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!


Liz Steinglass said...

So funny! My favorite part of this whole post is your pride. : )

Bridget Magee said...

Thank you, Liz! I truly am proud of how far (by using the word far I mean barely) I've come in learning German. I am always excited when I can read a sign or menu. It's like unlocking a puzzle. :)

Tabatha said...

"My head is empty"
"You are correct"
Ha! Fun post, Bridget! You are brave :-)

Bridget Magee said...

Thank you, Tabatha! You are kind. :-)

Michelle Kogan said...

What a fun post Bridget! I like the ding you get on Duolingo too–I've recently been practicing my lost French, when I can squeeze it in. Some of your Swiss German sounds a bit like Yiddish to me, which I know a bissel of. My husband and I were in Vienna too many years ago and I picked up a bissell of German for that trip. Thanks for the laughs!

Mary Lee said...

I am in AWE of a 462 day streak! But I guess the stakes are a WEE (haha) bit higher for you. I'm addicted to the DING as well (I'm working on my German, but am wondering if I shouldn't switch over to bits of Arabic and Spanish to be able to know a word or two in my students' languages...) When we went to online learning, I tried to replicate the DING with the quickest positive feedback I could muster because I had experienced how much it matters! Thanks for the heads up about Deepl. I'll definitely give that a try!

laurasalas said...

Haha on the Green Day translation! Sorry the concert has been delayed. Love your DING! We used DuoLingo before a couple of overseas trips to learn at least the bare basics of various languages:>)

Bridget Magee said...

Thank you, Michelle! I have a colleague from Vienna. Her German is SO much easier to understand than the Swiss. If you ever make to France or even Switzerland, I'd love to connect to share a bissell of Swiss chocolate. :)

Bridget Magee said...

Thanks, Mary Lee! Yes, some of the vocabulary from Duolingo has helped me in everyday life. Where ever we can our DINGS in life to counterbalance the 'dings' the better. :)

Bridget Magee said...

Yeah, we are pretty sad to have missed the concert this year (it was 9 months in the planning) but now we have something to look forward to in 2021! :)

Linda said...

Congratulations on your 462 days! : )

Karen Edmisten said...

Ha, I love this! My daughter has been doing Duolingo since her French class ended. Love it.

Bridget Magee said...

Thanks, Linda! Day by day, I'm getting there...

Bridget Magee said...

Thanks, Karen! Your daughter is brave learning sounds harder than German. :) said...

Thanks for sharing your wee-sources. I've been studying Spanish on Duolingo for 173 days now, so I appreciate your poem about understand--ding. I'm more competitive than I like to believe--at least when it comes to stuff like this.

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