I have been teaching him and his wife Gill in his office in Warminster and he very kindly agreed to answer my questions.How long have you been learning German, Al?
I began learning German about three and a half years ago, I think.Why did you want to learn German?
Every few years I study something new. It’s something I advise tutors that I teach and mentor, to do, to keep us in touch with what it’s like to learn from scratch. There were other reasons too: being able to try to speak someone else’s language is corteous; it is also something my wife and I can study together. She already had some German from school, so is ahead of me.What do you find easy about learning German?
The language is elegant; it is helpful that pronunciation is consistent and that words are often creative – larger words made from smaller ones, so it is possible to guess the meaning of new vocabulary based on shorter words already known.
And what is difficult for you?
Some of the grammar and variations of small words and word endings seems hard to learn and retain.
Finding a decent accent is tricky for me: I’m a musician but have never had much of an ear for language.
Do you get homework?
Yes, and I enjoy it when I have time to do it.
So you don’t always do it?
I try! But I fail too often. Work gets in the way.
I’d like another day in the week, just for German!
How would you sum up your German learning experience?
Fun and relaxing – lustig und entspannend!
Thank you very much, Al, for taking the time to answer my questions.
Edit: four years on Al and Gill are still enjoying learning German!