A friend of mine is thinking about volunteering in Switzerland next year. Despite living there as a kid, she wants to brush up on her German.
On Facebook today, she was asking if anyone had a copy of the Rosetta Stone language program, German edition, something I’d love to have myself. Since my grandfather’s parents emigrated from Germany and the family tree is full of German ancestors, I want to learn the language.
Years ago, I discovered a poem, the Hymn of Pomerania, and wanting to translate it, I contacted the man who taught German at my high school. I never took a class with him. He had since retired, but his wife worked at the college I was attending, so we met there.
He went through it line for line, word for word with me, translating it. He introduced me to the concept of words being melded together to form extremely complex and long compound ones.
But since then, unfortunately, my cursory German studies have been overwhelmed, by duties and obligations and life. I really wanted to take some classes in college, but it was only offered every other year, and then outright eliminated during a round of budget cuts. Instead, I took two terms of French.
My friend’s post has inspired me again. I started poking around online, looking for German language learning resources. The BBC has some material.
“German is considered a difficult language to study by English learners, with its long and winding words . . . ”
It’s those compound words again!
“German is a very descriptive language. Nouns, especially, often combine the object with the activity.”
Look at the word for vacuum cleaner: der Staubsauger. It consists of the noun Staub, meaning dust, and the verb saugen, meaning to suck. Thus, the literal translation of the word is dustsucker! Reminds me of Sergio Leone’s Duck, You Sucker! Gotta love any language that merges words with such aplomb.
I still want to study German in a class setting. Makes it so much easier. So, here’s to me learning German, the language of my forefathers.