I periodically blush during the German lessons when I cannot say sentences correctly. Recently, we have learned new grammar rules about Nebensätze mit dass und ob. I thought that I understood the rules well. However, as soon as I opened my mouth to reply to the teacher, I got everything wrong. I wish things were different, but it seems everyone has to go through this embarrassing process of learning.
Other students make mistakes too, of course. Reading is a tough exercise for many. It is easy to mix up such words as Strom and English word storm, for example. Usually, students tend to forget that in German some names as David /ˈdeɪvɪd/ and Julia /ˈdʒuːliə/ have another pronunciation. Listening is another difficult exercise for some of the students in our group. You have to pay attention in the class. Otherwise, you might not even hear what your homework is. Frequently, students say that they did not do the homework, because they did not hear the teacher talking about it. Once, one of the students misunderstood the teacher and thought we were going to eat some sweets during the class the next day. In fact, the teacher said we were going to watch some sweet romance movie during the class. 🙂
I met some people in Germany whose children speak better German than their parents. Children learn fast and practise German with their classmates every day. They make fun of their parents’ language skills. They think that the parents use funny textbooks, because of all the colorful pictures and humorous texts. Sometimes, parents consult their 10-year-olds about bus or train schedule. Some children do the homework for their parents too. 🙂
A friend of mine worked in Germany as an au pair for a year. Once, a host father asked her where did his wife go. Instead of saying ‘she is away’ in German, my friend accidentally said ‘go away’. Happily, the man saw she did not mean that.
One day, another friend of mine asked a waiter where was the bathroom. He forgot that toilet and Toilette do not sound the same. The waiter did not understand his accent and it took my friend some minutes to explain what he needed.
In the past, I visited Germany without knowing much about the life here. The same story happened to me several times: I thought I was buying one type of bread in the bakery and got another one instead. Sometimes, it was hard for me to tell where was Knüppelbrot or Kaisersemmel. The other day, instead of saying ‘Danke’ to a shop assistant I said ‘Bitte’. But the most embarrassing mistake I made was saying ‘Ich habe meine Freunde benutzen (the right form of the verb in Perfekt is benutzt)’ instead of ‘Ich habe meine Freunde besucht’.
Good luck to everyone who studies a foreign language!