bilingual with babies

tink

tink

Hi there everyone, I started my course a few days ago but I am not new to German.. I just wanted to do it right and get better. So I'm starting from scratch. I had my first German lesson in primary school as an 11 year old, but the classes were cancelled due to the pressure of a bunch of girls who didn't like the teacher. I was most disappointed! Then came high school German, for one term with a terrible teacher and I felt no motivation to continue. Fast forward (eek!) 21 years and I met and fell in love with my now husband to be.. a German! I've lived in Germany for 6 months (even managed to work at the Deutsche Post for a few months) so my German is passable. But terrible!! I want to do it right! I tried other language courses but they were so boring, and not to mention, heavy. So nice to have a course that is on line so I don't have to cart heavy things around the world. My partner and I have been travelling for the past 2 years. Unfortunately we don't speak much German together because it can be frustrating, but we do try (well, I do, he doesn't need to try!) and I know that when I do it it happens quicker and quicker, and my learning begins to be exponential. But then english creeps back in.. So now we are heading back to Germany (Karlsruhe) and getting married. Do I want to not understand my vows to the very deepest of their sense? Absolutely not! And.. children. I grew up in an English speaking household even though my parents are Dutch. Mum remarried an English man, and so it was. I never learnt Dutch. I missed out on my grandmother and cousins, aunts and uncles as a result, by distance and by language. There were childish attempts, but mum was not interested in her own country or her own language. So, when I have children, I don't want to make the same decision on my children's behalf. My partner's parents are wonderful people and I want them to be involved in our family, and to be able to talk intelligently with them. I also want my children to be bilingual, so this is part of the strategy for making German a constant presence in their lives. I don't want to be on the outside of my family if my husband and children can speak the language either. We plan to emigrate back to Australia, so it needs to be a concerted effort in an English speaking country (with an Australian mother!). There are so many reasons.. But also, I'm a writer and a reader and a very social person and the language just excites me! Germany has such a strong literature tradition that I would like to access in the language rather than translation, and I'll know that I'm getting somewhere with it when I can write poetry in German. But the main starting point for me, was falling in love. When I met Tobias he could speak English at an ok level, enough to communicate on a basic level, and work in my country at non-skilled jobs. He was travelling with his best mate and they also had friends come over to visit them.. when I saw him speaking German I saw the beauty and subtlety of his personality that just couldn't be expressed in his (then) English.. so I wanted to learn so I could get to know him better. That was my initial motivation.. of course as his English got better the motivation fell away.. but in its place came the realisation that he learnt and improved really quickly, and in two years now we are sharing language humour.. that's inspiring. Especially as he failed a year at school because of not passing English (the German highschool system is quite strict in that regard). So, I set myself a realistic goal of seven years to become completely fluent. I'm entering into year 3. It's a double process of course too - you learn hoch Deutsch and then you go out on to the street, into houses... and it's dialect baby! They understand you, sure.. but the other way? That was my first big shock in Germany. If you are curious about this, there is a book about two scallywags called "Max und Moritz". There is the official version in hoch Deutsch at the back, and then 8 other versions in dialect. Some of them don't even look like German! In fact, I nearly mistook one of them for Dutch. So learning German for me..? It's a bit beyond a hobby. It's a necessity. Love, family and a love of language, are all powerful motivators for me. No more mucking about, this is serious!
bkizmann

bkizmann

Hi. I'm curious to know how far you have progressed after three years. I have been doing RG for a little over a year and I have made it through the Premium and Plus levels. I also had 2 years of German in High School (decades ago). I have to say that I am still struggling to keep up with even the simplest conversations. When I listen to a conversation, I can pick out a word or two in a sentence, and maybe understand what the concept is of that sentence. However, by the time I do that, the conversation moved on and I get lost. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if my learning curve is normal or if I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed :-/.
Mrs.-L

Mrs.-L

bkizzmann, I share your sentiment exactly. I have been doing RG also for over a year and this is the very first time of learning German for me. I so enjoyed listening to conversations with Nik and Paul and love their accents and even memorized their lines in the lessons. I was feeling quite chaff with myself with the few sentences that I could say in Deutsch but, I'm afraid the other accents didn't go very well with my ears so stopped doing it for a while but I really want to learn so I'm back at it again slowly. I think I know quite a lot of German words now and I can recognise many of them when listening to occasional German programs but understanding the whole sentences at this time is like climbing Mt Kilimanjaro for me. But I'd like to learn language and I think RG is very good in helping people to learn.
bkizmann

bkizmann

I have been doing some thinking as to why I can't instantaneously understand a German statement. I think a lot has to do with the sounds & rhythms that you are used to hearing over and over again - like a song. When I think about the first time I heard 'Es tut mir leid', I felt I had to decipher it as 'It does me sorrow', which sounds kind of awkward. But after hearing it over and over, I don't try to decipher it - my brain has registered this pattern of sound as 'I'm sorry'. So, as more of these phrases get stuck in my head, the easier it will be to join the phrases and eventually have instantaneous understanding of a sentence. That's my hope anyway...

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