Frankfurt: The Language

Hallo! Wie geht’s? Ich hei?e April! And that’s about the extent of my German… The typical Hello! What’s up? I call myself April! Okay, so after 6 semesters of German (I retook the first two after taking a 3.5 year break from college), I do know a wee bit more, but not much. So, to prepare for the Press’s trip toGermany, I’ve been brushing up and learning new vocabulary words. I could probably now speak to a 5-year-old, and maybe understand Blue’s Clue’s German edition. Foreign languages (modern languages? Strategic languages? What is the appropriate term these days? Anyhoo, anything not English) have always been difficult for me. For both my six semesters of German and many years of middle school and high school Spanish, I only ever really learned enough to ace my tests. Most of what I learned was promptly forgotten. Now only random bits remain. And don’t get me started about how I sometimes mix German and Spanish together!

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I do have a multi-reason theory about why it’s difficult for me to learn other languages. 1.) I hate memorizing things. Sure, it’s a good short-term strategy, but nothing more. In school I memorized poems, paragraphs, and a plethora of play lines. And guess what? Whether I was doing them for a grade or to act in front of an audience, I don’t remember any specifics.  2.) I am completely engrossed in the English Language. I know the formulas to a sentence. I know words and structure. I stare at English all day. I study sentences and words and make sure they’re right and coherent. When you throw in a new structure (what, why do all the verbs go to the end of the sentence!? That doesn’t make logical sense to my Anglo-centric mind! Why are adjectives AFTER the noun?) I get all sorts of gaffed up. 3.) I’m not really around too many people who speak other languages often.  There’s not a lot of language variation here inNorth Georgia, just different dialects of English. 4.) Probably most importantly, I procrastinate when it comes to language study. Remember in my first paragraph when I said I’ve been brushing up? That might be a bit of an exaggeration. I’ve probably put in about an hour a week the past few months—why? I’d like to say that my Expert English Editor duties call, and that did have a little to do with it. But, honestly, I’ve been putting it off.

Now here it is, only three weeks until the big trip toFrankfurt. Maybe I’ll be savvy enough to order a glass of wine when I get there!—or I might accidently order Vienna Sausages…

Just for fun, here’s a link to a list of German words that us Englishpeople have stolen!—