Fun With Languages Wee-Sources

Grüezi mitenand!  
(In Swiss German that translates to "Hello everyone!") 

Since arriving in Switzerland just about 3 years ago we have been on a relentless journey toward German language acquisition. We live in central Switzerland where Swiss German is primarily spoken. (Actually Swiss German is a spoken dialect - think Cajun English - but High German is the written form.) Switzerland is unique in that they have four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Notice how English is not one of those? Yeah, the Swiss generally are fluent in English as a second (or third or fourth!) language, but you would be hard pressed to find a Swiss person who will initiate an interaction in English - especially if they assume you are Swiss. 

In the spirit of learning a new language at I remember what it was like to not be able to take the phone into the bathroom years-old, today I share with you Fun With Languages Wee-Sources

Even before leaving Arizona, we started taking German classes. (Shout out to the UofA grad student from Germany, Patrick, who could not believe we knew absolutely no German yet were moving to Switzerland.) And since the first month we arrived, we have been taking nonstop German classes with varying degrees of success. I can honestly say that my speaking and listening skills are at the level of a toddler, and my reading and writing skills are about at a grade 1 level. I am beyond proud of that last statement. 😃

One Wee-Source I use daily is the Duolingo app on my phone.

In fact, I am up to 462 days in a row!
Some of the sentences I learn on Duolingo are helpful, like:

 Because you know, pants. In our present world reality wearing pants represents a bit of achievement some days...

But then some sentences are not so helpful:

But I have to say NOTHING is more satisfying than that melodic *ding* when you get a correct answer! I'm obviously motivated by positive reinforcement.

Duolingo is great for learning lots of languages, not just German. In fact, they offer 23 languages. There is a free version and a paid subscription "Plus" version. Basically, the only difference is the Plus version is ad free. 

You may wonder, can I achieve fluency using Duolingo? Short answer, no. But, it does help with vocabulary and sentence structure that has benefited me in my in-person classes. 

Deepl is another invaluable Wee-Source that has helped us survive thrive living in a country where 90% of the signs and packages are written in a language we don't know and 95% of the people speak any other language besides English. Google Translate used to be our go-to translating resource until we discovered Deepl. I love that I can write a paragraph in English and then with a click of my mouse, have the whole thing translated ready to be cut and pasted into an email to, say, my doctor. (It can be scary to have to conduct important business - health care! - in another language.) One of the best parts of using Deepl is that it gives alternative ways of saying the same sentence. Plus, when used on the computer you can highlight a section of text, hit control C twice, then a window will pop up with Deepl's translation! SO helpful when we receive an email in German.

As a sad aside, we were supposed to be in Ireland last week for a Green Day concert. (It was an early birthday present for Maureen.) Our flights and concert tickets have been postponed until the end of June 2021...covid willing! 
Anyway, in the spirit of translation and missing seeing Green Day live here is my final Wee-Source for today, a Google Translate version of Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

If you found this humorous and want to see if there is a Google Translate song of a favorite artist, google it. Let me know in the comments if you found one you want to share.

I end with a poem because that is the form of English I love best. It sums up my addiction to Duolingo.

each correct answer
brings me closer
to understan...*ding*

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

This week Linda at A Word Edgewise is hosting the Poetry Friday festivities! Join us!