Just over six months ago, I started making an intentional effort to complete at least one Duolingo German lesson every day. I had had a Duolingo account for literal years (I think I signed up just to see how the process worked before having the children use it in school) without ever actually using it myself, but last September, I decided I wanted to give it a try. It was part of a broader effort to connect to my heritage (see my fashion and cooking posts), I think.
I studied German for four years in high school, so it’s not like I was unfamiliar with the language, but it had also been over two decades, and I was a fairly lazy German student, so I had a lot to learn (and relearn)…I basically knew just enough to get myself into trouble in Germany!
It’s been an interesting process. There have been days where I couldn’t put a sentence together correctly if my life depended upon it (I really struggle with word order in German…I always have), and other days where I it all just made sense, and I could have kept going forever. I still have a hard time remembering the gender of words, but that is no surprise. I do think my vocabulary has grown quite a bit, though, and in general, I feel more comfortable with the language, which is kind of the point.
I’ve come across some bizarre and hilarious sentences along the way:
The bear, in particular, has been a constant source of amusement:
There have been some very relatable translations:
And some that I wish weren’t quite so relatable:
Duolingo contains some deep truths hidden within the lessons:
I even came up with a great idea for a Spargelparty from the lesson on asparagus (stay tuned for that one!):
I’ve hit milestones along the way (my current streak is up to 187 days):
It might not seem like much, but I’ve cleared all of the lessons in just one unit, which is quite an accomplishment to me (see my above struggles with learning German):
I’ve also advanced to the Diamond League (once):
Last night was my big achievement, though:
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not done with learning German, not even with Duolingo. This achievement came from passing all of the checkpoints (which took way less time than I was expecting!), not all of the lessons, and I’ve just gotten started with the collection of stories (which are quite fun!). But I really feel like I accomplished something, both in realizing that I must have retained more of my high school German than I thought, and in committing to continuing my education as an adult. I’m really looking forward to learning more, and maybe someday, I’ll actually get to put my new skills to use!