B1 – the next step to German understanding – it’s time for some lessons

B1 german test booksThe start to my German learning was intense, with private lessons a couple of times a week for the first year I was unemployed in Austria. After I passed the A1 test and got a full time job, I also dropped my lessons, but I dutifully continued studying, almost daily, on a strict regime that I stubbornly adhered to (well, mostly).

My plan was to work through the necessary six books in my own time and reach B1/2 level. It was partly because I needed a goal to work toward, and partly because I’d heard that B1 was necessary at some point for my living in Austria arrangement.

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German – Ten phrases I still say wrong

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Even though my German is always improving, I still find myself getting tangled up and mashing random things together. Then there are some things that I just keep saying wrong. No matter how many times I’m told, or how often I tell myself, they are practically ingrained. Here’s my top ten.

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The ongoing struggle of formal/informal speech

german confusedOne of the great irritations of German, apart from having genders and weird pluralising and everything else that goes on… is formal speech. You could say it is a little similar to English… but only in a very subtle way. In English, it’s normal to refer to someone older than you as Mrs or Mr so-and-so… until there comes a time where they tell you it’s fine to call them by their first name. But come on, that’s simple!

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The hilarity of the angry-sounding German language

confusionGerman is an angry-sounding language. You know it, I know it. When Austrians get together over dinner they generally start speaking in their very loud, angry voices.

I remember the first few times I had dinner with my now in-laws… I would sit quietly, eating my dinner, sipping my wine, just trying to stay in the background because I certainly didn’t want to get involved in whatever it was they were so mad about. Their heated conversation would be sporadically punctuated with cackles of laughter and then the grim faces would return and they would start arguing again. Or so it seemed to me.

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