Living Life One Word at a Time

6 Aug

Listening really hard is not a solution.

What was the first thing I did after I got to our new apartment?  I turned on the TV.  About five minutes later, maybe ten, I turned it right back off.  After what had turned out to be a very long drive to get here, all that I really got out of the TV that night was the realization that two weeks of German lessons in Paris (even with a GREAT teacher!) were not going to suffice.  At this point, I can pick out a word or two every few sentences, and if there are illustrations I probably have a 1 in 5 chance of guessing the general gist of what is going on.

Today’s word: die Geduld (patience)

Almost every language website out there seems to have a “word of the day” feature.  When I began learning French years ago, I distinctly remember getting a page per day calendar for Christmas one year.  The idea was that each day I would learn a new vocabulary word.  Unfortunately I have never been good about thinking to tear off the sheets of paper each morning.  So, after a week or maybe two, I would see the calendar out of the corner of my eye and think, “crap, I forgot to keep up with the vocabulary calendar.”   I would then tear off ten pages or more at once in order to get back up to date, and this of course undermined the whole system.  In sum, the word-of-the-day method just does not work for me.

Just wait six months…

Luckily, I was able to enroll in an intensive German course here this week already.  Not only does this mean that I actually get out of my apartment on gloomy rainy days like today, but I also have met some truly interesting people.  Keeping up with world events might take a bit longer though.  When I asked my teacher if there were any newspapers a beginner might be able to read, she kindly suggested waiting six months before trying to read.  We are still learning the present tense after all.   In the meantime, English news and German beer sound good to me.

Any advice?  If you have a surefire method for learning languages, I would love to hear about it!


2 Responses to “Living Life One Word at a Time”

  1. Karl August 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Go ahead and be “adventurous” : get a German language news paper every few days and just try to read from it. Listen to a German language Radio station, and watch some German language T.V., including news and weather. It will help some…..

  2. E. August 7, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Even though I agree with your teacher (on some level), because German is hard to learn and it’s gonna be a while before you can keep up with the TV news, I also think that you should buy, maybe once a week, a German Magazine, with lots of picture, that you’ll work on for the rest of the week ! This way you’ll get used to the specifities of written German, in the newspapers, which is always different from books !
    And also, about the TV… I’d wait a bit. All you’re gonna get are headaches, big ones. I tried when I lived there for a month, the only things I could stand were videoclips, and I was already fluent in German !

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