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How and when did you learn German?

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This forum is in English but many of us are very good in German (reading, writing, speaking). I think I am C1 plus (got 97% in B1 test).

 

But where did I acquire the language? A couple of years at school, as the second foreign language, then I suddenly got interested and motivated to learn in 1989, took some evening classes, read a lot so I had a good vocab but often the wrong pronunciation. No more formal tuition after 1996, moved here and got a job where I had to speak German all day, very good.

 

Now I have just "discovered" Plattdeutsch, it is quite novel to have to puzzle things out again.

 

Of course I have an English accent but someone thought I speak a sort of Hochdeutsch, a compliment. And I have read many hundreds of books in German.

 

How did others learn, what about those with first languages other than English?

 

I am retired now, I really feel trying a third wholly new language is undesirable, it would detract from the others.

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I'm 69 and did "A" Level German at school in England. It was my favourite subject and I couldn't wait for the next lesson with " Biscuits " ( Mr Kemp ). He died only last year, according to an old school mate I skyped with a few months ago.

 

Then I ended up in Bonn for a year in 1970. Worked in a varnish factory with the chemicals and hated it but a young German in a suit at the factory got chatting to me and it turned out his sister was married to a man from Southend on Sea, where I grew up. He put a word in for me and ended up in an office as a Materialdisponent! Better... Hochdeutsch was more prevalent!

 

Ended up in Hamburg about 1990 as an English trainer at Airbus and intended to stay for a year. It became over 20 years!

 

After a brief interlude of 8 years in Greece, I've been back here for about three weeks now!

 

Fietsrad- when someone asks you if you are Dutch, you then know ( as a Brit ) that your German is really good!😂

 

 

 

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School in Yorkshire: "O" Level German 1978, then "A" Level German in 1980, followed by half a year working in Hamburg in order to improve my spoken language. Living and working in Berlin since the early 90's...

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7 hours ago, john g. said:

Fietsrad- when someone asks you if you are Dutch, you then know ( as a Brit ) that your German is really good!😂

 

I was once asked if I came from Emden...

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When I moved from the Stuttgart area in 1992 to Thüringen, I was asked if I came from the South, so I don't think my U.S. accent is very noticeable.

I started learning German on my own (that did not work well), as it wasn't offered until 10th grade in high school in the U.S., so I had 3 years and have been back and forth to Germany several times over the years. I may have lost some of my German, being in the U.S. now, so I am probably at C1, but maybe still C2. Anyway, I am fluent, but it would be difficult for me to write a dissertation in German. I won't be doing that anyway.

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My mother tried to teach me German when I was five - that ended quickly. I had a semester in college, but fifteen years later we came to Germany and I was immersed. Reading books and newspapers, conversing with friends and neighbors, I spoke the language reasonably after ten years.

Since then I've lost a lot of my fluency in the German language, but at its height I was once asked very respectfully by a bunch of women whether I was from the Siebenbuergenlaender! We'd been conversing for awhile; apparently they didn't recognize my American accent. In fact, now that I think of it, they may have been wondering if I was even speaking German!

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I started to learn to fly gliders (sailplanes) with almost no knowledge of German & no-one spoke English.

I only had the pre-knowledge of being a model aircraft builder & flyer whilst in the UK.

 

Learning to fly was much easier than learning the language...

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I used to go to the Nürburgring every year; I think that was 2003 - 2013. After a couple of trips I started to think about the language and bought the Michel Thomas CDs to try and learn a bit. Which was good, but somewhat difficult. Wierdly that got me thinking about the French I'd learned in school and was amazed to discover how much I still remembered after nearly 20 years. Around this time my Dad had bought a house in France and so I gave up on German and decided to re-learn some French. I did an council run evening class for a couple of years which I really enjoyed. That ended up being cancelled but the same place had a not-quite beginners German class so did a bit more German instead for a year or so.

 

After that I mostly gave up until the Brexit vote happened and that gave me a bit of a push towards doing something about living and working abroad. But where? Well I know some German... maybe if I knew some more...

 

I started doing a load of online lessons and had got up to B1 level or so, but soon realised I wouldn't be able to work in German with that so started looking for English speaking jobs in Germany. I was offered one in 2017, but at the same time was offered a much better job for a German company in the UK, so took that with the goal of moving after a year or so. That turned out to be 2 1/2 years, but I came here for the start of 2020. In the meantime I'd carried on doing lessons online (still do), and had made a few trips to language schools in Hamburg, Munich and Berlin.

 

The problem now is that I work mostly in English, and thanks to Corona I'm not in the office with my German colleagues as planned. So although I live here I don't speak the language regularly enough to really get proficient. 4 years ago I was first put into a C1 group at a language school and although I understand the spoken language much much better, understand everything I read and can write pretty well, when it comes to speaking it feels like I've barely improved. 

I think I sound very English when I speak German, but Germans don't seem to recognise my accent at all. 

 

 

 

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My wife tried teaching me German whilst we still lived in the UK as we planned to move to Germany. That didn't go too well partly because I couldn't get past first base as I'd been speaking French as a second language for years.I then started at VHS upto B2 level and work in an old peoples home so I speak conversational German all the time at work now. Most people also think I'm dutch but I'm not fluent and I speak Pfälz Deutch i.e. everything ends in 'sch'

 

Here are some common Pfälz words.

Aufpassen - Oofbase

Fertig - Fertisch

Morgen - Morscha

Kartoffel - Grumbeer

Fächigkeit - Fäschkeit

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9 hours ago, JN53 said:

I may have lost some of my German, being in the U.S. now, so I am probably at C1, but maybe still C2.,...


Ohne Moos nix los.

Stolz wie Oskar.

Nicht alle Latten am Zaun haben.

Pinkepinke.

Ein Knöllchen bekommen.

 

If you know these expressions, you are still on C2 👍.

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Yeah, they think I am Dutch. Or Austrian :lol:

 

I spoke it with a Bavarian lilt. Haven t spoken much in over a decade so the rust is setting in.

 

O and A level German. Hated it. Got the grades though. After a decade working in English in German offices and French at home, fluency somehow impinged itself upon me through a vague process of osmosis. Never made a huge effort to actively acquire it. Still don t like it.

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O and A level German, various family postings in Germany, and contacts with German schools.

Now, I practise with all and any of the O/H's relatives , friends here. Watch  German TV, but love Scandi-Noir!

    People think I am Danish or Swedish!

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11 hours ago, katheliz said:

Since then I've lost a lot of my fluency in the German language, but at its height I was once asked very respectfully by a bunch of women whether I was from the Siebenbuergenlaender! We'd been conversing for awhile; apparently they didn't recognize my American accent. In fact, now that I think of it, they may have been wondering if I was even speaking German!

I once went with a friend to visit her mother and siblings in Ulm. They were from Siebenburgen. When they lapsed into Siebenburgerisch, I understood nothing (and I have heard many German dialects and generally understand some of what is said), although it sounded somewhat like German. 

 

3 hours ago, LukeSkywalker said:


Ohne Moos nix los.

Stolz wie Oskar.

Nicht alle Latten am Zaun haben.

Pinkepinke.

Ein Knöllchen bekommen.

 

If you know these expressions, you are still on C2 👍.

I've heard the first one and understand the 3rd one. The others don't mean much to me. If that is C2, then I guess I don't need to be C2! You did, however, get me curious, so I looked up the meaning of the ones I didn't know. I have often heard nicht alle Tassen im Schrank haben. That one I am familiar with and I am sure there are others that I haven't thought of in a while. I think the following website is good for looking of many of these:  www.redensarten-index.de

 

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I used to read BUNTE, a German magazine about celebrities, it was retailed in the UK back then. I think it was a bit more serious than it is now, I remember something about Helmut Kohl and his breakfast bread rolls %)

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I failed to learn it. Before my transfer to Germany, I was promised German language lessons by my employer, but it soon went from "we will look at this in the next financial year" to "Your work environment is strictly English language, no business justification for this outlay" to "None of your colleagues are sensitive about language, maybe it would be best for your health if you were working in a country where English is an official language..."

 

I did try Babel, but it just didn't work with my Aspie brain. I was able to ask where things were in shops, order things in restaurants, ask if I could pay with card, but that was about the limit. If I visited the bank or post office and survived with broken German, then I felt I'd achieved something :lol: 

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On 26/11/2021, 20:39:51, Fietsrad said:

Now I have just "discovered" Plattdeutsch, it is quite novel to have to puzzle things out again.

 

Of course I have an English accent but someone thought I speak a sort of Hochdeutsch, a compliment.

 

 

If you need something new, try taking a holiday in southern Bavaria - you would certainly have to puzzle things out again there!

 

People often think that I am from the Netherlands because of my accent - they do notice that I am not from here, but have trouble placing me!

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2 hours ago, robinson100 said:

they do notice that I am not from here, but have trouble placing me!

 

Thats part of the fun is it not?

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I came to Munich on a contract in 1993 and stayed for five years. I had no German and spoke only English at work but did attend the Goethe Institute for a couple of semesters of evening classes.

 

I moved to Vienna for a job and stayed there for 15 years, during which time I picked up a pretty fluent Viennese dialect but with a heavy English accent. On retiring I returned to Bayern and slowly turned my Wienerisch into Bairisch, people here compliment me on my German but sometimes ask whether I am English or American.

 

Brexit forced me to apply for citizenship which I was granted in June 2017, I took the "Einbürgerungstest" and "Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer" tests at very short notice as they were being held the Friday and Saturday following my inquiry at the VHS but passed both easily. The staff member responsible for the language tests told me the "Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer" was equivalent to B1 and that he would judge me to be C1 or C2 level. This was the first time I had any idea whatsoever about the level of my German, so I tried to enroll for a C1 course at our VHS and the one in the Kreisstadt but unfortunately they never have enough people in my area to make the course worthwhile. And then of course Coronavirus  came along. 

 

I fully intend to take the C1 certificate when I can and then improve to C2 level.

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