Better German Podcast with Susi

Susanne Schilk-Blümel

Better German Podcast Episode 5 Introduction to Articles

Are They Important and What Do They Mean?

2023-09-21 13 min

Description & Show Notes

In this episode of the Better German podcast, you will be provided with an introduction to articles in the German language. I will give you an introduction that what articles are, as you will start meeting right from the beginning of your language journey. I will describe the meaning (something which is left out very often) and what function they serve in German. I compare the limited number of articles in English (such as "a" and "the") to the slightly more numerous articles in German ("ein", "eine" and "der," "die," "das"). I discuss how articles can indicate specificity or generality, and how they are essential for constructing correct sentences in German. While acknowledging that some learners find articles challenging, I will explain the importance of learning them from the beginning and give you a bit of an outlook on what's to come already in the next episode and that through repetition and interactive exercises, you will become comfortable using German articles. Overall, this episode aims to provide a foundational understanding of articles in German and encourage you to get a got start with them right away. 
Watch out for the next episode (number 6) which is a word list of body parts - including articles. 

In this episode, Susi Blumel introduces the concept of articles in the German language. She explains the importance of understanding articles, particularly for nouns, and emphasizes the need to learn the gendered articles "der", "die", and "das" along with the nouns they accompany. She stresses the significance of this understanding in forming correct sentences in German and offers insights on how to learn and practice using articles effectively. Susi also mentions upcoming episodes that will provide further examples and tips on learning articles and nouns in the German language.
Primary Topic: Introduction to Articles
- Meaning of articles
- Importance of articles in language
- Differences between English and German articles
Primary Topic: Functions of Articles
- Indefinite articles (e.g. "a" in English, "ein" and "eine" in German)
- Definite articles (e.g. "the" in English, "der", "die", and "das" in German)
Primary Topic: Learning Articles
- Importance of learning articles from the beginning
- Role of articles in forming correct sentences
- Tips for learning and practising articles
Primary Topic: Gender and Articles
- Categories of gender (male, female, neutral)
- Lack of logical connection between gender and nouns
- German articles corresponding to each gender
Stay tuned for more episodes on articles!
Next Episode: Episode 6 will get into a Wordlist on body parts. 
·      Additional Materials
·      Watch this on YouTube
·      Interactive German Movie Guide

Here you can get early access to the upcoming A1.1 (total beginner) German course.
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Hello, welcome to the better German podcast. This is Susi. And in this episode, we're gonna cover articles. I'm going to give you an introduction to articles. What they are, why do we need them? How can we cope with them? First of all, an article, is a part of speech in German the word is "der Artikel" and. "part of speech" is, "Wortart" What is a "part of speech" or "Wortart" very shortly, because I don't want to go into grammar, particularly. Why I don't want to cover so much grammar, you will actually hear in an upcoming episode, which is called "How Much Grammar do We Need"? You can already see the video on YouTube, if you like to. So episode seven is going to be that. However, this one is something that you need to have an idea of. So, a "Wortart" or "part of speech" is simply what kind of word is it? What is the function of the word? What does the word do? There is a few words, that are, the names of objects or things. Like table or house or wall, or even love. And then there's words that are describing things that we do, or actions, like running singing, jumping, things like that. So an article it's an own "Wortart" - "part of speech". There's only a very few of them, in English, there's only two "a" and "the". In German, there's a few more. So, maybe you speak English and it's going to be a little easier. Maybe you come even from a language like French, that have relatively similar concepts of articles, but maybe your native language doesn't have any articles. And then this could be a little getting used to what it is and to wrap your head around this. Because languages have different concepts how they work. And I personally think that once you understand how they work, it can be very interesting just to see the different aspects of languages. So an article in German has a few functions. First of all. Let's just go into one of the meanings that is very paralleled to English. So I can say, "I need a new table." and this "a" is the article. And it means in this case it's not sure, or we don't know that there's a specific table, just could be any table, "a" table. or "I need a glass of water". I don't care which glass or which water, "a" glass of water. And the same thing works in German too. We have "ein" und "eine". And, then there is "the" in English, in German. It's "der", "die" or "das" I'll go into in a second while we have several of them. And, when I say, for example, the table is dirty, I'm speaking of a specific table, it's a table that either we have just talked about or a table that I'm standing in front of and both the speaker and the person who hears it, can see it it's a specific table. "The table is dirty." So. That's the meaning and we have that too in German. So I can say. I need a glass of water. Ich brauche ein Glas Wasser. "ein" would be the same thing as air. oder (German for or). The table is dirty. Der Tisch ist schmutzig. So "der", would be meaning it's a specific one. So that is the first thing - that's about the meaning. Sometimes people forget that. And that's an important point. And now we're going into a grammar thing, even though I just told you we shouldn't "learn so many grammar rules". It's not so much about a rule, it's just something to give you an idea of why you're learning it like this. So when you learn a German word, like. "Tisch" - table, wall and so on. These are nouns - words that designate things, by the way, I've made episode three, where we're going over key words about a German course. So, you can go and listen to that episode. And there is also a downloadable file that is connected to that episode, but I'm going to link to it also in this show note, that is going to give you. The definitions of all of these specific terms that I'm using, like "noun" and "article" and so on. Anyway, so every noun in German, every word that is like table, love, window. nose, you're going to learn with an article and we have three of them: "der", "die" oder (or) "das". And sometimes students complain that it's a pain and it's unnecessary, or they, maybe they think that and teachers are just torturing them. However, I highly advise you to learn them right from the beginning with the thing don't stress out about it. It's very simple, you learn a new word, you look at, is it "der, die oder (or) das"?. And you learn it. It's just like in English, you would learn how to write the word. It's just a part of the word really, because you will not be able to make correct sentences, if you don't know this. German is a little particular regarding this. And it also, when you learn them, it will make things so much easier to understand. There's an article episode part two coming up. And in this one, I'm going to give you more examples to give you an idea, why it is so helpful that you learned and right from the beginning. And so you don't see that just like, as, torture or something terrible, you have to do. But you can see that it's an opportunity, if you learn those well, right from the beginning, and if you understand why you learn them well, how much easier it will make things in the future for you. So at this point what is left, is to give you the basic idea, what are the three different ones? So every noun in German is basically put into one of three categories. It's considered to be either "male". "Male" is the word that we use if we describe a man, or "female". So "female" would be something that we associate with a woman or a girl. Or a noun is "neutral". That would be neither female or male. So neither of the characteristics of men or a woman. However, I want you to understand, that this is not a logical thing There's usually no connection because most of the words have to do with objects that don't have any logical. connection. I have seen a lot of videos books and whatever with rules about which words, which which words have which articles. And I want to tell you, frankly, there is very, very, very few rules that make any sense. So basically how we learn these as German speaking, I'm a German native speaker, is we just learned them. And we make mistakes, and it doesn't matter. And mama says, yeah, I understand. But it's"der Tisch" and not "die Tisch" or whatever. "Tisch" is a table. And we just keep hearing it correctly and then eventually. Remember it correctly and that's the same way you're gonna do it. So. What is left is to tell you which one's, which, so we have the mail article: "der", we have to female article: "die" and we have the neutral, or object article, maybe if you want to call it like that, it's "das". And what is important every noun and falls into one of those three categories. And we call this "gender". And when you learn the noun, you just learn the article with it, how I do it and how most German courses do it, they just write the article next to the now when you learn it and you learn it with it. So please don't ignore those and just learn them With the article. When you keep following my podcast, I'm going to give you very soon some really good tips how you can learn nouns, because in the beginning, when you start learning German, you should focus very much on learning nouns. And I'm going to give you some tips, how to learn them and how to practice them, so you can remember them easily. Just for right now understand, that's why you learn the articles with them. You don't have to make yourself crazy about it, you don't have to learn them verbatim, we're going to use a lot of repetition. And I'm going to say things and you can repeat them and you're going to have ways to practice them, so you come to a point basically where you practice them, that you don't have to think for a long time about it and you can actually use them. And I'm going to make you use them very soon and very easily. It's fun. And I hope with this introduction, you don't build up. Or you can get rid of any protests you maybe have about those. That's just the way how the German language works unfortunately. And this one is not a stupid grammar rule.. There is, I think, plenty of things in many German courses I've seen where I'm "Okay, maybe we shouldn't worry about that so much in the beginning", but this one is a very good idea that you just learn these articles right from the beginning and then you'll be fine. So in a few weeks, I'm going to have a part two of this episode. I'm going to give you real examples of what's happening, if you don't learn these articles and how it will make things so much easier, if you learn them. And there's another episode coming up on how to learn nouns, including doing that. The next episode is a word list about body parts and you'll see right away the first part of how you can learn them, including the articles. And I hope I'll see you there. Let me know what you need. And see you soon. Bye bye. Thank you for listening to this episode. You can find a transcript of this episode at www. bettergerman. info and slash and then the number of the episode. This is episode 5, so you find the page of this episode at . You can also sign up for a newsletter there and then you will be informed when there is a new episode coming or any other important events going on, new articles, new additional materials for the podcast to download or... things like that. If you liked it and, it was helpful for you, please share it with other people and let them know that this exists. And if you are looking for a course and you want to learn German online, then you can, of course, find all the infos as well on www. bettergerman. info. So, see you there and see you in the next episode. Bye bye!


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