https://www.duolingo.com/JMBassist

First direct contact/(failed) attempt of conversation with a German native speaker

Hallo Leute!

So a few days ago I took the bus to college (first time in months, because my car was being fixed). As usual, I had my earphones on and was reading a book (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , just in case you're wondering). Suddenly a girl sits beside me. Something about her seemed quite different, and then another girl came closer to her, also looking a bit different. Then, they started to chat, and I couldn't help but notice that they were not speaking Portuguese (I live in a small town in Brazil, so that's really unusual.). Although I didn't wanted to be invasive, I tried to, at least, figure out what language they were speaking, and to my surprise it was German (later I remembered that our University has a exchange program with a German University).

Even though my German is really poor (I studied for some time here on Duo, but never really practiced until I started a course in college) and I wouldn't understand much, I didn't payed much attention to their conversation.

Finally, when we got to University, I had to get off of the bus but she wouldn't get off in the same stop, so I'd have to excuse myself and thought: "Why not try to do it in German?".

The result was a barely hearable "Entschuldigung" which I am not even sure that she heard. But the point is that I finally got myself to say something out loud (outside the course, where everybody is brazilian and thus I'm not ashamed of saying something wrong).

Now I'm hoping that I get the chance to chat with them, and try my best to put my German to use.

P.S.: Sorry if it got too long, I'm really into details when I'm writing.

P.S.2: Since I'm neither a native speaker nor have actually studied English, it's possible that my text have a few mistakes, so feel free to correct them ;)

May 18, 2014

33 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ApfelCider

Well congrats on that very small, but also very big, first step.

It is huge to try and say something. When I flew to Hamburg, Germany, to meet a friend, I didn't say anything to anyone the whole time I was on the final plane. I had noticed at the gate that I was pretty much the only person not carrying a red Deutschland Reisepass. My seatmates were German, but I only spoke to them in English. Finally, when everyone was disembarking, I always wait to be among the last (I'm never in a hurry) And a young woman struggling with a small baby stroller spoke to me in German.

Deer in headlights moment!

I quickly sputtered out "Ich verstehe das nicht." A phrase I had learned from my pre-Duolingo studies and one that I had practiced and practiced. I think that confused the hell out of her but her partner figured it out and told me to go ahead of them. When I went through customs, the lovely Border Agent spoke to me in German and I was just like "Wha..?" but I had caught the word "Urlaub." So I was like "Yes, I mean Ja! Urlaub." She chuckled and smiled at me.. and somehow let me into her country.

Congrats again on that first step. I took a few more chances to speak German while with my friend, but let me tell you.. I still turn red as a tomato if I try to speak German to him on Skype still to this day and it's been 8 months since that trip.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LunaLuni

The "she let me into her country" made me chuckle a bit. :D As someone from germany I can just say that we are veeeery understanding if someone doesn't speak our language. Just the will to try it ( even thought most germans speak fluent english ) is often so funny and brave, that we over-look wrong words or something. :)

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RAMOSRAUL

The most important thing is: DON'T PANIC

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Dan_ri

Wo ist dein Tuch?

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RAMOSRAUL

am Sonntag ! ;)

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ApfelCider

Ligoting (Is that a verb? IT IS NOW.) both of you because I just read the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy and now can properly celebrate. Also because I need more New Joisey Zaphod in my life (I actually listen to the books because I have to kill 10 hours a day at work anyway..)

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rarcher2010

Bring a towel... I am a jelly doughnut.

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DeeRamm

Great story. Your English is excellent!

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/alexander490

488 days? :D :D xD

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/alexander490

You should share some of your lingots here ;D I bet you have over 9000 :D

May 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/TheGandalf

Well I've got to say that your English is really good considering you've never actually studied it. Do you spend a lot of time around any English speakers?

Regardless, good luck on practicing your German. If only I ran into Italian people where I live.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JMBassist

Thanks! Actually, I don't talk much with English speakers, but the combination of internet, video games, music and sometimes chatting with brazilian friends helped me a lot. So I would say that's all about getting immersed in the language. Anyway, I hope you find someone to practice your Italian with!

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/karinajohnson3

You're English is great! And even if you don't know much German just speak. I learned for 3 years while in the states and currently living in Germany I forget how afraid I use to be. Once you speak it you'll learn so much more.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hasanmosh

I agree with you but unfortunately german people are not close-human Im in germany for 2 month I couldn't get any close-friend . It's really difficult to be friend and to practice the language!!!

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/isabellawr

Have you ever tried italki.com? It's a website where you can make friends to practice language with.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hasanmosh

it's a greet idea ,thank u I will try to use it

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

Getting out there and using what you've learned will get you one step closer to mastering the language! Cheers for doing exactly that.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/NathanLeee

Good job! Definitely not a failure!

Your English is really good too.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/seby1607

Hallo JMBassist, Failing is not an option, because trying is the only things that counts, and you will learn from trying :). It was definitely not a fail, you have to be proud of yourself because you said something in German and you made no mistakes in your English :D !

Auf wiedersehen!

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rarcher2010

I agree.... parabems....otimo

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Ikamjh

You are amazing! I was really surprised when you said that you haven't "actually studied English"... Wow! It may have been a bit awkward in a few places and maybe there were a few mistakes (although they were so few I didn't notice really), but no more than normal native speakers on the internet. I didn't at all think this person doesn't seem like a native speaker. Voce e intelligente e seu Ingles e muito bom!

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rarcher2010

Eu pensei que você fosse um falante nativo

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Occams_Razor

Do you live in the south? As far as i know there are some states in Brazil where you can still find older people (mostly in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul) who only speak german. They don't speak any portuguese at all.

Maybe it is a cheaper way to have a face-to-face conversation with (almost) native speakers? :)

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Alettetette

I love your post! Thanks for sharing.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pdquinn1

Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sure we all feel this way as we learn languages. It's comforting to know it's normal. As many have commented, you're english is very good so I am sure your German will be one day as well.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Godoflais

I think there is only one error, in the last line. It should say "i'ts possible that my text haS a few mistakes"

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/betacentauri

I also spotted the same and only mistake, your English seems pretty good to me. And cheers for your plunging into German.

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/nateVONgreat

no, there was one more. But very impressive indeed

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Gcalbe

That is nice, you should practise your german. By the way, the past of "pay" is "paid", which is the same as the participle of this verb.

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Ikamjh

Although you would say "I didn't pay" because it is negative... not I didn't paid..

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/horsesnponies

right

May 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/nateVONgreat

Hitch hiker's guide to the galaxy :D what a nerd! I love that book! Well, I wish you luck with your future contact in german. Your English is amazing, having never studied it. I feel though that next time that happens, you shouldn't just ignore them and utter a word in the end, as soon as you hear someone speaking another language, talk to them about it, best in their language! Just think of those german girls who are in brazil, they have no german around them, and how nice it would have been to talk to you about their language. I found that people always love it when someone is trying to learn their language, unless they ask a lot of annoying questions. Ich drüke dir die Daumen!

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lewisjcranston16

Great book, I've also read that! Ford is a great guy.

May 20, 2014
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.