August 7, 2015

German Swag 101: Pre-Arrival

For starters, there is no perfect way to learn a language. People who have studied languages extensively in books think they've done it the right way. People who have moved abroad to immerse themselves completely also think they've done it the right way.

I know no matter how much prep work I put into learning German in advance of our arrival, I'm still going to crawl through the growing pains of misunderstandings and mistakes. So that's why I'm only just now starting the process - 14 days before moving to Germany.

Just as gut as my first time in Germany. Cologne, 2011.
The more interesting facet (to me, anyway) is that I will be attempting to learn German while retaining my French. 

I always wanted to learn French and never wanted or needed to learn German. Honestly, I was hoping if we had to leave French-speaking areas that we would end up somewhere I could work on my Spanish. Oh well, I guess that's for another time!

This "German Swag 101" series is going to focus on my journey to becoming fluent in German through the lenses of both English and French.

It's just going to be super cold. Neuschwanstein, 2012.
It will not overtake the normal travel and expat posts, and I hope it serves to enhance the understanding of what it's like to live abroad and in another language.

At any rate, it's going to help me learn and review vocabulary, tenses, and nuances of German!

I will be dressed like this everyday. Black Forest, 2014.
I hope that we can learn together. I REALLY hope that if you know anything about German or French - especially if you notice I've made any mistakes - that you'll be kind enough to correct and clarify in the comments!!!

I always told our tourists in France that they needed five phrases to get by during their stay. I obviously am going to need a whole lot more than that, but these five are my launching point!

Hello. Bonjour. Hallo/Gutentag.

Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais? Sprechen sie Englisch?

Please. S'il vous plaît/S'il te plaît. Bitte. 

Thank you. Merci. Danke.

Goodbye. Au revoir. Auf weitersehen.

Duolingo is the program I'm using for now, and I'm stumbling through some basic vocabulary that will only help later (er...very soon).

Anyone have any advice for how you learned or are learning German?!

7 comments:

  1. I took French in HS and college and my dad has family in France so I have those common sayings down pat! But German, I wouldn't even know where to begin! Not only does it sound "harder" than the usual romance languages but I would have no clue how to move my mouth/tongue to get words to sound correctly. Good luck with the language! I'm curious to know if it gets easier after the initial scare.

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    1. Hey Christine! Well, great then, you can be my French correcter! :) The German I'm hearing through Duolingo so far just sounds like I have to pronounce all the letters - but I really need to learn the German alphabet to get those pronunciations correct!!! I think we're going to have a lot of American and English-speaking friends (lots of USA/Canadian athletes in a small town), BUT I will not be content to not learn German while living there!!! I'll be sure to document the ups and downs, don't worry!

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  2. 1st off, I finally got the download to your eBook! (add in weird high pitched squeal that is immeasurably difficult considering my vocal register).

    2nd- I continue to pray for you and Mark's transition and know you'll tackle it line an NFL linebacker and not the petite volleyball setter you are.

    3rd- in prep for the e-book, and because i'm inexcusably behind on your blog, I spent the last week rummaging through and basically rereading all of your posts. You have a clear gift.

    This left me in a horrible wake (one I mirror in my returns from missions trips) and restlessness. As of February this year, I've lived here longer that I have anywhere since 2011 myself. Not without extensive travels and trips myself, but none of them particularly permanent either. I also fitted your friend Bethany's blog about wanderlust in there too, and I have to be honest, I felt physically ill reading all your blogs. I couldn't go for a run which usually helps, and spent the evening crying without pinpointing exactly WHY I was. I need to move, I need to travel and I thank the good Lord that I can still fill that insatiable desire with your writings.

    I miss you and your face, and have a special surprise for you this week.

    Much love,
    Kia

    P.S. I need your new and updated address so I don't post-a-gram to the wrong place again.

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    1. Thank you, Kia. You're a dear, dear friend. I'll email you our German address! Miss you!

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  3. I've been using Rosetta Stone, convos with the hubby (who's fluent), and WhatsApp texting convos with a friend in Stuttgart to help with mine. One pronunciation tip that really helped me was when I learned the proper pronunciation for double vowel combos such as "ie" and "ei." Basically, you say the name of the *second* vowel. So "Wien" is "veen" and "wein" is "vIne." Just those two combos alone really open up a lot of words to correct pronunciation! I wish you the best of luck! I'm stumbling along through my learning, too, so if you ever want to practice via WhatsApp or email, I'm game. :)

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    1. P.S. Since you'll be living in Bavaria, you might like the colloquial way of saying something doesn't matter. Instead of a literal translation of that, you actually would say "das ist mir Wurst" which means "that is sausage to me." So the next time someone asks you what you want to drink and you don't care, just throw them a "das ist mir wurst" to wow them with your colloquial skills. ;)

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    2. This is AMAZING info!!! I can't wait to get more of your feedback! I don't have whatsapp because I don't have a phone, but I can imessage? Can't wait to try your tips! Thank you :)

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