The Joys (and Embarrassments!) of Learning a Language

My fantastic classmates and my instructor, Daniela.

My fantastic classmates and my instructor, Daniela.

I have finished my first full week of the intensive German class and have been trying to stretch myself to think and converse in German.  Yesterday I went with my children to a restaurant for lunch and ordered our food in German. It was a little slow, but I managed to communicate what we wanted effectively enough that everyone got the food they wanted.  At the end of the meal when they cleared away the plates I intended to compliment the food. My brain and tongue got confused though and while I meant to say, “This is tasty.” (Das ist lecker.), I said instead, “Das ist schleck.” (This is bad.) Both I, and to my joy, one of my sons, caught the mistake immediately and I was able to correct myself, but it was an embarrassing moment to be sure and I’m not sure I made my correction very clear. Perhaps our repeated presence at the restaurant will speak to our favorable opinion of the food.

Today in class we listened to a dialogue. It was humorous and I laughed and it was fun to understand. I picked up my son from preschool and had an entire conversation explaining a change in scheduling that she needed to know about. She complimented my German (which was very gracious of her). On the U-Bahn on the way home a lady asked my other son if he would like to sit by the window. He looked at me for understanding and I, without thinking about it or asking her to repeat herself as I so often do, was able to translate for him. At the store when I was checking out the cashier asked me if I had 2 cents to make the change less cumbersome and this too I understood the first time.  These are the joys of learning and I am grateful for the good teaching and classmates I study with.

This weekend I am working on vocabulary. My lack of knowledge in this area is a great impediment and one I hope to remedy steadily.


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