Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My German is at a weird place

It's also called a frustrating place! I'm learning about all sorts of confusing things, like the article in the accusative form, all while I still have a limited vocabulary. I've also been absolutely horrible and haven't studied at all on my own since my class ended this spring. I've pursued other classes; the bonus is that I can speak about the long and short term impact of the French Revolution on Germany; the difference between Kollwitz's and the Romantic's art; etc.

The downside is that my German learning is in a weird place because I have startling bursts of clarity when I can read signs but can't understand announcers on the radio unless it's the traffic report. Or, when I stumbled across an article written in Dutch and read bits of it without realizing it was in Dutch, I only realized when I stumbled on the words that have a lot of "oo"s in them that it's not actually German I was reading. Believe me, it was a mind trip last month when I was in Ghent and could read some of the Dutch signs! It's neat how that works, since there are some similarities between the languages.

Then, I try to deal with Kabel Deutschland and get shot down. I'll have to write about that in more depth in the future. Basically, in store service around here = friendly people who try their best to help even while being flustered about speaking English. Calling KD for stuff the in store people can't do = an exercise in futility. They basically tell me to take a long walk off a short pier if I won't speak German on the phone. Yes, I can understand; it's Germany and I should speak German. However, I have a feeling that the company might not be allowing their call center people to speak English on the phone even if they know it.


  1. There is a more weird place and this is when you have the basics and start to extend your vocabulary. So many words sound alike, but mean different things, and you can get yourself in really embarrassing situations.

    For example I used the verb umziehen reflexive in front of my boss (ziehe mich um), so instead of saying I have to go early because I am moving, I told him that I have to go early because I am changing my clothes. And that's on the top of my head, I have many more like this.

    1. HaHa! Keep them guessing.....


  2. Oh, dear. That was funny. I could imagine that your boss thought you were quite strange. At least it wasn't an awful mistake. My friend made a funny mistake, too; he meant to say that he was going to stay in bed and sleep in on the weekend. He said "Ich stehe im Bett." His coworkers got a chuckle out of that, since he really should have used "bliebe" so he could remain in bed, not stand in it!

    My current German teacher took an aside this week and talked a little bit about the reflexive and the past tense. My brain just about caught on fire!