Germany Thus Far: Five Months In

February has been both long and short at the same time. The days have felt long as I studied seemingly constantly. On the other hand, I’ve been so busy that the weeks have flown by. I’m surprised to find that the bulk of winter is now gone and spring will be here soon. My fifth month was packed, but quite boring to write about for the most part.


As said, this month was the end of my first semester. I had my last week of lectures, took exams, and wrote a little bit about my thoughts on the first semester. As most of my friends and family who keep up with my experiences here have probably already read about it, I won’t bore you by repeating myself.


My German doth improve. As does the number of explanations I give about the English language. Yes, I can complain that German is a strange language. I find myself stymied by all the rules, incessant commas, and confounding cases. Don’t even get me started on  gender.

At the same time, I must acknowledge that it is not so hard that I cannot manage small conversations with native speakers. According to some recent conversations, my German has improved “a lot.” I am skeptical of the “a lot” bit, but I will concede that it has improved.

The more I delve into the German language, I find that I compare it to others. I compare it to my scant knowledge of Spanish and abundant knowledge of English. What I notice is that Spanish seems to have relatively clean and simple rules.

English on the other hand makes no sense. For example, have you ever stopped to wonder why English sprinkles “do” throughout its sentences? I notice more and more irregularities that I cannot explain when I speak with non-native English speakers. I guess it is true that living abroad can teach you more about your home than you otherwise would learn.



  1. I really agree with studying other languages making you question everything about English. Every time I catch myself thinking, “Why does Irish do THAT?” I also think, “Well why does English do THIS?” Languages are amazing, and there’s nothing more gratifying than hearing that you’re getting better! Congrats!


    1. I have a book with me from Northern Ireland about the Troubles. Some of the personal stories in it were originally said in Irish, followed by the English translation. I look at the Irish paragraphs sometimes and think, “Does this language even have rules?” I applaud you for trying to learn such a difficult language. The good thing about German is that there are quite a few words that are very similar to English. Does the Irish pronunciation make sense to you?


    2. Thank you! The language has rules and exceptions, but I think it all starts to make sense once you start making little connections between things. The problem with Irish pronunciation is that there are main dialects which pronounce words differently, and then subgroups within the main ones which also say things differently, so that gets confusing. I’d say listening and understanding is hardest for me, but the pronunciation rules are pretty straightforward once you get them down. Listening might be more important for you since the native language isn’t English where you are! It sounds really nerdy, but I just think it’s fun to be able to think and express thoughts in another language.


    3. Listening is huge, but very hard. I totally know what you mean about the different pronunciations. In the north they speak Hochdeutsch, which is what you would hear on the news and is also what they teach in my German classes. Here in the south there are some interesting accents, most notably Swabian and Bavarian, both of which are really different from Hochdeutsch. Even a native-speaker from the north would struggle to understand, so I’m impressed when I understand! I just hope I can learn the nuances of the southern dialects so I can talk to people here but also know what some would argue is “formal” German.

      Liked by 1 person

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