Learning German – Round 2

I arrived in Berlin, terrified of sounding like a toddler and a moron while trying to speak German.  So, I just didn’t — I spoke English.  After a while in Berlin, I signed up for another language course, again starting at the beginning. This time it was serious: three hours a day, five days a week, for four months.

I was pretty religious with attendance and the course was completely immersive based on necessity, not just as a learning strategy — English was not the lingua franca of this school.  I had classmates who were from Iran, Yemen, Turkey, China, Italy, Spain, Russia, and Brazil.

oldfashionedclassesfocusongrammar e1397777436784Again, my story was a sob story. The moment I left class, I didn’t prioritize the hours of homework, the mandated flash cards, the rote memorization of verb conjugations and noun gender — I had a business to run and I had a social life — with Berliners who were happy to practice their flawless English.

Eventually, I realized I had been fetishing German learning more than I have been trying to learn German.  After three years of German language grazing, I have half-a-dozen German-English dictionaries, another four packs of German vocabulary flash cards, and an assortment of German workbooks, verb books, grammar books and the whole lot.  It was almost like I got confused — I was collecting German instead of learning German — like buying classical CDs instead of learning how to play the viola.

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  • http://whitehindu.blogspot.com CM

    You put that so well. “Collecting German instead of learning German.” That really hits the nail on the head, as they say.

  • http://chrisabraham.com/2010/05/20/my-first-post-as-a-rosetta-stone-travel-blogger/ My First Post as a Rosetta Stone Travel Blogger — Chris Abraham

    […] another one that’s up there — the next in the series — Learning German – Round 2 — which I will post in another post! Related PostsRosetta Stone Online Version 3 Rocks!links […]

  • cabraham

    Thanks, CM! I appreciate that. Getting past my fear of sounding stupid was/is the hardest part.

  • mike

    I have found that over self-involvment always gets in the way especially when the task requires a level of interdependence. Let yourself go and be human. People will respect your authenticity and effort; they will be more than happy to help with dialogue. The same online concepts translate to the real world. Chris Throw pretenses away. The less you judge yourself the freer you will be with others (and less judgemental with them also) I’ve learned that myself. Not worrying about others and/or their ill convceived notions is a liberating excercise.

    FYI
    I was born in Ludenschied Germany as Michele Mario Siebenhuhner, and its still hard to speak because I don’t have a community to sample the language or a real reason to speak it. Speak, Speak Speak..even if its incorrect…”The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything” All the best to you.

  • Matt

    Getting past feeling stupid will come with time (Just like everything you experience with Rosetta Stone software; it comes with time and effort) I felt the same way with Spanish at first, but now (70-80 hours of study later) I’ve been told a few times by Hispanics that I speak without an accent. So, keep up the good work!

  • cabraham

    Matt and Mike, I really appreciate your encouragement. So, it is sort of like sky-diving, scuba diving or being a pilot: the more jumps, dives, or hours you log, the better you’ll be — and that every jump, dive or flight doesn’t need to be perfect. I really appreciate the encouragement. I have a bunch more posts that I am working on that will show you what I have been doing to try to get myself into the scrum — how I have psyched myself into logging those 70+ hours. This all helps a lot and thanks for reading and especially commenting.

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