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Learning German April 28, 2007

Posted by Paul Rees in Berlin, german.
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For quite some time, almost a year, I have been a half hearted blogger. This is probably because I feel that my life is not particularly interesting and the nobody would be interested in reading what I have to say.

However, I’ve decided that I am going to learn to speak German. And I am going to write about the experience here.

Of course the desire to learn German was inspired by my recent, but brief, visit to Berlin. I loved what I saw of Berlin, but didn’t have nearly enough time to explore the city to the extent that I would have liked to. So I shall return in October 2007.

I found that just about everybody I encountered in Berlin spoke at least reasonable English. I was embarrassed that I didn’t speak a single word of German. I’d like that to be different when I go back there.

I’ve always wanted to learn another language, but my attempts in the past have been half-hearted and lazy. I’m really going to try this time, although I’ve heard it said that learning languages is more difficult the older you are. I know someone in his 40’s who learned Vietnamese to a fluent level, so that has encouraged me. I mean Vietnamese would be 100 times harder to learn than German.

So how to go about learning German. Well attending a class is, I imagine, the best method. I have enrolled in a class at the Goethe-Institut Melbourne http://www.goethe.de/ins/au/mel/lrn/enindex.htm, but this does not start until next month

In the meantime I have started off by listening to a couple of podcasts:

My Daily Phrase German (subscribe in iTunes). Presented by a woman with a Scottish accent. How well that works I don’t know. However the lessons are well planned.

German Podcast (subscribe). Presented by Stephan using the world around him to teach German. He occasional throws in a bit of Italian just to confuse the listener. Crazy really.

I’ve listened to a couple of CD’s but I find it hard to get motivated with these. Not much fun.

I have also found at http://www.mylanguageexchange.com a young guy in Berlin who is doing his internship in Sydney starting in September. He is wants to practice his English with an Australian prior to to then. In turn, I therefore have a native speaker of German to practice with. We use Skype to do this and so far we’ve really only chatted in English, but I feel that it’s been helpful to me too even if only in a limited way. This is fun and it will only get better as I lean more German in class.

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