Thursday, November 5, 2009

Deutsch als Fremdsprache

[ German as a Second Language ]

After waiting a few days to see the results of the Deutsch Einstufungstest, I had grown skeptical and braced myself to start over from ground one again with the language.

I scanned my finger down the lists posted on the wall

Grundstufe 1

Grundstufe 2

Grundstufe 3

Grundstufe 4....

where is my name?

and there it was listed in the alphabetical order list under Mittelstufe 1.

I am in intermediate German?! I passed out of 4 semesters - 2 entire years - of the University's German as a Second Language classes... after two and a half months of studying?

The previous days had been pretty pressing on my self confidence and I was beginning to lose faith in my ability to continue learning German, but this was a little boost to say the least.

I decided to join two different German classes - Situational Discussion and German Grammar [ since I haven't even learned the Genative case yet...]

The classes themselves were another wake up call, however. The room was as international as the welcome weekend and everyone had different accents with their German - however, being a discussion class, we were handed situations on a paper, and we were let loose to discuss -


Everyone around me started flowing into conversation and I was rapidly skimming through my dictionary for Lebensversicherung - which turned out to be life insurance...

We are talking about Life Insurance ?

Obviously I had my work cut out for me struggling to participate in a classroom of students that have been exposed to German for longer than a year or two already.

The next day in the first recitation of my biweekly German Grammar seminar we did a seemingly simple exercise where we told our partner without pictures the setup of our bedrooms.

Easier said than done in German since prepositions can change the case of the word and this becomes a jumbled mess when you have to deal with the gender of the words and der, die, das.

If you want to talk about a table, no problem - it is masculine - der Tisch , but then it changes in different cases -

Legen Sie das Buch auf den Tisch. (accusative)
Put/Lay the book
on the table. (motion towards)
Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch. (dative)
The book's lying
on the table. (location)

ok, simple enough. You just have to learn that der becomes den in Akkusativ and dem in Dativ, just some memorization...

but then the femanine die ... becomes der in the Dativ??? but wasn't der maskulin?

Not only must you learn in German the gender of words - often just memorization since there are few, if any at times, traits to follow in the words - but you must also correctly utilize the gender in the case or else you can change the meaning of the sentence.

Gone are my days of making everything plural to make the article always die [ but wait, wasn't that the feminine article]... I rest my case.

German will be making my head spin [ and making me afraid to be called on in class!] for the rest of the year it seems.

[ I am not always smiling like this guy after one of my German classes ]

1 comment:

  1. you realize all that work i put in to german last semester is nothing compared to your newly acquired knowledge?