I started improving my German

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Aquarians, May 8, 2022.

  1. I speak English at a native level, by my own estimate and by the estimate of people I spoke with while drunk.

    Recently (a week ago that is) I started picking upon the scraps of my gymnasium German knowledge. I learned German in school between the 5th and the 8th grade, included. Never got good at it but I understand infinitely more than Hungarian, for instance.

    Let's try to translate just the phrase above. I'm placing in bold the words that I don't understand.

    Hungarian: Nemrég (azaz egy hete) elkezdtem összeszedni a gimnáziumi német tudásom maradékát. Németül tanultam az iskolában 5. és 8. osztály között, beleértve. Soha nem értek hozzá, de végtelenül többet értek, mint például magyarul.

    German: Vor kurzem (also vor einer Woche) habe ich angefangen, auf den Fetzen meiner Deutschkenntnisse vom Gymnasium herumzukramen. Deutsch habe ich in der Schule zwischen der 5. und 8. Klasse gelernt, inklusive. Ich bin nie gut darin geworden, aber ich verstehe unendlich viel mehr als zum Beispiel Ungarisch.

    Let's try another set of languages, this time Latin-derived like my own Romanian language. French, which I learned in school and Italian, which I never ever learned but it's the easiest to relate to.

    French: Récemment (c'est-à-dire il y a une semaine), j'ai commencé à m'attaquer aux restes de mes connaissances en allemand du gymnase. J'ai appris l'allemand à l'école entre la 5ème et la 8ème année incluse. Je n'ai jamais été bon dans ce domaine mais je comprends infiniment plus que le hongrois, par exemple.

    Italian: Di recente (una settimana fa) ho iniziato a raccogliere i frammenti della mia conoscenza del tedesco in palestra. Ho imparato il tedesco a scuola tra la quinta e l'ottava elementare, comprese. Non sono mai stato bravo, ma capisco infinitamente di più dell'ungherese, per esempio.
  2. I tried improving my German. But she resented it and left.
    gwb-trading and Bugenhagen like this.
  3. Baron

    Baron ET Founder

    I flew to Munich several years ago and I'll never forget people telling me that "You'll be fine there. Everybody speaks English". When I arrived there, I was surprised to learn that the Airline lost my luggage and they literally had no idea at all where my bags were. That forced me to go into the department stores downtown to buy some clothes since I was going to be there for a week. I'll never forget the look on the faces of the sales staff when I told them I was looking to purchase to some new jeans. As soon as they realized I spoke English, they would turn around and walk away with a hand gesture of some sort that they didn't speak English at all. Needless to say, I was not prepared to go outside of the tourist zone and actually interact with native germans that had regular jobs. It was an extremely uncomfortable week for me and I regret not learning more of the basics of that language beforehand.
  4. Buy1Sell2


    Tut mir Leid
  5. Thats nonsense unless you ran around like an unwashed pleb (since you lost your luggage), people there are generally well educated and just about everyone speaks some english and are friendly. I suggest to make another trip to Munich and Berlin and surprise yourself.
  6. Baron

    Baron ET Founder

    I think the main issue was that the department stores were staffed with a lot of older women as salespeople, so perhaps they didn't have the english-speaking abilities that a younger generation would have. Keep in mind that my experience was about 15 years ago as well.
  7. My experience in München was along the lines that I made several attempts of torturing some German words only to be replied by people in English. After a few times I completely gave up trying and just stuck to English.

    Same experience in Amsterdam and surprisingly, Rome.

    Really speaking, or rather attempting speak of the native language is just for "sympathy points". Whenever people mean business they stop funking around ad switch to English.
  8. So far I read this story: https://www.thegermanproject.com/stories/redridinghood

    Took me a week of 30 minutes per day, more or less, but I now understand it 100%. All the words that is.

    It might be an interesting discussion on what's the best approach to learn a foreign language.

    Spoiler alert: I had German and French in gymnasium (4 years thus) then switched to English and French in high school. I would have dropped French and kept German but it wasn't my choice.

    Thing is in 4 years of being tortured with German and French irregular verbs declination, I still knew very little when I entered high school. And had to pick up English at the 5'th year of study! The high school assumed people would have studied English and French and already completed 4 years of study, period.

    End result: I still don't speak French even at basic level but I'm fully fluent in English. I think it owes not just to the language being easier grammar-wise but also to the emergency, independent from the school-system method I applied to catch up with my advanced colleagues.

    I'll synthesize it here:
    - Focus 100% on vocabulary and not even think about grammar.
    - Think in the foreign language. The internal voice you use to talk to yourself - switch to the foreign language you are learning.
  9. But ... there's also the issue on where you pick up from. Here's a random text from the Red Riding Hood story, in original German. I've put in CAPITAL LETTERS all the words I didn't already understand:

    ======= German =======
    "Du hast eine sehr SCHLAUE Großmutter", antwortete der Wolf. "Es war schön mit dir zu sprechen. Vielleicht werden wir uns wieder BEGEGNEN!"

    Der Wolf lief los und dachte "Hmmmm, ich werde zuerst die Großmutter fressen und dann auf das kleine Mädchen warten."

    Below it the English translation:

    ======= English =======
    "You have a very clever grandmother," replied the wolf. "It was nice talking to you. Maybe we'll meet again!"

    The wolf ran off and thought "Hmmmm, I'll eat the grandmother first and then wait for the little girl."

    So it's not like I made a tremendously huge effort to read the story this week, I understand the base line of words and only stumble in the detail. But detail is very important and it's what makes a language in the end. So I made the effort to learn / use the words I didn't know already.
  10. Then there's several other translations, again I put in all caps the words I don't understand. <CAPS> is something that looks vaguely familiar and I probably deduce from context.

    ======= French =======

    "Tu as une grand-mère très intelligente", répondit le loup. "C'était sympa de te parler. Peut-être qu'on se <REVERRA>!"

    Le loup s'est <ENFUI> et a pensé "Hmmmm, je vais d'abord manger la grand-mère et ensuite attendre la petite fille."

    ======= Italian =======

    "Hai una nonna molto intelligente," rispose il lupo. "È stato bello parlare con te. Forse ci incontreremo di nuovo!"

    Il lupo <CORSE> via e pensò "Hmmmm, prima mangerò la nonna e poi aspetterò la bambina".

    ======= HUNGARIAN =======

    #10     May 22, 2022