Archive for December, 2009

English

December 15, 2009

I’ve started thinking about blogging in the following way: get inspiration, write blog immediately. Otherwise I just get ideas for stuff I want to write and it never gets written down.

I was just now comparing myself to Enrica (who was an Italian student who did Arabic with us in Durham last year) and how this one time, right at the beginning of her stay with us, she and I went for a sneaky coffee in Brown Sugar (neighbouring coffee house to lecture place). Firstly, that shows how open Brits are to new students (in complete Gegensatz to the Germans, who are not very accommodating of their class mates – I’ve only managed to get the number out of one of my classmates, a girl in my Japanese class. I’ve only really developed a talking relationship with one girl in my Arabic class too – the others just treat me with suspicion. I could be wrong. I probs am wrong). But anyway.

Then I was just thinking about how I had no in-road at all into speaking to her in her mother tongue. I had very, very little knowledge of Italian. Very little. Still have that amount. It’s shameful, but, in this situation, and for her, a bit of a blessing. She and I had to speak English; that’s all we had to hand. It’s perfect for her. Speaking English is much, much more expected in England than speaking German is here. But that’s just because I’d never realised what kind of a profile English had outside the English-speaking world. It really is everyone’s second language. To the point where I feel like I’m denying people practise, even though I’m speaking pretty good German at them.

This is another thing. I’ve not got much time left here now, what with having to move on and the like. And I was thinking: if I don’t come back to Germany, my German’s as good now as it’ll ever, ever be. Which is really sad. Not because my German’s shit. Au contraire. I feel really, really confident. Yesterday, for example, I spent pretty much the whole day in German and the English was limited to my head (except for a telephone call and a random meeting with friends). I love it when that happens.

But yeah. I’m good, sure; but I definitely could be better. Sometimes, still, people say words and I don’t know what they mean. I understand everything everyone says, but sometimes only by context. Not every every-day word has its own image for me yet. 6 months is not enough for someone like me in somewhere like this.

In other news, I’ve been writing a Referat I have to give on Friday (like a presentation) about language acquisition and cognitive development. The text’s in English – when she was doling out the texts, she asked whether anyone had a preference to do the English text and I, of course, sorta bagsied doing it. Shame, cause it’s so, so academically written. And I’m so painfully un-used to reading such texts. But anyway. The point is, I’ve been writing the presentation (slash translation of some parts) in(to) German and I just feel so much easier with written German. I’m so much more confident than I was with the written word, even though (despite Mcardle’s advice) I’m not coming into that much contact with the written word, than I ever did in England. I read out what I had to Torben earlier and, except for the odd noun-choice and one word-order (rookiefail) thing, the rest of it was fine. Quite fine. Fine, in the old sense of the word. Which made me proud.

Remember the Kitchen Window – stand here, feel wind, feel beautiful

December 10, 2009

I’ve taken to a lot of things since I’ve been here.

Among other things, it’s thinking a lot more of the little things. A theory Sophia and I named the ‘angora’ theory. Just.. Being all filmic about things. And letting the little things speak to you in a bigger way.

Another thing I’ve taken to is opening the kitchen window while the kettle’s boiling and sticking my head in the wind.

The window in the kitchen’s very much like a velux one – all slanty with the roof. So I can easily open it, and stand in the breeze. It’s so refreshing. Fresh air in the house.

I grabbed my camera at this point and tried to take a photo of what I was staring out onto on this grey, German ¬†Thursday morning, but the battery died with that awful early 90s squeak my camera gives and the instruction, “Change battery pack.” on the screen.

But having been influenced just now (pre-tea) by Nina Paley’s most recently blog entry (writer of Sita Sings the Blues, which I saw in Clermont with Fay in France and who’s blog I’ve been skimming since), I decided I’d try and make the day of my flatmates.

I took a piece of paper and wrote on it, in English:

1. Stand here.
2. Feel wind.
3. Feel beautiful.

Sure, it’s shit and over-arty, but I like to think that it’ll have made someone’s day. I like it when I get like this.

Tea to be supped.