GERMAN BEGINNING LESSONS, EASY AND FOR FREE 1
Definite articles; - Pronunciation.
By Juliana W. Malfitani and Elisabeth Wagner, Florianópolis June 2016
The definite article in German, - in English “the”, - may seem a little mysterious at the beginning.
There is just one definite article in English but there are three in German:
Feminine: “die”. Ex.: “die Mutter” = the mother; “die Frau” = the woman.
Masculine: “der”. Ex.: “der Vater” = the father; “der Mann” the man.
Neutral: “das“. Ex.: “das Kind” = the child; “das Haus” = the house.
There is no rule to which words “die”, “der” or “das” may belong. From the beginning on, saying the article connected to the noun, both words becoming like one works fine. Ex.: “der Garten” = the garden; “das Geld“ = the money; “die Tür“ = the door. The colors may help remember whether the word is masculine, feminine or neutral. But no special attention has to be given to the colors, yet they contribute. ((This technique was recommended by a successful teacher of German, Ursula Lamster)).
About pronunciation: “ü“, - the letter “u” with double dots on it, is best to say “oo” like in “boom” = “oo”, keeping the mouth in this shape of “oo” but say “ee”, like in “feet”. Mouth of “u” but saying “ee”. So, what have you got? “ü” the correct pronunciation of “ü”. Ex.:“die Tür” = the door.
The vowels “a, e, i, o, u” are pronounced and read: “ah, ed, ee, owe, oo”. No need to learn these by heart now. They are always pronounced the same and easy to get used to: a, e, i, o, u.
“a” =ah (like in “bath)
“e” = ed (like in Edward)
“i” = ee (like in sea)
“o” = owe (like in O.K.)
“u” = oo (like in boot; shoe)
a, e, i, o , u. :I
The letter “i” is always read “ee”. It becomes long “eee” when the letter “e” follows. It can easily be heard when a syllable is long: “die”, as in “sea”, also in “wie” = how
Ex.: „wie bitte?“ - “wie” = long “ee”; “bitte” = short “ee”:
“wie bitte?” meaning = “how please?“ - “wie bitte” that is what people say when they don’t understand. It’s like: “Pardon me?” but word by word translated it is = “how, please?”((“wie” = “how” and “bitte” = please)) “wie bitte?” So when you want people to repeat the sentence, just say: “wie bitte?” –.
“wie” = “how” is a word showing up a lot, for exemple in “wie viel?” = how much?” like in English composed of “how” =“wie” = and “much” =“viel” = “wie viel?” – Both are long syllables: “wie viel“ = how much?:I
“wie viel kostet es?“ :I = “how much does it cost?” (how much costs it?) or
“wie viel ist es?” = how much is it?
“wie viel Zucker?” = how much sugar?
“wie geht’s?“ = how are you?
So far we know that “die” is “the” and the connected word is feminine. No need to learn all these words now. They are just examples to get familiar: die Frau = the woman; die Mutter = the mother; die Tür = the door; die Hand = the hand; die Liebe = the love. Why are these words feminine? Nobody knows, so far nobody has been able to explain why a word is feminine, masculine or neutral in German. But millions of people have learned how to speak German, mainly by listening to the language. And listening to the language is easy to do and is all for the time being, to begin with.
“der” = “the” is the masculine definite article. Ex.: der Mann = the man, der Vater = the father; der Tee = the tea; der Kaffee = the coffee; der Zucker (Pronunciation of “z”= “ts”) = the sugar.
And then there is still another gender called “neutral”: “das” = “the” Ex.:das Kind = the child; das Geld = the money; das Haus = the house; das Wasser = the water.
At the beginning of these lessons there are just words, but soon there will be sentences. Listening to sentences and knowing the meaning of the whole sentence, makes more sense and makes learning easier.
So listening and repetition is an easy, pleasant way of learning. Give it a try: - And now let’s check out what the following sentences mean:
“wie bitte?” = “how, please?”
“wie viel kostet es?“ :I = “how much does it cost?” or
“wie viel ist es?” = how much is it?
“wie geht’s?“ = how are you? And only now, after having heard it and knowing the meaning of it, try to imitate, to repeat: Wie bitte? .... Wie
Pausing after a sentence and repeating it until you like your pronunciation is an enjoyable way of learning. Transcript to read along bellow.