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German: massive input in Berlin

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 9 of 295
01 September 2013 at 10:11am | IP Logged 
I am currently aiming to read a minimum of 1500 pages of books per month (50 pages/day) and see about 25 films.

In August I finished three books, for a total of 1840 pages:

13. Naokos Lächeln: Nur eine Liebesgeschichte. Haruki Murakami 416 Seiten.
12. Harry Potter und die Heiligtümer des Todes (Band 7). Joanne K. Rowling (Autor) Klaus Fritz (Übersetzer). 768 Seiten.
11. Harry Potter und der Halbblutprinz (Band 6) Joanne K. Rowling (Autor), Klaus Fritz (Übersetzer). (2005). 656 Seiten.

It was good to finish the Harry Potter books. I have been working through them since April, and it's nice to finally have them behind me. My reading for the last three HP books was getting very fast, and I could easily read about +100 pages per day, but now that I have switched to more adult literature things have slowed down again.

I found the Murakami hard work, there was just a lot of additional, more subtle words to learn. So if I already knew the word "money", I might be introduced to the word "currency". After the first couple of hundred pages the Murakami became much easier, and the shear poetry of the writing really came through to me. Murakami is one of the few authors I have seen where most (all?) of his works have been translated into German and are available in ebook form. I may read some of his other books, but I am not sure I want to have to deal with the magic realism in his other books just yet. Naokos Laecheln - Norwegian Wood in English - is perhaps his most straightforward book and perhaps the easiest for language learning.

In addition to the three books, I watched thirty films:

230. Iron Man (2008). NS. 7/10.
229. Mad City (1997). NS. 4/10.
228. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly (1966). NS. 6/10.
227. Deliverance (1972). NS. Surprising how enjoyable the dubbed version was. 8/10.
226. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000). NS. Great to finally see some Japanese anime in German. 8/10
225. Sexy Beast (2000). NS. Was able to follow nearly all the conversation by Ben Kingsley, which surprised me. 8/10.
224. Altered States (1980). NS. What a trippy film! For years I had confused this with Brainstorm, another trippy film from the 1980s. Great direction from Ken Russell. And Drew Barrymore makes a surprise debut at age 5. 7/10.
223. True Romance. NS. 7/10.
222. Insomnia. NS. 7/10.
221. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011). NS. 7/10.
220. Skyline (2010). NS. 3/10.
219. Sphere (1998). NS. 6/10
218. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008). NS. 4/10.
217. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010). NS. 7/10
211-216. True Blood- Season 5 - 12 Episodes. NS. 7/10.
210. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. NS. 7/10.
209. Highlander. NS. 6/10.
208. The Bling Ring (2013). NS. Kino. 6/10
207. Smilla's Feeling for Snow (1997). NS. 5/10.
206. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). NS. 5/10.
205. Gorky Park (1983). NS. 7/10
204. Carrie (1976). NS. 8/10.
203. Babylon A.D. (2008). S. Tired so watched with subtitles, but understood nearly everything. 6/10
202. Francis Ha (2012). NS. Kino. Not bad - understood a surprising amount of the dialogue. 7/10.
201. eXistenZ (1999). NS. 7/10.
200. Berlin: Sinfonie Einer Grosstaat. (1927). Great silent film about Berlin. 8/10

It strikes me the big advantage I have living in Berlin is not the conversations I have with people, but the ready access I have to German language materials. For two Euros I can rent most films at the local video library. A couple of months ago I joined for a 10 Euro yearly fee our local library in Neukölln, which gives me access to the Berlin library system. In addition to books, and audio books, the library has an extensive DVD collection for rent. I have been going in once a week and borrowing about 25 DVDs at a time. About half of them are too scratched to be playable on my computer, but the other half are fine and I am getting a lucky dip of interesting films to see. I rip all films using Handbrake before watching them to avoid getting halfway through a film and not seeing anymore.

I definitely find action/thriller/scifi films easier to follow, but my German is noticeably improving and I can follow dialogue much more easily now. So I noticed that when watching "Francis Ha" in the cinema, and the Ben Kingsley monologues in "Sexy Beast", that I was able to follow fast dialogues pretty easily so long as I didn't try to concentrate on any one word and followed the dialogue itself. At the moment I feel I can understand large chunks of dialogue, with either individual words I don't know, or sometimes sections of dialogue, but this is no longer enough to stop me understanding and following a film.

I'd also give a shout out to the great 1927 silent film Berlin: Sinfonie Einer Grosstaat. It's a beautiful film and gives you a very interesting sense of the city before the destruction that started in 1933.

We've had a wonderful summer here in Berlin, but the sense that we are entering autumn is very strong now. The leaves on the linden trees opposite our living room are starting to go yellow and it won't be long before we back in winter. I guess the attraction of staying inside and simply reading for long stretches of time is simply going to increase from now on.

Edited by patrickwilken on 01 September 2013 at 11:12am

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montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3127 days ago

2371 posts - 3675 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 10 of 295
01 September 2013 at 2:09pm | IP Logged 
I definitely envy you, living in Berlin. :-) (While perhaps I couldn't actually live
there, an extended stay could be realistic and worthwhile. Just realised that sounds like
I'm cadging a place to stay! Don't worry, I'm not! :-) ).

Oh, a German friend kindly gave me a DVD of a film "Oh Boy" (with German subtitles for
the Hörgeschädigt). You might find it interesting, as it's set in Berlin.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 11 of 295
01 September 2013 at 2:28pm | IP Logged 
montmorency wrote:
I definitely envy you, living in Berlin. :-) (While perhaps I couldn't actually live
there, an extended stay could be realistic and worthwhile. Just realised that sounds like
I'm cadging a place to stay! Don't worry, I'm not! :-) ).


You could try visiting in summer. We did that last year ago, before moving back here. Lots of people sublet apartments, and compared to the UK rents are really cheap. We were paying only 500 Euros/month for a place. An excellent investment if you want to learn German. ;)

montmorency wrote:

Oh, a German friend kindly gave me a DVD of a film "Oh Boy" (with German subtitles for
the Hörgeschädigt). You might find it interesting, as it's set in Berlin.


That's a nice film. I saw it when it first came out in the cinema a few months ago. My German is a bit better now, so I should definitely check it out again to see what I missed out on. It does seem to capture a certain feeling of Berlin. It's been very popular here - I saw it was being re-shown recently at our local cinema.


Edited by patrickwilken on 01 September 2013 at 2:29pm

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 12 of 295
02 September 2013 at 10:27am | IP Logged 
As an end of summer reward for doing lots of German study I bought a half-year pass to the Yorck cinema group in Berlin yesterday for 129 Euros:

http://www.yorck.de/

Now I can go an see as many films as I want during the week to improve my German. It should be fun.


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Cavesa
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3308 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 13 of 295
02 September 2013 at 3:25pm | IP Logged 
I love your log, Patrick. I hope you don't mind I put a link on the wikia (The German TV shows page)
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 14 of 295
02 September 2013 at 5:15pm | IP Logged 
A (somewhat) interesting three-part article from earlier this year published in Die Spiegel on the rise of e-books in Germany (in English):

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/rise-of-amazon -and-ebooks-force-german-publishers-to-reinvent-selves-a-888 679.html



Edited by patrickwilken on 02 September 2013 at 5:22pm

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 15 of 295
07 September 2013 at 6:16pm | IP Logged 
I am currently visiting my wife's family in Münsterland, near the Dutch border, for my wife's grandmother's 80th birthday. It's a particularly challenging language environment in someways: everyone is talking at once and over each other at high speed, lots of alcohol is consumed which makes for somewhat random conversations at times, most people don't speak English, and there is even a bit of Platt thrown in from time to time.

My comprehension compared to when I was last here at Christmas is amazing. I basically can follow all the conversations unless there are occasional words I don't know. I got a bit lost, for instance, when a conversation started revolving around the word 'Stillen', which I didn't know, and turns out to refer to breastfeeding, but in general I have no problem understanding what is being said.

In addition, I have had little difficulty engaging in conversations for long periods of time, which is very pleasing, and is reassuring since I have done little active speaking in the nine months since I have been here.

This parallels a noticeable increase in my German comprehension of movies and tv shows over the last couple of months. My comprehension is by no means perfect, and for books it's still easy to find words I don't understand, but I have the real sense that I am on the right path and makes me think that I should be able to reach a passive C1 level of German by the early next year.



Edited by patrickwilken on 07 September 2013 at 6:22pm

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montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3127 days ago

2371 posts - 3675 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 16 of 295
08 September 2013 at 2:06pm | IP Logged 
We have friends in Münster (which I like very much), although we don't know the area
towards the Dutch border so well. My friends tell me they never actually visit the NL
(except perhaps to pass through). I half understand this and half not. To them, I
think, the culture (e.g. the cycling!) is so similar, that they'd rather spend their
precious vacation time somewhere a bit different (like the UK!), or somewhere hot (not
(usually) the UK!).

You may have seen me mentioning the "Wilsberg" TV series, which is set and made in
Münster, and is quite fun. Not sure if it's still running, but I have some DVDs of it.
Based on books by Jürgen Kehrer. He's also written historical novels about a
"detective", set in the Münster of the 30-years-war period, in which Münster played an
important part.


As a matter of interest, why have you done little active speaking over the 9 months?

Had a quick look at your blog in case it gave the answer to that, and noticed the story
about the "hole" in the wall at the East Side Gallery. I was aware of that situation,
but have not been following the story closely. As a non-Berlner, perhaps it's not my
place to comment, but I've been a bit disturbed, over the years, at some aspects of the
"big money" development in Berlin, since the Mauerfall. Of course, it had to change,
but ...


EDIT: OK, just looked back at the first part of this log, and you have explained about
the speaking there, I think, so no need to go into that again (unless you want to :) ).

(If anyone happens to look at my posts before I (inevitably) have to edit them for
typos, my English spelling isn't that bad, honest....I know a bad workman blames his
tools, but I think it's this laptop...I can't find out how to turn off the blessed
trackerpad thingy, and the cursor ends up all over the place. I've done it on other
laptops, so I know it's possible, but this one has defeated me. That's my excuse,
anyway...)


Edited by montmorency on 08 September 2013 at 2:19pm



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