As you all know I’ve been doing my own self-imposed language challenge since the beginning of July in an effort to improve my German. I’ve had some ups and downs along the way plus a huge helping of frustration as I’ve felt all the work I’ve put in wasn’t really paying off. However, last night, I saw some progress.
For the past three weeks, I’ve been attending the Deutsch Stammtisch on Tuesday nights where a group of mainly foreigners get together to speak German. The last two weeks, we have all spoken way more English than German, but last night there was a different mix of people and we ended up speaking German the entire night. I think in the 2 hours I was there, I spoke 2 sentences of English.
My German was definitely the weakest of everyone’s there, but because we are all foreigners, everyone tends to speak slower than native Germans do, so I found it easier to understand what people were saying than I do when trying to listen to native speakers. Of course, it helped that because so few of us had met before, we did the standard getting to know you conversations. Then again, I was talking to one guy about computer neuroscience and managed to understand quite a lot of what he was saying. It helped that I did some neuroscience at University and the English and German terms are either the same or quite similar.
I still need to work on my speaking though, as I found it hard to say exactly what I wanted to say and to say it correctly. However, I was able to understand the gist of everything that was said. I didn’t understand every single word and I got lost now and again, but for the most part I could keep up. This is a huge improvement on where I was at the beginning of July.
I still have lots of work ahead of me and no doubt I will experience many more epic language fails. However, it was really nice last night to sit in a pub and spend the night chatting in German.