It’s one of those things that a lot of people have on their bucket list (at least for native English speakers), and it also happens to be one of the most tricky to pull off. Learning a new language is never easy. In England, we have French/German/Spanish forced upon us through school. That kind of ruins the experience for a lot of people, and after we move on into further education or employment, it just kind of stops being a thing for us all. Myself included.
The thing is, I never lost my appetite for languages. To me, they’re a key part of culture and how a place feels. When I’m on the road, I like to use as little English as possible. Granted, that’s still usually loads. Once upon a time I could get by in Sweden without anyone speaking a word of English to me. That’s how much of a language you can grasp when you hear it daily and you can figure out gist and meaning with body language.
I always enjoy picking up new words and phrases. Half of them I could never reasonably use (Any of the Greek I know fits this. Cheers guys for only teaching me insults!) but some of it is actually really helpful to me. In fulfilling my list entry for learning a language, I decided to tackle German. Mein Deutsch ist schlecht, sehr schlecht. I don’t even know if that is grammatically correct. But I trudge along.
I’m slowly teaching myself the language, but when it comes to putting it to practical use I fluff it. I think this is typically an English thing. We all feel ridiculously awkward when we try to speak a new language. This wouldn’t seem quite as weird if we didn’t also struggle to pass IELTS tests. You got it, we can’t even speak English! Anyway, It’s something that we can’t usually pick up well (there are exceptions), and for the most part we can get by almost anywhere in the world with just our native tongue. Speaking is by far the hardest part of learning languages for me; I can read, listen and even grasp writing quite well. Speaking though.. nah.
So. Now that I’ve told you, I’m working on learning German myself. I have a dreadful habit where I start off learning something and then give up part way through, either because I forget, I lose interest, or I just don’t manage to find the time for it. That’s why I’m hoping that making this open, you guys will be my witness and I’ll have to follow through with it all. I probably won’t be taking any classes (because for some reason they are extremely inaccessible where I live), so everything I learn will be via the use of two things:
- Duolingo (It’s amazing, and I like owls, and I’m level 13!)
- Good ol’ fashioned text books.
The idea is that by using one to supplement the other, I won’t make any huge errors. Even if I get all of the genders mixed up when it comes to actually using the language, it isn’t the end of the world. We learn more by making mistakes, right?
As proof of my learning, and total failures. I will attempt to write one of my future posts in two languages. Without using Google Translate unless I get super desperate to find out what a word is. That aught to be interesting!
Wish me luck!!