Attacking German

I’ve been living in Germany for over a year now and my German has come a long way from the “My name is Linda. I come from Ireland.” I arrived with. Of course, I still haven’t come as far as I would like and my natural lack of patience isn’t helping. But instead of bitching about it, I’ve come up with a goal – be B1 level by the end of the year, and B2 by this time next year.


What a difference a few months makes…

As you can imagine, this is going to take a lot of time and effort so, in a bid to succeed, I have launched a multi-pronged attack on every aspect of the German language.

The first, and probably most obvious, step was to start taking private German lessons. I realised pretty quickly that group classes weren’t really for me as listening to an Italian murder the German language didn’t do much for my German. Plus, I get to talk about myself – a lot – and my teacher has to listen to me because I’m paying her to do just that. I’m sure the comedy value she gets out of listening to me babble away about my life is almost as dear to her as the money. I think it’s probably the most entertaining 75 minutes of her week. I also go to a “Bier trinken und Deutsch sprechen” evening once a month which is I think is pretty close to being the most fabulous idea ever.

Drinking and talking – two things I’m very good at.
My friend Simone over at Lady of the Cakes is kindly helping me out by sending me a language challenge every day. These are met with spectacular language fails on my side.

Simone: How would you say “The leaves will have turned red.”?

Me: What? That’s future perfect! I couldn’t possibly know that at my level!

Simone: It’s supposed to be a challenge.

Me: Germans…

Simone: Go on, try. 

Me: (Google translating “the leaves”)

Simone: Come on. 

Me: The leaves…

Simone: Good start.

Me: The leaves *utter nonsense*

Simone: NEIN!

Me: The leaves *more utter nonsense* 

Simone: NEIN! 

Me: *something vaguely resembling German*

Simone: Better.

Me: The leaves will have turned red. 

Simone: JA! 

And then I rejoice and congratulate myself – until the next day.

Trips to my local bar are a great way to get me talking in German – and nicely lubricated. The old men in there have a bit of a soft spot for me so are more than willing to let me torture them with my Saudeutsch while engaging in some harmless knee-patting. If the hand starts moving up my leg, it’s time to go.

I also watch German TV every day. Frauentausch (Wife Swap) is great for learning vocabulary related to avoiding getting a job, and Die Höhle der Löwen (Lions’ Den) is doing wonders for my business German. It doesn’t hurt that I have a major crush on one of the Wolves. Yes, Jochen Schweizer, I’m talking about you.

Swoon (image taken from

My fascination with the man has gone so far that I’ve even bought his latest book and am attempting to read it. I underline every word I don’t understand while reading on the train, then look them up when I get home and compile them into a glossary in a file saved as “Jochen”. I’m almost sure it’s not as creepy as it sounds.

Dreamy man…

The next step will be to find a German boyfriend. Any takers? I figure it’s cheaper to ask here than to join an online dating site. However, I am also thinking about doing that, mainly to see if German men like sending dick pics as much as their Latvian counterparts.

There could be fun times ahead…


You can find Simone’s blog here –

You can read about my Latvian online dating adventures here –




91 thoughts on “Attacking German”

  1. Why shouldn’t open-minded, mature youngsters use online dating services? It is a promising way to match yearning willings and complement the “traditional” way of true romantic love.
    I am acquainted with 4 couples with good results. Ok, one is divorced in the meantime, but 25% failure isn’t that bad…?
    99.99% of the German devotees didn’t show you her sceptre. Maybe they show you her diplomas, marathon metals, salary statements and/ or beer/ bear bellies…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. An ambitious business woman is always busy and haven’t much time anytime. Especially you haven’t time to go to pissing pubs, banal bistros or sassy sports bars to pick up Mr. Right/ Hr. Recht (sounds grauenvoll). Project follows project and you are forced to must paarschippen jetzt! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, JoSch, I think the opposite is true. Paarshippen is great for people with a lot of free time on their hands. I’ve wasted a lot of time eliminating candidates and identifying possible “matches” of which 2/3rds turned out to be no match at all. Had I spent that time in pissing pubs and banal bistros or sassy sports bars I would have at least been entertained if not gotten lucky every now and then. Not to mention a nice beer buzz..

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Trust me online dating is a waste of time… And BTW I met a cutie, too. In precisely one of the bars mentioned above. Sadly, I haven’t seen that person since. Thankfully, I met that person not virtually. Sure enough, I wasn’t the one. Not even for a second meet. And still, without that personal encounter I’d be one experience poorer.
              It’s hard though. If you don’t call you’re an asshole, if you call now and then you’re not really interested, if you call too many times you’re annoying …. There’s one advantage to the online dating. People can just delete you without ever having met them.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s about finding balance or pleasing. I met a good friend last night. He’s 72, from Lebanon, and in his wise way he reminded me that life is a journey. And on this journey we meet people who travel along with us. And sometimes they stay on for a few stops and then get off and sometimes they stay on for longer. And we don’t have any control over that. As much as we’d like for them to stay on or get off…. (No reference to the grabscher – that’s different altogether)
                  Sure, it happens that someone joins you on your journey who you’d like to stay on for a few more stops. But suddenly, and maybe unexpectedly, they get off and leave. What stays with us though, is the appreciation of a brief encounter with another human being. The thoughts of what could have been will fade quickly…. The appreciation of the moment won’t.

                  Liked by 1 person

          1. Quot capita, tot sensus
            I only know successful examples. Maybe because the unsuccessful didn’t report their failure. My acquaintances found their spouses ca. 20(!) years ago (Yes, there was internet in the mid 90s). A teacherin, a manager and two engineers. And maybe their requirements for entertainment was not fulfilled in pubs and bars.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Too funny. Eventually, I guess I’ll need a translator for your blog. I already feel like I have to look some words up 😉 Is your desire to conquer the German language a hint that you’re in Berlin for the long term?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Surely some of the old men in the bar must have some attractive sons/grandsons (not sure of their age/your age!!!) that you can ‘Bier trinket, Deutsch sprechen and Mann küssen’??


  4. Oh yeah, I’m so looking forward to hearing dating stories. Please please, for our sake, talk at least with some funny weirdos (but only the safe ones) before you meet any proper candidates 😉


      1. I know this German guy who claims he’s met you once. Says he gave you his number, too. Def. not a complete weirdo but not proper, either… but safe.He told me he likes you. If you do have his number maybe you oughta give it a try


  5. I really enjoy your blog, and also read back to some of your Latvia blog. It was interesting too, especially since I’ve never been to Latvia. Just curious, what language did you speak there–Latvian or Russian? Or could you get along with English?
    It’s harder to learn German in Berlin now with so many Germans speaking English and so many expats. I spent a couple of weeks at the Goethe Institut and didn’t feel my B1 level improved much, partly because I didn’t study hard. However, it’s a great city, so I was glad I made the effort to check off one of the items on my bucket list.


    1. Yes, I absolutely love it here! I have a few people helping me out and the private lessons are great – just need to get around to doing the mountain of homework 😉
      About Riga, I mostly got along with English. I learned a bit of Latvian but they instantly switched to English as soon as they heard an accent so I found it very frustrating. You’ll be fine with English though! Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you like the blog! 🙂


  6. Oh my, Jochen is a real cutie. Those eyes!! Congratulations on your progress so far. Pretty soon you’ll be doing past contrary to fact conditionals: “If he hadn’t been a dick, he would not have sent me that pic.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I could translate “the leaves will have turned red” into German, but it’s not a sentence I’ve ever had any real need to say in any language!

    Frauentausch? I dread to think what kind of vocabulary you’re learning from that 😉


    1. All good stuff I assure you 😉 Though I have spotted a few spelling mistakes on the little cards they leave around the house for the new wife… I don’t think these people are the sharpest tools in the shed. 😉


  8. Gah! I need to start looking at tickets… anyhoo, I feel like I should make more of a concerted effort to resurrect my Spanish and French, but my motivation to do THAT has gone the way of my blogging commitment…


    1. I’d like to resurrect my French too but definitely not at the same time as learning German! When I hit B2, I’ll think about it. And yes, look at tickets! The markets are opening 🙂


  9. For learning vocabulary as you read, I really suggest doing something to revise the new words. One thing that I used to do when I was barely reading adapted stuff in German was reading a bit every day, underlining everything I had to look up (or simply wanted to remember) and then checking these underlined words the next day to revise them.

    Later, I went further (maybe even a little overboard), (if you don’t know it yet, it’s probably the best bilingual German dictionary on the web) allows its users to create lists of words, so, for each reading session, I created a list of the words I had to look up, and then revise this list the next day, then after 3, 7, 30, 60 days (I changed the name of the list after each revision to reflect the date of the next revision, and I tried different schedules, with +1+3+7+7+7+30 days probably being the best).

    And this ‘spaced repetition’ actually works. I recorded all the stats, with error percentages for each revision falling almost universally and quite considerably – I’d say, by about a half on average (i.e. if I didn’t remember 70% the next day, I didn’t remember 35% after all the spaced repetition).

    And now, on to more visceral and objectively practical matters. Did men in Latvia actually send you dickpics? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They did – more than I care to remember! It was a total dick-fest 🙂 I don’t think men realise that women don’t really work that way!!
      And thank you for the learning tips – that sounds like a really great idea. It’s so hard to retain all the new words I come across…


      1. The point is to expose yourself repeatedly to the same vocabulary over time (so reading a lot of books by the same author also might help – the vocab tends to repeat quite a lot). It won’t help you with any active skills, so, I’m afraid, it’s old pervy dudes in the pub for you, if you need these. 🙂

        And ¡holy crap! to the dickpics: I’m actually living in a weirder place than I ever thought, and not in a way that I ever wanted to find out about! 😉


  10. That is a horrible sentence, first of all, so darn that Lady of the Cakes for being so tricky! I just posed it to BV, then told him to correct while I attempted to translate it also. Naturally I got annoyed when it required extensive explanation. I’m starting to think we should get cable so I can watch goofy reality shows too… We did enjoy watching some baking competition show when we were in the mountains the other week… whatever works, am I right?


    1. I know, right?! And I never talk about leaves in English either 😉 Although it makes me happy that you struggled with it too haha! Watching Grill den Henssler at the moment. Cooking vocabulary I will never use 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like someone needs to plan some fall-color trips for next year. I hear you can get on a bus full of old people, and have some free coffee/cake while you look at leaves. Side note: how do you feel about time-share sales pitches? 😉


      1. Hahaha, part of me says ‘oh God, please don’t,’ and part of me thinks that might not actually be a terrible idea. He tries, but he’s an engineer, not a linguist. There are trade-offs though. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Hahahah this is very true, but engineers trying to explain things to non-engineers can be a disaster. As I always tell my technical students when they whine about laypeople not understanding some concept which is VERY CLEAR TO THEM, “okay, pretend I’m a small child and explain this to me.” Usually works pretty well but if he doesn’t know exactly why it’s Dativ or whatever… off the rails we go again. Fun!

            Liked by 1 person

  11. Since Linda has opened this up to the dating world, I am single in Toronto. Come at me, German or otherwise 🙂
    (Linda, feel free to tell everyone how great I am haha)


      1. Dein Deutsch ist besser als mein! Aber ich arbeite auch wie Schreiber — Ich lehrte Englisch (schreiben und literatur) auf der Universität und jetzt schreibe ich technische Handbüche. Und ich traume arbeiten in Deutschland wie du. Einige Tag kannst du mir helfen! Bis dann, ich freute mich immer an dein Blog. Gary


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