Easy as German

In preparation for my eventual move to Germany (yes, that’s happening), I’m making an effort to learn the local language – resource of choice thus far, Duolingo.com.

It’s been a fun challenge. Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache*, but es ist noch kein Meister von Himmel gefallen**, and all that.

*An expression I’m told means “German is hard”.

** Literally, I think it means something about how we don’t fall from heaven already having mastered everything; figuratively, “Practice makes perfect.”

“Eine Zeitung” = a newspaper

“Eine Zeitung” = a newspaper

I’ve noticed something, though. When I first started my Duolingo lessons, I didn’t have much trouble getting everything right. “Hooray!” cheered Early Me. “Das ist einfach!” [“This is easy!”] But as the weeks went on, with me diligently plugging along every day, making langsam [slow] but steady progress, I seemed to be making bothersome little mistakes more often, and having trouble remembering all the words I learned.

“Doggone it!” Later Me gnashes her teeth. “Whatever happened to the saying about the Himmel Meister? C’mon, Danielle – make perfect!”

But it makes sense, really. The more you know, the more there is to forget. And the further along you get in a learning venture, the higher your expectations for yourself, meaning it takes less and less to make you feel like you’re dropping the ball.

Or is that just me?

“Du bist normal” = You are normal. “Sie sind schlecht” = They are bad.

“Du bist normal” = You are normal. “Sie sind schlecht” = They are bad.

It’s certainly not just me and German. It applies to writing, too.

In my early authorial years – age 5 through 18 or so – writing was a breeze. The words flowed easily almost without fail. The characters’ dialogue practically wrote itself. The plots just happened, no weeks or months of brain-racking preparation required. And revision? Who needed that? These books came out practically ready to sell themselves!

Haaaaaa-hahahahahahaaaaaaaa… *sniffs* *wipes eyes* Ouch, my sides …

“Wir sind schön und wichtig!” [“We are beautiful and important!”] he informs you. “Also, Ich habe Hunger. Hey, Danielle, I know we’ve had one, but what about second Frühstück?”

“Wir sind schön und wichtig!” [“We are beautiful and important!”] he informs you. “Also, Ich habe Hunger. Hey, Danielle, I know we’ve had one, but what about second Frühstück?”

Writing used to be easy because, unbeknownst to me, I was writing glorious, golden garbage. Another third of my life later, I now have a better idea of all the ways I can craft a story wrong. And that makes writing much, much harder.

Nevertheless, there is something else learning German and continuing to learn how to write have in common: I’m in it for the long haul!

#Schreibe [#amwriting]

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6 thoughts on “Easy as German

  1. That sounds like such an adventure! I certainly enjoyed my time living in foreign countries (4 months in Canada and 5 years in the UK), even though the first month was always rough.
    Be sure to bring medicine, as that is what all the americans did that I met in London – apparently Europe doesn’t have half the stuff that’s available in America.
    Also, prepare for a bit of a culture shock: when I moved back from London to Germany, I was taken aback by how rude people are, but on the flipside, there is no false politeness that I found irritating when I first moved to the UK.

  2. So proud of you for BIG CHALLENGES! 😀 I experienced the same euphoria crash with Duolingo learning Italian. Early stuff was so easy and then later on I was like, “Is that the word for egg or for bee???” Ugh. Grammar. Who needs grammar? You’ll learn plenty of it while you’re there actually using it. 🙂

    • Italian is soooooo next on my list! And thank you; trying to remind myself that perfect grammar is entirely secondary to basic communication. Erste Sachen erste! (First things first!)

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