German, German, German !!!

Yep, that is about right !!

If I won money for each time I heard the sentence ” you need to talk to learn it” since I arrived in Germany, I would be rich!!

The first problem? It is true!!!! You can spend hours reading a book or doing all the grammar exercises you can digest (and trust me, learning German is a real digesting process!) or like me having studied it for 10 years at school, if you donĀ“t actually practice speaking out loud, your progress is going to be very, very, very slow !

The second problem? As surprising as it is, sooooo many people here in Germany speak English. So at the minute they hear a slight accent or that you canĀ“t find your German words, they switch to English, too happy for them to actually practice with someone.

So the third problem? Well, YOU didnĀ“t practice your brand new, so well studied, hard to swallow, 25-letters-long new words and so, you are back to square one …

When we moved to England, I didnĀ“t speak a word at all. (I learnt for a few years at school but hated it so as soon as my “baccalaureat” was done and dusted, I forgot everything !)

But I realised quickly that I didnĀ“t have a choice to speak out loud if I wanted to belong.

Here, in Germany, it is another story!! Most of the radios diffuse English songs, some even do their programs half German / half English! Where I live, it is very international and many people speak 3 or 4 different languages. Very often, our common language is English.

In UK, very few people speak another language unless you are in really big cities, the radios/TV are in English, the songs are in English. Everything!! So you eat English all day long! After a few very painful/nobody-understand-you months, you can easily find your way around.

But the worst of all is: Netflix and other media platforms!! (didnĀ“t have this 10 years ago in England). Why watching a movie where you will not understand a thing when you can binge on your favourite series in any language you mastered !

So you really have to practise (read, watching TV, listening to the news), not be scared to make mistakes when you speak, find the courage to say ” please let me try!” even if you canĀ“t have a good conversation.

I tried …. REALLY! but I also realised that learning a language without an aim/purpose in mind (exams, job, …) makes it really hard to stay motivated. Since I know we are going to be on the move again in a bit over 6 months’ time and that I may never have to speak German again, well, let say, my German took some Holidays !!!!

It has been 2 months now (yep, that is some long holidays!!!) since I passed my “PrĆ¼fung” and spoke German with anybody. The motivation to push myself is really gone. Despite that, I am glad I took the time to re-learn it because if I didnĀ“t progress as much as I wanted and I may never use it in my career, I met awesome people in my classes and didnĀ“t feel so alone during that time and that, for an expat, it is essential !

I will add this video from NathanaĆ«l Rochat (for anybody who understands French) who will teach you German in 4 minutes ! šŸ˜‚

Sincerely, Lyvy šŸ™‚

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