Thursday, August 6, 2009

Auf Deutsch!

[ In German! ]

I have not even been in Germany for a week, but just from reading the previous posts, you can see that I have been dropped right into situations having to speak German since stepping off the plane. I have been working very hard to keep up and I still stumble every sentence, but three days in and I am experimenting with some past tense sentences. I carry around my dictionary, a tablet for new words, and another tablet Angelika gave me for conjugated verbs. What is best is that my host family is so helpful and eager to help me learn.

Eva and Adriane are extremely easy to chat with, and they speak good English, so I can get my points across, but they are also very good - and patient, I think their most admirable quality - at listening to my fumbled German, and correcting me along the way.

At the dinner table, Adriane pointed out that I always have half a plate of food left to shovel down after the family is done eating - I am just talking too much. I don't say too much, since the sentences take a bit of construction, but I do try to talk about my day and thoughts. Stefan has usually stayed around, and we have had some pretty decent conversations about their travels to his views on American politics. When I can add a sentence in German, I do my best. I tried telling my family the story about Monday's bus situation, and only a sentence in as I lazily spoke in English, little Klara next to me, biting her pasta, demanded : "Auf Deutsch!"

I didn't need to be reminded again from there. If I keep up the pace, I should learn pretty rapidly, I hope, so that I am in good shape to get around, learn something, and make some friends at the University.

Angelika has to be the most enthusiastic about my German education in the family. After my first day of class, I tried telling her about my day, and pretty much butchered the strict word order of German sentences. With her own limitations in complex English vocabulary, she tried to explain to me the best she could.

She opened the drawer, grabbed a pencil, and before I could even grab a piece of paper,

she was writing on the wall...


"Inversion EVER!"

What she meant by that was to never invert the order of the verb in the sentence, since, generally, it is second and strictly there. [It makes you talk like Yoda - "Today goes we to the store"].

So now, anytime I am in the kitchen, there it is for me to see. And it wasn't the only word, the wall has consistently become more littered with synonyms, antonyms, past tense forms etc, all enhancing the ever important INVERSION EVER! Learning German with each member of my host family is very fun, and I am learning fast. It has been an exhausting week, but I have been putting in my effort. The signs of boot camp are starting, and soon, I know, the Weber house with be frei von Englisch.

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