April 24, 2015, by Rachel Bainbridge

My daily life runs completely ‘auf Deutsch’

In terms of the development of my language I was starting to get a little worried at work because a lot of people were trying to practice their English with me, and also I was introduced at first as not being able to speak German much at all. I think there was a little bit of confusion, however after the first couple weeks or so and I came out of my shell I started chatting to more of the other interns and so on and we then started to speak a lot more German. Obviously the entire office runs in German also so I was constantly listening. As my confidence built up I started to speak more and more and it has definitely improved. I was also hearing so much German, including lots of words that I didn’t understand. When these arose I always get a post-it note and write down the word and stick it up around my computer, so I am constantly looking at it. From these I have also made an excel table, with different columns for adjectives, verbs, nouns and phrases. Whenever I’m struggling to say something I look it up quickly on Linguee and then write it down on my post-it notes. They’ve become quite famous in the office, at one point my computer screen was covered in them!

I do find I am not speaking as much German as I would like though, the friends I have made through Erasmus come from all over, including the UK and we obviously talk English to each other. However my daily life runs completely “auf Deutsch”, being in the shops, talking to taxi drivers and so on. I think you don’t realise how much you are improving, my colleague Anne, one of my closest friends at work said that my German has definitely improved. Especially when writing emails and so on, Anne checks the important ones for me for mistakes. The first ones tended to have a lot more mistakes with wording and so on, but now it’s just little grammar issues, like adjectival endings (which are a nightmare in German!) In this way it’s really satisfying to be able to notice the difference.

Posted in Language acquisition