I am learning German. (Ich lerne Deutsch).
Through the magic of Facebook, I have discovered at least one German relative of mine. From what I have gathered in conversations, Lydia and I share the same great-great-grandfather; and if my calculations are correct, Lydia is my third cousin, once removed.
Lydia has been kind enough to answer my questions about family, German culture and the German language. She speaks English very well, and I joked with her some time ago that she speaks better English than many Americans who are native English speakers. From time to time, I even try speaking German with her.
Yes, I am working to learn some German.
In some ways, German is pretty easy. It is closely related to English and has a lot of cognates. Der Sohn is the son, Die Tochter is the daughter, Das Auto is the car. Like English, there are a lot of exceptions to the rule in how it conjugates verbs. I also see that the word order often is different. To ask if someone speaks German, you’d say “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” or, literally, “Speak You German?”. The German verb for “to do” or “to make” is machen, they do not have an equivalent of our “do” helping verb when we ask questions. Frankly, I like the German way better.
Here’s a little of what I’ve learned:
Allo! Mein Name ist Richard, und mein Nachname ist Zowie (ausgesprochen “Sau-ie”). Mein Frau heißt Jennifer. Wir haben drei Söhne: Jonathon, Charles, und Robert.
Ich arbeite als Journalist. Ich bin siebenunddreiß ig Jahre alt.
Ich verstehe ein biß chen Spanisch, Ruß isch, und Chinesisch.
Ich lese gern, und spiele gern Schach.
Ich trinke gern Tee, aber Ich mag kein Bier.
Ich habe zwei Schwestern (Sabrina und Misti), aber keine Brü dern.
Yes, I used the word “Ich” a lot. (The German word for “I”). Sorry.
Someday I would like to travel to Germany and visit distant relatives and visit castles in the country. In the meantime, I am trying to learn some German so that I’ll know how to speak some.
Richard Zowie is the great-grandson of Sebastian Zahnweh, a German immigrant. Post comments here or e-mail Richard at email@example.com.