Dixie Peach: Apologies in Advance for Dodgy Grammar

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Apologies in Advance for Dodgy Grammar

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Christina, always the lady in the know, turned me on to Language Week 2007 (June 25 to June 29) and since I'm always game to make a complete ass of myself take up a new challenge I thought I'd participate as well. Want to know the rules and what's it all about, Alfie? Take a look here. I'll be doing my entries in German as it's the language I know best after English. Pity. All those years and all that money spent on learning Spanish. I have a feeling that for every German word I learn, another Spanish word gets squeezed out of my head. I likely won't write entire blog entries in German - I simply don't have that sort of time to turn my brains to mush trying to figure out correct grammar and spelling - but I'll try a paragraph or two. With English translations provided, of course.

Wenn du eine neue Sprache lernst ist der erste Schritt sie zu verstehen. Dann lernst du sie zu sprechen. Danach lernst du in der neuen Sprache zu lesen und sie zu schreiben. In anderen Worten du beginnst mit dem einfachtesten Schritt gehst über zu unheimlich schwerigen teil bei dem du fast die Lust verlierst. Lesen ist nicht so schwer, aber schreiber kann schnell zu einer frustrierenden Erfahrung werden, besonders wenn du versuchst in einer Sprache zu schreiben, in der sich Gs anhören wie Ks und wenn du sprechen lernst du es auch noch in dem lokalen Akzent lernst, das wird dich auf jeden Fall in Schwerigkeiten bringen wenn du versuchst die Worte so zu schreiben wie du sie aussprichst.

Translation: When you learn a new language the first step is understanding it. Then you learn to speak it. Afterwards you learn to read and write in the new language. On other words you go from the most simple to something so annoyingly difficult that you don't even want to bother. Reading really isn't so bad but writing can quickly end up being an exercise in frustration, especially when you're trying write in a language where Gs can sound like Ks and when you learned to speak you learned a local accent that will definitely get you into trouble if you try to spell words the way you pronounce them.

Okay, that's enough German for today. I think I hurt myself.

Anyway, all I've said so far is that I honestly hate writing in German. Reading, while I'm not brilliant at it, is fine. I mean I can read newspapers and magazines but reading a novel would be too much work for me and I like reading to much to make it into a headache inducing effort. Writing intimidates me. I get freaked out about correct spelling and I always have to ask if I want to write das or dass in a particular sentence. Getting it wrong would be quite irksome to me. I can generally bullshit my way through understanding more complicated conversations. I find that people are usually rather forgiving of bad grammar and goofy pronunciation of words when I speak. I can generally get the gist of a newspaper article but writing? When you get it wrong it's out there for everyone to see. It's a heinous looking as white shoes with black stockings.

And that's why I'm taking up this challenge. It's an opportunity to improve my writing ability and it's a way to entice me into doing something I'm normally loath to do. And maybe by the end of the week I'll be able to figure out on my own to correctly use das or dass.

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Blogger srah said...

I know what you mean! I was just in Mexico and I kept stressing out and correcting myself when I used the wrong article, even though an incorrect article wasn't usually the biggest barrier in my communication.

Thanks for participating and for spreading the word!

12:07 AM  
Blogger Hilda said...

I'm in!


3:23 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

You are one brave lady, Ms. Dixie. Congratulations. I can't stand making mistakes either, which is always the worst hindrance in learning to speak a lanuage (you have to be willing to make a fool of yourself!). And it seems that the older I get, the harder it is. UGH.

But I have all the confidence in the world that you will have much success in this endeavor!

3:48 AM  
Blogger christina said...

Whooo! That was great - no dodgy grammar at all. Yes, writing really is the hardest part and it takes a lot of practive to feel confident.

Keep it up! I don't think the goal has to be to write a whole blog entry in a foreign language. A sentence or paragraph will do nicely.

Gotta go think of something to write now...

8:33 AM  
Blogger Twango said...

I missed Monday. Oh wait, today is Monday, duhhhh me.

I think I'll shoot for Italian since I'm trying to learn that now.

1:07 AM  

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