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Old 11.04.2007, 22:27
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Opportunities to use German is a problem for me - you too?

I have just enrolled in a couple of German courses in Zug. So far so good - but I am having a real problem finding opportunities to develop my use of German colloquially each day. Sure, I can buy a newspaper in German, ask for assistance in a shop etc, but how do I become profficient in ordinary conversation? Most of my work activity is in English so that avenue is closed. I want to be able to sit down for a couple of hours over a beer and amuse and be amused - in German!

Seems to me that what I need is a person who is bilingual whose time I can buy, or barter for, but who isn't a teacher as such - just a regular person with a high boredom threshold.

If anyone else is like minded - we could share the person, though I reckon two people plus bilingualista would be the max.

Any thoughts on this problem appreciated.
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Old 11.04.2007, 23:14
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Re: Opportunities to use German is a problem for me - you too?

Hi,
Since your profile says you live in London, you will have a hard time to speak German there.
I don't speak German, but I went through the same thing with French, and I tell you the best thing is, get out and socialize and force yourself to talk. Try and work only in German, post office, restaurants, bars, bowling alley, pool halls, etc. Find something you like doing, and go meet people, but the Swiss German will really mess you up, so best visit Germany to learn the proper German.
Good luck.
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Old 12.04.2007, 00:02
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Re: Opportunities to use German is a problem for me - you too?

I mostly agree with PCDesigns () but rather than avoiding Swiss German, you should pay as much attention as possible to it. Learning High German is indeed the right thing to do, but if the Swiss German is baffling you, there are lots of Swiss German books that teach you the basics.

Actually, half the time the trick is to recognise the differently pronounced syllables. Example: Zeitung in High German will be pronounced Ziitig in Swiss German. Then you see the "ung" becomes "ig" and "ei" becomes "ee".

Also, learn the way numbers are pronounced. Probably you know this already.

When I was learning this stuff, I used to watch "Wer wird Millionär?" on Swiss TV and it was great because they'd be yakking on in tüütsch but the words on the screen were in High German.

This will bring you to a basic level, which will help you understand quite a lot. The next step will be to learn the words that are completely different from High German, but here too, you probably know more than you realise (try ordering a Poulet Sandwich in Germany )

In respect of finding speaking partners, I think PCD has given you some good suggestions. Otherwise, inflict yourself on as many shop assistants as possible. If they switch to English, make your excuses and leave.
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Old 12.04.2007, 00:14
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Re: Opportunities to use German is a problem for me - you too?

Hi Felix,

If you are still in London, check out the Goethe-Institut. In addition to running German classes they often run local social events for expat Germans and very one is welcome. When I lived in Dublin year ago, I used to attend German breakfasts and there you got a chance to practice your German in real situations. I expect they do the same in London.

If you are already over here, then think about joining a local club or association. This will help, but I expect that you may end up learning more Swiss German than High German!

Best Regards,

Jim
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