German school

you’re working in a field you genuinely enjoy. you have supportive, loving friends. you follow your passions, you’re fluent in your target languages. the 12 new books you ordered will arrive soon. your flat is cozy, decorated with plants and fairy lights. you’re happy. this might seem like some fantasty, but i know this will happen. i believe in you, and you should as well.

set small goals for yourself! you don’t need to be fluent right away, or graduate with straight As. it’s way better to have smaller goals, like “get an A on this test” or “use memrise every day for a month” - it’s so important not to overwhelm yourself, which can harm your motivation a lot. same goes for having a (study) blog, just set yourself some small milestones, instead of having one huge aspiration that seems impossible to achieve.

HOW TO STUDY/LEARN ANY LANGUAGE

Being a polyglot, I decided to make a post about how to study any language, Without further ado, here it is:

1) TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM ENGLISH

This is the most crucial step to studying/learning a new language. In order for your brain to pick up the new words and ideas, it needs to be more immersed in the language you’re learning. Now for most of us who are learning languages in school, that’s kind of hard, especially since most language classes do most of the work in English until you build a level of fluency. This is the primary reason why immersion programs or immersion schools are so much more successful in teaching a language: you’re forced to talk, write, speak, and think in the language you’re learning. Your brain makes connections faster and thus learns faster to understand and process the language. I would suggest that when you’re learning the language, whether it’s in class time or homework, try to work only in that language. Don’t automatically translate things into English because that’s only going to inhibit your process. Even if your knowledge of the language is limited, practicing thinking in the language, reading the language without translating, and speaking will greatly improve your progress. You’ll find yourself become more fluent and the language will flow rather than be halting because your brain is trying to translate things instead of thinking fluently.

2) LEARN AS MUCH VOCABULARY AS YOU CAN

Vocab is one of, if not the, most important aspect of learning a language. I would even go as far as saying it’s about 70-80% of effectively knowing a language. Think about it this way, if you’re at a restaurant and you’re asked to read the menu or if you’re out and you’re reading signs and advertisements, will knowing hundreds of verbs and their conjugations help you get by? Most likely not. Vocab on the other hand will make the difference between understanding and being totally clueless. If that example didn’t do it for you here’s another one: when you’re speaking to someone how can you express yourself if you don’t know the words? Chances are even if you know no grammar but know key words in the language someone will understand you. Most people don’t pay that much attention to grammar anyway when you’re speaking. As long as you have a basic understanding of it, you’ll be understood. I’m not saying that grammar isn’t important, far from it, but so many people underestimate vocab and focus on grammar and that hinders your learning. Try to learn as much vocab as you can because it will bring you one more step to being fluent. The key to knowing a language is to understand it to a high degree. You can’t understand if you don’t know the words. Find a list with the most common words in the language you’re learning and try to learn them all. Have a goal to learn 10-20 new words per day and you’ll go a long way. If you’re trying to learn vocab I would recommend to have a sheet with all the words you’re trying to learn and their definitions. Hide the words and try to write the vocab by seeing only the definitions. Writing down helps you remember and this method is foolproof. I’ve used it for 6+ years in French and it’s never failed me.

3) LEARN BASIC GRAMMAR

When I say basic grammar, I mean the typical verb tenses and some basic structures. This doesn’t mean learning every single verb conjugated in every single tense, but rather learning the patterns of grammar and how to apply them. Work smarter not harder. Learning the patterns makes it easier to recognize them when you’re reading and remember them when you’re writing. In my opinion, one fault with the way languages are taught in school is the way they teach grammar and how much time they spend on it. Most native speakers don’t worry as much about grammar as non-native speakers do. Again, I’m not saying grammar isn’t important because it is and  you have to know it, but the way it’s taught ruins it. Try to make a chart with all the verb tenses and the patterns that go with the different types of verbs and then a list with the irregular verbs/exceptions. This should be enough to help you gain a basic mastery of grammar. If you know the basic rules, it will become second nature as you speak, write, and read more.

4) READ, LISTEN, AND SPEAK

The language you learn at school is very very different from the language actually spoken in its native country. Most of the language you learn is very formal while in real life, formality is disregarded to a degree and slang is prevalent. In order to build a fluency, you need to read and listen to the language in its natural form to pick up the slang and words that are actually used and not the archaic words that nobody ever says. Listen to music from that language, watch the news in that language, read a book or magazine in that language etc. This will again help your brain learn and process the language better. It will also help with vocabulary and general understanding. Children’s books are the best when you’re starting out. The language is simple and the grammar isn’t to complicated. Start with children’s books and then work your way up to novels and other forms of literature. Listening to the language is also crucial. Try to find mediums where the language is spoken and just listen. Don’t translate or stress yourself out trying to understand it all because you won’t the first couple of times. Just let it sink in. Gradually, you’ll find yourself understanding more and more and you’ll improve. With the speaking aspect, speak as much as you can. Don’t be embarrassed if you stumble, can’t express yourself as much as you would like, or have an accent. I also find that watching/reading/listening to translated works is helpful. Find your favorite book and read it in the language you’re learning, it will help you understand and learn more because you already know what’s going on and can focus on the vocab and grammar. Find your favorite movie and watch it in the language you’re learning. Again, it will help you learn more vocab. The more you practice the better it will get. If you distance yourself from speaking you’ll never improve. Balancing reading, listening, and speaking is the key to being successful.

5) DON’T BE AFRAID TO MESS UP

Nobody becomes fluent over night. Cliche but true. Don’t expect to instantly know everything. It’s normal to struggle and have trouble. Failing is part of the learning process and if you stop practicing because you’re afraid, you’re never going to learn anything. Let go of your fears and insecurities and go for it. If you fall down, pick yourself up and start again. Don’t be embarrassed if you mess up but rather learn from your mistakes and grow. The things we remember most are usually the things where we’ve messed up or had a negative experience with. So use the hiccups as a learning experience and your language skills will improve. 

If you follow these steps, I’m confided that you’ll be better in no time :) The key is to enjoy what you do and have fun! Good luck!

What German is like

 Hey everyone! 

I know that there are a lot of stereotypes about all kinds of languages, and I thought I’d start with my own and explain a little about it. Even if you’re not aspiring to learn it, I hope this post might interest you. 

1. “German people always sound angry.” 

I don’t think this is true. German can sound angry, yes, because we have a hard pronunciation (I can’t think of a better description right now) and use a lot of nouns, which make everything sound more formal and less emotional (also known as “Beamtendeutsch” = official german). But I think the reason why people from other countries associate anger with the german language is because in the media, you probably only see german politicians in the parliament holding speeches - and, of course, 80% of them are yelling at other politicians and speaking in formal terms. 

Here are some music videos in which you’ll hear a different German: 

Sarah Connor’s “Wie schön du bist” (How beautiful you are) from her album “Muttersprache” (Mother Language);

Andreas Bourani’s “Auf anderen Wegen” (On different ways) (please also check out the english translation of the lyrics!)

Mark Forster’s “Au Revoir”

Adel Tawil’s “Lieder” (Songs) 

Of course there are tons of other German artists, feel free to browse Youtube or iTunes and I’m sure you’ll find something you like.

2. “German isn’t useful at all. “

Every language is useful! Secondly, German is among the 12 most spoken languages of the world, and it’s an official language in six countries. Almost 100 million people speak German as a first or second language. (x) It’s also a minority language in several other countries. 

Most importantly though: There are a lot of languages that are easier to learn once you speak German - Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch… I learnt Latin in school and everyone told me it was useless because literally no one speaks it. With the help of Latin, I’m now able to understand almost all Roman languages, like Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French. Learning a language always has more positive side effects than we think. Plus, German is a challenge! It’s different from English, it’s different from Roman Languages, but all in all it’s very consistent. 

3. “German is way too difficult to learn - even German people can’t speak German properly. “

Yes, it’s difficult to learn. What isn’t? We have tons of fun grammar and tenses and weird exceptions, but that’s what makes it cool. It will also improve your knowledge of grammar terms in general so you can apply it to almost any language in the world. (Worked for me that way with Latin, which has some big similarities to German.) Plus, the basic grammar you need to master daily situations isn’t all that bad. 

Well, there certainly are German people who aren’t as capable of German grammar as they should be - but I guess there are also British people who confuse affect and effect and forget to use the subjunctive. I can assure you that people whose first language is German are not bad at German. Not everyone knows the grammar rules, but we use them correctly subconsciously.

4. “I can’t pronounce most of the words.”

The wonderful ä, ö, ü, ch.. Yeah, I can see how the pronunciation can be a problem. However, rest assured that 

a) 80% of the German native speakers have equally as much trouble with the “th” in English and 

b) no one will judge you if you speak with an accent. We’re going to congratulate you on trying your very best to learn our language, and we certainly won’t mock you if you pronounce things wrong. 

Learning a second language (mostly English) is obligatory in Germany, so really everyone here can relate to having problems with foreign languages, no matter if the problem is grammar, orthography or pronunciation. I learnt three foreign languages in school. Half of my year is probably still trying to figure out how the famous english “if-sentences” work, which verbs are used with the spanish subjuntivo and what the hell a latin ablativus absolutus is. So yeah, don’t worry. We’ve all been there. 

5. “Even Germans sound so different, it’s like they don’t speak the same language!

True. We have so many dialects in Germany that I can’t even count them, and of course Austria and Switzerland probably have even more than we do. It’s said that people from Hannover speak the “best” German, but to be honest, I don’t know if that’s true. Maybe. I’ve never been to Hannover. 

The most famous dialect is probably Bavarian. Berlin and Cologne have their own dialects, as well as Sachsen, Hessen and basically every other city or region. If you wanna catch a glimpse of it, watch Peter Frankenfeld’s scene “Die Wetterkarte” (Weather Report). It’s really old and the content doesn’t apply to nowadays, but the dialects he does are really accurate and super funny - even I don’t understand everything he says tbh. Keep in mind though that most people don’t use dialects especially when they are in contact with people from all over the country and it’s necessary that they’re understood, like lawyers, doctors, teachers, professors et cetera. I don’t even really speak “my” dialect because we never used it at home. And don’t worry, most people will try to speak their best non-dialect German when they notice you’re not a native speaker! 


This turned out much longer than I thought, but I hope this was helpful in some sort of way. :) 

Any more questions? Ask me! x

Throwback to when one of the most popular and promising ministers of Germany had to resign because he plagiarized on his doctoral thesis....

sometimes when I look at the madness that is politics today (especially American politics, but also European politics), I think back to this and almost can’t believe it

remember how outraged everyone was….”HE DIDN’T CITE HIS SOURCES, WE LOVED HIM BEFORE BUT NOW HE NEEDS TO BE BANISHED!!”…..

imagine if something like that came out about the angry cheeto….everyone would probably just shrug it off and be like “eh, just Donnie things, what else is new”. Trump would probably even be proud….”Yeah that makes me smart. Got away with it didn’t I?

a cute study abroad story from my history teacher

so his friend goes to Germany to study abroad for 3 months, right? and she’s studied German in school, but she certainly isn’t fluent, and she never put a ton of effort into it, just a normal amount. And when she gets to Germany, her host family doesn’t speak English. at all. not a word. two adults and four children and none of them are speaking english. it’s absolute hell to get by, she’s constantly gesturing and enunciating and having to speak perfect German (they weren’t very good at understanding her unless it was perfect) and it’s three tiring months of nonstop German action. and on the last day they’re sitting at the dinner table and the father turns to her and says in wonderfully fluent english, “so I’d say your German’s improved quite a bit since you got here.”

weird movie masterpost pt. 1

House (1977) - a girl brings her friends to visit her aunt and it doesn’t go well with really beautiful special effects

Fantastic Planet (1973) - a human enslaved by aliens sets forth a revolution in this strange animated film

An Optical Poem (1938) - no plot? no problem! just some super trippy circles to classical music

Begotten (1991) - not for the faint of heart or the strong of heart proceed with caution 

Un Chien Andalou (1929) - a classic surrealist film written by one the kings of weird salvador dalì  

Les Escargots (1965) - starts out with a pretty basic plot but then takes a weird turn

Les Dents du Singe (1960) - this animated feature follows a man who sells his teeth to a corrupt dentist

Suspiria (1977) - an american at a prestigious german ballet school notices strange behavior in its staff with an awesome soundtrack


*movies with links are available on youtube

**send me recs for pt. 2 please!!!

***pt. 2 //  pt. 3 // pt. 4 // pt. 5

This post talks about Depression as one of its main topics, heads up!

I wish I had chosen a happier topic to write about, but this it very important so I think this text might be needed.
I myself have been diagnosed with depression almost three years ago, and have been dealing with it ever since. It’s influenced practially every part of my life, but most importantly it’s had a huge impact on my school life. Such as recently:

I had to write my Seminararbeit, a ~30 page paper that determines whether I’m allowed to do my Abitur or not. But because of depression I felt unable to start it or finish my art project or anything, so I procrastinated for up to two weeks. And because of procrastination my work didn’t reach my expectations, which again feeds into my depression. Sounds great right? I think this might feel familiar to some of you. So I wrote down some of the things that kept me from writing my paper (or anything else that you just can’t get yourself to do) and how I dealt with them. I hope I can help at least one person, then this wasn’t a waste of time.

  • Unrealistic expectations: I hold myself to ridiculously high expectations, especially when it’s about my work. Whenever that happens I sit down, take out a paper and write down the exact situation I’m in right now. It doesn’t even have to be on paper but it helps me groud myself and get back to reality, so that I can evaluate what is possible for me to reach and what isn’t.
  • Unhealthy levels of procrastination: STICK. TO. A. SCHEDULE. On the worst days I seriously set a timer on my phone for every single thing I was about to do. This takes a lot of discipline, which is the best weapon against procrastination and is easiest to train on your better days. Ofc a journal helps tons but that’s a no-brainer.
  • Do the bare minimum: On some days doing the bare minimum for myself is taking a shower, on others it’s writing a 6-page essay. And on the worst days I can’t even do the minimum. But doing one little thing makes the day feel like it wasn’t wasted. And on the better days, work ahead so that you have a bit of a puffer for the worst case, such as cleaning your room for example (I can tell how bad I’ve been doing by how dirty my room is).

I hope these three little things help at least someone, I’ll be posting more again the following weeks, but slowly so that I don’t have to force myself.