One Year Has Come and Gone – How is my German?

Hallo Freunden!

Also, ein Jahr ist vergangen.  Habe ich es tun?   Bin ich fließend Deutsch?  That’s a good question.  And I will try to answer it.  But first, I want to re-iterate my original goal which was “conversational fluency”.  Typically this is considered to be a high B1 to a B2.  During this wide, fuzzily defined phase of learning, conversational fluency starts to take shape.  I am going to lay out a few of my personal requirements and see how I did:

1.  I wanted to be able to express myself in the spoken language with another speaker of German.  By express myself, I mean be ale to discuss my hobbies, my life, my family, current events, and anything else that I would normally talk to people (friends or strangers) about on a daily basis.

2.  I wanted my spoken interaction to be relatively in line with a fluent speaker’s pace, prosody, and accent.

3.  I wanted to be able to understand spoken German at a normal speed by a fluent speaker about the same types of things that I listed in #1 above.

4.  I wanted to be able to read and write to a certain degree, but my primary focus was on speaking.

How did I do?

1.  Nailed it (mostly).  I can pretty much discuss anything outside of specialized fields (eg:  science, gardening, politics, etc).  Fortunately, I don’t talk about any of those specialized things much in English, so I’m fine not being able to discuss them in German.  Vocabulary is not really an issue here.  I still make some grammatical errors, but I am getting better everyday and will continue to with practice.

2.  Kind of.  My pace is a little slow when talking but it is improving.  My prosody is pretty noticeably non-native level but  it doesn’t seem to interfere with my being understood.  My accent is decent but not great.  I’ve actually been told that I have kind of a French accent when speaking German which I guess is better than an American accent.

3.  This is one of my weaker spots.  I struggle to keep up with a lengthy dialog from a fluent speaker.  Shorter sentences or a slower pace help me a lot but I have a tendency to get lost (“Wie, bitte?”) in some full speed  interactions.  This will come with practice.

4.  Nailed it.  I am a decent reader and writer in German and have no complaints about my abilities in either.

My big test.

My big test is going to come in 2 weeks when I go to a German speaking Meetup group.  I’ve been putting this off for Months and the time has come to finally sink or swim.  I will post my findings after that as well as (hopefully) my one year video.