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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 249 of 295
01 April 2015 at 11:57pm | IP Logged 
Lundrum wrote:
Wow, your log is inspiring! How would you say your German is now? B2? C1? Higher? Would you
say you can understand most of what you read and listen to?


Thanks!

I haven't done any tests, so my level is mostly guesswork. I think for comprehension it's somewhere in the B2+/C1- range.

A few months ago I counted up the number of words I knew in a series of standard novels and estimated that I knew about 98% of the words present, which would indicate that my vocabulary (v. roughly) is somewhere around 7000-8000 words. 98% is good, but it still means that I don't know about five words per page. So long as a book isn't too poetic I can read it now without a dictionary - though using a pop-up dictionary on a Kindle can make things easier. I can read newspapers, but it's not super pleasant. I have to force myself a bit.

Watching movies is not difficult anymore. There are certain situations where my understanding drops, but most cases my understanding is >99%. The hardest thing for me to understand is native German programming, partly because accents vary a bit, and local expressions can be used. Austrian actors who speak Hochdeutsch are quite difficult for me to understand, for instance. On the other hand, I recently was attending a birth preparation course with my wife, and had no trouble following things (though of course there are gaps for specific low frequency words).

At this point I know I'll learn German just from interacting with it without any other aids (like a dictionary). All I need to do is read and listen. I still have lots of gaps, but I know they will fill in just from using the language.

The biggest problem I have speaking is that while the meaning of a great many phrases I hear are quite transparent to me, I don't automatically come up with the same formulations when I speak. So my spoken language must is somewhat stilted/unnatural/ungrammatical. I assume this is largely a matter of exposure - but you need a lot of it to start sounding really natural (think years).

I mostly only speak German with my wife, which is semi-helpful. She understands me very well and so even if my German is pretty bad, she still understands what I am getting at, so it's hard to improve in that situation. If I was forced to talk to a lot of strangers for a few months I am sure my spoken German would improve quite rapidly. Still when I hang-out with other Germans I can make myself understood quite well on a lot of different topics.

Edited by patrickwilken on 02 April 2015 at 12:02am

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BAnna
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2921 days ago

409 posts - 615 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Turkish

 
 Message 250 of 295
02 April 2015 at 2:27am | IP Logged 
Great work as usual! Your log is always a pleasure to read.

Hope all goes well with the birth of your daughter. Welcome to her in case I miss your big announcement since it's rather infrequent that I come onto the forum these days. I've been hearing about the crazy weather in Germany, hope that improves soon.

The Swiss and Austrian variations of Hochdeutsch definitely take some getting used to, though I'm rather thankful for all the varieties of accent/dialect because it doesn't make my own strangely-accented German seem so bad. The best compliment I ever received from a German was that I sound like a foreigner, but not an American. Of course, that probably says more about the lack of skills of my fellow countrymen rather than my own ability to mimic a German accent.

I read the book of "Als wir traümten" and it was great. I'll have to check out the movie if we ever get it over here.

I speak Spanish with my husband, and just as you say, he understands me quite well even if I mangle things, so it's good to make the effort with strangers in order to get a more accurate picture of the gaps.

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

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 251 of 295
02 April 2015 at 12:57pm | IP Logged 
BAnna wrote:

The Swiss and Austrian variations of Hochdeutsch definitely take some getting used to, though I'm rather thankful for all the varieties of accent/dialect because it doesn't make my own strangely-accented German seem so bad. The best compliment I ever received from a German was that I sound like a foreigner, but not an American. Of course, that probably says more about the lack of skills of my fellow countrymen rather than my own ability to mimic a German accent.


I was once asked if I was Norwegian so I guess that's something!

BAnna wrote:

I read the book of "Als wir traümten" and it was great. I'll have to check out the movie if we ever get it over here.


If you read the book you'll probably like the movie. It was filmed entirely in Leipzig, and I pretty sure the author was extensively involved in the production. You might like this interview that was recently published with the author:

Leipzig: Wo gibt’s das noch?


Edited by patrickwilken on 02 April 2015 at 12:58pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



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

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 252 of 295
01 May 2015 at 6:55pm | IP Logged 
April 2015

In April I read 432 pages and watched 38 films.

My daughter was born on April 4, and so last few weeks have been pretty busy with non-German learning. :)

I have managed to find an hour or two in the evenings to watch a film or show before bed, but not much more. I did manage to read one (bad scifi) novel last week. Surprisingly I am finding the newspaper Die Zeit relatively easy to read now days so I have started reading an article or two on mornings my daughter decides to sleep in.

I currently need to read 732 pages a month to meet my 10000 page goal this year, which seems doable so long as I pick straightforward books to read. I have an interview for a possible admin position at the University of Leipzig later this month. It will depend a bit on my level of German so it should be an interesting practical test. We'll see.






Books

56. Redshirts. John Scalzi. 432 Seiten. Ebook. Highly over-rated scifi. 2/10.


Movies

880. Pusher II: Respect (2004). Mubi. 9/10.

879. Pusher (1996). Mubi. 8/10.

873-878. Daredevil - Season 1 - 13 Episodes (2015). Netflix. 7/10.

863-872. Fringe Season 3 - 22 Episodes (2010). Netflix. 6/10.

862. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). Mubi. 5/109

861. Drug War (Du zhan - 2012). Mubi. It probably loses some of it's power when dubbed. 6/10.

860. The American (2010). Netflix. Nice to be able to watch this with +99% understanding. 8/10.

855-859. Better Call Saul - Season 1 - 10 Episodes. Netflix. 6/10.

845-854. Fringe Season 2 - 22 Episodes (2009). Netflix. 8/10.

844. Midnight in Paris (2011). Netflix. 6/10.

843. Dune (1984). Netflix. Campy Lynch fun. 7/10.

842. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn (2012). Netflix. 3/10.

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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 253 of 295
02 May 2015 at 3:32pm | IP Logged 
Congratulations! Those are some awesome news! I wish lots of health, love and patience to
you and your whole family, you are certainly gonna need it all. I am surprised you manage
to find "that much" free time with a newborn in the house. Well, I remembered they are
not that bad in the first weeks, they still sleep a lot. But right after those...

So, a common htlal question: What languages are you gonna teach your daughter? :-D
3 persons have voted this message useful



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

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 254 of 295
03 May 2015 at 1:09pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:
Congratulations! Those are some awesome news! I wish lots of health, love and patience to
you and your whole family, you are certainly gonna need it all.


Cavesa, Thanks! You can check out a couple of photographs here:

Morgens

First 1/2 hour after birth

Cavesa wrote:

I am surprised you manage
to find "that much" free time with a newborn in the house. Well, I remembered they are
not that bad in the first weeks, they still sleep a lot. But right after those...


Actually we are pretty lucky. It is a bit tiring, but so long as you can sleep in in 4 hour periods things are pretty good. In the evenings I just watch a show or movie before bed. Actually, was a major motivation to improve my German over the last six months. I want to be able to talk to my daughter in her first language! So whatever happens I need to find time to keep improving my German.

Cavesa wrote:

So, a common htlal question: What languages are you gonna teach your daughter? :-D


We'll she'll obviously learn German as her first language, followed by English. At this point we are just going to use both languages in the house and see how it goes. I'll read books to her in English and my wife in German (we've already started to collect some really great German children's books).

I have a certain desire to learn Spanish in a couple of years when my German is a bit stronger. It's definitely our favorite country to visit in Europe so perhaps we'll try to learn Spanish as a family at some point. Kristina already is intermediate in Italian so it should be relatively easy for her to pick-up. But let's get the first two languages under way first. Ultimately, Lucy will decide which languages she wants anyway... ;)


Edited by patrickwilken on 03 May 2015 at 1:14pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



Clarity
Groupie
United States
Joined 1821 days ago

85 posts - 107 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 255 of 295
03 May 2015 at 8:00pm | IP Logged 
Congratulations PatrickWilken and welcome to the world, Baby Lucy! Thanks for those links to pictures of her. She is precious! Given the resources at her fingertips, she could probably sign up for the polyglot conference by the age of five. ;)    
1 person has voted this message useful



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

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 256 of 295
03 May 2015 at 10:00pm | IP Logged 
One thing we are thinking of doing is trying to teach her baby sign language, which while it sounds a bit crazy is meant to be quite effective for children from about nine months onwards. Basically will give her a way of communicating more clearly with us before her vocal language skills develop better.


1 person has voted this message useful



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