As you all know, I’m spending my summer working on improving my German and have even made up an elaborate plan to follow. I’m now onto my 18th day and am still actually working hard at it. I’m even seeing some improvement which is very encouraging.
However, next week, I’m taking some holidays and have designed a language challenge particularly for this holiday as my holiday is a little… special.
Next week, I’m travelling to DrachenFest which is one of Europe’s largest LARPs. For those of you not nerdy enough, LARP stands for Live Action Role Play and can most easily be thought of as real life Dungeon & Dragons. DrachenFest attracts approximately 5,000 players and has a fully functional town complete with 7 taverns, a jail and its own newspaper and postal service. Yes, this thing is epic. I was originally told that DrachenFest would be run in English, but it turns out, it is actually run in German with some accommodations made for English speakers. Therefore, I’m going to have the opportunity to spend an entire week immersed in German and I plan to make the most of it. I will be speaking some English during the week as my character is English speaking although, like me, she is trying to learn the local language, so it is the perfect excuse to speak Denglish or really bad German and not worry about any mistakes (which is why I created her that way).
Therefore my language challenge for DrachenFest is the following:
1. Don’t chicken out!!! – I’m well known for losing my confidence when it comes to speaking German.
2. Read the DrachenFest newspaper every day.
3. Speak to at least 10 people a day in German – this can be as simple as ordering drinks or food up to full conversations both in game and out of game. The more mead the better, I think for this.
4. Try to do my training (at this point fighting and thief training) in German.
5. Spend time listening to conversations around me trying to understand as much as possible. Get up the courage to ask what unknown words mean.
What I really need to remember at DrachenFest is people aren’t going to get upset at me for speaking really bad German and having trouble understanding things, which is something I worry about all the time. The last LARP I went to (also run completely in German) I stressed about this the whole time and therefore barely spoke German only to find out at the end that everyone thought it was awesome I was there and would have gladly helped me out. Also at DrachenFest I’m not going to be the sole non-German speaking oddity, which does take the pressure off a bit.
If I can get over my angst about speaking German, DrachenFest could be a really fun way to give my spoken German a real boost.