Learning German with Jemma - Part 1

Today we present you a new category in our blog for you crazy Jemma fans out there.

We read again and again that you crazy people out there are planning to learn German or wishing you could speak it.

If you're still sure you want to learn German, then learn German!

Actually I think that's hammer

To learn more - read on.

I can only speak for myself, but German is a language that will kick your ass. Like french did to me. I'm glad German is my mother tongue and I can speak it without thinking. I have no idea about tenses, these 'Akkusativ', 'Genetiv', 'Dativ'...and what was the fourth one? Well those things (I don't even know what you call those 'cases') and if you ask me what a 'Substantiv' is I will look at you like you're an alien. (It's a fancy word for noun by the way, I looked it up!) So, to sum it up, grammar and I have been in war since first grade.


But don't let yourself be demotivated by me or this genius saying by Mark Twain:

"My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it."


If you're still sure you want to learn German, then learn German! Actually I think that's hammer ;D And you know what? We want to help you. So feel lucky because you may or may not learn something in our new fun category 'Learning German with Jemma'. We might not be able to replace a real teacher or a good self-learn-book, but hey we'll try. And maybe I'll learn one or two things along the way, too. ;)

Lesson 1

Saying Hello and Goodbye

To remember your conversational partner's name would be a good start, but I think that's transnational, except you're from London maybe.


"Hi, ich bin Emma." - "Hi, I'm Emma."


'Hi'...that sounds so...English. Well, yeah, we Germans love your language..or at least the young folk does. That's why our cell phones are called 'Handy' - a total English word even though no one would ever say 'Handy' in an English speaking country. It's just cool to invent and take on English words. It starts at 'Hi', goes over 'nice' and 'sorry', 'dissen' and 'mobbing', 'team coaching camp', 'tour guide' and finally ends with "Junior Service Management Assistant'. But we're drifting off.


"Hi." and "Hey." are commonly used as a greeting by young people.


"Hallo." , in my experience, is ceasing. You'd rather use it to question someone's sanity, for example if someone did something totally inappropriate you'll say: "Halllooo???" Optionally add a "Hast du sie nicht mehr alle?" -"Are you crazy or what?" (Literally short form of the German saying: "To not have all cups in the cupboard")


Then there is the good old 'Guten Tag' (Good day) in all variations depending on the attitude of the sun and this is really commonly used ->


  • It's morning you're entering your backery: "Guten Morgen, ich möchte Croissants für meine traumatisierte Freundin kaufen." (Good morning, I want to buy croissants for my traumatized girlfriend.)


  • It's noon and someone wants to steal your hot chocolate from the coffeemachine. "Guten Tag, denk bloß nicht daran den zu klauen das ist mein Kakao!" (Good day, don't you even think about stealing this, this is my hot chocolate!)


  • It's evening you're coming home and your crush is standing in the middle of your oddly enough decorated living room looking stunningly cute. "Guten Abend, warum hast du immer noch deine Jacke an?" (Good evening, why are you still wearing your jacket?)


Alright, with that you will be armed for a greeting. If you're up north you don't say (Guten) Morgen, but just 'Moin'. Also you can use the Spanish 'Hola' if you're in a good mood - or at least I do that.


Good bye seems to be the hardest word


Let's hope we'll never have to use it in relation to Jemma, but here's how to say goodbye.


All different forms of the italian 'Ciao'

Tschö (if you want to be funny say 'Tschö mit (with) Ö' It's not funny at all and I'm wondering where that came from)
Tschau or the actual 'Ciao'


Good-bye - (literally: See you again.)

(Auf) Wiedersehen

If you hate the person you're saying goodbye to "Auf nimmer Wiedersehen" – Never see you again.


See you (later)

Wir sehen uns (später) – (literally: We'll see each other (later))

Bis bald/Bis gleich/Bis dann/Bis (insert day or time) – (literally: Till soon/in a moment/then):



Servus (if you're in Bavaria where Lucy is from)

Mach es gut. (reply: Mach es besser.) - "Be well/Do it well. - Be better/Do it better."


Grandma Grammar


Dear english people, I'm very thankful that you do not pay attention to 'things' having to be written with a capital letter. Germans do. Everything that is a 'Substantive' (a noun, a thing) and a proper name is written with a capital letter. I assume it's because all 'things' written with a capital letter are something special and are seen as having a 'soul' so that they deserve to be written with a capital letter in contrast to verbs, adjectives and stuff. Because those are just slaves which are there to be used to link, explain and prettify the nouns. No equality there.


  • Jenny fährt rückwärts und crasht in Emma mit Herr Bergmanns Auto. Emmas Fahrrad ist kaputt.
  • Jenny drives backwards and hits Emma with the car of Mr. Bergmann. Emma's bike is kaput.


See Auto (car) and Fahrrad (bike) and Herr (Mister) are nouns which deserve to be written with a capital letter. So do Jenny, Bergmann and Emma because they are actual people and definitely do have a soul...or at least Jenny and Emma do, beautiful ones at that.


Also you may have noticed that with 'crasht' we have the Germans doing English again. Your words are taken and the 'ed' of the past form are replaced with a 't'. But, you also might have noticed that your kaput is coming from our kaputt.

So note, every Thing and Name are written with a capital Letter at the Start. And your Language and Words would look like this being written under that german Rule.

Word/Sentence of the Week:

Whenever you're asking someone out on a date again, you from now on will use this sentence:

  • Jenny: “Wir könnten ins Kino gehen. Oder 'nen Film ausleihen.”
  • Jenny: “We could go to the movies. Or borrow a film.”

Vocabulary you learned Today:

(click on the links and then on the little megaphones next to the german words to get the sound of them and learn more.)

Substantives (the words with the soul)

Der Kakao – hot chocolate

Die Jacke – jacket

Die Freundin – girlfriend

Der Herr – Mister

Das Fahrrad – bike

Das Auto – car

Das Kino – cinema

Der Film – film/movie




möchten – (to) want/would like

kaufen – (to) buy

denken – (to) think

klauen – (to) steal

anhaben – (to) wear

fahren – (to) drive

crashen – (to) crash

gehen – (to) go (in the prior context)

ausleihen – (to) borrow



sein – (to) be

können – (in the prior context) can



traumatisiert – traumatized



and of course you got to know all the greetings.


Learn all of this, there might be a test next time! Yes, we're taking this very serious ;D


User requests:

Anything you always wanted to know! A word, a saying or anything that has to do with language, ask us and we'll try to come up with an answer for it. Feel free to use the comments or send us a mail to: jemmaclips [at] gmx [dot] de


We hope you liked the first version of our new blog category.


Jemma on and break all the servers of the world!

1000 Xs and Os.


Kommentar schreiben

Kommentare: 35
  • #1

    blunt spoon (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 00:12)

    Nice work, guys! A great idea. If Jemma had been around a few years ago when I was actually learning German, I'd probably be fluent now. I've never come across a better incentive to study.. Still, you (perhaps wisely) didn't mention what is undoubtedly the most horrible part of learning German (and most other languages) for an English speaker. Even worse than those damn grammatical cases. Nouns have genders. WTF?! Who came up with this idea?? Why is my hot chocolate a man, my jacket a woman and my bike oddly a-sexual? I will never understand this..

  • #2

    Halllooo??? (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 00:29)

    30 years? With Jemma? Errr ... time well spent and totally worth it ;-)

  • #3

    Bern (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 00:40)

    Oh, I just read this through and I couldn't help but laugh. I mean, the examples? They just crack me up! The video was funny, too. "What are you thinking (sinking) about?" LOL

    Whenever I read German dialogue/sentences, I always wondered why certain words (if not the majority in a sentence) were capitalized. Thanks to this tutorial, I finally understood.

    Really, the efforts you have put to this fandom is unbelievable. Danke, danke, danke!

  • #4

    AmyVenice (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 00:41)

    You're great! I studied German long time ago, but it's like the first time for me XD
    I'm waiting for the next lesson ;)

  • #5

    Deanna (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 00:58)

    You Gals are funny!
    This is my favorite Phrase: "Guten Morgen, ich möchte Croissants für meine traumatisierte Freundin kaufen."
    At first I didn't catch on then it dawned on Me and I got tickled!
    So, would "it" be considered something with a soul and have to be capitalized?
    Love this Learning German with Jemma!

  • #6

    jemmatranslations (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 01:17)

    @Deanna: No, 'it' - 'es' would not be capitalized. *scratches head* Because...., well maybe once it was(!?) 'you' - 'du' and 'I' - 'ich' used to be capitalized, too, but it was changed... But anyway, since 'es' belongs to the personal PROnouns (so no actual noun) it is written small. (Yes, I had to look up the denotation 'personal pronoun')

    @blunt spoon:
    Haha, the 'der/die/das' is coming. As I was writing down the nouns I first forgot to add them to them. But when I remembered I was like 'Oh, I have to explain that sometime, too .' :)

    I'm glad you like this new category!

    MfG - Mit freundlich Grüßen - With kind regards

  • #7

    amidola (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 01:21)

    Just one question,Lied..by "Freundin"..do you mean "Freundin" or "Freundin.."? :-D

  • #8

    jemmatranslations (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 01:34)

    I meant 'Freundin' my dear Freundin. =P Obviously you didn't pay attention to the lesson. Have you been twittering again while I was doing the lecture? In the first few passages Jenny speaks of her 'Freundin', so you should know what was meant. ;)


  • #9

    Deanna (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 04:13)

    @Lied ummm...was your explanation yet another language besides German or English because that is what it felt like when I first read it! LOL!
    Thank you so much for clarifying :\ (no you did actually) but I think I will stick with the English way when it comes to that for now and just try to figure out what they are saying :)LOL!

    @Blunt Spoon and Lied Oh Dear Lord! Can't we just make everything a girl? :) I really like girls :D

  • #10

    hoppe (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 04:33)

    loove it! so funny :D go on, mach weiter! way to go!

  • #11

    KBee (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 04:56)

    Thanks for the lesson. I always wondered where the term "Tschüss
    " came from. So, not only was this lesson entertaining, it was informative as well! :-) I look forward to the next lesson. Tschuss.

  • #12

    SleeplessinBtown (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 06:14)

    "Guten Morgen, ich möchte Croissants für meine traumatisierte Freundin kaufen."


    You educate and make me laugh myself silly at the same time.

    Thank you for all your effort and for making Jemma Nation my favorite nighttime travel destination!

    Mach es gut

  • #13

    rahelsc (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 09:25)

    I absolutley love the new blog! :-)
    I've just been lurking and reading but after reading such a great blog&lesson I just had to comment
    U totally made my day - making me giggle in the morning, U totally made learning German fun - so thank U

    so Guten Morgen from Israel (I figure I should practice for the test :-P)

  • #14

    Lili-Fee (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 12:33)

    This is just genius and HAMMER!!!! I really love your examples! (And I am german btw...)
    (and @Amidola: Come on, 'wir wissen was sie meint'... ;-)

    Seriously, forget about Esperanto - from now on the whole world speaks Jemma! ;-) Thanx!

  • #15

    Clijsters3 (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 17:38)

    I love this new section. I tried to learn German for 5 years but it was too much hard work. Actually I've probably learnt more in this 10 mins than those 5 years! I've got a question why do you put verbs to the end of sentences? That really confuses me. Anyway can't wait for the next part. Ciao!

  • #16

    Rui Arshana (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 19:06)

    Oh yeahhhhh!!! *so happy* ... You really did it, Lied!! Oh God, I have been waiting for this, ich bin sehr, sehr glück!!!
    You explain everything so clearly, and by using Jemma as examples, you made it much much more easier to remember :D
    *dance happily*
    Naja, kann ich anfangen Fragen zu stellen? :D

  • #17

    jemmatranslations (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 19:21)

    @Clijsters3: Hm, have to think about that one. We might have to talk about word order some day. ;)

    Glück - luck - noun
    glücklich - happy - adjective

    I'm happy that you're happy.
    Go ahead with the questions or send them to me:
    jemmaclips [at] gmx [dot] de

  • #18

    Rui Arshana (Sonntag, 12 Juni 2011 23:27)

    Word order! I think that would be my favourite topic! I am still having a lot of difficulties with those >.<

    And thank you for the correction :)

    *Sending questions immediately*

  • #19

    fofolle (Montag, 13 Juni 2011 01:25)

    Lied, HAMMER!!!!!!! Besten Dank

    you did it!!! ;-) Rui, Ich bin sicher dass du glücklich bist


  • #20

    mindbomb (Montag, 13 Juni 2011 01:37)

    what about starting with the german alphabet?

  • #21

    clare (Montag, 13 Juni 2011 02:18)

    totally loved this lesson. I laughed almost as much as I learned. Hey, I keep seeing the word "HAMMER" being tossed around. What does it mean?


  • #22

    prankster (Montag, 13 Juni 2011 03:50)

    Brilliant! My freundin and I have been laughing all day. And throwing random German phrases into our conversation. People are starting to give us funny looks...

    Can't wait until the next lesson!

  • #23

    Bern (Montag, 13 Juni 2011 07:17)

    @clare: Hammer means awesome :)

    YES! I also cannot wait for next lesson. And I agree, maybe we should learn the German alphabet.

  • #24

    Rui Auxillia (Montag, 13 Juni 2011 16:49)

    Ja, fofolle, ich bin sehr glücklich!

    @Lied: Just an input, how about using the conversation in Jemma clip also for example? :)

  • #25

    _kefi (Donnerstag, 16 Juni 2011 15:21)

    yes i want to learn german and yes i love your idea and the first lesson!tnx a lot!

  • #26

    Corinna (Samstag, 18 Juni 2011 20:11)

    I have to klugscheißen (literally: smart shitting, meaning: to be a wise ass/to be a know-it-all) a little. ;-)
    Tschüss doesn't come from the Italian "Ciao", but from the Spanish or French "adiós/adieu" via atjuus/atjüs and atschüs.
    At least that is what my Wahrig, Kluge and Wikipedia say. Yes, I was completely geeky and looked it up.

  • #27

    jemmatranslations (Sonntag, 19 Juni 2011 01:04)

    @Corinna: haha, really? I always thought it was 'Ciao'. You do know you undermined the teachers authority now, right? ;DD I think I have to give you detention just because of that. I'm just kidding, of course. It's nice that you smarted us up. :)

  • #28

    Flora (Mittwoch, 22 Juni 2011 07:00)

    This thread is sehr hammer! I've been using shows like this one, along with the soundtrack from "Wicked: Die Hexen von Oz" (with Lucy as Glinda) to improve my dated, introductory German skills, and it's cool to see this thread going.

    My question is about pronunciation by different characters of the "ch" like in "ich" - does the pronunciation of that change for the same person (from "eeesh" to that other sound in the back of the throat that doesn't exist in English that I was taught to make by my college German professors - does that sound have a name, btw?), or is it that one person always uses the same pronunciation, depending on where they're from?

    This has been intriguing me since I noticed it on the Wicked soundtrack - that Elphie (Willemijn Verkaik) used the "eeesh" pronunciation, and Glinda (Lucy Scherer) used the other one. Though, I've seen clips of later performances of the same songs where Lucy used "eeesh" as well, so that confused me. I didn't know if it was an accent choice for the characters, or had more to do with where the actors were from. Or if the same character might change the pronunciation for some reason, kinda like Americans might put on a country accent to crack a dumb joke or some such...

    ::happy sigh:: Thanks again!

  • #29

    Kristen (Mittwoch, 22 Juni 2011 08:23)


    Oh, the German cast recording of Wicked is what got me into German too! Anyway, maybe I can help with your questions...

    The "ch" at the end of ich is called the ich-Laut. If you know IPA, the symbol is [ç]. It's sort of like a harsher, stronger version of the beginning sound of the English word "hue". It sounds really similar to the "sch" (sh in English, like shut, ocean, situation) in German, and sometimes it's hard for me to tell if it's "ch" or "sch". Anyway, the "ch" is pronounced like that after front vowels, (so 'e', 'ä', 'i', 'ei', 'eu', 'äu' and 'ö'), or after a consonant. It's also in words that end in -ig (ex--zwanzig), although it's common to hear just "ig" (my German teacher does it).

    Now "ch" after a back vowel (a', 'o', 'u' and 'au') is called the ach-Laut. Think of words like acht, Nacht, and Buch. It's pronounced farther back in the throat and has that guttural sound. In IPA it's [x]. Dictionaries also use the Scottish Loch as an example, which doesn't really help since it's not really a sound English speakers use. To me, it's pretty easy to tell the two part. I can't make this sound at all, so I tend to substitute a "k".

    Sometimes I hear people say "ich" and it sounds more like "ik". I think that's a regional form (like I think it's Berlin that's famous for it? Don't quote me though).

    I'd be really interested if you could point out which songs and when you're hearing this difference. I don't think I really hear "ich" sound like "eech", but maybe that's because I understand the surrounding words and know that the word is "ich". I'm a native American English speaker, and I know what you mean by the short i sometimes sounding like a long one, but I can normally tell the difference it's at the beginning of a word.

    To be completely honest, I'm a little confused about what it is that you're asking. I'm not sure if you're talking about the "ch", since you mentioned the sound from the back of the throat (the ach-Laut), or the initial sound, since you're using "eee". In Standard German, mich, dich, and ich all have the short i, like the "i" in the word English. In IPA it's [I].

    Let me know if I can clarify in any way...I'm terrible at explaining things, but I'll try! I can refer you to some websites that have helped me too.

  • #30

    Flora (Mittwoch, 22 Juni 2011 15:45)

    Thanks, Kristen, I should've left the "i" sound out of the question, I was really just wondering about the "ch", whether it's more like an "sh" or the auch_laut, and when which is used. You rock, thanks!

  • #31

    jemmatranslations (Mittwoch, 22 Juni 2011 17:47)

    @Kristen: this rocked! I just learned stuff about my own language haha And I was able to get what is meant with the 'back throat' thing now. I like that you're helping each other out. Keep at it. Jemmafamily is awesome :)


  • #32

    Flora (Freitag, 24 Juni 2011 05:11)

    @Kristen - I thought of you this morning as I was singing "Heissgeliebt" in the car on the way to work. :-} Just a heads-up, I had a problem with that song a couple of years ago, I was singing it to myself before a class, and one of my fellow students, who is in his late fifties and used to live in Germany and work for the US diplomatic offices, turned to me with this super-shocked look on his face and said, "What did you say?", and I told him I was learning a song from the German version of the Broadway show Wicked, and he said, well don't use _that_ word again! Turns out, he felt that the word Heissgeliebt was a slur, like calling someone a prostitute, basically! I sputtered for a few moments and said, "Well, it must not mean that nowadays, 'cause they're singing it on stage in Stuttgart... In a family-friendly show..." He didn't believe me, and made me promise not to sing that song around him. He wanted to hear the other ones, though, and loved "Wie Ich Bin".

    Oh, and speaking of which, back to song example for the "ch" question, I think it's pretty noticeable on "Wie Ich Bin". Elphie says "isch" and Glinda says "ich", or so it seems to me.

    But in this show, HaH, I've been trying to follow who says it which way, and it's tougher for me to hear, maybe because they aren't over-enunciating for singing purposes.

    And yes, I do have a question today for this forum. And that is, when Emma is talking to Ben in class and he asks if she thinks Bea is happy, Emma refers to Bea as "Die Vogel". Now, is it usual to do that with any name, or is she literally calling her "The Bird" for fun?

  • #33

    Kristen (Freitag, 24 Juni 2011 06:33)


    Hi! You sing in German? I think that's so cool...I feel as though I know how German should be pronounced but can't do it myself.

    I think that Heißgeliebt is supposed to mean "dearly beloved". I've also heard that "heiß" is slang for horny, so that's probably why he commented. I think it's funny though :). Thanks for sharing.

    I've listened to "Wie Ich Bin", and I'm not noticing it :(. If you listen to Nena's "99 Luftballons", I think her use of [ʃ] is really noticeable there. And I found a video for you! Listen to 0:14-0:18. She's supposed to be drunk, but she's talking really slowly and you can get a good view of her mouth. And it happens to be Vanessa Jung :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u2AOQhR1I0&feature=related (Is posting links here even allowed?)

    Regarding the use of definite articles preceding names--this is what my dictionary says:

    (Under uses of the definite article)---sometimes with proper names in familiar contexts or for slight emphasis. It provides the following examples:
    ex: Ich habe heute den Christoph gesehen. SUB-ich, DO-Christoph
    ex: Du hast es aber nicht der Petra geschenkt! (I believe it's der Petra because even though Petra is a girl, she's the indirect object, so dative (SUB-du, DO-es IDO-Petra)). And yes, I've seen it used a lot but I don't use it myself because English doesn't and it sounds all funky to me.

    Here's the Wikipedia page too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_name#Order_of_names_and_use_of_articles

    I remember my textbook mentioning something about this, but it's summer and I no longer have it :(.

  • #34

    churro (Sonntag, 26 Juni 2011 05:39)

    Hehe, I love this segment. I've been a bit worried about learning German through Wicked though (not that it's stopping me..) - do they make up words in the German version they way they do in the English one? Like 'confusifying' for 'confusing'?

  • #35

    Flora (Sonntag, 26 Juni 2011 09:25)

    @churro - ::chuckle:: I know what you mean, but that was something I was willing to risk because it's so much fun! Similarly, my partner and I once chose to practice our Spanish for a trip to Spain by checking out the Spanish versions of Harry Potter books and reading them out loud to each other with castilian accents. Turns out, lots of the vocabulary in those books is utterly useless! ::sigh:: As is much of the vocabulary in the Spanish version of "Finding Nemo", especially since we had the South American version, and the Spain slang was all totally different! Guh! For example. the turtles in SA dubbing say "chico" for "dude", and "suave" for "cool", whereas the Spain-dubbed turtles say "tio" for "dude" and "guay" for "cool". No wonder people kept looking at us like we were nuts when we'd crack jokes with Nemo turtle slang! But, it was fun nonetheless, and caused us to have to explain it and learn better from it after all.

    @Kirsten, yes, I can pronounce just enough German (and Latin and other stuff) to sing in it, although I'm paranoid and get friends to check my pronunciation thoroughly. This is partly OCD behaviour learned from classical singing lessons when I was young (to avoid getting up in a recital and mispronouncing something and saying goodness-knows-what embarrassing thing instead of the real words). And actually, I started learning German without knowing it when I was in junior high and high school, because one of my private instrumental music teachers spoke German to talk about music. Now, since he was from Russia and didn't speak much English, I thought I was learning Russian, but then I ended up taking German for real in college, and discovered that I'd learned a whole buncha German instead! ::forehead slap:: He hadn't taught me pure German, of course, so it took a long time to extricate the Russian out of my German when I was in German classes in college. Half the time I was going "Oh wow, I know that word, that's German?!?!?" And the other half of the time, I was saying something in Russian without realizing it. Guh! He was a really good object lesson, though. He asked his neighbor one time how he should approach the guy at the bakery for a loaf of bread, and the told him just to say, "Gimme a f***in loaf o' bread." So, my Russian friend did that, and asked me later why the baker had turned beet red when he said it... I turned red, too, and told him that he'd used a bad word, which he fathomed enough to be embarrassed.

    So, on that note, I was also going to ask if there are words the HaH folks are commonly using that I should avoid using in polite company. :-} I know there's a danger to that question, but hey, see above about avoiding embarrassment...

    On the topic of greetings from the beginning of this thread, could we maybe talk sometime about addressing groups? I've noticed Bea and Jenny using "Leute" like Americans use "people", "Hi, Leute." (Hi, people.) or "Hallo, Leute" (Hello, People), etc. Is there a German equivalent to the Spanish "ustedes" or "vosotros"? We don't have one in English, so we make stuff up, like "all of you" or "you guys" or "y'all" or "youse guys" (in Texas, though, "y'all" isn't even plural, so you have to say "All o' ya'll" ::chuckle::). Or we'll just remain plurally nebulous and say "you". Thoughts on things the HaH folks are saying to address groups...?

    Thanks again for this thread, it's so totally awesome!