Mein Baum ist noch einmal gold
My German tree was all gold in mid September. Then I went on a trip to Switzerland. During and after the trip I did not touch Duo for one month. Many skills weakened and near the end of that time additional skills and lessons were added. Today, a 48 day streak has restored the tree to all gold. I can relax until tomorrow.
Some things I noticed on my trip:
• Many Europeans speak 2 or 3 languages well because they have lived in the environment of those languages.
• People in business settings (stores, train stations, usw) will speak German with me unless I have to ask for a switch to English.
• My friends speak English with me because we can carry on a good conversation. I do not ask them often enough to let me practice German.
• With bilingual business signs, the two languages are often not direct translation but have the same meaning (simple example: language 1, keep out; language 2, don't enter).
• Fluency cannot be described with a single number. My comprehension varied from under 30% in listening on a subject I am not familiar with to over 70% in reading a subject I am familiar with.
Interesting that you had to ask people in business settings to speak English with you. That certainly wasn't the case with me! Every time I tried to speak to someone, they'd immediately start speaking English with me. The only exception was when I was in a town far away from any major city and the locals essentially had no choice but to speak German with me, since they didn't know English.
Yes, I have the same problem. It is often difficult to get Germans to speak German with me for extended periods of time. Of course, it is because they know that their English is better than my German, but it is almost hilarious. I will ask a German friend to speak German, and they will for a while then almost magically I realize we have switched back to English.
Interesting difference between your experience and mine.
Drummer and Joe - Thanks for sharing.
Agreed, I can't wait for the day when I actually have to ask for English...
I have found that I can find people who speak English wherever I go, but that the better I know the local language, the better I enjoy the trip. On a trip to Italy I was amused when a guide, who spoke excellent English and other languages, asked me why I was speaking Italian.
Thank you for your input. Clearly my German is not good enough to discern between "noch einmal" and "wieder." However, for sure it is not the last time that the tree will be golden.
Very interesting story, especially about the indirect translations on signs and the like. Sorry about the Nazi post that appeared below.
I can relate to that. Between September and October I spent a month in Germany. I would try to have a conversation with people in German, but then they would hear my accent and switch to English. Don't get me wrong, it was helpful, but at the same time discouraging for someone learning the language. There were times when I met someone who didn't know English and the amount of German I knew was good enough, or sometimes we would talk with that persons broken down English and my broken down German. I feel like I should have taken more chances to speak in German than I did. I was told that my German was really good for the short amount of time I've been learning. I was usually slow in speaking German probably because I'm not used to speaking in the language that much. I do think that taking italki sessions has helped me in speaking. But I still struggle to find words many times.
Thanks for your reply. I agree with all that you say, especially "I feel like I should have taken more chances to speak in German than I did."
Most Europeans under a certain age, I say about 30, know their language and English. I had German at school, but didn't learn much, because all we studied was grammar.
Die meisten Europäer unter dreißig Jahr kann English sprechen. Ich hat Deutsch in Schule gelernt, aber nicht viel, weil wir nür Grammatik studieren.
Большинство европейцев под тридцать может говорить на их языке и на английском. Я в школе учит немецкий, но я не много научит, потому что мы изучали толко грамматик.
There's a reason why there's the idiom 'Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache'