Past Tense with “sein” – Speaking Practice

Hello everyone,

and welcome to back to a new episode of SWEET – that’s short for Speaking with Emanuel’s Epic Training.
For those of you who are new here… in spring I partnered up with EF languages and I can now use their speech grading AI and integrate it into exercises here on my site.
So now, instead of multiple choice or filling in a gap, you actually get to SAY a phrase or a sentence, in a safe space at your own speed and you don’t just practice the theory but also… well… practice.
And I think, that’s really really important and beneficial, especially for beginners for many aspects of grammar.

One of these grammar topics is the past tense and that’s what we’ll practice today.
Or specifically, we’ll do a set for

The Past Tense for Verbs with “sein”

We already did one session about this, where we focused on verbs that go with haben (find it here).
And yes, we’ll also do one where you have to pick haben or sein yourself and possibly some other formats, too.
But yeah, today we’ll focus on the most common verbs that go with sein.
So if you’re ready and your jaw is loose then let’s jump right in.

Here’s how it works:

You’ll see a sentence in present tense in German, and you have to change that into the spoken past. So your challenges will be:

  • pick the right form of sein
  • pick the right ge-form
  • put the stuff into the right positions

And of course

  • actually saying it :)

To start the recording, you just press the recording button once and then again to stop the recording.
The AI will then grade your version and you’re better than the threshold, you can move on to the next question. And you’ll see a grading for your version where you can see for each word how well you did.

red: not so good, needs improvemen
yellow: meh… understandable but THICK accent
light green: okay
green: pretty good overall
green with outline: perfect
(Especially the last two, pretty good and perfect, also depend on the mic quality and noises in the surroundings, so don’t get too hung up on that.)

Actually, let’s do a little trial run, to see how it works and if your mic is okay.
Read out this:

“eins zwei drei”


 

If the everything is okay, the button should change color when you press it. If it DOESN’T change, that’s a sign that either your mic is off or your browser has blocked access to it. Leave me a comment, if you need help with that.

What if my pronunciation is not good enough?

No problem. In the actual quiz, you’ll be able to adjust the difficulty level yourself.
So if you still have an accent, you can make it “more lenient”, and you don’t get stuck. If you set to down to like 5% it’ll “recognize” pretty much anything remotely resembling the answer as “good enough” and if you set it to like 95% you’ll have to have some fluency going on :). You can change that at any point, so you can try the same question again with different difficulty settings.

Oh and for navigation… if the “next” buttons don’t show up, you can also use the overview at the top to navigate between the questions.

I’m a bit shaky with past tense.

No problem. If you want to review the topic, just check out my post about the matter here:

German Past Tense – The Spoken Past

But you can also just jump in and learn by doing.
One challenge are definitely the ge-forms of the verbs. Those are hard to guess, so if you don’t know one, don’t think of it as failure! The point of the practice is that you LEARN these forms, so just do it a few times and they’ll start to stick.

Can I hear a native speaker version?

Yes, no problem. Just click on “hint” and you should see a play button where you can hear me say it. You can also record me with the AI and see how much I score :).
And there’s also a written hint that can help you with the ge-form.

Now, I think we’re pretty much set, but there’s one more thing I want to mention.

What’s the goal?

The main point of this exercise is that you practice the spoken past for the most common verbs in a somewhat “holistic” way. And if you’re a beginner, it is not meant as a one time test. Treat it like a vocabulary trainer, so come back to it every few days and do it, until everything comes out without much thinking.

And last but not least… even though the AI does grade your pronunciation, and can give you useful hints… it is NOT meant to perfect your pronunciation.
If you want detailed feedback to how you talk, you do need a native speaker. And AI cannot give you that. Don’t think of this as a pronunciation trainer, think of it as an exercise, that you just happened to answer orally.

Cool.
So now I think we’re ready. Viel Spaß and I’ll see you after the practice for some locker room feedback.

And? How’d you do? Did you enjoy it?
I actually have a question… while I was preparing this, I felt like it might be a good idea to practice the ge-forms separately first. So I am thinking about setting up an exercise where we don’t use sentence but just a stump. Like this:

  • gehen – ich bin gegangen
  • fallen – ich bin gefallen
  • ….

That way we could run through like 30 or so verbs at a time without having to worry about sentence structure and so on, and you’d just focus on the form and the flow.
If you think that’s a good idea, let me know and I’ll set one up as a trial.
And if you have any other ideas for a setup, let me know as well. I’m still playing around and seeing what to use this system for, so any input is welcome.
Anyway, that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll see you next time.

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Omid
Omid
6 months ago

I should say Thank you to friends who support site and also support peoples like me who right now can not pay on site; your generosity helps us to grow and have nw chances.
Thanks to you all and Emanuel for his sweet learning Items.

michele
michele
6 months ago

Will you be doing a past tense verb quiz that mixes the 2 forms sein and haben of the spoken past? I really liked how I could take my best shot but then also hear you say the sentence. You sound much different that Duo :}

pmfeely54
pmfeely54
6 months ago

hi Emmanuel
In der Einleitung scheint es mir, ,,stunning” ist eine seltsame Übersetzung von ,,krass”.  Es hat meistens auf Englisch  eine sehr positive Bedeutung, [ vielleicht ,,atemberaubend” ], wenn es als Adjektiv verwendet wird. Hingegen ist  auf Englisch ,,krass”  immer negativ. Es sei denn, krass ist ein falscher Freund und kann auf Deutsch auch eine positive Bedeutung haben.
Jetzt bin ich das losgeworden kann ich mit der Übung hinkriegen!

Patrick

pmfeely54
pmfeely54
6 months ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

klar, danke

iris_wqq
iris_wqq
6 months ago

Hi Emanuel,

I have a question that’s irrelevant to this post. I’ve just come across a sentence that’s pretty “merkwürdig” to me—„nur dieses eine Mal.“ I guess it’s something like”just this once.” But how come this “eine” here kinda takes an adjective ending? Do cardinal numbers take adjective endings? Or when do they take adjective endings? What about “only these two times?” Thank you so much for lösen das Rätsel ;p

Iris

iris_wqq
iris_wqq
6 months ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Vielen Dank Emanuel! Your blog is indeed a source of treasures for a language nerd like me. Every single nuance you’ve revealed in the posts makes me love German a bit more. Full of Wachrüttel-Moments. I’m really grateful!

Liebe Grüße,
Iris

Jillanne
Jillanne
6 months ago

Thanks for the quiz. The last one I tried did not accept my thick accent, but this one did. So Hurrah fr me. Not that I have improved, the quiz has. Happy with practice for the ge-

Ebaa
Ebaa
6 months ago

The article is very good as usual… thanks Emanuel for the great content. I have been learning a lot from this website.
And my sincere thanks and gratitude to the members who pay extra to help others join the learning process. You helped me a lot.
Thanks

Brian Kean
Brian Kean
6 months ago

Voll schon!

Neelam
Neelam
6 months ago

Die Übung war toll..ich hatte viel Spaß. Vielen Dank!

Anton
Anton
6 months ago

Ich hatte Spaß! Das war besser als Du**ingo! I wanted to say thank you also to this community which has scholarshipped my membership to this site! VIELEN DANK!!

Lydia
Lydia
6 months ago

Noch mehr bitte! Deutschlernen ist mein “Covid-Projekt” und es macht mir viel Spaß. Aber, ich habe nicht viel Chance Deutsch zu sprechen, auch selten muss ich schnell über die Verben nachdenken.

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri
6 months ago

Hello lieber Emanuel
Ich wünsche dir einen schönen Geburstag. Bonne anniversaire .

mduhagon
mduhagon
6 months ago

I have been using the past tense for more or less long now (I’m doing B1 classes)
Regardless… Today trying this exercise, I realize I struggled with the ge-form and somehow it was coming out of my head all miss-shaped, and the actual correct form still sounded very odd to me. Maybe some of the latest grammar I am learning somehow mixed up stuff in my head… Or maybe it’s just Sunday morning :)

So, listening to your pronunciation of each sentence, and repeating for different verbs really helped to get back familiarity with this form, I found it very effective and I’ll go and do the quiz for verbs with haben now :D

Mahmoud
Mahmoud
6 months ago

I’d like to say a big thank you!

To the members who pay a little more to help student with no money like me view this great content, Emanuel just sent me a year long subscription upon my request … so really thank you guys, and thank you Emanuel … time to study.

Jake
Jake
6 months ago

I would love to practice the stump then have you provide the sentence in English that we need to then say in German. Something like this …

1. Ich stehe auf, Ich bin aufgestanden (practice the form)
2. Now say, “I woke up at 7”

(I say, “Ich bin um 7 aufgestanden”)

3. Es geht auf, es ist aufgegangen (practice the form)
4. Now say, “I woke up at 7 because the sun rose at 6:30” and use ‘weil’, not ‘denn’.

(I say “Ich bin um 7 aufgestanden, weil die Sonne um 6:30 aufgegangen ist.”)

So in each of these cases to form a sentence, you would only be providing the English to translate. Under the hint you could put the present tense form in German if someone gets stuck.

Does that make sense?

Faith
Faith
6 months ago

I cannot get “Handy” either! Otherwise fun quiz :)

Fancypantser
Fancypantser
6 months ago

basically 100% except the darned word BIN. I think my I is wrong.
Anyone with a tip / rhyming word from English?

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
6 months ago
Reply to  Fancypantser

I think the vowel in “bit” is pretty close. When you open the link, click on the first result under Nouns, the example by WhiteViolet. Maybe also “lip” and “his,” depending on how you normally pronounce them.

One possible thing to watch out for: the vowels don’t glide or shift like they sometimes do in English. Like here, if you click on “to bin,” the second entry under Verbs by doug-e3b. The “i” changes slightly about halfway through. There’s a link for “ich bin” on the same page (toward the top), and the “i” is short and steady there.

(I think the English “bin” is more nasal. Not sure how much the AI picks up on that.)

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
6 months ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Yeah, you’re right of course :)

Alles Gute nachträglich zum Geburtstag!

BeneficialMove
BeneficialMove
6 months ago

This was a great exercise, thanks!

I would also like to say a brief “Thank you!” to all the wonderful people that pay a little more than they should/donate to this website, since they help individuals such as myself to achieve their lifegoals!

michele
michele
6 months ago

That was awesome! Das war sehr toll!

Cyndeyb1
Cyndeyb1
6 months ago

Loved the quiz – recording is working great !

haton
haton
6 months ago

Cool exercise, thanks!
A suggestion to spice up the game: could there be a checkbox to show/hide the German sentence? This way we could try to do the exercise directly from the English.

And while I’m writing, another suggestion: when getting to the site from your weekly email, the page of the lesson appears. But after I log in, I am taken to my profile page. It would be nice to be taken back to the lesson page instead.

Jake
Jake
6 months ago
Reply to  haton

+1