Adventures in German

I recently booked my summer holiday, to Austria for a week of hiking. The same day, before booking the trip, I received an advertising email from Babbel with an offer for a free three month subscription when purchasing a three month subscription.

So why not have a new adventure, let’s learn German.

So first some detail on my language background – I have none. I studied German in secondary school which I managed to pass, still don’t know how. I also had to learn Irish, like most Irish people I didn’t. Again, passed but just about. I now hate the language, hearing someone speak Irish just makes me angry. That it came do close to preventing me attending university is so unfair given I never, ever, wanted to study any language at college.

I have always put this lack of linguistic competence down to my scientific leanings. I am good at maths and physics which are much more interesting so why get upset. Now though I see the utility and, while I have no interest in living with a foreign language, being able to go on holiday and not having to rely on the education of others would be great. I want to be able to have a simple conversation when needed.

Babbel is aimed at teaching conversational competence which is all I want. There are other free tools out there but I thought I’d go ahead and pay anyway, I’m more likely to follow through if it costs me.

I am using the android app on my phone and take lessons at any opportunity (bus, at work, at home), the flexibility is great.

The first five lessons are really easy. I assume the ease is intentional in order to build confidence; it’s working. The voice recognition is very difficult, not sure if I am wrong or if it’s background noise but it is frustrating. At least you can move on and the app does not mark you down.

So I’m just starting out but I have to write that I’m actually excited, I never had this feeling about a language before.


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