Switching back into Aussie mode

budapest

There’s something that happens when someone from Australia comes to visit me in Austria. I’ve observed it myself when other non-Austrians have visitors from their home country. The talking moves quicker, the accent gets thicker and the slang starts rolling out. It’s the same with me. It’s unintentional but almost unavoidable to switch back into Aussie mode.

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Drama, drama and more (Spanish) drama

Netflix Cook of Castamar

From my previous blog about how we tend to watch most of our television in English, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m pretty lazy to not watch shows in German. Because it’s a great way to learn. But as I said, it’s disconcerting to watch a show with an iconic actor (think Sean Connery), and have him open his mouth to spout out sentences of German rather than the rich Irish lilt we’re all used to. So I stick to my guns. I watch English shows in English and German shows in German. It makes sense.

But I understand the advantages of watching TV in German. Not only can it help me learn the language, I can easily do it while I’m on the exercise bike, for example, or sitting in the sauna. The only pre-requisite is that I can see the screen the understand the subtitles if I need them. So I looked beyond English and German… and I discovered something else – Spanish dramas. Ok, let’s be honest, it works with any foreign language. French, Italian, Russian… anytime there’s a show I want to watch that’s available in something other than English or German, I simply change the audio to German and watch it like that. Because I don’t need to learn French or Italian or Russian.

Now, when it comes to period dramas, I’ve come to the conclusion that no one quite makes them like the Spanish. Obviously I’m just getting fed whatever is available on Austrian Netflix, but from what I’ve heard, I’m not the only one watching them! And hey, this is not high-brow watching, but it is fun, and you need that when you’re watching in a different language.

Here’s a few of my favourites:

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Streaming and the German language

Netflix Dark

One of the huge advantages that streaming delivered was the ability for me to easily watch movies and series’ in English. Austrian television, unsurprisingly, is in German, and I don’t think I’ve actually watched more than five minutes of it since I moved here (also unsurprising). Even something originally created in English is dubbed with German voice over here. So if ‘Bad Boys’ is on TV, the voices are replaced with odd sounding German (odd to me, because that’s not the way Will Smith speaks!). And the funny thing is, because there aren’t as many German voiceover actors as actors (duh), after watching a few German-dubbed shows, you start to hear the same voices over and over.

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Etikett – turns out it’s not a weird Middle Eastern Country

hoferSince the world is a bit tender and down at the moment, I thought why not write something a bit lighter this week.

Why not devote this blog to laughing at myself about one of my recent German blunders?

Because back when it was still possible to go to the supermarket without wearing a full biohazard suit, I discovered something I’d been misunderstanding for the last 6.5 years.

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And then the German language just comes out of nowhere and trips you up

accidental blow waveIn the aftermath of passing my B1 test, I was experiencing renewed confidence in my German abilities. But of course, what goes up, must come down. A few weeks later, two incidents happened within about 20 minutes of one other, leaving me to realise I still have some work to do before I can call myself fluent.

Incident #1: Accidentally agreeing to a blow wave at the hairdresser.

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The B1 Integrationsprüfung – damn, it’s time for another German test

german test B1A few weeks ago I undertook the German B1 test. When we originally looked into taking the test, hubby and I decided it made sense to do it together with the Austrian Integration component, which is what you need if you want to live here indefinitely. Since I have no intention of giving up my passport (and Austria doesn’t allow dual citizenship), it’s unlikely I’ll actually need this, but still, it’s done if for some reason I suddenly do.

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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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