Deutsch ist spaß!

Posted on May 8, 2012

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Oh hey there blog.

So, one of my spring break goals had been to slap together my little Lego rendition of the Brandenburg Gate, the iconic structure at the heart of Berlin, Germany. Last week, I got bored and finally did it. See?

Ich habe meine Brandenburger Tor gebaut.

Now you’ve seen. I haven’t played with Legos since I was a wee lad. I totally forgot how awful it is when you put down one of the thinner pieces and then realize you did it wrong, then can’t separate the pieces because they’re too small and your fingers are too fat by comparison. There was a little Lego tool specifically designed to help with that. I had one eons ago, but it isn’t here in San Diego with me. Blood and sweat went into this thing, damn it.

Anyway, I figured my little Lego structure would be a good segue into what this post is actually about- studying German!

My fascination with learning German as a language started in high school. I had a really close friend who had studied it and actually lived in Germany for a year before moving to Newport Beach. Occasionally, her German friends would fly out to visit her. They’d chat in German and I… would have zero idea what they were saying.

Then I went to San Diego for college. SDSU has a language requirement, as I’m sure every university in America does. It’s pretty light- just three semesters of a language to gain some understanding, not necessarily proficiency. I had taken Spanish in high school and retained absolutely none of it, so I picked German purely on the idea that I could be really impressive to my friend back home. As if three semesters of a language is enough to be impressive to anyone at all…

This year, since I changed my major to something relating to international politics, I figured that adding proficiency with a language onto my degree would be extremely handy in the long run. Additionally, I’m not all that far off from completing the minor; after this semester is done (which it is next Monday) I just need a few upper division classes of German and I’ll be set!

I’ve really enjoyed it so far. German is very closely tied to English, having provided a good chunk of groundwork and influence on the English language as a whole. And I’ve gotten to practice it occasionally, which I never expected to. Aside from my good friend Kathryn (who also minored in German at State) conversing with me, my hotel has German guests every so often! Sadly, most conversations go like this…

J: Hello sir! I just need a photo ID to confirm your reservation.
G: *Hands over Reisepass/Passport*
J: Oh! Guten Tag! Wie war dein Flug? (Good day! How was your flight?)
G: … oh, how cute… um, it was fine. Just check me in, please.

Not as exciting, sadly. I have had the odd few that are overly excited about the fact that I can have casual conversations in German and give directions and recommendations about the downtown San Diego area. I had a family check in on vacation that had a very weak grasp of English, and I was still able to assist them completely! And then I had another German guest who had been living in Spain and was just thrilled to hear someone else speaking German. I’m still not terribly confident with speaking the language (though I can read and write decently enough), but I’m getting there. I’m not terrified of talking to my professors in class, at least!

Alles gut!

Posted in: School