Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ich spreche Englisch

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Last night I had my second German class. Learning to speak German is a heck of a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I've studied French, though I've completely fallen off the French bandwagon and am now limited to reading cereal boxes and singing one lame French pop song from the late 90's, it was relatively easy to pick up.

I like words and using words, so that part of my brain is stimulated frequently. I naively thought that learning German would be a snap.


The sounds come from a completely different part of your mouth. It sounds bizarre, but man, those "sch" and "zs" and "schtzschz" noises are hard to get used to. I feel like my mouth is full of soft consonant sounds and odd vowel noises.

The sentences are structured in a completely different way. And verbs, from what I can tell, aren't really conjugated in a manner that makes much sense. I'm sure there's a pattern, but it has yet to reveal itself to me.

And the words. Dear sweet baby Jesus. The words are outrageously long. My favourite so far is entshuldigung, which means "I'm sorry" or "Excuse me". Which is fun to say, but I'm sure I sound like a moron while saying it.

The worst part has got to be that awful sing-song rhythm that students apply to a new language. You know the one. Everything goes uuPPP and uuuPP and uuuPP at the end of a sentence. If a native speaker talked to me like that in English, I would slap them.

But all that said, I'm really glad I'm taking the class, though I have accepted that if I do attempt to use any of the vocabulary I've learned when I'm actually in Germany, I'll probably be laughed at. Even though I come home from class with an exhausted, stretched out brain, I'm enjoying it. It's fun, in that humbling "I have the language skills of a two year old" way.

And now I know how to say the alphabet in three different languages, how to introduce myself in four, and how to form a concise, non-run-on statement in none of them.