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Mar 21, 2011

Avoiding The Language Barrier

Speaking German is something I am completely unfamiliar with. I would even go as far as saying that I have probably heard someone speaking German in person only a handful of times. Have you ever heard someone use the expression, "It's like they were speaking German," when describing someone who speaks too quickly and you can't understand them? If you have, it's probably because I'm the one who said it. German seems to be my go to language when describing someone who speaks too quickly. Now that we are moving to Germany, I feel as though D and I need to learn the basics of the German language so as not to seem like completely clueless Americans. So, Sunday afternoon we went to the library on base and checked out this nugget of learning gold:

Rosetta Stone Online Store photo

Rosetta Stone German Level 1! D and I were super excited to find we were able to rent it instead of having to buy it. That thing isn't cheap! So yesterday, after chowing down on some Taco Bell (we both had a craving...weird, right?), we popped that CD into the laptop and began our German journey. It's pretty easy to use...the Rosetta Stone program, that is...but German is proving to be pretty darn hard to learn. I couldn't tell you how many times D and I looked at one another with confused looks on our faces. I swear the German language has hidden letters in their words and that certain letters should not be placed where they are placed in the word. And instead of what sounds like rolling "r's" like in Spanish...it's more of a harsh sound coming from the back of the throat. This sound is one I'm going to have to work hard to master. It also makes my mouth hurt! Saying German phrases out loud numerous times makes my mouth tired and I keep getting tongue tied! I'm in trouble. I know it. What's even funnier, I keep wanting to speak Spanish! Every time I think of scenarios in my head where I'm somewhere in Germany practicing my German, I end up interjecting Spanish words into my German sentences! Can you imagine?! I can hear the locals now, "Look at that dumb American girl speaking SpaGerman to us!" Darn you, 12 years of Spanish schooling!!!!! You are making learning German that much harder!!

On a side note, there are some pretty funny sounding German words. For example:
Nurse= Krankenschwester
Wardrobe= Kleiderschrank

Plug these babies into Google Translator and listen to the pronunciation. You'll get a good laugh. We chuckle every time we hear them. But we're mindful that the chuckling should be kept to the comfort of our own home as not to offend any German people.

Please, someone, tell me this process gets easier. I sure hope I don't have to keep my mouth taped shut for two whole years. Oh, the adventures this new life is sure to bring! Auf Wiedersehen!! 

Anyone else have any experience learning a new language, German or otherwise?


  1. I took 4-1/2 years of spanish in school and remember none of it. I know what Dora and Diego have taught my kids. lmao.

    I know our library on base is getting rid of Rosetta Stone soon. I can't remember the reason why, but they replaced it with Mango. I am assuming its basically the same idea. I plan on going in later this week to pick it up. I've got 10 months to pick up on some of the language.

  2. Yeah the librarian told us they were switching to Mango as well. But I wanted to see what all the hoopla was about over Rosetta Stone. We plan on giving Mango a whirl to compare. I wish I had 10 months to learn! Lucky duck!

  3. I love the fun words you picked out! My cousin took German in high school and went there (to Germany) for a few months. I think its a pretty tough language to learn, but I think you'll be glad for whatever you know once you get there.

    I'm jealous that you get to go to Germany!

  4. Hi! Thanks for the follow!
    German is really tough to learn. What part of Germany are you moving to? We are stationed at Ramstein and most of the local people around here speak English. It makes it that much more difficult to learn, though it is nice that everyone here knows at least a little English.

    Good luck on your PCS! I hope it all goes smoothly for you!


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