I started my German classes today. After three hours of German language a day, five days a week, for four months, I should be able to speak the language pretty well. I definitely have a long way to go. I did fine with some words and phrases, but I have to spend a lot more time just using the language before I’ll be quick at replying to basic questions like “What is your name?” without long pauses and awkward stares as I parse it all out.
My classmates are a diverse bunch, with four from Iran, one from Turkey, one from Portugal, one from Brazil and one from the Dominican Republic. Some obviously have spent a lot of time studying German previously or have lived here a while, but some seem to be starting from scratch. I’m the only one coming from a Germanic tongue, so I have something of an advantage (especially over the Iranians and the Turkish woman, who have entirely different alphabets). However, I found the most difficult part of the day was using the letters of the alphabet; we wrote down each other’s names and addresses, and I had a hard time with the difference between the German names for “A” and “E” and “R,” etc. Of course, it could just be the differences in accents.
I think it will take many classes before I’ll be able to pronounce the goal of my first morning activity: acquiring a Meldebestätigung, the official document proving that I registered my residence. Some of these German compound words are going to take months for graceful handling. At least I got a nice bike ride out of the tongue-twisting ordeal.