I learnt a bit of German at school between the ages of about 15 and 19. By the time it came to my final exam, I could speak for around 5 minutes, but only on a pre-prepared topic, and then another 5 minutes answering questions about it.
However, I spent the year following the exam without practising at all, and I found that I had forgotten a fair amount of what I’d learnt. This was a bit of a knock on my confidence. I had always enjoyed learning German and had fond memories of both the country and its people from an exchange with a school in Stuttgart.
So, in the two years since then, I’ve been trying to improve both my reading and speaking skills semi-regularly using Memrise, Duolingo, and short stories. However, a lot of distractions, mostly Uni work, kept halting my progress.
Unsurprisingly I didn’t have much success, and although I have had plenty of opportunities to speak German in those last two years, I rarely felt comfortable speaking German in front of people I knew, especially if they themselves could speak it.
Fortunately, I am currently spending a couple of weeks in Munich visiting my girlfriend (yet another reason to learn German). During this time, I will have the opportunity to converse in German at almost any time. Additionally, I should be more or less distraction-free while I am here.
What a perfect opportunity to learn some German!
A photo from the last time I came to Munich.
For the next week, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to learn as much German as possible. Hopefully, this will give me a confidence boost and help me to practice it more often in the future.
A number of people have attempted similar challenges, most notably a pair of super-polyglot twins who started learning Turkish from scratch. There were able to have some conversations in Turkish within a few days. You can see a 13-minute video of their Turkish week, as well as some of their tips, by clicking the link here:
The main thing that stood out to me when watching the super-polyglot twins was just how confident they seemed when speaking their new language. I feel that my lack of confidence when speaking German may mean that I am not as easy to understand. Hopefully, if I start speaking regularly then I should be able to have better conversations: Which is my end goal!
Daily To-Do List
Keeping that in mind, my aims for each day are as follows:
- 1 hour of Memrise (German 5) every morning, immediately after waking up.
- 2 hours reading and writing in German, using German language books.
- At least one 5-minute conversation with someone entirely in German.
The main reason I am uploading this challenge online is to help me keep track of my progress so that I can look back on how much I’ve improved. However, if you are like me, and have seen the many videos of language experts (like the superpolyglot twins) learning a language in a very small amount of time, you may be curious to see just how well someone with much less experience will measure up. If that is the case, then this is the perfect place for you to find out. I hope you enjoy it.
You can see my posts from each day of the challenge in the list below: