Go to the homepage of our German Course Chapter 6: Getting around town University of Portsmouth
6.2 Der U-Bahnhof Includes sound files!

Click here to listen to the conversation!Ken McNaught decides to follow the kiosk attendant's advice and go to to U-Bahnhof Schwartzkopffstraße. But he still needs to buy a ticket - and work out his route to Zoo Station on the underground. He first asks a commuter ("eine Pendlerin") where he can buy a ticket, but as he doesn't have the necessary change for one of the ticket machines he has to go to the ticket counter.

You can listen to Ken's conversation with the kiosk owner by clicking either here or on the sound icon at the top of the previous paragraph.

U-Bahnhof Schwartzkopffstraße

Ken McNaught Entschuldigen Sie, wo bekomme ich einen Fahrschein?
Pendlerin Da steht ein Fahrkartenautomat. Dort hinten.
Ken McNaught Ach so. Aber ich habe kein Kleingeld.
Pendlerin Dann müssen Sie am Schalter fragen.
Ken McNaught (He goes to the ticket office.) Guten Tag. Ich möchte zum U-Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten fahren. Welche Linie geht dahin, bitte?
Beamtin Am besten nehmen Sie die Linie U6 Richtung Alt-Mariendorf. Steigen Sie am U-Bahnhof Friedrichstraße um.
Ken McNaught Wie bitte?
Beamtin Ja, Sie müssen leider umsteigen. Sie steigen drei Stationen weiter am U-Bahnhof Friedrichstraße um und fahren dann mit der S3 Richtung Charlottenburg.
Ken McNaught Mit der S3?
Beamtin Ja, das ist die S-Bahn.
Ken McNaught Richtung Charlottenburg?
Beamtin Ja, da ist Endstation.
Ken McNaught Und was kostet ein Fahrschein bei Ihnen?
Beamtin Haben sie keine Jahreskarte?
Ken McNaught Nein, ich bin hier auf Geschäftsreise.
Beamtin Das macht zwei Euro zehn.
Ken McNaught So.... und wann fährt der nächste Zug?
Beamtin In fünf Minuten, um Viertel nach elf.

A ticket machine in Berlin

wo bekomme ich...?  "Where can I get...?" Note that there is no word for "can" in the German version.
der Fahrschein  This means "the ticket". You might also see two alternative words for "ticket" - "die Fahrkarte" or "der Fahrausweis".
der Pendler  This is a male "commuter". A female commuter is "die Pendlerin".
der Fahrkartenautomat  "Ticket machine". See the picture below. All underground stations in Berlin have automatic ticket machines. You simply choose the type of ticket you require and insert your money. Click here to see a screenshot of the instructions on the front of a German ticket machine. 
dort hinten  "Over there at the back". "Hinten" means "at the back", whilst "vorne" means "at the front".
ach so  Oh, I see
das Kleingeld  This means "change" - literally "little money". Ken McNaught has no change for the ticket machine, so has to ask at the counter.
dann müssen Sie... "Then you'll have to...." The verb "müssen" is an irregular verb (see subsequent sections).
am Schalter  This means "at the counter". "Der Schalter" is a masculine noun.
zum...fahren  He wants to travel to Zoo Station. The verb "fahren" is used when you use a means of transport; "gehen" is used for going somewhere on foot.
die Linie  the (train, bus) line
welche Linie geht dahin?  "Which line goes there?". The "-e" ending on "welche" is added because "die Linie" is a feminine noun. 
die Beamtin  "The ticket clerk (female)". This word is also used to translate a "civil servant".
am besten nehmen Sie...  your best bet would be to take...
Richtung Alt-Mariendorf  This means "in the direction of Alt-Mariendorf". "Die Richtung" is the German word for "direction".
am U-Bahnhof "At the underground station". Note that "an" is the preposition used here and that "an + dem" are contracted to form the single word "am".
steigen Sie ... um  This means "to change (bus, train, tram)". Here it is two words with the separable prefix going to the end of the clause, whereas the infinitive "umsteigen" is written as only one word. An explanation of German separable verbs is given on Page 6 of this chapter.
drei Stationen weiter  "Three stations onwards". Both "der Bahnhof" and "die Station" can be used to translate "underground station".
U6  die U-Bahn is the conventional abbreviation for "der Untergrund" (= the Underground).
S3  die S-Bahn is the normal abbreviation for "die S-Bahn (Schnellbahn)", which might best be translated as "suburban railway" (see the picture of two old-fashioned S-Bahn trains at the bottom of this page).
da ist Endstation  that's the last stop
die Jahreskarte  "A yearly (travel) pass". This is the cheapest way to travel round Berlin and most major German cities.
ich bin hier auf Geschäftsreise  We've had this before. It means "I'm here on business". Remember?
Wann fährt der nächste Zug?  "When does the next train depart?" "Wann?" is the question word used when you want to ask the precise physical time of something.
um Viertel nach elf  at a quarter past eleven

Two S-Bahn trains at a station

Weiter! Chapter 6.3: Conversation - An der Bushaltestelle

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