Deutscher für Idioten

September 18, 2007 at 9:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We had some time to kill before our German class at UMKC, so we stopped off at Mike’s Tavern for burgers and beers. I had the mini-burgers, which got the job done, but weren’t worthy of The List. Then we headed over to our class, taught by Gina Brenne, who moved to the US this year and is getting a degree in Accounting while teaching German on the side. Born in East Germany (Saxony), she told us she was seven when the wall came down. James and I eyed each other meaningfully–we remember being 11 or 12. The woman to my left, in her mid-40s, laughed that our teacher was so young, and the retired professor to her left joked, “I remember when they put up the wall.” Our classmates were a small and eclectic group–some had relatives in Germany or grandparents who at emigrated from there, some had never taken a German class before, and one was an opera singer who wants to learn German for her singing, and hopes to move there because they treat opera singers well there.

Gina is teaching the class verbally, so instead of reading the language out of a book, she takes turns teaching us words and sentences which we pronounce after her one at a time. A little different than traditional methods, but for a 5-week course, I think that’ll be more effective. We’ll be learning practical German, plus some of the cultural and historical differences between the US and Germany. We learned a handful of ways to say “hello”, which we both already knew. Then she said something unexpected. In German class, we were always taught to greet people with “Guten Tag” and “Wie geht’s?”, which means “hello, how are you?” Gina says Germans almost never say that. That’s a solely American greeting–saying “how are you?” in passing and not really wanting a full answer. So instead we learned a more German response, “Es ist schoen Sie kennenzulernen,” meaning, “It is nice to have known/met you.” That was a new one, so it took us some time to get it down. Correction: it took me some time. Mr. Genius husband of mine did it perfectly, even after having whined to me before class that he really didn’t remember much German, and he was going to suck at this. Whatever. Gina even suggested he work with me on my pronunciation. I was like, “Don’t encourage him.” LOL. The class went by quickly, and that’s pretty much all we got to tonight. James and I left in high spirits, shooting off some German words we remembered from our high school and college days while we walked back to the car. So glad we decided to take this class. Thanks to the HenchAussie for the recommendation 🙂

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