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  #21  
Old 30.08.2019, 19:18
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

You sound like me....

I've been here a total of 10 years and my German is still shite! To the point I tend not to tell people that I have Swiss citizenship, because I'm embarrassed to be Swiss and not speak a Swiss language well.

My reading and listening is not too bad, but my speaking is terrible. My Husband is Swiss, but we tend to speak English together, we try German, but it never lasts long. My main problem is that I'm scared to speak. I'm scared of what people will think of me, that they will laugh at me etc. I might know how to say something, but if I'm not 100% sure it's right, I stay silent.

I can't learn grammar, it makes me want to stick pins in my eyes. The best way I have found to learn vocab, is reading stories. I tend to remember stuff better in the context of a story rather than just lists of vocab or words on their own.

So I don't have much advice about improving your German, just wanted to let you know that it is not just you.
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  #22  
Old 30.08.2019, 19:25
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

Can you say Hammer? Next time you meet your boyfriend's family or friends and they start talking and laughing, Just crack up yourself and say Das ist der Hammer!
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  #23  
Old 30.08.2019, 19:37
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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I've been here a total of 10 years and my German is still shite! To the point I tend not to tell people that I have Swiss citizenship, because I'm embarrassed to be Swiss and not speak a Swiss language well.
My wife is Swiss by birth and blood, and had a Swiss-German speaking father, yet speaks no German!

She of course speaks Italian, which is a Swiss language which she is happy to point out whenever she is in Zurich and some shop person doesn't speak Italian (usually, a German or other foreigner, Swiss can usually speak some).

Tom
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Old 30.08.2019, 19:46
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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My main problem is that I'm scared to speak. I'm scared of what people will think of me, that they will laugh at me etc. I might know how to say something, but if I'm not 100% sure it's right, I stay silent.
In my experience, Coming Out and saying, in German: "Ich lerne Deutsch. Bitte sprechen Sie langsam. Bitte helfen Sie mir." went a long way to making others willing to accommodate my errors, and help me succeed in the conversation.

For you, your fear is real; I understand that. Yet how often has anyone ever really laughed at you or mocked or scorned you because you couldn't speak perfect German?

I ask because I have, whenever learning a language, only very rarely experienced that, and then from particularly cruel people. Or when I have mixed something up that means something else, and that was comical, even to me, once I realised what I had said. Most local-language speakers, anywhere, are simply pleased that someone is trying.

Look at it from the other side. If you were in your home country, and a foreign-language speaker came along and tried to speak your language, and got the grammar wrong... would you laugh at them or think badly of them? I doubt it.
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Old 30.08.2019, 19:54
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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I am crippled by this need to be perfect and feel like a total failure when people correct me or laugh at my pronunciation. Does anyone have any quick and easy pointers on how can I attack this problem from a different perspective? I don't need German for work, it's for my real life outside work. All ideas most welcome :-)
Once you can accept the fact that you are unlikely to perfect the language and are happy to be smiled at when you make mistakes, you have won!

I arrived in French speaking Belgium at the age of 40, no job, just a need to converse in French. As my moniker suggests, we lived in the countryside, French teachers supplied by OH’s company were reluctant to travel that far, apart from one. I progressed with the help of understanding local shopkeepers, neighbours and listening to the news and weather in French then checking what I had understood, or not, in English. There came a time when I realised that my trying to speak the local language was appreciated and that people did not mind my mistakes, it was the fact I was making the effort and not assuming everyone could speak English. We then moved to the Flemish speaking part and it all started again.
Fast forward to 2012 when at the age of 52 I know had to learn German. So much harder than French. I started by putting post it notes all over the apartment with the name and gender of each item and tried to learn them by rote. I used the same shops and tried to use the same 2 or 3 checkout staff on each visit. They realised I wanted to speak in German and in the 6 years we were there we went from a simple hello and thank you to discussing the weather etc.

We have now been in France for 18 months, an area where not many of the locals know English. My French has improved immeasurably but I still make laughable mistakes. Luckily I have learnt to be happy at laughing at my mistakes and the people I converse with are happy to correct my mistakes in the knowledge that I want to learn.

My point in these long ramblings is that you can only do as well as you can do, if you try it will be appreciated and if you try to converse with the same people they will help. Stop being embarrassed and laugh at yourself.
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  #26  
Old 30.08.2019, 20:05
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

I myself butcher German all the time.
My wife always gives up in desperation and goes looking for a rock to hide under.
Still I speak it day in day out at work, on the road, hiking in the Alps, etc. etc..
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Old 30.08.2019, 21:25
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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...I also think it's time for a more sensible discussion with the German :-)
I'll offer an alternative point of view, based on my own experience. Having a partner that speaks the local language doesn't always make it easier. This is particularly true if you met some time ago and only spoke English together. It's hard to change habits.

Sometimes the partner doesn't want to be your teacher or doesn't feel they will do a good job. It's a lot of work to teach a person a language properly, and in the end you just want to communicate with each other in the easiest way possible.

Do take some initiative yourself with classes, etc. and ask him for help, but don't expect him to speak to you 100% in German if it's not what you both want.

He does need to know that you don't appreciate being treated like a performance monkey, particularly when he's not helping with your learning.

Keep trying, keep making mistakes. You'll get to a point where you're good enough to handle most everyday situations.
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  #28  
Old 30.08.2019, 22:08
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

Easiest is to get a German speaking boy or girlfriend. Or to sign yourself up for a programme where you visit elderly and just speak German to them. They‘re happy with the visit and you get to speak German so its win-win
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Old 30.08.2019, 23:46
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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Easiest is to get a German speaking boy or girlfriend.
Only if they don't speak English.... see previous posts!
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  #30  
Old 31.08.2019, 08:55
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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People over 50 have a much more difficult time learning a new language
This is simply not true.
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  #31  
Old 31.08.2019, 09:18
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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This is simply not true.
There's so much evidence that people still achieve great intellectual things being over 50 as well as there's so much evidence that people are gradually less productive over 30 I was reading some article in this subject recently and it shocked me. The simple truth is that at middle age we get lazy, we stop doing as much, we rather prefer to enjoy the moments. I reflected upon my recent lifestyle and somewhat it matches. When I changed workplace I no longer had to leave home at 8 but I could sleep one hour longer. Instead I decided that one hour a day would be perfect to help with the language so I stick to the old routine. Nonetheless, week by week this additional hour of language learning became shorter and shorter to the point that actually I still get up at 7 but I manage only to open the book and spend like 10 minutes learning.
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Old 31.08.2019, 09:35
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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This is simply not true.
You can make arguments either way. And certainly not every person of age struggles. Generally though, and especially when you consider lifestyle, pronunciation, motivation and time demands, it is more difficult for older adults.

All of this geriatric rah-rah wheelchair on the moon garbage is simply horseshit.
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Old 31.08.2019, 09:51
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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All of this geriatric rah-rah wheelchair on the moon garbage is simply horseshit.
What are you trying to say here?
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Old 31.08.2019, 13:21
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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You can make arguments either way. And certainly not every person of age struggles. Generally though, and especially when you consider lifestyle, pronunciation, motivation and time demands, it is more difficult for older adults.
What's the basis for this assertion? Personally I doubt it's true on a general basis. It's perceived wisdom that children adapt to new languages more easily, the younger, the easier, but once past a certain age I'm not aware of evidence showing that language learning ability declines significantly over time.

I think what you may see is a result of motivation, or a lack thereof. For someone in their twenties it thirties moving to a new country usually means they plan on making a life there and will be highly motivated to learn the language, whereas some older people, particularly retirees, perhaps don't react have the desire or perceived need to learn, so put in less effort and therefore don't succeed to the same level.

My own major improvements with German came when RAV put me on some intensive courses, when aged 50-something, and I certain didn't feel that I was finding it more difficult that the mainly younger people in the same class.
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Old 31.08.2019, 16:40
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

Yes, I definitely think one's priorities change over the years. And understanding that This Is My Life can go a long way to motivating one to learn the local language.

I know someone who arrived in Switzerland as an angry teenager, furious that his executive parents had dragged him out of his life back home. He refused to learn German. No amount of tuturing and extra lessons could get him to budge. He didn't finish school. He did menial work. On a building-site, his work-colleagues spoke only a mix of "Ausländerdeutsch" and none of them spoke English, so he had to learn some of it. They said: "You mean you've got parents who would have helped you to a better life? And you're here, doing this job, with us? Are you crazy?" That got him thinking. He was about 20 when he finally agreed to learn German. Then he managed to get and complete an apprenticeship. And now he is working in his field, and has a mix of Swiss and non-Swiss friends.

I know a trailing-spouse who went through a similar kind of petulance. Only after years of blaming her husband for everything and most especially for her lack of friends and a job, and only after the divorce, at 37, she woke up and suddenly realised this was Her Own Life, and then she changed gear, knuckled down, learnt German and got a reasonable job.

And I can think of someone who was widowed at 60, and only then did she, too, suddenly realise, after decades of having depended on her husband to deal with all the contacts in their life in Switzerland, that she should stand on her own two feet... and then she learnt German.
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  #36  
Old 31.08.2019, 17:57
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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I do fear that I am about to open myself up to a lot of groans, I am well aware I am whining and probably sounding a bit pathetic. I have got myself well and truly stuck in the 'trough of doom' so am looking for suggestions or maybe even a kick in the pants (although make it a gentle one please). I came to Zug from UK on my own for a 6 month project with no intention to ever work in CH, three years down the line am here on a permanent contract and I have a really lovely life here and a great job. I've made various attempts to learn German as it just feels plain rude being in another country and not speaking the language (I've been to Migroschule and I am currently having private tuition at my own cost) but it's just not clicking. Not helped by the fact I am in a global role for international business and we transact in English. In Zug the moment I tried speaking German ears would bleed and they would respond to me in English so I decided to be brave and move out to Kanton Schwyz to a less international area in the hope it would force me to take the German speaking more seriously ......but I am really struggling. Why am I making this so hard for myself? I have been dating a German guy for over a year and we only speak in English and he puts no effort into helping me with the German but then expects me to be a performing monkey and speak German when we go to meet his friends and family. I am crippled by this need to be perfect and feel like a total failure when people correct me or laugh at my pronunciation. Does anyone have any quick and easy pointers on how can I attack this problem from a different perspective? I don't need German for work, it's for my real life outside work. All ideas most welcome :-)
When ones existence here depends on learning German and fast then one learns very quickly. For you its not so. You have a job so your existence here is not dependent on learning German. So your motivation is low.

Tell your German guy to pull his finger out and help you. Dont throw money away for private lessons. You learn little. Go to a good school in a group setting. You will learn much more. Watch German/Swiss TV and read the paper every day. Not NZZ. Something simple like 20 Minutes newspaper.
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Old 31.08.2019, 18:02
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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My wife is Swiss by birth and blood, and had a Swiss-German speaking father, yet speaks no German!

She of course speaks Italian, which is a Swiss language which she is happy to point out whenever she is in Zurich and some shop person doesn't speak Italian (usually, a German or other foreigner, Swiss can usually speak some).

Tom
When people go to Ticino from German or French speaking parts of Switzerland, do the Ticinese speak German or French to them? I’m genuinely curious - I have no idea.
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Old 31.08.2019, 18:07
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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When people go to Ticino from German or French speaking parts of Switzerland, do the Ticinese speak German or French to them? I’m genuinely curious - I have no idea.
If they can speak German or French then the Tessiner will speak that. Many speak German .
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Old 31.08.2019, 21:13
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

Another tip that helps me. If you're heading into a situation where you have to speak some German, just brush up (with google translate or whatever) a couple of relevant phrases or words for that situation - such as for the doctor, or garage for your car etc. Yesterday I had to go to a print shop to order a load of printed t shirts for an event next week. I used google to remind me of a few technical terms, went to the printers and managed the whole thing in German, with only once asking the girl there to slow down a bit. Afterwards she actually complimented me on my German!

Getting through something like does wonders for your confidence and I was babbling away all afternoon in German then!
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Old 31.08.2019, 22:20
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Re: Learning German help! WARNING this post contains alot of whining)

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I think what you may see is a result of motivation, or a lack thereof. For someone in their twenties it thirties moving to a new country usually means they plan on making a life there and will be highly motivated to learn the language, whereas some older people, particularly retirees, perhaps don't react have the desire or perceived need to learn, so put in less effort and therefore don't succeed to the same level.
I pass often by students areas and I'm just jealous how social they are, always take every spare minute to gather and buzz around. It doesn't work that way in grown up life. People have their schedules, etc.
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