Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Language students, fluency and not yet being German.

Language students are an odd bunch. We learn (for the most part) a foreign language in our home country, where we are told to immerse ourselves fully into the language and our studies (heh?); we express ourselves in different ways to everone else, for example by saying some words that sound exotic in a different language or screaming 'putain' whenever something goes wrong since no-one understands it. and thinking of ourselves as groundbreaking for listening to some exotic French reggeaton from the suburbs of Marseille.

Maybe all of that is just me, but I have noticed that a whole hell of a lot of people seem to act the same way.
Drawing Union Flags on their pencil cases, and telling others that the Beatles are 'obviously the best band of the British scene' because John Lennon had lovely hair and that Strawberry Fields really should be Forever. Anglophilia is actually pretty huge outside of England.
We're a flag waving nation, but bugger me, in 21 years I've never seen so many Union Flags as I've seen in just under a year here on the continent.

It is in this way that I was totally blind before I came out here to France, and to Spain, and to Germany. I had no idea what was happening behind the Channel if I'm quite honest. We'd wrote presentations and god knows how many ridiculous essays about political parties and regionalism, but I feel like I've learned a lot.

It's a bit fucking cliché to say that the Erasmus programme has opened my eyes, but it really has opened my eyes to the world.

I thought my German had been 'alright' for years until I was told a few days ago by a German friend that 'one year ago I couldn't understand you, Gareth...but now, it's definitely better' and that it was 'weird for him' to hear me 'speaking German for once'.

I'm not sure whether that last quotation was accidentally mean, or that I'm now speaking proper German, but either way it's a good kick up the arse to get myself motivated and actually sit down and do some revision instead of hoping to obtain this lifelong skill through osmosis. It doesn't work like that. I tried that in Spain, to a crowd of Catalonians I met in Tarragona all saying ¿Que? and most likely not understanding any of my severly broken Spanish. I daren't even mention my Catalan, which wasn't any better.

I have a hell of lot of stories to write about rom the last two months, in which I've not been motivated to write, nor to take so many photos. probably down to the fact that I feel very much at home here in Koblenz. I've always been best on the ball when I'm inbetween feeling at home and feeling totally alienated.
Anyways, I'll be tring to make more of an effort with this blog. I have a few months left in Germany, have met some new amazing people, caught up with old amazing friends of mine by god I am making the most of it, if it kills me in the process.

1 comment:

  1. "bugger me" ... a fitting pharse when talking about Anglophilia haha. And hurry up and write about your German journeys I want to hear about it because I won't get to see it, sadly!

    Travels of a Polyglot.