Friday, November 4, 2011

Learning Deutsch

So here I am living in a foreign country with no knowledge of the language....Well, except "Eine bier, bitte" which can only get one so far.  Frankfurt is such an international city that I could theoretically live here for three years without really having to learn the language.  Actually, I am surprised by how many expats living here do not speak Deutsch or even try to learn.  I can not imagine living here and not speaking Deutsch - there is a whole part of life that you miss out on, at least it seems like you do.  How does one make friends or at least acquaintances and communicate with neighbors who know no English???  Although, it is difficult to make German friends as they are much more private than Americans - more on cultural differences later.

I have been taking Deutsch lessons now for about a month.  Class is twice a week at Deutsch Partner in Kronberg.  Learning the language is not so easy, but so far I'm enjoying the classes.  Now I catch myself listening to passing conversations hoping to pick up words that I might know and when I finally do hear familiar words my internal cheer is explosive.  Slowly, I am picking up words, phrases, and retaining the basics.  I admit that I need to study more...never was great at patiently studying.

The craziest thing about learning a new language so far is the fact that when I can't think of what I want to say I think of the word or response in Spanish.  Why my brain picks up the leftover remnants of high school Spanish is beyond me, but it is interesting and a couple of my class mates do the same with second languages that they know.  Confusing!  

When I am out grocery shopping or at a restaurant I seem to freeze up - all my good intentions of speaking in Deutsch melt away as the person speaking to me talks so fast I feel that I've been swept up into a whirlwind.  Plus, on the occasions that I manage to rattle off my answer in Deutsch they realize I am not German and begin speaking to me in English.  Argh!!!  My trips to the market are getting to be more successful, which is encouraging - especially considering the frequency of trips to the market.  I think my husband had a point, when we talk about new languages being easier for children to learn, he believes it is because they are not afraid to make mistakes - so true.  

So, cheers to making mistakes because I am going to learn this language!    
Auf Wiedersehen!