People Need Subtitles

I have survived my first week of speaking German at the office. It has been really tough going as my vocabularly is limited and I have problems understanding German when spoken at normal speed. Also, there are a lot of words which I know what they look like but have no idea how they are prounounced (the downside of learning German from reading ads on the station platforms). It would be so much easier if people had subtitles, seriously. Subtitles would make understanding what people were saying to me so much simplier.

However, I’m feeling good about speaking German more and forcing myself to accelerate my learning.  I’m feeling a little more confident about speaking in class, which I am really terrified of doing as my prounouncation is so bad. Hopefully as I continue to struggle to speak German on a daily basis I will gradually get better.

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About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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4 Responses to People Need Subtitles

  1. cliff1976 says:

    How much of your interaction with colleagues is — or could be — content shared screens (like NetMeeting) and PowerPoint via projector? If you can influence the communication methods to include more visual media, you’ll get your subtitles.

    For me, German has a relatively low barrier to entry, given its spelling and pronunciation consistency. What you see is what you say, provided you know the ground rules. Probably the trickiest part of that is knowing where to split words into syllables, and how to stress them.

    This is my impression of Spanish too, except that Spanish will help you spot the stress exceptions with a diacritic. With experience in German, you’ll learn to spot prefixes and roots and which prefixes are separable (and therefore always stressed).

    It’s not foolproof, but it sure helps to be able to guess where to stress, even as your vocabulary is still growing.

    • Riayn says:

      My major problem with German is being able to understand it spoken and being able to speak it. I’m actually doing okay, for my level, with reading and writing but my listening and speaking skills are below average.
      Unfortunately, I don’t have any fancy technology to get my subtitles and that is probably for the best or else I would rely on my reading skills too much. For my long term success it is probably better to tough it out and get my listening skills up to par.

  2. I’m still so proud of you! My first days of trying to speak in German with colleagues and family is pretty slow going, to be honest. If the content of the conversation is work related, I really have no choice but to go with English, especially as we’re on some tight deadlines. Family just finds it easier to speak mostly English (except my mother in law)….here’s hoping it picks up. Sounds like you’re doing so well, though! Kudos on the convo with the florist!!

    • Riayn says:

      Just keep at it and tell your family and friends that you really need them to speak German so that you can learn it, even though it is easier for everyone to speak English. My German is really hit and miss, some conversations go well and others are complete disasters.

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