Monday, May 30, 2016

Keine Ahnung!

Menschen (people) ask me why I am learning German. I want to say "Keine Ahnung!" which LITERALLY means "No idea!". But all I manage to say is something as feeble as, "I love Germany and Germans. I love the DFB: Miroslav Klose is my celebrity crush for 10 years." And then they chant the most stereotypical chant, "Life's too short to learn German."

To some extent I agree. For the ongoing 3 months, my Saturdays are mostly wasted panicking about the huge pile of German homework I have left to complete before the early evening class. I cannot just fly off for the weekend to see my parents or go travelling as I have made a commitment, an expensive one at that: hence I LITERALLY can't afford to miss a class. I spend a considerable amount of time wondering why a pair of spectacles is feminine and a pen is masculine while a notebook is gender neutral; why some words are so long that they incite hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia in me; why they have the same word for tomorrow and morning and the capitalization of the first letter makes a difference; why adjectives change form based on which part of the sentence they are used in.

It is true. German is a confusing language, but so are other languages. For example, Hindi too has genders for inanimate objects, Vietnamese and Tamil are pretty difficult to pronounce, Bengali has a lot of O's compared to A's. Mandarin has tens of thousands of characters, etc. Despite these challenges, each language is powerful and beautiful in its own way and requires time, patience, appreciation and inquisition. Here are some reasons for which I would like to be fluent in German:

1) It gives me the same satisfaction to hear someone speak in German as it gives when I see the waiter bring food to my table. Imagine how fantastisch it would be to understand what the person is saying as well!

<3 p="">2) I have probably liked the Facebook pages of all the footballers in the German national team. Imagine how wunderbar it would be to read what they post (I mean I more or less get it already!) and feel pride in deciphering every word of it. :D

3) Germany has a big name in academia and a big name in renewable energy. Some day, one day, near future or far, maybe just maybe I would want to study/ work there. Enough said!

4) German literary figures and musicians are world class. Bach, Beethoven, Goethe, Kafka all hail from Germany. The simple motivational quote in Deutsche, "Alles wird gut." brightens my foggy day. All will be good. I came across Franz Kafka's quote the other day: "Liebe ist, daß du mir das Messer bist, mit dem ich in mir wühle", which means "In this love, you are like a knife with which I explore myself". Hence, both in depth and simplicity, German literature has caught my attention.

5) Oktoberfest. My first tryst with beer was at an Oktoberfest celebration in university. I was not a big fan then, nor am I a big fan now of the pot-belly inducing cornflakesey flavored alcohol, but it definitely gave me the courage to try something new and I haven't ceased to try since (no I am not talking exclusively about alcohol).

Although this is just the beginning, and has been just the beginning for quite a long time, 10 years from now, I will probably be teaching other people how to speak in German. Sweet dreams are made of little things like these, even if I have miles to go before I sleep. 

8 comments:

  1. :) Learning a new language is the best way to understand the culture and thought process of the people speaking that language. I always admired the commitment of people learning a new language (I dont know if I can ever do that).

    Vivek

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    1. Hey Vivek thanks for the motivation. Would love to read your blog as well. Do send me the link sometime.

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  2. German men is a good enough reason to keep the hard work going ��

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    1. Haha spilling my darkest secrets I see ;)

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  3. thats such a mighty language to master.. well you have some brains :)

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    1. Thank you although dedication is super important as compared to brains in this case.

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  4. Reading Kafka in German is actually a sufficient incentive to learn the language! (technically he is not German, though).
    I have to dampen your expectations: I came here eight years ago, and it is unlikely that in two years, I will be so fluent that I can teach Menschen how to speak German. Nichtsdestotrotz wird alles gut! :)

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    1. Danke, for the bitter truth and also the motivation. True Kafka is Czech/Austrian but one of the greatest German-language authors, so I've heard. Nonetheless, I will keep on striving towards my 10-year plan. :)

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