March 04, 2004

Class, Day 3

Don't worry, I'm not going to give you a blow by blow of each day of class for the next 5 months. Just updates as interesting things happened.

Mr. Impatient wasn't here today, and boy the class sure was a lot more pleasant without him talking over people. Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll drop out for good.

Mr. Pronounciation finally figured out that his own pronounciation sucks and has stopped correcting people.

Mr. Speedy is less speedy now that we're not saying things like "Hello, how are you? My name is Herr Speedy." He also was corrected several times by the teacher--call it Schadenfreude, but it made me happy.

We added a new person today and he seems very nice. He jumped right in and it was clear he has had some German before.

We have a new variation on "Ich." Ich is pronounced "eesh" (that's not exactly it, the ch is actually more in the throat, but eesh is close enough). For some reason this seems to be the hardest word to pronounce. Sure, people roll "Entschuldigung" off their tongues, but can never seem to get Ich (and its companion word, "nicht"). This was true when I was taking German in the U.S. and it's true here. Just to review, it's not ick, it's not itch, and yes, it's not eek either. Why is this so hard?

Posted by Shelby at March 4, 2004 08:10 PM

I think you've hit on universal problems with learning a foreign language. Sounds that aren't in your native language aren't easy to reproduce when you're not used to making them. For instance, the Japanese don't have an L sound, so "la" and "lo" become "ra" and "ro." It does go both ways; the "tsu" syllable sometimes trips English speakers up, as does the fact that what we call "ra" is more of a cross between "da" and "la", and dealing with short and long vowels and consonants.

What the heck is Schadenfreude?

Posted by: Erik at March 4, 2004 11:55 PM

I understand the sound-not-found-in-native-language problem. I'm not looking for a perfect Ich here. Eesh is close enough. It's just that eesh and ick are nowhere near eachother. I mean, ick isn't even trying! And these are native English speakers I'm talking about, so I know they are capable of making the eesh sound.

Schadenfreude is a brilliant German word with no direct English counterpart. It means taking pleasure in someone else's pain. Hence, me being happy when Mr. Speedy is embarrassed about being corrected by the teacher.

Posted by: Shelby at March 5, 2004 12:30 PM
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