Since moving to Deutschland two years ago I have been working to learn the language so I can productively contribute to my community. My efforts have fallen just short of walking across the street (literally) to the famous Goethe Institute and ponying up the large (but I hear well-worth) sum of Euros (pronounce “Oy Rows”) for an intensive course. Since I gained far more  appreciation and understanding of Spanish when I lived with a family for summer study in Mexico than I ever did sitting in a uni classroom, I cling to this belief daily interactions will turn me into a native-sounding speaker. Alas, the constant corrections from girl remind me I can’t even speak at a kindergarten level yet.

One of my German friends has made a commitment not to give up on me actually being able to have a full conversation without randomly inserting Spanish, Italian and made up German words. She taught me this rhyme the other day to help me learn the importance of using the correct articles with nouns. I can’t help but giggle every time I say it, as I imagined two fish sitting in a bar trying to figure out where to go next. There is a double play here: der Wal is a whale and die Wahl is a choice; der Thun is a tuna and tun means to do.

Ein Walfisch sagt zum Thunfisch, Fisch in a Bar
wollen wir es tun, Fisch? Da sagt
der Thunfisch zum Walfisch, du
hast die Wahl, Fisch. 

Come to find out, this is part of a much longer rhyme. In learning German, or really any new language, it’s good to force yourself to pick up a newspaper, magazine or search for some lifestyle sites where you can learn some of the intricacies of the language not typically taught in books.

Here are a couple other great resources to begin your German journey: Goethe Institut’s free online self-guided lessons and the Listen Language app on Spotify. What resources have you found especially helpful in mastering Deutsch?


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