Listen to German – A Berlin Crime Story

Hello everyone,

wie geht’s euch heute? Last week was an all about grammar, so this week we’ll give those muscles a rest and instead focus on the muscle group called Earus Understandiceps with some listening comprehension. And today, I’m not going to read a short story. Instead, I’ll read a snippet of a whole book for learners.

Krimi in Berlin v1

V1 because it’s a three part series by now :).
The author is Janine, she is a German teacher (from Berlin, by the way) both in real life and online, she has a website with super useful free mini courses about German grammar (I’ll add all the links below), she has her own Youtube channel about the German language AND as if that wasn’t enough, she also writes novels for learners. And those are really lovely.

They’re well written and fun, she uses lots of colloquial language and slang that people ACTUALLY use in daily life, the stories are really up to date and “zeitgeist”-y and most importantly, she puts a lot of love into it.
Not like all those sterile, artificial learner books from the book assembly lines of the industry, full of preservatives and flavor enhancers and crap like that. Those will eat your soul.
Okay, no, they’re not that bad. But Janine’s books are better and funer and I’m really happy that she agreed to this little project.
We won’t read the very beginning because it is a bit slow, so let me fill you in on what happened so far:

The protagonist is Hercule Poirot, a wealthy French gentleman (who speaks German really well) in his 40s (I think) who is coming to Berlin to
live here for a while. He had found an 
apartment over the Internet and had paid the deposit but the person who was supposed to give him the keys
just never showed up and the landlord called Westholme isn’t answering the phone.
There’s a big
soccer match in Berlin and all the hotels are booked.
Super tired and looking for a place to spend the night, Hercule asks his
brother for help who has friends in Berlin. And so Hercule finds himself ringing the doorbell of an apartment in an alternative part of town. The woman who opens couldn’t be further from what Hercule expected….

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in. I added the translations to words that you most certainly don’t know but if you want a full translation, you can just use the line by line script with translation

normal version:
(I tried to do voices and a French accent :)

slow version:
(the recording was quite noisy, so I had to do a lot of processing. Let me know if it’s okay or I’ll try to redo it)


line by line transcript

 

***

Die Frau ist klein, trägt durchlöcherte Jeans und ein Top. Ihre Arme sind komplett tätowiert, ebenso ein Teil ihres Halses. Aber das ist noch nicht das Schlimmste. Ihr Kopf ist halb abrasiert und die übrigen Haare sind kurz und pink. Und in beiden Ohren trägt sie lächerlich (ridiculously) große Ohrringe, die in der Mitte ein Loch haben.
Eigentlich ist sie ja ganz hübsch, sie hat schöne blaue Augen und eine kleine Stupsnase (upturned nose).

“Was ist, willst du reinkommen oder nicht ?”, fragt sie und verschränkt (crosses) ihre Arme.
Hercule räuspert (clears throat) sich und streckt seine Hand raus. “Guten Abend. Poirot, Hercule Poirot mein Name. Sehr erfreut, Sie kennenzulernen.”
Sie zieht die Augenbrauen hoch und scheint amüsiert. “Merk.”, sagt sie.
“Bitte, wie?”
“Merk. Em – Eh – Er – Ka”. Sie spricht es Englisch aus. Mörk.

Poirot betritt die Wohnung und holt einen Fünzig-Euro-Schein aus der Tasche.
“Frau Merk, vielen Dank, dass Sie mich quasi in letzter Minute aufnehmen. Das weiß ich wirklich sehr zu schätzen und- ”

Merk unterbricht ihn mit schallendem  (ringing) Gelächter.
“Einfach nur Merk, ok? Wir sind hier nicht so formell”.
Dann deutet sie auf eine Tür. “Da ist die Küche. Daneben das Bad. Hier links dein Zimmer und das alles -”, sie zeigt auf den rechten Bereich, “…ist privat. Verstanden?”
Hercule nickt.

Das Zimmer ist sehr schön – hohe Wände, Stuck (stucco), alter Dielenboden. Es gibt sogar einen Balkon. Und zu seiner Erleichterung ist es sauber. In der Ecke liegt eine Matratze, die auf – Hercule muss zweimal hinsehen – Palletten liegt, wie man sie sonst nur aus Warenlagern (storage buildings) kennt. Sonst gibt es noch einen alten Holztisch, eine Truhe und einen alten Sessel im Zimmer. Nicht so durchgestylt wie in einem Hotel. Aber das ist Hercule egal. Er hat nur eins im Sinn: Schlafen.

Am nächsten Morgen ruft Hercule als erstes den Vermieter Westholme an, doch der geht nicht ans Handy.
Hercule duscht, zieht sich an und verlässt die Wohnung – er braucht nun ein richtig großes Frühstück! Direkt gegenüber von der Wohnung ist ein Supermarkt. Er kauft Eier, Speck, Marmelade, Orangensaft, Milch, Kaffee und Camembert. Dann geht er noch in eine Bäckerei und kauft Croissants.

Zurück in der Wohnung bereitet er Rührei mit Speck vor, macht sich einen großen Café au Lait und deckt den Tisch. Dabei singt er vergnügt vor sich hin. Er entdeckt sogar ein Radio und findet einen Klassiksender. Gerade als er das Rührei auf den Teller tut, geht die Türe auf.

Merk sieht verschlafen aus. Ihre Augen sind geschwollen und die Haare – oder was davon übrig ist – sind zerzaust (disheveled) . Wortlos schaltet sie das Radio aus.
“Vor 11 Uhr herrscht hier Nachtruhe, kapiert?”
Hercule ist zerknirscht (contrite). “Tut mir leid. Frühstück?”, fragt er.
Doch Merk beäugt (eye balls) den Küchentisch kritisch und verzieht angewidert das Gesicht.
“Das ist eine vegane Küche!”
“Oh. Also kein Speck?! Soll ich noch ein Rührei machen?”, fragt er hoffnungsvoll. Hercule würde sich gern dafür revanchieren, dass er so spontan kommen durfte.
“Vegan! Keine Eier, kein Käse, keine tierischen Produkte, capito?” Sie fängt an, sein Frühstück einzusammeln und öffnet den Mülleimer.
“Stop, nein, nein – “, voller Panik nimmt er  ihr den Käse und die Eierpackung aus der Hand. “Jetzt, wo ich die Sachen schon gekauft habe, bringt es doch auch nichts, sie wegzuwerfen, oder?” 
“Mmhm, naja. Da ist was dran.”, sagt sie. Dann schnappt (snatches) sie aber doch den Speck und schmeißt ihn weg. “Tote Tiere gehen gar nicht.”

Er kratzt sich am Kopf. “Isst du vielleicht Croissant mit Erdbeermarmelade?”
Merk schnaubt (huffs) und hält ihm eine Tasse hin. “Kaffee, schwarz.”
Dann zieht sie die Tasse zurück. “Moment mal, ist der Bio und Fairtrade?” Hercule schaut auf die Packung. Diesmal hat er Glück. Dann isst Hercule schweigend sein Frühstück, sie schlürft den Kaffee.

Schließlich fragt sie: “Was ist’n, weißt du jetzt eigentlich, ob du länger hier wohnen willst?”
Hercule erzählt ihr die Geschichte von der Wohnung und Westholme und zeigt ihr die Unterlagen. Als sie die Bilder der Wohnung sieht, verzieht sie das Gesicht (makes a face).
“Dir ist schon klar, dass du einem Betrüger auf den Leim gegangen (were conned) bist, oder?”.
Hercule blickt sie entsetzt an.

***

And so starts a wild ride; a mix of environmental thriller, buddy comedy with elements of hacker tales and 50 shades of Grey :).
Seriously, it’s a lovely little buddy comedy. We’ll actually do read another part in a few weeks but if you liked this and it suits your level, then you should check out the book.  And it’s not just the book, you’ll also get an audio version read by Janine, and she has a really great voice. Very clear pronunciation and very soothing.

And if you’re now like “That sounds great, where can I get it?” then I have great news… because you can

 !!!  WIN A BOOK :)  !!!

Janine has sponsored three eBooks for you guys. I think we’ve done favorite German word already, so this time, tell us what’s your LEAST favorite German word and why do you hate it so much. Is it the sound, or the looks or just the fact that it freaking won’t stay in your brain.
Tell me in the  comments below and I’ll select 3 winners at random in a few days.
And if you didn’t win or if you don’t want to wait, you can get it directly from her site here:

buy the book

It’s only 2.99 for about 100 pages and 80 minutes of audio is pretty much a steal.

So, this was our listening comprehension for today. How’d you like the snippet? Do you think this is useful?  Have you used these kinds of books for your studies before? How is it working for you? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to tell me about your least favorite German word to win a book.
I really hope you enjoyed it and see you next time.

Janines Website, with lots of cool, free mini courses on grammar and stuff: 

http://www.free-german-lessons-online.com

Janine’s Youtube channel:

 https://www.youtube.com/user/freeGermanlessons/videos

 

for members :)

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tohaklim

Wow, I almost managed to follow the fast version. Really hope to avoid getting into such a household myself.
Also, Emanuel, is “guy the book” some sort of pun or a misspell?

berlingrabers
berlingrabers

I think you meant “defrauded” on that last translation. :) “Taken in” is a more casual way to say the same thing, or “conned.”

By the way, I could swear I learned “duschen” as a reflexive way back in school – should it be “Hercule duscht sich”? or has it changed, or did I just learn it wrong? I ask because I’ve thought I’ve heard it recently without the reflexive pronoun, but wasn’t sure.

Also, I hate the word “rücksichtslos,” not so much because of the meaning but because I cannot ever pronounce it on the first try. Breaks my tongue every time… :\

nmorg

This is a whimpy contribution but though I know the word ,Arzt’ means doctor I still regularly do a double take thinking it relates to being an artist. The brain refuses to accept the similar spelling!

dane
dane

I mean, i’m all about winning a book but I may just buy it at the chance of not winning or perhaps if I win then I can give it to someone else learning.

‘Erinnere’

It gets on my nerves heavily. Due to pronouncing it. I can. Slowly. But if i’m ever in situations where I need to remember something or describe someone else in a story that is remembering something, hollllly biscuity barrels does it not go well.

It’s annoying because I often remember things and therefore like to say ‘OH, I remember that.’ or ‘I remember the time…”

But nooooooo, this ich erinnere mich an…. gets me stuttering and slopping around the entire sentence.

I’ve spent several walking the dogs time saying it to myself whilst onlookers stare at the American in Germany with quizzical eyes due to my talking to myself and due to the horrible fashion sense that is waking up, needing to get two small dogs outside before they urinate all over and not giving a shit about mismatching shoes or shirts that are covered in hair while my hair doesn’t know a thing about discipline nor order.

nemderogatorius
nemderogatorius

Wow, this story is super cool! I enjoyed it very much, even though I had to google a lot of words :)

By the way, my least favorite german word is “kakerlake”. It confuses me sometimes because when I hear it, I automatically think that it’s something, well, toilet-related XD

TimM
TimM

“Sonnenbrille”. Ich kann es einfach nicht richtig sagen!

Brightstar
Brightstar

Emanuel, great idea to have audio comprehension. I am sure it is very beneficial to all of us regardless of our level of proficiency in German.
I have read Janine’s books and I find them useful and funny. This series with audio are great, the ones I have read don’t have audio.

Your reading speed for me is still too fast, so I read the script and listened it again. It helped but still the threading of words in the audio tricks me.

I understand ‘durchlöcherte’ as having lots of holes but does it also mean ‘tight’? I visualize the young women wearing tight-jeans and I would like to know how to say that.

The word that i don’t like is ‘neugierig’ because I cannot learn the spelling. Trying to force my brain to remember it I used it as a password until I gave up and changed my password.

Thank you to you and Janine

Brightstar

Denise
Denise

I only discovered this website yesterday. It’s excellent. I did A level German many moons ago and I’m ashamed that I never kept my languages up. This is a great way to get back into it! Thank you. I will buy the book! My least favourite word – die Kaserne. The barracks I stayed in many years ago had mushrooms growing in the bathroom – which we all had to share.

Marti
Marti

“Zwiebel”!!!! Last time I was in Germany, I thought this is cabbage, and all my friends bought steaks with onion, istead of with cabbage… That’s when I decided I’ll start learning German for sure… At least now I’ll remember it :)

Alexandra Robayo
Alexandra Robayo

Great! I liked this little extract very much, I even felt this small moment of anguish as she tried to toss it all in the trash!. sure I would like to read the whole story.

So my least favorite German word is “schwanger”, and it is because of a story behind it.

One week after I arrived to Germany (I could barely speak any German) I let a pregnant lady go first in front of me in a long line… and because of that, another lady in the back screamed at me for almost 5 minutes until I could find the translation for “pregnant ” in my phone :( .

The sad thing is that even today, 8 months later I can´t remember the word…

Ru Hui
Ru Hui

Kirsche-n (cherry) und Kirche-n (church). They sound similar and have similar spellings, and I always always mix both up. The meanings get totally twisted.
A typical mistake I make:
Ich möchte Kirchen kaufen.

JulesBern
JulesBern

One of my least favorite words is Gesicht primarily because I always confuse it or it comes out sounding like Geschichte. It will not stick in my brain.
I think a new one from this story which would be vergnügt – I like the visual and would love to some how introduce that in my vocabulary but I definitely think I will stumble on that one. It is totally amusing to see other people’s least favorite words – errinere and neugierig are up there for sure!

Félix LeChien
Félix LeChien

My least favorite german word is Pfeffer.

I read somewhere that ancient Germans used to grind pepper grains with their teeth. Of course, they had to spit it out to put the ground pepper into jars, and “pfeffer” was the sound they made while doing so. Nah, just kidding! ;-)

Nevertheless, “Pfeffer” sounds like you’re spitting out something you don’t like. Könntest du mir bitte das Pfeffer reichen? That sounds like you actually find pepper disgusting, and you’re asking only to be polite…

Shannon Skilton
Shannon Skilton

Wow! I understood all but a bit of the last paragraph at normal speed! But I have to say that your ‘normal’ is uncharacteristically clear and lacks the frantic quality I find in many German movies. Hurrah for you!!!

Words I ‘hate’? I have two:. Allerdings (I must have looked up this a bazillion times and I STILL can’t remember it! In my mind, it should mean something like ‘all things’) and der Preis. How can one word mean two different things?…the price and the prize? One being something you pay out and the other something you either earn or win. I suppose –with some mental gymnastics– you could claim that your effort to earn a prize is its price, but it’s a stretch.

Tri
Tri

Hallo Emanuel,
its interesting to listen to the audio since I still struggling with my “hoeren” and “sprechen” test (^_^”””) your voice is really is -almost- the same with those voices I heard from our audio in our class :D
Ok, for my least favorite German word today is: pfiffig. Hard to pronounce and remind me of some animal with almost the same sound…
Owh by the way, can you give me little of your advice how to make it easier to learn or to understand it better with German language since I didn’t use English too in my daily language. So sometimes, or, most of the time it feels like I have to translate from German to English and then to my language and feels like so much work (TT.TT)

Adriano De Almeida Marcato
Adriano De Almeida Marcato

Hey, there are a lot of of words to get puzzled but bzw (Beziehungsweise) is by far the one which annoyed me the most. By reading the description you can get the sense that it should have, but sometimes people use without the traditional meaning. I have the impression it is a little overused, mainly in the academic context.
When I was living and studying in Austria a lot of professors would use it and it would give me some milliseconds of terror. I think that nowadays I am more ok with it. If you can’t beat them, join them. Haha

Cat
Cat

My least favorite word is ‘jein’ (= ‘ja und nein’). I probably wouldn’t mind it if Germans didn’t love to teach it to me like it’s super clever or something. Why do they like it so much?

Ati
Ati

Vielen Dank

Dave
Dave

I’ve not accessed a post for a while, yet it says I have reached a limit and cannot read more. This also means I don’t see any of the author details…