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German language is hard

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Posted

So I'm new in this Toytown forum and I gotta say, It's an awesome project and very helpful for all English speakers here in Germany. I came here 2 months ago to study at FH Aachen (Jülich campus) and I'm living near Düren. Everything is doing fine here and I'm really happy.

I speak and write French and English pretty good but (you saw the "but" coming) there is a problem with the German language. Anyone had/still have this issue? When I talk with Germans in English, they become unfriendly and reply in German. I don't blame them.

I once read an old quote that says: "Life is too short to learn German" I don't know who said it but I'm pretty sure he was a bit lazy. The best way to learn a foreign language is to speak it, or at least try to. And when you finally acknowledge it, you could enjoy life here even more by meeting new people and making friends. However, my main problem is that I'm not training enough and I don't have much contact with German speakers (Except when ordering a BigMac from McDonald's) so I was wondering if anyone here is interested in meeting up around Cologne or Aachen, and maybe we can all help each other with this issue. Please share if you have ideas.

Thanks in advance for any help provided.

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Posted

Have you thought about heading over to a Language School, as they usually have groups that meet up several times a week to practice their Deutsch Sprachen. Or even at the U that your attending...

I have seen plenty of meeting up groups listed on TT and continue to use the search option to see if someone posts near your location.

German is difficult, but I am starting to get better with speaking it. It has helped by taking an intensive kurs.

Good luck to you.

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Posted

Hey,

I can completely relate to your problem, although I have the opposite happen to me. I speak very good German, been living in Cologne since March and I get frustrated because a lot of Germans reply in English. I think the best thing you can do is do a German language course, as has already been mentioned, and I can recommend Insula Koeln. They are very friendly, and my friend had a lot of success with them. The website is http://www.insulakoeln.com/

If you're interested, I don't mind meeting up with you in Cologne and we can chat, have some drinks, or whatever you like. I'm always looking to meet new people.

Hope that helps,

Jo

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Posted

When I talk with Germans in English, they become unfriendly and reply in German.

You should take it as a blessing, not as a curse. The opposite of what happens to me in the Netherlands, when I speak Dutch the damn locals reply back in English.

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Posted

It's a mixed blessing really. Replying in german is fine, but becoming snotty and unfriendly is not fine. I used to complain when I lived in the netherlands that I was never allowed to speak dutch, but overall I think I preferred this attitude to the one I get in germany - it involves much less guilt and stress. Usually I find people treat me better if I try to speak german first, and then when I start struggling they will more willingly switch to english than if I had just spoken english from the start.

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Posted

Hi,

I will second MuffinTop

Well this is somewhat i have found in Aachen and Ruhrgebeit area except Köln. I am writing my thesis in a company. There a German friend told me this advise "As to speak in German no matter how much you know, they themselves will correct you(dramatically)and further they will tell you in English what is the correct word too or might tak to you in English" which was useful in my case. I learnt a lot in last 4 months in 2 years of stay.

Try to find some German Tandem who are willing to teach not the other way.

Good Luck.

Smaras

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Posted

I agree with Smaras. I gave up conversing in English about a day after I landed in Germany as it drew curious stares (minimum reaction) or an affronted look + rude reply (at the worst). IMO its so much better to struggle your way through speaking Deutsch and getting corrected (and learning!) than to speak in English here.

Marc22, I'm in the Jülich campus as well. If you want to meet up some time at the Bibliothek, let me know. I've got a lot of German friends with whom we regularly hang out with, so speaking Deutsch is never a problem. :)

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Posted

Yes, it's an absolute nightmare of a language to learn. Easy enough to get by without using the rules and regulations but an absolute bugger to understand when spoken in a regional dialect.

I actually find the opposite in that everyone in Germany has always wanted to practise their English on me. Throughout the west and the south, whenever I have tried some pidgin German, they quickly get bored and speak to you in English. In Düsseldorf especially, many people actively come up to you and speak in English.

I've never once found anyone to be rude or surly because you are speaking in English as the language is so widespread and is the universal language of the universities where the many foreign students use it as a common ground.

I have to say English isn't as widely spoken in Aachen as many other cities but it's still pretty common around the student haunts.

I can honestly say that I never met one person who was unfriendly because I was speaking in English.

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Posted

How awesome it is to be a native speaker of English, isn't it? Everyone wants to practice with native speakers, while non-native speakers get shitty treatment for speaking English. I'm not criticizing that, nor judging that. I am just saying. Life is unfair, in every possible manner.

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Posted

I know how some of you feel. In the late 1970s I remember seeing someone trying to talk to people at a bus stop in Essen. I noticed that two or three people just walked away. When I approached the young man he asked me about a bus going in a certain direction. His German was atrocious but in the end I could give him directions and he was ever so grateful.

I experienced something similar on the outskirts of Québec City in 1980 on addressing a woman at a bus stop in English - she just turned around and walked a few steps away.

Please note that not all people in Germany react like that. There are still loads of people who will make an effort to understand you and assist you. However, I can't be everywhere ... :-) I wish I could!

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