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High school German to C2 in 3 months!

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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
Joined 4632 days ago

851 posts - 1007 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 17 of 73
31 March 2010 at 6:01am | IP Logged 
Steve says testing's bad for ya and that you can't do it anyway. You need to go to the Black Forest and listen to the leaves.

Edited by reineke on 31 March 2010 at 4:14pm

1 person has voted this message useful



irishpolyglot
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Ireland
fluentin3months
Joined 3818 days ago

285 posts - 892 votes 
Speaks: Irish, English*, French, Esperanto, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Sign Language
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 18 of 73
31 March 2010 at 9:45pm | IP Logged 
***********
DAY THREE & FOUR: Study triage
***********


I have JUST moved into my fantastic new apartment!!

Today I haven't conversed so much, because starting tomorrow I'll be hosting Germans in my house for a week straight. So rather than brief conversations, I will indeed be speaking auf Deutsch all day long!

So today and tomorrow (up until the evening), I have been and will be indoors performing my study triage. In the same way as a hospital has a triage for the sickest patients being seen first, I have a triage of priorities for what I need to study.

There is quite a lot of grammar that will genuinely NOT help me speak more confidently and more "fluently" (in terms of lacking pauses, not actual level of a language) right now. For example, in German the adjective can have a pretty decent number of endings depending on if the preceding word was an indefinite article, a definite article or no article and of course on whether the next word is masculine, feminine or neuter and then on top of that whether the case involved is nominative, accusative, dative or genitive. That is a lot of details and calculations to perform for me right now. Of course, I need to know all of these endings if I want to speak German correctly.

But this week perfection is not the goal so I have NO NEED to know these endings. I will always just add an -e since that seems to be the one that comes up the most. These tables of different possibilities are NOT going to help me right now. The point is communication and a German will know exactly what I mean if I say große when in fact I technically should have said großes.

So I have skipped such points and focused on grammar that will genuinely make a difference in me understanding something or being able to say something clearly.

There are those that would claim that "fossilisation" may occur and you would stick with these mistakes for good, but to me that is pure hogwash. If you truly apply yourself you can weed out these mistakes when the time is right. If you are lazy, yes they will stay. In a couple of weeks, once I have a good flow of the language then I will be ironing out these finer points so that I am actually speaking it correctly.

Performing the grammar (and vocabulary) triage is how you can speak a language as quickly as possible. Of course if you study it for some distant examination, this method is not important, but of course my priority is to attempt to live my life through the language as much as I can and as soon as I can!

This also applies to vocabulary of course - I have been half studying vocabulary and half studying grammar. Whenever I come to a word that I don't particularly think will kill me if I don't know it (e.g. shoelace) then I simply skip it. Once again, I can come back to these later when I have a base vocabulary of words that I genuinely do use myself regularly.

Next update on Friday after some intensive (and likely very tiring) hours of pure German conversations.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Teango
Triglot
Winner TAC 2010 & 2012
Senior Member
United States
teango.wordpress.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3741 days ago

2210 posts - 3734 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Russian
Studies: Hawaiian, French, Toki Pona

 
 Message 19 of 73
03 April 2010 at 4:31pm | IP Logged 
irishpolyglot wrote:
I decided to give this C2 thing a try :) My chances are slim - but I like those odds ;)

Great spirit, go get 'em Benny, and willkommen in Deutschland! We're almost neighbours...well not quite, I'm on the other side near Frankfurt. It's such a shame you don't drink though, the beer is great is here.

So...apartment and "Handy" contracts signed off and delivered in Germany within 1-2 days, this could well be a record for German bureaucracy. No doubt a case of good preparation, experience in moving between different countries, and a little luck of the Irish too... ;)

C2 in 3 months no less - if you manage this, you'll certainly put me to shame. I will follow your steps with much interest. I'd love to pass C2 in German too, but fear I'm many languages miles and mountain tops away so far. Viel Erfolg!


Edited by Teango on 03 April 2010 at 4:32pm

1 person has voted this message useful



cathrynm
Senior Member
United States
junglevision.co
Joined 4310 days ago

910 posts - 1232 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Finnish

 
 Message 20 of 73
03 April 2010 at 6:16pm | IP Logged 
I'm more curious how you develop listening comprehension. What do you do when someone says something you don't understand? Do you guess what they said and try to respond?
1 person has voted this message useful



irishpolyglot
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Ireland
fluentin3months
Joined 3818 days ago

285 posts - 892 votes 
Speaks: Irish, English*, French, Esperanto, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Sign Language
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 21 of 73
03 April 2010 at 7:20pm | IP Logged 
Having quite a lot of fun these days, and have been speaking German the ENTIRE day since Thursday. I'll write my next update tomorrow instead of Friday as planned.

@Teango Thanks man! Yeah, there's plenty of bureaucracy to go around, but I've picked up a few tricks, shortcuts and ways of charming my way past them quickly ;) This is something like the 20th apartment I've lived in in a random country in my travels. I made my decision quickly, but I can't imagine a better apartment for me in Berlin in the same pricerange, so I'm quite happy. :)
Yeah, I'll give that C2 a try! I can't promise that I'll pass it, but my dad always says "if you're not in, you can't win" ;)

@cathrynm I honestly tell them that I don't understand that word and they explain around it. Most of the time that works fine, other times I have to do some quick thinking; part of my studies this week included word roots and suffixes etc. so I can better extrapolate a likely meaning of some words. This has been way more helpful for me than bulk learning of vocabulary.

I might mention some more of this in the update tomorrow. Gotta get back to speaking German now ;)

Edited by irishpolyglot on 03 April 2010 at 11:23pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



ruskivyetr
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3666 days ago

769 posts - 962 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Spanish, Russian, Polish, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 22 of 73
04 April 2010 at 12:53am | IP Logged 
Hallo Irishpolyglot! Ich kann sehen, dass deine Reise in Deutschland gut geht :D. Du weißt, dass in Berlin es ein merkwürdiges Akzent gibt, und du wirst als ein Berliner sprechen.
Warum nicht du schreibst auf Deutsch hier? Dann du hast kein Englisch in dein Leben :D. Du kannst dein
Komputer auf Deutsch sogar benutzen. Ich benutze mein Komputer auf Deutsch, und es hilft mir so viel!!! Ich
habe technische Wörter gelernt, und ich denke auf Deutsch, wann ich mein Komputer benutze. Du kannst das mit
Facebook, Email, und andere Seite auch machen.
Ich kann auch sehen dass du Irisch auch sprichst. Das ist TOLL mann! Einmal Tag möchte ich Irisch oder Walisisch
lernen. Ich weiß nicht, welche möchte ich lernen. Hier ist mein Problem (und vielleicht du kannst mich helfen):
Mehr Personen spricht Walisisch, aber es viele Dialekte, und keine Standardsprache gibt (ich DENKE). Walisisch
hat auch zwei "Sprachen", die nicht gleich sind. Es gibt Buchwalisisch, und dann ein Colloquial Walisisch. Irisch
hat viele Dialekte, aber es gibt ein Standardsprache. Sind Irischer patriotisch über ihre Sprache? Werde es mehr
Personen geben, die es im Futur sprechen werde? Was denkst du darüber?

Und auch welche Sprache ist einfacher? :) Wenn du weißt...
1 person has voted this message useful



irishpolyglot
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Ireland
fluentin3months
Joined 3818 days ago

285 posts - 892 votes 
Speaks: Irish, English*, French, Esperanto, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Sign Language
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 23 of 73
04 April 2010 at 11:03am | IP Logged 
@ruskivyetre
Danke :) Aber ich glaube, dass diese Forum auf Englisch bleiben muss. (Es gibt ein Teil auf Deutsch, oder?) Mein Computer ist schon auf Deutsch und ich spreche seit Montag kein Englisch (außer mit meinem Vermieter). Ich konnte ein 100% deutsche Leben haben, aber ich muss arbeiten (übersetzen auf Englisch), meine andere Sprachen einhalten, und ich schreibe auf Englisch gern (hier, E-mails, mein Blog u.s.w.)

Sorry for the German, as far as I know these forums should remain in English and there is a section just in German. I can respond, but it takes much longer since I have to look up words and such, so writing in German is still quite a task for me. I'm focused on speaking at the moment, but my focus will come to writing later.

I'm afraid I can't be so useful in a Welsh vs Irish comparison as I've never tried Welsh before. I'm sure others in this forum can be more helpful! Also, your question about Irish is very open ended and I'd rather not get into it.

Edited by irishpolyglot on 04 April 2010 at 11:06am

1 person has voted this message useful



irishpolyglot
Nonaglot
Senior Member
Ireland
fluentin3months
Joined 3818 days ago

285 posts - 892 votes 
Speaks: Irish, English*, French, Esperanto, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Sign Language
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 24 of 73
04 April 2010 at 11:39am | IP Logged 
***********
DAY FIVE & SIX: Speaking in German all day long
***********


"All" of my conversations being in German (other than with the landlord) for my first few days wasn't that great considering it was only for very brief conversations for a small part of the day. Immersion is way more than that.

So, I have invited several German friends to visit me for my first week and the first one has just left - we have been hanging out all day long and speaking just in German the entire time. It didn't feel like a stressful language test; I was genuinely just hanging out, and checking out the city etc.

So, how do I do it? I can assure you that my German is still quite unimpressive. I can write a bit as you see above, but sitting in a comfy chair with a tab open on dict.cc and being able to look up grammar rules etc. and taking several minutes just for a few sentences is quite useful, but is not really speaking a language as I would see it. You don't have such comforts in the pressure of a spontaneous conversation.

What I do is make sure that the other person is very motivated to help me. I use Couchsurfing for this purpose to maintain my already learned languages. The extra that I pay for an apartment to myself balances out expenses on courses, private lessons and such that I would have to pay otherwise. I consider my apartment a crucial aspect of my "language hacking". So I will NOT just be working on my German, I will (as always) be maintaining my other languages by inviting natives to stay with me, although my priority will be for German for the next months. If I was focused 100% just on German, then sharing with Berliner flatmates would have been way more practical, but this is also where I work and that complicates matters a bit.

This means that free accommodation is one "carrot" I can dangle in the air to convince someone to help me. After that it gets more complicated in the early stages, but this week I am only inviting good friends of mine who are familiar with my "missions" and are genuinely happy to be a part of it. They are also curious about learning languages so I've been happy to share my best tips with them... in German.

And this is a crucial thing I find scares people from attempting to speak in early stages: you have nothing "interesting" to say. I can assure you that I don't spend my first weeks talking about the weather in any language. I talk about my language learning mission and give tips for those curious on how I do it, I share travel tips, explain how my location independent job works etc. And then of course, I listen to them talk and try to join in on that. I generally don't talk about the weather in any language, but I do talk about these other things, so this is precisely where my vocabulary learning is focused on.

All of this can be genuinely interesting for some people (not all obviously); rather than just sharing stories I am trying to give them advice that will help them if they'd like to travel and learn languages. This means that they will "put up with" my constant stumbles and repetition of basic words like "machen" (do/make) when I don't know the actual word (and will ask it).

I said it before and I'll say it again, context is the KEY. If I don't know the word for "translate", but I say that I "make a document in English from French", I have entirely gotten my point across. It is even easier to do that this week, because with friends who already know me a bit and how I think, they can extrapolate what I am trying to say in harder cases and give me the word I'm looking for.

As always, this is not a long term solution. After my next friend visits me, I'll have to be more social and make friends here in Berlin, and they won't know how I think. But this week will have given me the essential confidence and momentum to speak, and I'll have learned lots of key words that I tend to naturally use in conversations from my friends.

I don't always do this; I generally don't have this option of good friends staying with me for my first week, and you may have to think of something else that would be interesting for someone to hear from you (how to cook, how to play chess etc.) but it's important to see what opportunities you have and to take them. :)

Today I will break my non-English policy for a few hours to meet up with a Canadian friend for lunch. Then back to German only until next weekend ;)


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