21 August 2008

Deutsch / Slovenski

I’m attempting to learn both Slovene and German at the same time (and continuing to study Latin, one of my hobbies, all while balancing a spoon on my nose). This has started to twist around my widdle tiny brain, particularly since I’m cramming all this into two weeks before a trip to both countries.

However, I’m learning the languages with two different goals in mind, and that alters the definition of what it means to be “learning” a language.

I’m only trying to “pick up some Slovene”; I’m not approaching the grammar of the language at all, which would require serious dedication because I’ve never attempted to learn a Slavic language. (Also, the only book on Slovene that I’ve found has no grammar help at all.) Most Slovenians speak English, and I don’t know how often I’ll be in the country in the future to make a study of their mother tongue productive. So what I hope to accomplish as far as this South Slavic language is concerned is getting a grasp on its standard phrases and pronunciation.

As for German… my sister and her husband live there and probably will stehen dort for at least the nächste fünf jahre. I would lay even money on them staying even longer. And now I have a nephew who will grow up speaking German (and English, of course). I think I should ardently and honestly learn German. More than just asking the way to the bus, or “Wie viel kostet ein Weiß Bier?” I want to know the language, not necessarily fluently, but effectively. Unfortunately, dedicating myself to learning Deutsch is difficult during the greater part of the year; unless I’m in the country or about to visit it, it’s hard to force myself to sit down and do the hard work required to learn the language. (For some reason I have no trouble making myself take a seat and learn Latin, but that has something to do with a wiring malfunction in my brain. Meus animus est insanus, certe.)

However, I think I’ve discovered a local native German speaker on whom I can practice my shaky Deutsch. I’ll give you a report on that tomorrow.