So, for about a year I’ve been learning the German language on and off in a small humble city of Germany. It is an ongoing process and I think I’ll never stop learning it. Here is just me trying to describe the emotional rollercoaster that I’ve experienced while learning the great German Vernacular.
Stage One: That new exciting Aufregendes Gefühl
So it is your early days. You’re full of zing about going to the language school with your shiny little A1 books. You’re still learning a new alphabet, basic vocabulary and simple starter grammar rules. It all seems just so easy and exciting. Even the “Articles” that you thought never existed seem ‘cute’ and you’re convinced that they make perfect sense (even though there are about 16 of them in the German language!). You laugh cheekily at German words that sound like those obscene ones from your language and share smirks with your with your English speaking classmates (Dickmilsch anyone? Hahaha! No? Whatever!). Each new syllable that you learn fills you with the anticipation, that one day you’ll be sitting in a local Kneipe blabbering away with the natives, just like the natives!
Stage Two: That subtle struggle with Vocabular
You have made your way through the first level and are gingerly wetting your toes at the intermediate level now. When you go shopping, eating out or socializing, you speak German enthusiastically but get a bit disappointed when your German person switches to English.
When you are introduced to the “German grammar cases”, you wonder why and how you cannot recall learning something like this in your mother-tongue. You’re starting to get a bit lost in the sudden bout of grammatical rules, and are already losing track of those endless “Articles”, your Umlauts sound all the same, your ‘R’ is still, well, too unGerman! But you keep telling yourself: “it will be alright”, “it will get better” “ich kann doch das schaffen”!
Stage Three: That slowly creeping brutal onslaught of THE Grammatik
You’ve managed to drag your way to the intermediate level despite the entire struggle and are hoping against hope that vielleicht the worst is over. You proudly update your Facebook status in Denglisch and tweet your cool new German slangs (probably getting double facepalmed by your native German speaker friends in the process).
By this time, you’re able to read comprehensions without much help of that little Wörterbuch and speak German pretty much in day to day life. Although your Ausschnitt continues to be Aufschnitt and Vorspeise keeps transforming into “vorspiele” or pfote into fotze. You have become skilled enough to camouflage those holy-mother-of-god evil Articles with an extended “dehh, duuhhhh” sounds, but writing a grammatically accurate sentence consisting of more than 6 words still remains a nightmare.
However you keep writing your homework with dedication only to find it all red marked the very next day and you end up asking yourself, “Ach Mensch! When will it get better”? You go on shaking your head in bewilderment while trying to figure out infinite variations of Pronomens and Adjektivendung according to the Cases in German.
Stage Four: Endlich, Denial and final submission to the Great German Vernacular
Achtung Scheisse! You’ve come realize that TeKaMoLo is not German for Bingo but a yet another language rule and now are lethally close to pulling all your hair out, one at a time. There is hardly an end to frustration as you still keep mixing up the articles that you learnt seven months ago. You cannot be bothered with Adjektivendugs anymore and disguise them with a clever “ehhh” “uhhh” sound whenever you speak with your natives.
At times you find yourself in denial and curse German for not being “as simple and as easy as MY mother-tongue”, then very next moment are ashamed of yourself. You try to console yourself that, at least you can still understand German/dubbed movies to some extent, even if humor seems to be lost in translation.
Finally in your rare moments of clarity you accept German language for what is it and decide to submit yourself to the books while continuing to be perplexed by even more German language blitzkrieg in your alltäglich life.
So are you learning German? How is your experience so far? Share the pain/ gain in comments below!
Read more about the fun and not so fun stuff about life in Germany here.