Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How do you teach someone another language?

Me, in Berlin, 1987. It was either right before or right after this photo was taken, I swallowed a hard candy and my uncle proceeded to hold me upside down by my feet and shake it out of my throat. Must have worked!

So I'm teaching husband how to speak German. I've spoken it since I was a very young child (my dad is from Germany and my folks lived there for 10 years after getting married), so even though I was born in America, it's all we spoke at home until I started school. While my German isn't perfect, I'm certainly fluent. Husband does know some phrases, and can usually understand me when I'm asking him a question. Thing is, I have no real clue on how to teach it. We have a book, but the pronunciation examples in it are terrible, and the phrases they teach are bizarre. Who calls an opera they don't like "an old warhorse"?

Have you taught someone a foreign language before? He's researched Rosetta Stone, and the reviews are mixed. I need help guys!

In other news, yes, I have put up the Christmas tree. No lights outside yet, I don't need the neighbors to think I'm crazy, though while house hunting over the weekend, we did see one house already done up. Why do I always try to rush the holidays? It's been a strange year, I guess I'm just ready to hurry up and see what the next one has in store.


Dustin said...

I have been meaning to try out live mocha.


Unlikely Oilfield Wife said...

Holy crap, that site is pretty awesome!! Thanks for the heads up, already using it to work on my Portuguese.

Lisa said...

good for you for putting up your tree.

i'm still resisting.

at least i gave into heating the house.

the christmas decorations must be right around the corner.


Papa Escobar said...

I was going to suggest Rosetta Stone as well. Glad you got your tree up. One down and one to go. Looking forward to seeing you both next week.

Shinade said...

Hey stranger. How have you been? I came back to blogging last week.

I am glad you got a good heads up because I am terrible at teaching anyone anything.

Although I do not speak German I am of German descent too.

I have neighbors across the way that have their lights up. As for me I haven't even started shopping yet.

I hope you have a good week!

lemonseeds said...

Awww I love photos of mini Heather!

I used to beg my Nana when I was growing up to teach me Italian but she got picked on so badly for speaking broken English she was ashamed and refused. I bought a Barron's language kit a few years ago but have been really bad aboout using it :/.

I'm thinking you need to teach him the mechanics of it first? Like the rules of the language and then the words, bit by bit?

52 Faces said...

I frickin LOVE German. Wie sagt man "frickin love?"

Fiche liebe? :P

Um, I took it at Harvard intensively one summer, which I practiced profusely with a bunch of Austrian students, then followed it up with a semester of it at Cornell. So that kind of works...yeah...

Seriously, I think classes are the only way to learn the basics, then building from the ground up as if you're a kid. When I visited Berlin after college I bought a bunch of children's books, since that's the level I'm at now.

Fassbinder films maybe?

Unlikely Oilfield Wife said...

@Lisa, I made it another night without the heat on. Husband is at his breaking point lol.

Unlikely Oilfield Wife said...

@Papa Escobar, I can't believe next week is already Thanksgiving, my days are so off, I thought it was the NEXT week lol. Can't wait to see y'all!

Unlikely Oilfield Wife said...

@Shinade, good to see you back in the blogging world! I haven't done much shopping either, only 2 presents, but I'm doing everything online this year. Hopefully that will relieve some holiday stress!

Unlikely Oilfield Wife said...

@lemonseeds, I'm so grateful that I learned it as a kid, but things just stick to young people so much more. I can not speak it for months, and after a weekend with my parents, it's all come back to me.

Learning the mechanics first is a great idea, we've been jumping around with grammar, vocab, and pronunciation. He's enjoying it though, and that's the best part!

Unlikely Oilfield Wife said...

@52 faces, yeah, classes would definitely be the best way to go. My mom took a couple when she was brand new in Germany, but she picks up languages like no bodies business, so within 6 months she sounded like a native. I'm looking for some around here for him that aren't completely across town.

I have some episodes of Scrubs and the Cosby Show in German, those seem to help, especially with Scrubs since he knows all the words.

Last night I found my old copy of Der Struwwelpeter, and I think it scared him more than anything!