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KimyReizeger

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Going to work in Germany for a month in about two weeks. Have very little German beyond saying my name, which is easy cos there's no translation. Anyone ever tried picking up language in this manner? Pros / cons? Curious things to ponder in the days before I leave?

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I know someone fluent in German who had an extensive knowledge of the language - or so she thought - until she got there and realised that the German you're taught and the German that's spoken are two different things. Thanks to local accents/differentiations/colloquialisms, even knowing loads isn't necessarily a great help. As long as you put the effort in by knowing at least a few greetings and simple questions, and explaining that your knowledge is basic, I'm sure folk will be more than happy to help you out. They do say that learning by throwing yourself in is the best way to learn, though. If you're only going for a month, I don't think you'll have too much trouble.

I know some German, but not a great deal, so feel free to ask, although I can't promise to help.

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I think you will pick up a lot fast either way, but probably more efficiently if you teach yourself some basics with a "German for beginners" type book/website - how the basic grammar works, and some common verbs etc. (When I went to the Czech Rep without knowing any Czech, I picked up a lot of useful stuff, but a lot more after I had properly 'learnt' some from a book.) Also I would recommend listening to bands who sing in German to get used to hearing it and to learn some stuff, but that's only because I love a couple of German bands and learnt all the German I know from them _

Depends if you are looking to ultimately learn the language or just pick up a bit casually and get by, though, because if it's the latter, just go ahead and learn it as it comes :)

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I'd recommend 'Before You Know It' -http://www.byki.com/- good for picking up a few bits and pieces. Which is all you'll need really, as long as you look like you've made a bit of effort, the natives will be well chuffed and do anything for you. And they'll probably speak better English than 90% of brits anyway.

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Imagine coming to Aberdeen from mainland Europe thinking: "I'll manage with my Masters in English - there will be an accent but I'll adapt to that in no time"....

So a lot depends on where you end up. Where are you going?

Have you tried looking up the local german accent on youtube or something?

I think you'll be fine with younger generations as they all had decent English in School (i.e. better than your German classes here in the UK).

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I am going to Hanover and will be working in a friend of friend's hotel. The idea of this trip is to kickstart the learning process which will hopefully continue afterwards. I have some idea of German grammar from education at various times, though the detached method of learning has never really worked for me; hopefully I'll have more an interest when I can actually read and write in German.

Some fears:

- People defying me and speaking in English for simplicity.

- Inadvertently learning a bastardized version of the language: one Lithuanian I once worked with came over here with no English, yet had the tongue of a Buckie dock-worker in three weeks

Overall though, pretty excited. I've worked with several people who have come over here knowing little English and developed pretty fast, so hopefully I'll emulate!

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