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Off topic: How easy is it to get back the basics of a forgotten language?
Thread poster: Sheila Wilson

EvaVer (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:13
Czech to French
+ ...
My own experience Sep 4, 2016

is that yes, it will come back, but maybe not as fast as that, I am afraid. I was taught German when I was a pre-school child (and the vocabulary corresponded to that), and forgot all about it later. In my 50s, I started to understand German on a "tourist" level (satisfactory to me, standards can differ) after a cumulated period of a few MONTHS in Germany and Austria (without any formal learning). But you were exposed to the language later, so that it is more comparable to my practice of Romania... See more
is that yes, it will come back, but maybe not as fast as that, I am afraid. I was taught German when I was a pre-school child (and the vocabulary corresponded to that), and forgot all about it later. In my 50s, I started to understand German on a "tourist" level (satisfactory to me, standards can differ) after a cumulated period of a few MONTHS in Germany and Austria (without any formal learning). But you were exposed to the language later, so that it is more comparable to my practice of Romanian where I went to the country after about 25 years and was getting about on Day 2. BUT I had read the language in the meantime, even translated it. All in all, with some prior practice as recommended by our colleagues, you should manage. You won't need any rocket science, after all - only basic things.Collapse


 

Klaus Baumann
Denmark
Local time: 15:13
German to English
+ ...
Movies may help Sep 4, 2016

You can watch some German movies in original language with English, or even better German subtitles

 

TB CommuniCAT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:13
Member (2014)
English to French
Meetups Sep 4, 2016

Hi Sheila,

Have you tried attending Meetups in German in your area (if there are any)? They are informal meetings with other individuals who would like to learn the same language and usually facilitated by an experienced speaker.

They are usually advertised in local newspaper or you can try Googling it.

Have fun!


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:13
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Ugh Sep 4, 2016

Ugh- cruises. No thanks.

 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:13
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Focus your review Sep 4, 2016

As you review your school German, focus on the things you might want to say in casual conversation. Don't overfill your memory banks with vocabulary you are unlikely to use or need---No re-reading of "Faust" required. Prepare an "elevator speech" about yourself, where you live, your profession, your hobbies, etc. Similarly, prepare ten or fifteen friendly social questions to ask your shipmates, where they live, where they have travelled, etc.
Stationers' have blank business cards that mak
... See more
As you review your school German, focus on the things you might want to say in casual conversation. Don't overfill your memory banks with vocabulary you are unlikely to use or need---No re-reading of "Faust" required. Prepare an "elevator speech" about yourself, where you live, your profession, your hobbies, etc. Similarly, prepare ten or fifteen friendly social questions to ask your shipmates, where they live, where they have travelled, etc.
Stationers' have blank business cards that make perfect, portable little flash cards to run through while you are waiting for a page to load, or your tea to steep.


[Edited at 2016-09-04 12:59 GMT]
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Pall Heimisson  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 16:13
Member
English to Icelandic
+ ...
Michel Thomas courses Sep 4, 2016

Have you ever tried following the Michel Thomas audio courses (there is one for German)?

They are just magical, I've never come across anything similar (and I had absolutely no believe in them/his method before trying them out). You should really give it a try and be prepared for something magical to happen. Basically he teaches you a new language over the time span of a few hours. The crazy thing is that it works. Also for a person like me that loves grammar and has to write every
... See more
Have you ever tried following the Michel Thomas audio courses (there is one for German)?

They are just magical, I've never come across anything similar (and I had absolutely no believe in them/his method before trying them out). You should really give it a try and be prepared for something magical to happen. Basically he teaches you a new language over the time span of a few hours. The crazy thing is that it works. Also for a person like me that loves grammar and has to write everything down to learn it properly. I did his Spanish course in the first days of walking the Camino de Santiago and after just two days I was having conversation with people in Spanish!! It was really too crazy experience to make it up. I convinced myself that this had to be because I learned latin in high school so I decided to try it out and listened to his Polish course for 4 hours. After 4 hours I met up with some Polish people and literally I could have a basic conversation with them on incredible many things!

If you are sceptic I encourage you to watch Michel Thomas - the language master on YouTube.

His biography is also very interesting for all history and language lovers (he escaped from 2 WWII camps, fought with the French resistance, worked as a interrogator for the Allies for high ranking Nazi criminals after the war and then emigrated to the US to set up his language school).
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Sep 5, 2016

Thanks to those who've posted since my last response. Some really valuable ideas there about things to do.

@Decipherit: I'd seen those reviews and the English safety announcements were what I was referring to - in an oblique way - when I wrote about being OK if we were sinking. But I don't really trust those "English menus and bar lists". Several of the reviews said exactly the opposite and I haven't found anything to
... See more
Thanks to those who've posted since my last response. Some really valuable ideas there about things to do.

@Decipherit: I'd seen those reviews and the English safety announcements were what I was referring to - in an oblique way - when I wrote about being OK if we were sinking. But I don't really trust those "English menus and bar lists". Several of the reviews said exactly the opposite and I haven't found anything to back that up. I'm not sure a bar list would actually look much different though. Fortunately, I adore Jägermeister so I've already got one useful German word up my sleeve.

@Balasubramaniam L.: "But why would you need German to travel to Germany?" I wouldn't, because I could get by in English in places such as Berlin etc where they're used to tourists. I'm going on a German cruise ship that has no English-version website, no written English texts on-board and offers no announcements in English, apart from the statutory safety ones. It's really catering exclusively for German speakers. Provision is made for those coming from Austria, Switzerland etc (re insurance, travel...) but nothing is said about non-German-speaking countries. I'm sure we'll be welcome, and I'm sure there will be a few others in our position, but we'll be very much in the minority and we'll have no right to expect any special treatment (unlike those tourists in Berlin).

@Tom in London: I may well feel the same way by the time I get back. But I always like to experience things once so I can decide for myself. I discovered at age 48 that I adore skydiving, but a few months ago I didn't get on at all well with scuba-diving , so now is the time to find out how I feel about being on rather than under the water for a considerable time.
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Andrea Diaz
Mexico
Local time: 08:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
Japanese. Sep 5, 2016

Somehow, languages are a bit like riding to bike. The knowledge is still there, even if you haven't practiced for a long time.

I studied Japanese for 3 years, but I had to abandon my classes because of a job. I studied everyday and I had gotten pretty good at it, and I practiced a lot with my partner. He's Japanese and every time he talked with his family, I would pay attention and try to learn even more. He moved to Spain for 2 years, but now that he's back I'm trying to learn agai
... See more
Somehow, languages are a bit like riding to bike. The knowledge is still there, even if you haven't practiced for a long time.

I studied Japanese for 3 years, but I had to abandon my classes because of a job. I studied everyday and I had gotten pretty good at it, and I practiced a lot with my partner. He's Japanese and every time he talked with his family, I would pay attention and try to learn even more. He moved to Spain for 2 years, but now that he's back I'm trying to learn again. After a few months, I noticed that I remembered a lot. I recommend that you try something similar. Listen to German podcasts, Deutsche Welle, or German documentaries in Netflix. There are plenty of resources online to get back to business. Make it part of your background noise.
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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:13
Member (2018)
French to English
kids Sep 6, 2016

I'd recommend talking with kids first, they don't use too many long words and are tolerant of mistakes

 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 15:13
Member (2009)
German to Serbian
+ ...
Depends. Sep 6, 2016

Texte Style wrote:

I'd recommend talking with kids first, they don't use too many long words and are tolerant of mistakes


I tried this for my language student once, providing some child fiction. Believe me, it was anything but simple, in terms of syntax. Think pieces by Brothers Grimm, in original German, and you'll see.

Just because kids use shorter or simpler sentence it does not mean their thinking or speech is any less idiomatic.

Actually I was acquiring German at an early age (8-18), while acquiring English and French at a later stage, starting from late teens. Even though I used German less actively in my adult age than English or French, it is interesting to observe that the way I process German is different, it seems to be more "automatic", and this is probably due to very early acquisition.

[Edited at 2016-09-06 14:22 GMT]


 

Oksana Weiss  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:13
Member (2011)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
From my experience Sep 7, 2016

I had to reanimate my German at the age of 41, after having studied it last time in the University as the second foreign language at the age of 21. But then, I had strong motivation, being married to a German guy who does not speak one word in English. I used Rosetta Stone (I-II levels) and tried to create language environment at home: watching movies in German with subtitles, reading news in German (oh my God! That was schrecklich), listening songs in German, etc. But what helped most were dail... See more
I had to reanimate my German at the age of 41, after having studied it last time in the University as the second foreign language at the age of 21. But then, I had strong motivation, being married to a German guy who does not speak one word in English. I used Rosetta Stone (I-II levels) and tried to create language environment at home: watching movies in German with subtitles, reading news in German (oh my God! That was schrecklich), listening songs in German, etc. But what helped most were daily Skype conversations with my future husband. I realise that going on a cruise ship is somewhat different from preparing to relocate into another country, so one might not need all this heavy stuff:) Sometimes google translator helps, when it comes to reading a short notice.Collapse


 

Christina Baier  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 15:13
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
Traumschiff Sep 7, 2016

A cruise on a German ship - that made me think of "Das Traumschiff", a German television series about a cruise ship that started in the 1980s and that is still going on today. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Traumschiff: )

There are plenty of episodes on Youtube, you could watch some to get into the "cruise vocabulary".

Another idea: If you are worried about mis
... See more
A cruise on a German ship - that made me think of "Das Traumschiff", a German television series about a cruise ship that started in the 1980s and that is still going on today. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Traumschiff: )

There are plenty of episodes on Youtube, you could watch some to get into the "cruise vocabulary".

Another idea: If you are worried about missing an important announcement, just use the phrase "Entschuldigen Sie bitte, ich habe die Durchsage nicht verstanden, könnten Sie sie mir auf Englisch oder Französisch erklären?"


Good luck and enjoy your holiday!
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More thanks Sep 8, 2016

Andrea Diaz wrote:
Somehow, languages are a bit like riding to bike. The knowledge is still there, even if you haven't practiced for a long time.

That's exactly what I'm hoping to find.

Lingua 5B wrote:
Texte Style wrote:
I'd recommend talking with kids first, they don't use too many long words and are tolerant of mistakes

I tried this for my language student once, providing some child fiction. Believe me, it was anything but simple, in terms of syntax. Think pieces by Brothers Grimm, in original German, and you'll see.

We bought Lucky Luke and Mr Men books for our daughter on our French holidays. My, were they testing! The Lucky Luke ones were often totally unintelligible but thankfully they came with pictures. Graded readers (for kids learning to read for themselves) are good but hardly stimulating for adult students.

Oksana Weiss wrote:
I had strong motivation, being married to a German guy who does not speak one word in English.

Love finds a way, as they say.

@ Christina: "Das Traumschiff" sounds a perfect idea, although I dare say it's pretty horrendous (like Coronation Street - running since 1960!). Thanks ever so much for that. Great to see that I understood all but one word in that useful phrase too.

With all this help we'll get there and have a good time, I'm sure. Strangely enough my husband, who only has one year of German school studies under his belt, doesn't seem stressed out. But then he's a musician so he can communicate in an even more international language than English. Thanks to all.


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 19:43
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
Bon voyage! Sep 12, 2016

I admire your appetite for new adventures. Do have a nice trip, and do report your experience on return here, for our vicarious pleasure.

Regarding non availability of English on the cruise, but surely the cruise would have accessibility to the internet. Germany is a technologically advanced country and it is difficult to image that a cruise ship would be so primitive as to not be connected with the internet. So check with some geek available to you on what type of gadgets you shoul
... See more
I admire your appetite for new adventures. Do have a nice trip, and do report your experience on return here, for our vicarious pleasure.

Regarding non availability of English on the cruise, but surely the cruise would have accessibility to the internet. Germany is a technologically advanced country and it is difficult to image that a cruise ship would be so primitive as to not be connected with the internet. So check with some geek available to you on what type of gadgets you should be carrying with you in order to be able to connect with the web on the ship, and once you are connected, a whole world of resources will open up for you to help you with the German language.
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Internet comes at a cost Sep 12, 2016

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:
Regarding non availability of English on the cruise, but surely the cruise would have accessibility to the internet. Germany is a technologically advanced country and it is difficult to image that a cruise ship would be so primitive as to not be connected with the internet.

I believe you're charged an exorbitant amount per minute to use the Internet on the ship, so best restricted to important communications with family etc.

Do have a nice trip, and do report your experience on return here, for our vicarious pleasure.

I'll report back if I have anything worthwhile to say about reviving a language. I won't bore you with my holiday snaps though. Thanks to all once more for your help.


 
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