Der, die, das

No matter how hard I try, some things I will probably never fully master.

Prime example?

The German language.

What an absolute horror this is to learn. I can’t say whether it’s worse than my own mother language – Dutch – but at least with that one I was born in the right place, and growing up somewhere while learning the language at least saves you the hassle of trying to understand the logic behind it, especially if there isn’t any. German is one of those languages where logic is often absolutely incomprehensible.

Now, in the 2.5 years I’ve lived here in Germany, I think I have gotten pretty decent in terms of vocabulary. I’ve learned some new words, like Lehrveranstaltungen and Vergabevermerk. I think I’m also reasonable enough in several aspects of grammar. Conjugating verbs? Easy peasy. Ich bin. Du bist. That’s skill, right there.

You know what bloody bothers me about this language? The der-die-das-ery of everything. Pronouns aplenty. All specifically conjugated to specific tenses and the aforementioned der-die-das-ery. I haven’t a clue about them. In my defense, Germans have made it pretty difficult. However much I make myself believe that I’m making progress, this is where I still suck balls. Because, to be honest, if the thing we’re talking about doesn’t clearly have lady or gentleman parts, I don’t have a freaking clue whether the word is masculine, feminine, or neutral. How the fuck should I know?

I don’t learn from a book. That never worked well for me I’m more of the immersive learning. I’m learning as I go. I have professional conversations with several people – completely in German – on a daily basis. I think we understand each other. Things happen as intended following German conversations. I think many laugh behind my back (and some straight to my face, whatever). Yet, I still feel like an absolute moron when I hear myself talk German.

Today I was exhausted, and I could just hear my brain creak, as it was trying to find the right (but probably wrong) words. It feels so debilitating sometimes.

Aside from anxiety, the language (probably a major anxiety trigger as well) has been the absolute number one in terms of struggles in establishing in this country. Work wise, but also on a personal level. It’s hard to befriend someone at kindergarten level.

I wish I could just speak this language more fluently, so I would feel like less of a toddler in conversation. It’s hard to imagine how tough it is to speak a foreign language in another country, until you actually do it.

And this feeling? It’ll only get worse. My son is now learning the language faster and better than I ever could.

Yes, I will forever speak failed German.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

One thought on “Der, die, das

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: