Pulling My Finger Out

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With the failure of my Fluent in 3 Months language challenge and the depressing realisation that everyone in my class speaks better German than I do, I have decided to pull my finger out and get serious about learning German. I know I have talked about doing this, but this time I actually am. I’m actually putting all those grand plans into action and I feel I’m very slowly getting somewhere.

I read out loud to myself a short German children’s story every night and hope like hell the neighbours can’t hear me, but if they can I hope they are enjoying the monster and dinosaur stories of late. If they could shout back some corrections to my pronunciation, that would be fantastic.

I have loaded my iPod with the audio CDs that came with my German textbooks that I have never bothered to listen to, except in class, and every morning and evening on the U-Bahn I listen to them. I’m actually understanding most of what I’m hearing, which I really should since I’m still on the A1 CDs, but still it’s a nice feeling not to be completely lost.

I have gotten a copy of Rosetta Stone and am working my way through it.  I’m still on the basics, but I figure it is a good idea to really consolidate that base before getting to the stuff I find challenging. I’ve already learnt some new words and am slowly getting my head around accusative and dative and how the word endings change.

I still need to increase the amount of German TV I watch and the most scariest for me, increasing the amount of German I speak on a daily basis.  However, I’m determined that 2012 will be the year that I conquer German.

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About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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11 Responses to Pulling My Finger Out

  1. I´m getting serious too. Just read a blog post about using celebrity trash magazines to help. The words are simple, and repetitive, and there are always pictures to help you. Also, spending 30 minutes a day on Deutsches Welles language course. I´ll never be able to fully function if I can´t speak the (damn) language. :)

    • Riayn says:

      I read the same post and was thinking of stocking up on trashy magazines. Are there any you recommend? Which language course are you doing on DW?
      I agree that without knowing how to speak German, I’m not going to be able to integrate and really enjoy life here.

      • Sadly, I have nothing to recommend. I just don´t read that stuff, nor do I care what celebrities are doing……..or wearing. I´m just going to go to the store today and pick something….anything out. I´m doing the http://www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,9572,00.html Deutsche Interactive, I started at the beginning. While I studied, and BARELY passed German in high school, it´s been a while…and I need to get back to basics, grammar, etc. I´ve been winging it, and, while I can get my point across, I´m afraid that I speak like a 3 year old. I made the HUGE mistake of not learning the gender along with the noun. STUPID. HUGE mistake. I CAN carry a basic conversation, but often forget words…basic ones like “instead”, or the like. I understand far more than I can say. I think it´s best for me at least to go back to square one, even if it means being a little bored with it…and let´s face it, learning German can be a bit boring. I´m determined, and until my German is better my life here is limited.

        • Riayn says:

          I don’t usually read trashy magazines either, but I figure anything that helps improve my German is worth a shot. If you find any good ones, let me know.

  2. As always, I admire your tenacity with learning German, Riayn. I’m lucky in that I’ve had to integrate into a German speaking family but even then I don’t speak as well as I should. It does make it easier that I’m literally forced to watch German t.v. and that I have to listen to countless hours of German conversation if I want to be included at all in any discussion during get-togethers, etc…..that being said I still fail at speaking back in German. Usually I can understand the German and (like an idiot) answer back in English.

    As for the trashy or celeb magazines, I would say try some of the teenie magazines for starter. My daughter buys these all of the time and I’ve found that they are pretty good to practice reading German. (I’m also pretty shoched, tbh, at what is considered “teenie” these days!). Plus you usually end up with a load of stickers and posters of Justin Bieber, lol.

    • Riayn says:

      I envy you having a German speaking family that you can practice your German with. However, I definitely get the problems with speaking German. It’s so hard to put all the vocab and grammar together whilst people are waiting for your response.

      As for the teenie magazines, I don’t know if I can handle that much Justin Bieber without wanting to strangle someone, but I can see that they would be really good for practising German as the language would be fairly basic. Do they make Justin Bieber-free ones?

      • Let’s just say I practice my German listening….not speaking! I really have gotten very lazy with speaking. But I am very grateful for the ability to practice my comprehension. :)

        And in answer to your Justin Bieber question, sadly I don’t think I’ve seen ONE magazine without the Biebs in it just yet. On the other hand there are some really great advice columns in them! Those are pretty fun to read.

  3. kimlg99 says:

    Using magazines to get used to grammar, sentence structure, etc. helps but the vocabulary isn’t so useful. I find TV guides to be more useful. The articles, interviews, reviews, etc. generally have more useful vocabulary, there are lots of pictures, you get more exposure to German culture and you’ll know what’s coming on TV. Watching German TV news is excellent as they speak fairly slowly with no accent, have video/photos and the news comes on ARD and ZDF a jillion times a day. Nothing, however, replaces having conversations in German and if you can simply get your meaning across that’s a good start. Your grammar will clean itself up eventually. You’ve just got to make the leap into speaking and do it immediately. Don’t wait for the right time because the right time will never come.

    • Riayn says:

      When my neighbours don’t steal my junk mail bundle (don’t ask), I think there is a TV guide in there. I will have to take a look and see if it is any good.

      You are right, I really do need to start speaking more. I already do the little daily things like ordering lunch etc, but I need to start having social conversations.

  4. kimlg99 says:

    Oh yeah…try the free TV but the ones you buy in the shops are even better because they have actual long articles about new shows, new movies, new technology, movie reviews and whatnot. I think you’ll find that you’ll understand more than you think and with the help of a handy dictionary nearby you’ll at least get something out of it.

    As for speaking German, here are a couple goofy things I used to do. When I would be doing something like brushing my teeth I’d think of a sentence in English – utter nonsense like “These potato chips are stale!” – just anything that pops in mind – and I’d see if I could form the sentence in German. Then to test if I was right I’d go up to my husband or my MIL or a friend and just say the sentence to them in German. They may think you’re a bit crazy for saying a weird random sentence to them but after the first time they’ll know what you’re up to. Do it to your co-workers since you’re comfortable with them anyway. What you’re testing is your ability to form a good sentence and at the least a sentence that can be understood. And have them correct what you did wrong. You get such a feeling of “YAY!” when you get it right. Other times I’d say to my husband “Okay, for the next 15 minutes I will only speak to you in German. You can speak English to me but I will only speak German” and then do it. If you work up to more and more time it won’t seem so trying and frustrating. And when you’re with your buddies like when you go out after German class, keep speaking German to each other. It’s a great way to correct each other without bad feelings or embarrassment and every little bit of practice helps.

    I know you can do this. You’re determined and if you just plow through the hard stuff, it gets easier and feels more natural and all the little grammar errors you make won’t matter.

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