Advent Calendar Day 20
Today’s post has been written by Harrison. Thank you, Harrison!
When you read this I‘ll be out in Munich strolling through Christmas Markets hand in hand with my girlfriend, taking in the sights and maybe stopping for a spot of Glühwein and Stollen Cake along the way! If that’s not a reason to learn German, I don’t know what is. This will be my sixth time there over three and a half years so naturally you’d expect me to be fluent by now, right? Not quite. And I put that down to two reasons – A German partner who speaks English better than I (is perfection part of the culture?); and finding the necessary time to shoe horn learning another language into an already busy existence…
My first foray into German was during GCSE days and lets just say progress was slow (we were a terror class and I doubt our teacher ever made a full recovery)! But things have picked up now and I’m finally getting to the point where I can hold a (very) basic conversation. From my limited experience, immersion works whereas an hour here and there doesn’t. I do lessons with Angelika when I can make it on a Thursday night but I also use a free online tool called Duolingo and go along to conversation classes with colleagues. This is on top of visits to Germany where I try my best to converse with the Mother-in-law and other friends and family! Despite all of this progress is still slow and hard fought when it comes.
So everyone knows the sterotype that Germans are a well structured people and I find the language is no different. That’s great but, for a simple soul who only speaks English, I do find things a little complex. It took over twenty minutes to convince me that a table is actually male and sometimes word concatenation is just silly (Fleischfressende Pflanzen or Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe anyone?).
On the whole, I really enjoy it – I imagine bringing up bi-lingual children or living in trendy Berlin for a couple of years and it makes me smile. It’s on that basis I feel getting a good grasp of German will help me live a happier life in future…
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