DER, DIE, DAS!!
DER, DIE, DAS!!
By Nhlanhla Mpofu
The purpose of this article is to try and highlight the importance of learning the German language when you have chosen to live in German. This is particularly aimed at people who feel that it may not be important to really improve their German language because they either study in English or the primary language at their workplace is English. You need to be able to communicate in German and this applies to everyone. Although some Germans do speak and understand English, some don’t or just prefer not to communicate in it. So, one must ensure that they learn the language.
When I came to Germany my primary language of communication was English and I was not under any pressure to improve my German language. I relaxed even further when I started my studies in English. Yes, my German language was functional, but it was still not very advanced. It improved tremendously when I started working as a student worker and this was because the company language is German and so I had no choice but to communicate in German. Lucky as I was that I did have enough German language skills to get the job I still felt that I should have improved my language earlier. As a student it also becomes a big challenge to even get an internship position without adequate German knowledge.
Throughout my years living in Germany I have the following advice in terms of the German language:
- Extra effort will go a long way. Watch German TV (I always re-watched my favourite movies in German), try to speak in German with the family, find free German learning tools online to supplement your language school
- Make German friends as this will force you to practice speaking and writing (via texts). Unfortunately, I had more friends from home and this didn’t help my language situation.
- Enrol in a German language course even though you may be studying in English. You have a higher chance of getting a job (student worker, internship or permanent job) when you have advanced German language skills
- Practise your German with your German speaking friends
- Although you may already work in an English-speaking environment it will be beneficial to improve your language skills
- The longer you live in Germany and possibly have a family here it becomes paramount to have a very intimate knowledge of the language
To conclude, I cannot stress how important it is to learn the language. Not only do you need it to communicate with people on a day to day basis, but most official documents are in German and this includes important processes such a renewing your visa. Do yourself a huge favour and learn your der, die, das!