December 30, 2013, by Guest blog

Just learn Deutsch: my number one priority

Just Learn Deutsch: it resonates like my second mantra. From the moment I step off the train in West Bahnhof, it becomes my number one priority. Exit the parties and all the decadent fun – I am here on a mission.

Lucky me, German is everywhere, and I have no way to escape it. So I throw my self at it and embrace it. Obviously, my foreign accent fools no one but at least I am trying. Other than German, I feel like the other omnipresent thing here are the condescending looks when I fumble over or mispronounce words. After a little while, I must admit, discouragement did strike.

Because when living in Austria you quickly come to learn that Austrian German is NOT the same as German German. Just like London is not England – and here too, everyone will be more than happy to remind you of that. Austrian German is not even homogeneous: each region proudly speaks different dialect(s), Vienna included, which more or less resemble the standard German we have grown accustomed to. But let’s not panic, at least it isn’t Swiss German (unless you meet people from Vorarlberg, in which case… well it’s close, let’s put it that way….).

Thanks to one of my favourite classes though, “Sprache in Österreich”, I am finally getting my head around the various specificities of Austrian German. But in real life, I bet you’re wondering how my German is actually going? Well, I didn’t let discouragement strike for too long and decided that besides my lectures, the best way to learn was to actually reach out to people and get chatting. So I did, and well, it may have resulted in a few parties…

So did gaining cultural experiences help learning more German? That would be a yes. Having an Austrian boyfriend? Definitely a yes too. Chatting to my amazing housemate and laughing about Upper-Austrian dialect? Yes, yes, yes! It turns out language acquisition is not just about learning German, it is a lot more about meeting incredible people, and picking up German on the way. And I’d say my mission is going pretty well so far…

Posted in Language acquisition