Thursday, November 5, 2009

Language Issues

Something that I have learned is that German students take 6-7 years of English class, so many of them understand and/or speak English. The problem is more that I don't understand any German-yet. There is a Rosetta Stone Language program at the garrison library. I haven't started it yet, but hope to before the end of the week. Ben has been great at translating important things and at communicating with German waiters, shopkeepers, etc. Also, our current landlady is German with as much English as I have German-so Ben has been asking for help from collegues when he needs help communicating with her. Most Americans here don't seem to bother much with the German language, but I am looking forward to learning a new language...it feels very helpless to not be able to communicate basic things with people. I will often get comments or questions about Storm when we walk and it is so awkward to try and express that I only speak English when someone is looking eagerly at you to respond to whatever they just said. I am trying to learn phrases, but when I have to use them I just freeze up...or I want to respond in Spanish, which is the only foreign language I know. Isn't that funny? Someone speaks to me in German and I want to answer them in Spanish-if I can pick up on what they said in the first place. HA!

Have you ever been in a restaurant with someone that you know so well that you don't even have to talk much b/c there isn't much to be said-especially if he is your only friend on the whole continent...well, that is Ben and I every night at dinner. And normally, I would enjoy a little eavesdropping to pick up on local interests but when they are speaking German, that is out of the question...so many meals, we sit quietly, chatting about our days, making plans and me, trying to pick out words or phrases I recognize that I can ask Ben to translate-if he can. I wonder if I will ever be good enough at German to eavesdrop in the restaurants here...? Should that even be my goal? haha Maybe not. ;)

10 comments:

Le Fou said...

let me know how rosetta stone works out...i've been contemplating buying that

(It's Joanna's Boyfriend, John, btw...haha not some random guy)

Zach said...

So you're gonna have me over the summer to translate... right?

Anonymous said...

It all looks so interesting and fun. We want to plan a trip at some point, after you are more settled, but also when we are more settled. Love you guys! Ginger

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Anonymous said...

My German isn't great and I've been here a while but like most Americans here, I understand German way better than I speak it. The language barrier can be frustrating but in all due time.
Arlene

Anonymous said...

My sister Ginger told me of your adventure. I am so excited for you since our family spent 3 years in Germany in the 80's. Garmish is so beautiful, especially at Christmas time. I know you will make the most of your time. If you want to chat more, ask Ginger for my email.
dottie

ajnabi said...

Hi Esther, it's Jocelyn. :-) I had the exact same thing happen when I went to Peru this summer... Every time I'd open my mouth to ask someone what their name was, I'd freeze because my brain would get crowded with Italian, Hindi, and Spanish! I guess your brain stores all that foreign language stuff in the same place. LOL I've heard that German is relatively easy for English speakers to pick up; I hope that proves true for you.

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