Day 1 of the Fluent in 3 Months Language Challenge

With the Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Reunification Day) holiday on Monday, yesterday was my first day in the office speaking only German. The good news is that I survived it.  The even better news is that it was nowhere near as difficult as I thought it was going to be.  I thought I was going to be completely lost and unable to have even a basic conversation.  Instead I was able to talk to my boss about our co-worker based in Sweden who had an allergic reaction to some hair growth product resulting in a trip to the doctor’s, what I did over the long weekend and other work related topics.

My German is nowhere near perfect.  I know I’m making a lot of mistakes and that I probably sound like a three year old child. However, I also know that I will improve over time and that the most important thing at this point in time is that I can make myself understood and I can understand what is being said to me.  On that point, I still can’t understand every word of what I’m being told, but I am getting the major gist of the conversation. This too will improve.

The downside of speaking German all day is how tired I am at the end of the day.  I was exhausted yesterday evening.  The 90 minute hardcore grammar session we had in my German class last night didn’t help nor did the two pages of grammar homework I had to plough through. It is incredible the amount of effort and concentration it takes to speak a foreign language. Hopefully this too will lessen as time goes on.

I’m really happy that I’ve decided to do this, to force myself to speak German on a daily basis.  The first month or so is going to be really tough, but hopefully come month 3 I will find that my German has gotten to the point of being conversational.

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About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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7 Responses to Day 1 of the Fluent in 3 Months Language Challenge

  1. Roxanne says:

    When I first started working in Colombia, I could not remember how to master all the Spanish past tenses. So I spoke exclusively in the present — leading a program that was about memory reconciliation (the past) and future expectations (oops…) I said a lot of “how is the war ten years ago?” Something tells me your German affords you a much higher level of competency. The satisfaction of conducting your professional life in another language is unparalleled, isn’t it?

    • Riayn says:

      I’m still getting my past tenses mixed up and my German classes haven’t covered future tenses yet, so I too am speaking a lot about things happening in the present or completely mangling my tenses.
      Still, you are right, that being able to communicate in another language is unparalleled especially for me being from a country that is so monolingual.

      • Anke Wehner says:

        Using present tense rather than future in conversation – e.g. “Ich gehe morgen ins Kino” – sounds actually more natural to me.

        • Riayn says:

          Yes, that is how we have learnt so far to phrase future events, which makes sense, but we still haven’t touched on actual future tenses which I’m eager to find out about. I’m getting a little tired of doing past tense all the time.

  2. Stereo says:

    But you’re doing it and I have no doubt that you’ll nail this three month challenge. I have conversational French and German under my belt and sometimes regret that I didn’t pursue either language further. But after slogging through A-Level French, I was too happy (at the time) to see the back of it. Kudos to you!

    • Riayn says:

      Do you think that you will take up learning either of these languages again? You could always join me on the language challenge to improve your French or German. :)

  3. I get what you mean about the exhaustion thing! I’ve been trying to read “Voll Idiot,” and I can get through about 3 pages before I just can’t do any more. This is the kind of book that, if it were in English, I could probably finish it in 2 days.

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