In my new incarnation as a Swiss resident, I am learning German. I sit in my German class and try to apply all the advice I’ve given my pupils over the years – say things with confidence, make a sensible guess, use your prior knowledge of other languages to help you, make up logical words if in doubt and so on.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. For example, ages. In French you say ‘I have x years’ to give your age. In Spanish you say ‘i have x years’ to give your age. So in German I applied my previous language knowledge and said ‘Ich habe x Jahre’ Except that’s not right. You say ‘Ich bin x Jahre alt.’ So I thought that perhaps it would be OK then to translate ‘ I am hot’ literally in German, despite it being a no-no in Spanish and French. Wrong again. THAT’s the same. You say ‘Mir ist warm’
I shared my colour coding system which amues the others in my German course – red, green and blue pen for accusative, nominative and dative cases; blue, pink, green and yellow pencil crayon for masculine, feminine, neuter and plural nouns.
And I also shared that looking at a country with new eyes is enlightening for those who live there all the time, or have grown up there.
My reflections on life in Switzerland are published daily at TipTopSwiss366