each one represents, as there is no such thing in the English language. Also the fact, that the gender of almost all nouns in German are quite random, was a little disappointing for Sunyoung and Hyejin… (and this just might be the biggest obstacle people have to overcome when learning German…)
For the other pronunciation specialties (“ie”, “ei”, “eu”, “ß”, “sch”, “st” and “sp”) I tried to think up words, that might be useful and important for basic knowledge. But I realized that I don’t know the exact rules to some pronunciations, as I never learned them this way. For the future I probably will have to do some research, so I will be able to give understandable and truthful explanations about details like these. Also a language teaching book could be really helpful for me to understand, in what order it is the easiest and logical to learn German pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

In the end we watched a short sketch by Loriot (probably the most impressive German comedian ever) which showed nicely one habit and stereotype Germans are famous for: accuracy.
Here the link to the video, if you are interested to watch it as well: “Das Bild hängt schief“.