Being more profitable through Duolingo
My occupation is agriculturally based, and as such I work six-day work weeks for 12-16 hours a day from early spring through late fall. During this time, I meet thousands of people at their homes, discussing their properties and the needs of same.
I never thought that learning German would make my job more profitable to me, but it so happens that in neighborhoods with lots of Army personnel and veterans, German is spoken in many households. Thus in the three months or so that I've been studying the language, I have run across no less than 50 households where German is spoken as the primary language.
I recall one house I went to where a flag of Germany was flying, and a woman answered the door with several sneezes. I immediately asked, "Ihr said krank?" And she replied, "Ja, Ich Enschuldigung." Her dog appeared immediately afterwards, and I commented, "Oh, Du hast ein schon Hund."
This brief exchange, which was at the extent of my German knowledge to this point, created a rapport that led to a greater understanding and appreciation between us- which led to me being able to provide services to her household. Furthermore, this in not an isolated incident. Several times have I encountered German-speaking people in the US and have demonstrated some knowledge of their language as well as an enthusiasm to learn more. Friendships have been built through this effort.
Duolingo has indeed enriched both my social ability and my profitability in my occupation. So, let me again shout out my thanks to the parliament of owls for their dogged determination to provide this resource to the world. It is a boon to all of us on more levels than we even realize.
An article in yesterday's Washington Post included a map showing every county in the United States in which a language other than English is the language spoken at home in 10% or more of households.
This includes twenty-one counties where German predominates (mostly in the upper midwest). Spanish predominates in a much larger number of counties, mainly in the southwest and some large urban areas. French was the predominant non-English language in fifteen counties, mostly around New Orleans.
That's all I can recall, but the graphic is probably available online if you're interested.
Here's the map you referred to:
And here's the wikipedia article on German Americans (with a section on language use):
Interesting! Compare it to this map:
I read somewhere that about 60% of US citizens are of German ancestry. The fact got swept under the carpet for a while for obvious reasons, but nowadays many people rediscover their roots and are proud of it. I think it's great that they make such an effort to relearn the language and keep the traditions, and it's even greater that your efforts don't go unnoticed, and you mustered the courage to put your new skills to use.
The influence of our German heritage in the US is perhaps subdued, but neverthless very much still present. My personal favorite is the Germania building in downtown Milwaukee. With its four Pickelhaube it's an example of Gründerzeit architecture unlike anything I've seen in Germany.