Category Archives: Learning Languages

Stories on learning German and desires to learn other languages in the future.

German Intensive Course: Week 1

When ever someone asks me how my German is I never really know how to respond. I am definitely not fluent, though friends keep wondering why I’m not. For anyone who’s actually learnt a language before they know, it takes a while! So here I am, two and a half years of learning German, and mind you I have spent most of that time in a German speaking country, yet if a German asks me whether I speak it or not, my reply is still ‘ein bisschen’ (a little).

Though I was saying ‘ein bisschen’ when the extent of my German was ‘zwei Bier, bitte’, ‘dankeschön’ and ‘ich bin schwanger’ (you can Google that if you want. Don’t ask me why I knew that back then…)

I’d like to think I know a little more than ‘ein bisschen’  right now. But perhaps out of all the new words I’ve learnt I just haven’t quite learnt those few words to describe the extent of my German. Do I know a little, a little more than a little, am I pretty good, am I OK  am I not bad… even in English nothing sounds very good. I mean I’ve met travelers who say they, ‘only speak a little English’, then end up reciting Ulysses before my very eyes. I think it’s just a confidence thing. From the moment you start learning a language, until you can fool a native speaker to thinking you’re native, you’re probably just going to say ‘a little’.

Well the one good thing about doing a course is Europe has a nice little list of letters and numbers to help describe where you’re at. To people who don’t know the CEFR system, it doesn’t mean much, but to the rest, its a beautiful way of classifying us. I am currently B1/1 and will over the next 8 weeks be studying 10 hours a week to hopefully boost myself two levels to B1/2 then B2.

Having not been to a German class since last year, after going to my first few classes I realized that although my grasp of the language is pretty good, I make a hell of a lot of mistakes. I haven’t been using my reflexive pronouns very well, naughty, naughty e.g. ‘I myself am interested’ would be the correct phrase, not ‘I am interested’. Though obviously they both work in English. Typical. And secondly, my articles are down the toilet, just another awesome thing about the German language. What the hell is wrong with just ‘THE!’

I will hopefully keep you updated on the awesome new things I learn through the weeks. Click the button on the right toolbar to follow me 🙂


German phrase of the day

Having an Austrian girlfriend and working with a German, really helps improve my vocabulary and grammar, even though I am not currently studying Deutsch.

Today I learnt “hat mich gefreut Sie kennen gelernt zu haben” which is a formal way of saying “nice to meet you”. I tried my own phrase once before when I met my girlfriend Simone’s Opa. I remember saying “es war nett mit dich zu treffen”. Now I know it really made no sense, there’s no wonder he looked at me funny.

Communication Complication

Ok so, I arrived in Konstanz just a few days ago.
So far so good.
I was welcomed by familiar faces, brought to my university, and amazingly the secondary bag I had left at the start of my trip, still remained behind a door in a random office in the uni. I literaly walked into the office, asked the guy about the bag whom seemed to have no idea. I then proceeded to look on the otherside of the door, and there it was sitting there, two months later, exactly as I had left it. So far so good.
Next I arrived at my flat. A little away from the uni, but I soon found out that Europhaus, was the ‘party’ house of the town, and I had my own room. So far so good.
That night, I met a bunch of exchange students, all of whom were extremely nice, we chatted, we drank into the night, things were getting good!
The following night I enjoyed two dinners by two different homes who welcomed me in and I made even more friends. So far so good… Then came Friday, the course began.
My relaxation had finally ended as I arrived at my first day of my language course to be confronted with a test in which I knew not one answer. Not only that, I had been already placed in a higher class in which I was required to perform a speaking task with a German teacher to see my competency in German. “Ich spreche German nicht” I whole hartedly replied. Suddenly it turned on me that I was in Germany, and learning the language was not going to be an easy thing.
In the end though, things don’t seem to bad, I was told that quite a few people have no understanding of German and that we are all going to be in the begginer class, A0. But I mean that’s why I’m here to learn, and I aint alone, so it should be fine.
Still a long while to go, but for now things are not as breezy as they have been for the past 2 months travelling. It’s time to hit the books, turn on my brain, and learn this shit! But first, pub crawl tonight :p


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