I have wanted to learn to speak another language for a long time, but have either lacked motivation, commitment or felt that I didn’t have the time. I have also had trouble deciding which language to learn as there are a few that I’m interested in for different reasons. I have decided to post about it on this blog as it may be of interest to people to see the journey. I’m 38 and from the UK. The UK has a really bad record as far as learning foreign languages and people often say that learning languages is something best done when young. I think the latter is just an excuse and the former has more to do with attitude and how we learn/don’t learn languages here. Once I succeed it may motivate others to do the same and learn from the process I went through.

Reasons for Learning German

I have a few reasons for choosing German and reflecting on these has helped me to chose this language:

  • I often come across German on the internet as there is a lot of activity in German surrounding some of my computing interests. In particular vintage computers, which I blog about on TechTinkering.

  • Some of my favourite films are in German: Downfall (German: Der Untergang), Das Boot, Good Bye Lenin!

  • My wife and I had a great time in Germany when we visited Frankfurt once. We liked the people we met, the food we ate and the environment we were in. It is a country we really want to return to and explore more deeply.

  • Eddie Izzard talks about how Europe is described as a ‘melting pot’ and how if the UK is to feel a part of it we need to melt a little. I 100% agree.

  • I like the sound of the language. Which I know isn’t something said often, in fact people more often say the opposite. However, I have heard it spoken with great tenderness and also appreciate the power that it can evoke when used with conviction. To me it sounds like a direct language that gets to the point.

  • I have been enjoying some German music recently.

  • There are lots of great resources for learning German.

  • Where I live there are a number of regular social events for those interested in German language and culture, so once I get up to speed there are easy opportunities to use it.

Previous Language Learning Experience

I have tried a few times to learn another language and my experience is listed below in order:

  • At school I took French and got an F at GCSE. I never really engaged in the class and towards exam time I ignored it all together to concentrate on other subjects which I wanted to get better results in.

  • I took a short Spanish class at the local college in the evenings. I enjoyed this but never took it any further.

  • About 10 years ago I started half-heartedly learning German through a Tech Yourself book. I didn’t get that far but ever since I have been surprised how I have been able to glean a limited understanding of bits of German I have seen. I stopped learning German so that I could concentrate on the Classical Greek which I studied next.

  • I studied Classical Greek at the Open University and scored very well. After completing the Greek course I took courses in other subjects, started my own business and had children, by the time I was ready to continue studying Greek with the OU the follow-on course had unfortunately been withdrawn. I would like to go back to studying Greek, but at this time in my life learning a spoken language trumps it.

Where to Start

Before I begin I need to get a few things in order and make time to study, which to a certain extent is procrastination, but also because I have very little free time and don’t want to take too much on at once. Finally I need to gather my German language learning resources.