In The Morning
This morning marked the start of my German Challenge Week! I got up fairly early in order to start my day off with a full hour on Memrise, I even made it to the top of the leaderboard! Hopefully, I’ll be able to hold on to my top spot throughout the week.
Next, I spent another hour writing a script of topics that were likely to come up in my first conversation. I used the first chapter of Benny Lewis‘ Hacking German book to help. If you are unfamiliar with script-writing for learning languages, then Benny has an excellent video explaining the idea, here’s a link.
I did my best to inject a bit of character into my script so that it didn’t sound like just a stream of vaguely related sentences. This was a bit challenging. Nonetheless, I think I did fairly well. Here is the final script I used to practice before setting out:
- Hallo! Ich heiße Jack. Wie heißt du? - Schön dich kennen zu lernen. Ich komme aus Großbritannien, aber ich wohne in Frankreich. Und du? Kommst du aus München? - Ich spiele gerne Judo und esse gerne Kuchen, was sind deine Hobbys? - Ich lerne Deutsch weil ich finde die Sprache sehr interessant und ich möchte Land und Leute kennenlernen. Auch, meine Freundin ist ein bisschen Deutsch. Magst du Deutschland? - (Falls ja): Was magst du aus Deutschland? - (Falls nein): Was ist dein Liebslingsland? - Sehr gut, dankeschön fur deine Zeit. Schönen Tag noch.
For those who don’t speak any German: I am giving my name and nationality, asking if they come from Munich. Talking about hobbies and asking about theirs. Telling them why I am learning German and asking if they like Germany. I then have a follow-up question based on their answer. Finally, I thank them for their time.
I also made an additional script asking if it was okay for me to speak to my victims and then film and upload the conversation online.
After going through my scripts a couple of times with my girlfriend, we set out to find some strangers to practice on. But not before stopping for lunch. I had a Flammkuchen, which I later managed to squeeze into my conversation. If you’ve never had one, imagine something along the lines of a nice, crispy thin-crusted pizza.
Then, we went to the Englischer Garten. After walking around for 15 minutes building up my courage, I went over to talk to a young couple who were relaxing on the grass.
Unfortunately, things didn’t start very smoothly. Almost as soon as we began I misheard the lady’s name and then a dog interrupted our conversation by jumping into a nearby stream. However, thanks to the script, I was able to talk somewhat fluidly for just over 2 minutes on camera, and then another minute or so off camera (including a few obligatory remarks about Brexit). And, although this is notably less than the 5 minutes of conversation I was aiming for each day, I am still very proud of this first attempt!
Listen to our conversation here:
What Needs Improvement?
One thing I did notice myself tripping up on was trying to use the plural form of “you”. I often try to say “Sie” (they) instead of “Ihr” (you). I feel like I might be getting my wires crossed due to the differences in German and French.
In French, the formal word is “vous” meaning “you”. But in German, the formal is “Sie” which means “they” and NOT “you” as in French. Tomorrow, I will prepare any notes using the plural conjugation to help me get used to the German “Ihr”.