The language I learning

I am zestfully trying to get a toenail hold on the German language. Now that the kids are both in school, I find myself interacting with Germans every single day, what a perfect way to get some real life practice.

Sometimes this works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. For instance, I find that when I totally don’t understand something someone says to me in German by the third try, the very best thing to do is simply repeat back to them what I heard them say, in my very best German accent, while smiling and nodding vigorously. Then they totally think I’m all smart and call me a fast learner.

So this week I came up with a fantastic Annie Can Learn German and Prove that She’s Not a Complete Dummy training program. I would like to take credit for this program, but I think that would be like saying that I was the person who discovered prayer.

I decided to go around the house and label common household objects. Sounds simple, right? But when I pulled out my dictionary and started looking up words like “floor,” the dictionary was so confusing and gave me three dozen different meanings for each word that I only got as far as “door”, “toilet” and “oven”.

Then I realized that objects aren’t really that important anyway. What I really need to learn are Things To Yell At My Kids. Today my lesson plan includes putting up sayings in German like, “Put your shoes on before I run over your feet,” or “No, you are not hungry.” “Get your sorry tails in the car,” and “I will now wash your mouth out with soap,” are two that I plan to learn pronto.

Really, I plan to be fluent in German within the year. And I’m not kidding about forcing all the Germans to be friends and talk to me. Yesterday I learned how to say, “A quarter to five.” That’s right, for all German based meetings scheduled at 4:45, I will never be late again.



  1. My friend gave me a really great strategy for language learning when I was about to move to the French speaking country I’m currently living in. You pick an activity that you need to do, for example, go to the dry cleaners. Then you write down all of the words that you would need to use in that situation and look up how to say them in German (in your case). Then you write down 5 or 6 phrases or questions you would use. Then you study that for a week or so until you get it. And then you move onto a new topic. I love that it’s practical and not completely overwhelming! Good luck!!

  2. annie your posts always make me laugh….my hubby has family that still live in Switzerland and every once and awhile he gets a hankerin’ to move there for a year or two, just to see what it would be like. I imagine myself and my kids there, learning german, going to school, getting to know the ward and the neighbors, and the way I imagine it is so close to what you’ve been writing about! I almost feel like if we never end up doing it, I can live vicariously through your experience. 🙂

  3. You do have an ace in your pocket. The Hoff. Germans love him. LOVE.

    We had our first post Annie breakfast yesterday. It was depressing. The scone, however, made it better.

  4. I think that the really important words to learn right now are the phrases to yell at your kids. Those are the ones that will really get you through your day. Everything else will just come after that, I’m sure!

  5. Popular German phrases as yelled at us as children:

    “Aus mit du!” (although I believe correct grammar is “aus mit dir” if I remember right, any native Germans to help out?)- Get out of here!
    “Schnell! Schnell!” – Hurry!

    Now you are that much closer to German domination!

  6. I’m all for learning just what I need to discipline my kids, place guilt trips on my husband and locate the nearest Diet Coke–if it exists in Germany.

  7. Awesome plan. So cool that you will be fluent in another language and your kids too! Big perk of international living.

    Even if it’s not in German i still plan on adopting your “Get your tails in the car!” phrase to yell at my kids.

  8. Well at least most Germans know English. In looking up German phrases…I would avoid Google translate because it isn’t always correct.. I was instant messaging the sister of our German exchange student and she was using it to translate into English …… it was pretty funny. I would hire a German tutor for yourself.