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I Can Say Kraut...

>> Saturday, February 23, 2008

My aunt and uncle have hosted foreign exchange students for quite a few years. This year they have a young man from Germany staying with them. He’s a really nice kid and we spoke quite a bit with him about the greatest sites in Germany.

He did warn us that Germans aren’t completely tolerant of people who don’t at least try to speak the language. Even if you butcher it they appreciate that you try.

Luckily I found a website with free German language lessons. The website is really easy to navigate and helps you with common German phrases, practices and exercises.

Of course Germany is a few years away. Which is good because I’m not really sure how quickly I can pick up the language.


Patty 7:15 PM  

From my experiences, he is right, but as long as you attempt, they work with you. My favorite story is when I took the girls soccer team to the European (DODDS) finals. Our hotel was about 30 miles from the school hosting, and the town we were staying in, only had a handful of Americans living there. Our team was out of the playoffs on the second morning but we couldn't leave until at least the 3rd day, so we spent the rest of the day exploring the town we were staying in. The other coach and I went to the market and Marrie decided I should do all of the talking, since I know a little German. Um, the area we were in was a different dialect. It was funny according to my players to walk around the corner of the market and see this 90 yo woman and I using sign language and a mixture of German/English to figure out a, the price of the blanket Marrie wanted, and then b, how to get back to our hotel, because we were LOST. The best part? When we got back to the hotel and were talking with the guy at the desk about it, he described the woman perfectly, and then laughed and said she speaks English, but she thinks its great when people at least attempt to speak in German. You must have been doing ok, or she would have had pitty on you. :rollingeyes:

Me 9:39 AM  

It depends. In high school, my best friend spent her senior year as an exchange student in Berlin. The next summer, she was going back for three months just for fun. On a whim, we found another family in the neighborhood willing to take in an American teenager and I went with her - having never studied German. It was a blast and everyone was so kind. All of them spoke English to varying degrees, some being completely fluent and accentless, others understood what I said but really couldn't say much. They were puzzled a bit by my total lack of German, but when I explained it was a spur of the moment thing and made a real effort to conform myself to their ways instead of vice versa, there were no issues. By the end of the summer, I still couldn't speak except to do basic things (order pizza, shop, etc.) However, I could follow the jist of other's conversations, although I couldn't tell you what any single word meant. One of my favorite memories: going to a party and conversing with a bunch of teenage guys by tag-team - I'd say something. One would start to reply in English, then get stuck and go into a huddle with the other guys. After a few minutes of consultation, they'd break and another would finish the sentence. I told them they could just speak German and I'd ask if I couldn't understand, but they wanted to use English instead. I felt very popular.

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