Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My German language classes

It has been almost three weeks now that I have been in my German language class. I have a really good instructor at the Sprachcaffee here in Duesseldorf. I am learning a lot, but I have to admit German is very complicated. Will I ever learn it? Will I always be this slow? I have to translate what I want to say from English into German in my mind. This translation process takes so long that all the Germans I interact with on a daily basis become impatient and break into English right away. It's great that most Germans speak English, but it doesn't give me much of an opportunity to speak German. Another thing: the gender and articles are driving me crazy not to mention the Nominative, Akkusativ and Dative cases (der Fall)...is der Fall as plural der Falle or der Fallen? How about this chart:
m f n pl
nom der die das die
akk den die das die
dat dem der dem den (+n)

UGHHH! Help! Why can't it just be "the?"
Finally, per Wikipedia here is the official longest word in German:
Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.

12 Comments:

Blogger Queerbeet said...

I have no doubt that you will get it one day.
I have to talk english in my job day by day and I don't need anymore to translate from german into english before talking.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

That's a mighty impressive word. I wonder who'd need to use it.

9:33 PM  
Blogger christina said...

Yeah, one day it will click and you won't have to think about it any more, not even about all the dative and accusative stuff.

I think that word would look great on a t-shirt!

10:34 PM  
Blogger San Francisco Daily Photo said...

Hi there, I just found your blog through a directory. Good luck with the German classes! I lived in Germany for three years and never completely figured out the articles, at some point, I just gave up. Germans will understand what you're talking about even if the articles are wrong... So, my advice would be not to get too obsessed with the articles, it should come naturally after a while (unless you give up too quickly as I did). Anyway, since you're from San Francisco originally, I thought you might enjoy having a daily view on the city through my blog.

Viel spass!
Manuel

1:03 AM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Don't fret about it. It'll come to you eventually - likely sooner than later. And it's okay if you say dich instead of dir once in a while. Germans do the same thing.

Just keep practicing. And it's okay if you say to your friends "Hey, I need to practice my German. Let me go slowly and please be patient.".

Or come here and visit. Most people here don't speak English and you'll get the full German workout.

2:15 AM  
Anonymous James' partner said...

I know he is too proud to say it, but James is actually making good progress with his classes! Considering he has only been going there for 2 weeks ---- he's a smart cookie! Soon he'll be correcting my use of the German language ;)

7:28 AM  
Blogger jen said...

J, its gets worse before it gets better, but I am starting to get a grasp and I've only been at it for going on 4 months.

I have some tips from Prairie Girl and christina, if you want them.

We really have to get together soon. We can practice speaking. I'm still to shy to speak to anyone other than my classmates. I try and people always respond in english so i just switch.

9:47 AM  
Blogger James said...

Jen, that would be nice if you could send me some tips! Yes, we do need to get together sometime soon. Just let me know when you'd like to meet up...

4:29 PM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I've heard it actually takes 8 years to fully get the german language. But one guy in Swiitzerland mastered Swiss German and High German within 3 years. I guess it helps to immerse yourself. When you start talking in German more, you might just start thinking more in German. At least that is how it was for me in French..

4:38 PM  
Blogger alala said...

I have a huge advantage living in Bavaria: I can use "da" for the definite article and "a" for the indefinite and nobody even blinks.

Don't worry about Germans speaking English to you. At the moment they see you struggling and want to be helpful, but at some point they'll decide your German is good enough and refuse to speak English anymore.

I do enjoy reading your blog. After 11 years, things like unrefrigerated milk seem completely unremarkable, and it's fun to be reminded of how strange everything seemed at first.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Boy, that's the truth. I read your blog, James, and I get reminded of all those things that I thought were so weird or unusual and it makes me smile to think it all seems ordinary to me now.

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what the fuck. I have never seen such a long German word---and I am German. Annette

4:20 AM  

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