Language REFRESH 101: Week Four

by Corey · 0 comments

As you saw, there was no Language Refresh 101 post last week. I am realizing that posting every week is a bit much for me this time around. Therefore, I am going to aim for every other week. But no worries – we are starting a new series of language refresh posts from a guest writer which will appear on the alternate weeks. Stay tuned!

German Language in Cyberspace
These past two weeks were filled with online fun! I spent some dedicated time searching for online German language support and found a ton but ended up spending time on one in particular. Here’s the rundown:

  • This site has some fun interactive online activities for basic language constructs. I have to admit that part of the reason these were so fun is because they were fairly easy. However, they could be great practice for someone with moderate German language skills.
  • College Board German Language Tests: For some additional German language practice, take a look at these German language college AP tests.  You can find the tests here and the audio for the questions here. It is always funny to hear how slowly and articulately words are spoken for such tests – it always cracks me up!
  • Deutsche Welle XXL: This is where I spent most of my time these last two weeks (XXL being the section for us “heavy weights.” The Deutsche Welle site has a lot of great stuff but it takes time to figure out where all of it is! But don’t give up, keep clicking links until you find something that they have that works for you and then see if it is an area or section that they update regularly.
  • Last week I signed up for Deutsche Welle’s free interactive German language learning program. While signing up, I marked off that I was far lower in my German language skills than I am so that I could do some practice, and I am glad that I did because it has been a ton of fun. It need not always be a ton of work to refresh our language(s)! We should aim for the 70-30 rule if we want to avoid burnout: 70% of material that you already know fairly well and 30% new material. Give this site a try and let me know what you think!

Reading, Underlining and Learning
These past two weeks I have been reading Der Geschmack von Apfelkernen, by Katharina Hagena. I purchased this book a few years back when we were in Kiel, Germany (it has a sticker on it that says “Der Spiegel-Bestseller” – I figure you can’t go wrong with that).

I have a pencil in the book and underlined words and sentences that I didn’t know or understand. Here are some that I underlined and looked up later (the italic are the words/phrases that I wasn’t sure of and underlined):

  • fehl schlagen (backfire): “Seitdem gab es nur noch schwarze und weiße Johannisbeeren im Garten meiner Großmutter, un jeder weitere Versuch, einen roten Busch zu pflanzen, schlug fehl, es wuchsen nur weiße Beeren an seinen Zweigen.”
  • schepperte blechern (rattled with a tinny/brassy sound): “Im Gänsemarsch schritten alle wieder aus dem Arbeitszimmer hinaus, den Flur entlang zurück zur Haustür, die Glocke schepperte blechern.”
  • sich betäuben (stunned me) & Aussteuertruhe (hope chest): “Der Geruch des Eingangsflurs betäubte mich, es duftete noch immer nach Äpfeln und alten Steinen, die geschnitzte Aussteuertruhe meiner Urgroßmutter Käthe stand an der Wand.”
  • Verehrer (admirer) & wagten (dared): “Der Altbürgermeister, dann natürlich Carsten Lexow, der alte Lehrer meiner Mutter, ein paar Schulfreundinnen und entfernte Kusinen meiner Tanten und meiner Mutter und drei große Männer, die ernst und unbeholfen nebeneinanderstanden und sofort als frühere Verehrer von Tante Inga zu erkennen waren, da sie kaum wagten, meiner Tante offen anzusehen, sie aber doch nie aus den Augen ließen.”

There were many more words/phrases than those listed above and the process is slow going but I have to say that I am really enjoying this!  This slow, methodical process is very satisfying on a whole different level. I am giving myself the opportunity and enjoyment of savoring each sentence while learning new words and phrases – it is fantastic!

For whatever reason, I seem to need the permission of Language Refresh 101 to take the time to practice German. It doesn’t always come naturally when we get to this point in our language learning, especially when we aren’t living in a country where the language is spoken!


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