A little bit of German

deutschflag.jpgLong term readers of this blog know that I have been learning German for a LONG time! I’ve got beyond the “How are you and where is the train station?” phase but am a LONG way from being able to engage in philosophical and theological debate**
With the impending trip to Austria though I am working as hard as I can to improve. This consists of ALWAYS having “Deutsch Plus” playing in the car while driving and having random and confused conversations with our German house guest. I can even venture into the past and the future now (yay) although seperable verbs and I have a mutual dislike, mistrust and misunderstanding.
The problem is though that the better you become the more bewildering the mistakes you can make. Back in the day my linguistic howlers were simple and obvious like trying to ask someone if they were ill but actually asking if they were a cupboard, oh and due to some getting the words for wind and air mixed up and the words for a flat and an idea, I have with some authority stated that skiing in Scotland isn’t great as there is too much air, and responded to many questions with, “I have no apartment!” Nowadays my mistakes are so complex I’m not sure where I have gone wrong, I only know from the laughter that my phrase has elicited that I may have not got it quite right!
I also have a problem in that I have never been able to find a German term for ‘youthworker’ so I have to make up a profession instead (suggestions welcome!). But I continue to learn …….. and when my german runs out I can always revert to sign language or a deftly delivered, “I’m sorry I have no apartment?”

**Although I could always just look thoughtful and ask, ja aber haben wir verstanden, die Frage? (yes BUT have we really understood the question?), that’d work for most discussions I think 🙂

7 Replies to “A little bit of German”

  1. just some suggestions to get you started(as I am also a German speaking youth minister):
    youth group – die Jugendgruppe
    youth work – die Jugendarbeit
    (I suppose for “youth worker” would just add -er[in])
    youth pastor – die Jugendpfarrer[in]
    I prefer the last because it allows me to sound impressive with my rolling R’s and I get to use a lot of phlegm.
    I was a German Education major before I was called to youth ministry, so if there is anything I can help you with just ask. I have a mission trip to Russia coming up and I can’t tackle the language due to the fact that I can’t even read it. I hope someone there will speak German.
    Adam Anderson
    Student Minister
    SABC Rome, Ga
    [email protected]

  2. Adam,
    Thanks for your help on this one and I shouldn’t need to know the feminine, but I’ve erased the first comment. I’m pleased to be able to give my profession now, thanks.
    My Russian doesn’t extend beyond “yes comrade of course” so I can’t return the help

  3. I am the Youth officer for the Edinburgh Diocese, married to a German, and sympathise wholeheartedly with your language problems. In the early days, I too did various courses which got involved in the grammar detail and I never got it.
    Most of my now pretty reasonble German has been learnt by speaking, listening and trying – not studying. Go for it, and if they laugh, laugh too!
    Sounds sad, but a great place I found to improve vocabulary was by watching the QVC shopping channel in German. It may be dull, but they spend ages describing one object so there is plenty chance to get the general meaning!

  4. Morag,
    The shopping channel is GREAT advice, thanks. I listened to German opera for a while as they tend to repeat thing several times in that as well 🙂
    I’m getting there and no longer have to utter my old defence of “ich verstehe nur die bahnhof!”

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