I picked up a great deal of vocabulary in different languages through music. I learned to use past tense after I wish with this famous ‘wish you were here’ line from Rednex song since every radio station would play it when I was a schoolgirl. I learned that Spanish ‘gustar’ (meaning ‘to like’) changes in accordance with an object that follows it, and not the subject with little help from Manu Chao and their song ‘Me gustas tu’. And believe it or not, I’m not a fan of either Rednex or Manu Chao. It took me some time to find the band names and song titles to put them here. And considering we are into German here, I cannot skip the song to which I owe my knowledge of first four numbers in German. And yes, you may laugh here: ‘Eins, zwei, Polizei’ by Mo-Do. I have no idea if Mo-Do had (or has??) other songs, and I didn’t know the name of the band up till now. Frankly, I just googled it.
My point is, use this white noise around you to your benefit. Songs, movies, and TV shows won’t replace the formal education (we’ll talk about it later), but they make language learning much more enjoyable and fun.
Let’s get back to German.
This post is about numbers and count. It’s also about my first disappointment in the language. Back when I was a schoolgirl I was told German is easy to master mainly because you just read everything as it’s written, no reading rules or exceptions whatsoever. Then I decided to learn how to count in German. And that’s when harsh reality hit me. Or how else would you explain that you write ‘zwei’ and read /tswai/? Well, same people told me then that actually there are some rules. But, again, today we talk about the count.
- eins – /ains/
- zwei – /tswai/
- drei – /drai/
- vier – /fɪə(r)/
- fünf – /fuːnf/
- sechs – /zeks/
- sieben – /zi:bn/
- acht – /aht/
- neun – /noin/
- zehn – /tsi:n/
I mean, really, is there at least one number that you pronounce the way it’s written, no reading rules? No! I’d say that the German count is actually a list of reading rules.
I don’t recommend learning all the numbers at once, with tens and thousands and so on. Master these 10, and then you will add some later on. And the only real way to master the count is practice. It’s easy. Just look around and count whatever you see. I practiced today counting those cute pillows in the picture above. Why not?
What about you? Was the count in German an easy thing to master?