Monthly Archives: August 2012

Some days ago we did a game with L from Argentina, who already played once with me, knows some German and wants to become a teacher for the method; B from Argentina, and A and J from USA, all three of them speaking no German. It was again pretty late in the evening (11pm), and we played for about one hour.

Props: schwarzer Stift, roter Stift, blauer Stift, Stock, Stein

One round of »Das ist ein schwarzer Stift«; every person identifies their prop.

One round of »Ist das ein schwarzer Stift? Ja, das ist ein schwarzer Stift«; every person asks the next person in the round, the next person answers.

One round of »Das ist mein schwarzer Stift«; one round of »Ist das mein schwarzer Stift? Ja, das ist dein schwarzer Stift«

One round of  »Ist das mein Stein? Nein, das ist nicht mein Stein, das ist mein schwarzer Stift.«

Then I tried a round of »Ich will deinen schwarzen Stift«, but I wanted some interaction to make the round more Alive; so I did what I call TQ Round of Giving: Every person says for their prop »Ich gebe dir meinen schwarzen Stift«, then gives it to the next person (»Dankeschön!« – »Bitteschön!«), so at the end of the round, all props have been shifted to the next person. I really liked the altruistic connotation of this :) Again I used a different sign for “dir” than for “du”, which again made it much easier for everybody.

L suggested to add »Ich nehme deinen schwarzen Stift« now, but I decided to do a round of Make Me Say Yes first: »Gibst du mir deinen schwarzen Stift?« – »Ja, ich gebe dir meinen schwarzen Stift«.

Here I introduced TQ Lists, giving examples like »ich, du«, »mir, dir«, »schwarz, blau, rot«

Then a round of Make Me Say No: »Gibst du mir deinen schwarzen Stift?« – »Nein, ich gebe dir nicht meinen schwarzen Stift.«

We called it a day, but L was interested in knowing more about the technique, and B was not full yet, so L and me tried some stuff on B, mostly introducing “wenn”: »Gibst du mir deinen schwarzen Stift?« – »Nein, ich gebe dir nicht meinen schwarzen Stift.« – »Gibst du mir deinen schwarzen Stift, wenn ich dir meinen Stein gebe?« – »Ja, wenn du mir deinen Stein gibst, gebe ich dir meinen schwarzen Stift«.


Another couch surfer, another German game :) M from Italy knows some German, but very few. We played for almost two hours after breakfast, just him and me. Later I introduced Guillermo, the Orang Utan (a pretty big plush toy), but he was just sitting there because he had drunk too much Prosecco the night before, so we could steal his stick, when we reached »Willst du seinen Stock?« »Ja, ich will seinen Stock.« »Wenn du mir deinen roten Stift gibst, gebe ich dir seinen Stock.«

When I told M about “How Fascinating!”, he told me he knows this from playing music: that mistakes are a possibility to grow.

What I did better this time was to introduce “Jetzt” as »Ich habe jetzt einen schwarzen Stein« instead of the (for me a little more natural) »Jetzt habe ich einen schwarzen Stein«. When using the former, there’s minimal deviation from “Ich habe einen schwarzen Stein”; when using the latter, it confuses the hell out of people, because “ich” and “habe” get switched, making progress pretty difficult.

This time, I used different signs for “nicht” and “kein” (nicht with a “k” hand), and for “ich” and “mir” (“ich” with a “m” hand). That worked great!

Towards the end, when he was almost Full, and I was guiding him through with signs, while he was the only one talking, and he could say everything, he said that at the moment he did not know what he was saying, he was so much concentrating on the signs and corresponding words. My feeling was that was not necessarily bad, as getting the meaning is much easier than retaining the words.

I notice that I’m still doing too much meta conversation, even talking about stuff that is not really relevant to the other(s), and will try to scale this down in the future.

I was deflecting questions like »Why is it “einen”, and not “einer”?«, feeling that grammar talk takes away much energy, and it’s much better to learn it implicitly, by getting a feeling for it.

When doing »Gibst du mir deinen schwarzen Stift?«, I should have practiced “du gibst/ich gebe” more, the confusion was slowing the game down.

I’m not sure I mentioned this before, but I get into the habit of saying that German is not more difficult than say English, it is just a bigger cake that needs more time to be eaten :) This image fits nicely with bite-sized pieces.

Here’s a rough outline of what we did:

Was ist das? — Das ist ein roter Stift.

Ist das ein roter Stift? — Ja, das ist ein roter Stift.

Ist das ein schwarzer Stift? — Nein, das ist kein schwarzer Stift, das ist ein roter Stift.

Ist das mein roter Stift? — Ja, das ist dein roter Stift.

Ist das dein roter Stift? — Nein, das ist nicht mein roter Stift, das ist dein roter Stift.

Short introduction of “Ich will”, “ich habe”, “ich gebe”, “ich nehme”, because I assumed he already has heard them.

Habe ich einen roten Stift? — Ja, du hast einen roten Stift.

Habe ich einen schwarzen Stift? — Nein, du hast keinen schwarzen Stift, du hast einen roten Stift.

Willst du meinen roten Stift? — Nein, ich will nicht deinen roten Stift. (“Nein” first, so I don’t have to introduce transaction at this point)

Willst du meinen roten Stift? — Ja, ich will deinen roten Stift.

Nimm ihn. — Danke. — Bitte. (I used to do “Gern geschehen”, but this is less confusing)

Was hast du jetzt? — Ich habe jetzt einen schwarzen Stift und einen roten Stift / nichts

Gibst du mir deinen schwarzen Stift? — Nein, ich gebe dir nicht meinen schwarzen Stift.

Willst du meinen schwarzen Stift? — Ja, ich will deinen schwarzen Stift. — Dann gib mir deinen roten Stift. — Guter Tausch! / Schlechter Tausch!

Wenn du mir deinen schwarzen Stift gibst, dann gebe ich dir seinen Stock.