Learning German from DuoLingo: Day 77
Today is day 77 in my continuing effort to learn to read the German language through use of the DuoLingo cell phone application and web site. This post will describe my progress in the last two days.
Pixabay license, source
Today was a sort of a milestone because it was the first time that I felt like I had to go outside of DuoLingo for understanding something. As I noted in Learning German from DuoLingo: Day 75, I've been really struggling to understand the way that words get rearranged by conjunctions, so this morning I did just one lesson in a new category (People 1) and focused on doing practice exercises in the Conjunctions category.
I managed to get through the practice exercises pretty well, but I was still not understanding the rules behind the reorderings that are needed. Maybe this is something that DuoLingo covers in more depth in future lessons, but I am impatient, so I went out to youtube to see what I could find out. I found three helpful videos, and though I didn't watch the full videos, I did manage to find some rules to help my understanding.
In this video:
I learned that conjunctions can join together two different types of phrases: the Hauptsatz (main phrase) and the Nebensatz (subordinate phrase). I also learned that when a conjunction joins two Hauptsatz phrases, the ordering stays the same. Some conjunctions that act this way can be memorized with the pneumonic device, OSUDAD. The conjunctions enumerated by that device are:
oder - sondern - und - denn - aber - doch
And those mean:
or - but rather - and - because - but - yet
So basically, for those six conjunctions (and presumably others to be uncovered later), no reordering is necessary.
In a second video, here:
I learned these rules for joining a Hauptsatz and a Nebensatz.
1.) If the "main clause" (Hauptsatz) is first:
- main clause gets normal order
- verb moves to the end for the subordinate clause
2.) If the "subordinate clause" (Nebensatz) is first:
- Verbs from both clauses go next to the comma
Finally, in a third video, here:
I learned the following additional rules for joining a Haputsatz and Nebensatz.
i.) Hauptsatz and nebensatz are separated by comma
ii.) Nebensatz begins with conjunction
iii.) Nebensatz ends with verb
So hopefully, this knowledge will begin to help me with understanding conjunctions in the future. Although, I am sure I will continue to struggle for a while with positioning things like adjectives, adverbs and negations in the phrases.
There will probably be a repeat here with previous posts, but some words I covered today included the following:
|sobald||as soon as (reminds me of "bis bald", "see you soon")|
|solange||as long as (reminds me of "so long as")|
|entweder||either (i.e. "entweder ja oder nein" == "either yes or no")|
|dass||that (i.e. ich schreibe, dass ich stark bin == "I write that I am strong")|
And here are my stats in the application as-of now:
- Streak: 77
- Hearts: 5
- Crowns: 128
- XP today: 50
- Total XP: 14178
- League: Diamond
- XP in league: 503
- Place in league: 42 (need to be <45 to avoid falling back to Obsidian)
- Time left in league: 1d 7h 34m
- Crystals: 685
- Lingots: 382
- Followers: 4
- Words learned: 530 in app, 660 on web site
Update: I forgot to mention that today I had my first encounter with a phenomenon that I read about in Mark Twain's The Awful German Language, which I previously posted about in Learning German from DuoLingo: Day 70. Twain wrote,
Well, after the student has learned the sex of a great number of nouns, he is still in a difficulty, because he finds it impossible to persuade his tongue to refer to things as "he" and "she," and "him" and "her," which it has been always accustomed to refer to it as "it." When he even frames a German sentence in his mind, with the hims and hers in the right places, and then works up his courage to the utterance-point, it is no use-- the moment he begins to speak his tongue files the track and all those labored males and females come out as "its." And even when he is reading German to himself, he always calls those things "it,":
When I read that excerpt, I hadn't yet noticed that situation in the DuoLingo lessons, but today I encountered it and got the same question wrong three times before I realized what was going on. This sentence
der Käse ist gut, aber er ist alt.
Literally translates to "The cheese is good but he is old."
As I said, it took me three failed attempts before I realized that I should use "er" (he) instead of "es" (it) because Käse is a masculine noun.
No new special characters in today's post, so the full table (so far) looks like this:
If you want to learn a foreign language (or Klingon or High Valyrian), my recommendation for DuoLingo continues to be "thumbs up". According to the app, you can also use DuoLingo to learn dead or endangered languages like Latin, Navajo or Hawaiian.
My guess is that no one is going to learn to speak a language perfectly through DuoLingo, but I think it can provide a solid foundation that can be used to build additional knowledge through other, immersive techniques.