View of Hamburg over the Inner Alster lake
Written by:Peter Carvell
Date posted:July 20, 2007
Posted in:Home / Locations / Germany / Hamburg / All about the grammar, it is.

All about the grammar, it is.

Well it’s about time that I was properly taught German. My only experience of it before was from a not very nice Scottish teacher (with a thick and confusing accent) in an English classroom. My sisters used to also help me with my homework, so it was probably the subject as school I knew least about.

It is Friday and I have started to wrap things up at work, ready for my 2 week break in the excellent port city (Hafenstadt) of Hamburg. My German friend is on an internship at the Trend Buero in Hamburg so why not take the opportunity to visit her and learn German whilst I am there?!

I have already completed a level test, which really pointed out my non-existent knowledge of German grammar. The problem I believe is that I have no decent concept of English grammar and it is hard to change my mind on what I believe is the only way to construct sentences. I am sure you are aware but in German you can’t simply translate sentences as they are written in English… if only it were that simple!

I had studied a little German at school before, and know the German translation for a relatively decent amount of words but that doesn’t work when trying to have a German conversation and it certainly didn’t prepare me for the test – which indicated I have still got a lot to learn. I’m thinking, however that that’s a good thing and hoping to absorb as much as possible when I am there. I am going to start 2 weeks into the beginners’ class, which should be a suitable level as I hope to hit the floor running… on Monday.

A lot of English people complain that they have never really been taught English grammar. As you may have inferred – I believe I am one of those people – but apparently we were taught it we were just all too young to remember. Well if we can’t remember when we were taught the ins and outs of our own language – then we couldn’t have been taught very well!

My sister, who was always good with languages and is currently a teacher, laying down the foundations of English grammar to 6 year olds would disagree with me. I know that this isn’t the attitude I should be taking to Hamburg but it is what I believe has hindered my previous attempts at learning German. What also hasn’t helped is that I was taught in England and in English. Being taught in Germany, in German by example and not translation is surely the best way. At least I’m hoping it is!

I’ll let you know how I get on. Until then I’ll be packing for sunny Germany and brushing up on what I can.



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